This past weekend, a team from Edinburgh University sailing club participated in the Cameron Trophy, a training event designed to get more sailors involved in student yachting in Scotland.
Getting up bright and early on Saturday, we headed to Port Edgar Marina in Queensferry for the event, where we got ready and were briefed by some familiar faces, including former EUSC sailor Ross Malloy, and current EUSC team racer and Cameron Trophy event-coordinator Brendan Lynch. After releasing the warps, we were off, and sailed under the bridge to Queensferry bay, where we began with a morning of training followed by some of the first races in the afternoon. As most of us were new to racing in 707s there was a learning curve for everyone, and as well as most of us trying out new positions in the boat that we had to get used to, we also faced some tough competition from the other Scottish teams, such as the University of the Highlands and Islands, who made the tactical choice to field a team almost entirely composed of Strathclyde sailors.
In the first race we competed in our outhaul broke, and replacing it with our reefing line and a sail tie meant that we were a DNF. In the second race we improved significantly, jumping up to third place and by the third race we had achieved second place and things were looking up. Some tactical issues, fluctuating wind conditions and strong tide meant that the final race of the first day was also a DNF, but we finished on high spirits and were satisfied that over the course of the day we did learn a lot. As the sun set we packed our boat away, took most of the other teams we were hosting back to our flats, and then onto a chilled out curry social followed by a flat party hosted by one of EUSC’s sailors and then a night out at Potterow.
On the Sunday, we got changed, were briefed and after some last minute crew changes and some questionable chat from Miles about what his farts smelt like, were back out on the water. For the morning session we sailed back to Queensferry bay, where we spent the morning doing some tacking drills and practicing hoisting and dropping our spinnaker, which was something we had wanted to improve on from the Saturday.
Finally, it was time to race again. While in the first race we finished fifth out of sixth, our training paid off, and we then proceeded to get third place and two second place finishes towards the end of the day, despite the wind almost completely dying while we were racing, conveniently only picking up again once the racing was over. Overall over the weekend we finished fourth, and the first prize went to the University of the Highlands and Islands, but we had fun and learnt a lot, and I think all of us are now very keen to get involved with more yacht racing in future.