Two Scots Teams Compete in Sailing Champions League

Following participation in the British Keelboat League, both The University of Strathclyde Sailing Club and Royal Northern and Clyde Sailing Club sent teams to take part in Sailing Champions League (SCL) events in Europe.
03 Apr 23

The University of Strathclyde Sailing Club competed with 12 teams from 11 countries in Vilamoura, Portugal in the first event of the 2023 Sailing Champions League (SCL) 23-26 March 2022.

Strathclyde Uni qualified for the SCL by finishing 2nd in last year’s British Keelboat League (BKL) final, following qualification through the A-plan / RYA Scotland Youth Keelboat weekend last September. They completed 18 races in fantastic sailing conditions in the Algarve, which saw the team sporting sun hats, quite a contrast to their wintery training sessions back home.

Scottish Teams racing J70's in the Sailing Champions League Qualifiers

The temperature change didn’t affect the overall winners who represented the Esbo Segelforening club from Finland, who were winners of the SCL Final in 2021, and won 13 of their 18 races. French team, Sport Nautique et Plaisance du Havre and Austrian team Burgenlandischer Yachtclub finished in 2nd and third places respectively with 6 and 8 wins each.

The Strathclyde team of Jake Miller, Calum Bell, Tony Fitzgerald, Laura Young and Rowan Edwards, worked hard over the 4 days of racing in choppy conditions. After a day of practice sailing, four J70 Keelboats were used in each of the 18 races which saw all teams racing against each other in flights.

By race 6 and with finishes in 3rd and 4th places, it was clear to our Strathclyde team that they were up against some really strong teams, but in race 7 they took their first win and followed it up with a second win in race 8 against teams that were all ranked higher than them. Now they were getting the boat dialled in.

Competition on the water was strong, and there were very small margins between the teams in every race as they crossed the finishing line. Using a low points scoring system Strathclyde finished in 10th place overall and just missed out by a handful of points in making it through to the Sailing Champions League Final. Well done team!

Jake Miller noted, “The event was insane! First time competing internationally and it didn’t disappoint; the weather was fantastic, the boats were pimped, the venue were super efficient, and the level of competition was really tough.”  

The Royal Northern & Clyde YC (RNCYC), went to race in the 2nd round of the Sailing Champions League (SCL) at the Berliner Yacht Club, Germany from the 30th March – 2nd April.

Flying in the forecast was for snow, quite a contrast to the conditions experienced in Portugal, but it didn’t materialise.  Practice sailing in the J70’s went ahead as the teams eyed up the competition, with 20 teams from 10 nations, RNCYC the sole UK in the second qualifier.

Scottish Teams racing J70's in the Sailing Champions League Qualifiers

RNCYC sailors, Hamish Taylor, Daka Fadipe, Nicole McPherson and Robin Young represented the club as they went through 18 flights of racing on the Havel to the west of Berlin. It was a tough competition, with the winners of the leagues in Finland, France, Norway, Germany & Switzerland all in the fleet.

Skipper and helm Nicole Macpherson said, ‘We were definitely tested by the other clubs, learning how to sail the J70s better, but managing to drink a German beer or two with the opposition was good fun.’

The RNCYC gained selection into the Sailing Champions League as a result of their 4th place finish in the BKL Final last October, a fitting reward for the RYA club that has participated in and hosted BKL events since the league started in 2016.

2024 Could be your clubs turn to represent British clubs in the Sailing Champions League!

You can enter your team in the next British Keelboat League event. The first two teams in each BKL event will gain an entry to the BKL final where they will be in with a chance of winning a place in the 2024 SCL. The next event is June 3-4th in Essex whilst the RNCYC will host an event in Scotland on 24-25th June 2023.

For further details visit: