Alex Colquitt and his team triumphed at the 2022 Ceilidh Cup with Thomas Goodman of Strathclyde University taking the Scottish Student Sailing title.
It was a windy affair for the annual Ceilidh Cup / Scottish Student Sailing (SSS) Match Racing Championship over the weekend, 8-9 October 2022, with a sell-out entry hosted by the Royal Northern and Clyde Yacht Club in Rhu.
Raced in Sonars and Qualifier 3 of the 2022 RYA Summer Match Racing Series, it is Scotland's sole annual match racing event and this year saw 9 teams duelling for supremacy, including 6 Scottish university teams eligible for the SSS prize.
A breezy forecast for Saturday, and a positively windy forecast for Sunday, created challenges for the race management.
Race Officer Eilidh Millar elected to push on with the round robin stage, racing in the East Patch off Helensburgh, but the weather gods had other ideas: an unexpected lull in conditions at lunchtime gave teams a break, but created more time pressure.
The last race of the round robin between top-ranked helms Ali Morrish and Alex Colquitt finished at 6pm. But in that important last race, an umpiring rib positioning error at the top mark had fouled Ali Morrish's spinnaker during the hoist.
A resail was deemed necessary, but impossible to complete given the failing light conditions, so the matched Sonar yachts then sailed quickly to Rhu Marina before darkness fell, with the sailors adjourning to the RNCYC bar for a curry.
Sunday dawned breezy, and with the forecast set to build, finding a sheltered position to undertake racing made Race Officer Eilidh's job difficult. Racing took place in Roseneath Bay, which offered only a little protection from the strengthening and gusty westerly conditions. Indeed, it was found challenging for the committee boat to anchor.
Finally, a course was laid, and the teams of Ali Morrish and Alex Colquitt sailed out to resail the important race. After a close prestart, Morrish was declared OCS, which gave advantage to Colquitt. With gusts now touching 30 knots, N over A was raised and the event closed.
Alex Colquitt, winner of the 2022 Ceilidh Cup, said: “We had a very long trip from Southampton up to the Royal Northern & Clyde Yacht Club this weekend for the Ceilidh Cup, but it was definitely worth it for the sailing we got in and we were extremely happy to come away with the win!
"There was a range of conditions over the weekend that tested different aspects of our sailing and we loved the venue. It was also great to see a few of the Scottish unis getting involved too.
"It was a really impressive show from the race team and all the volunteers to get in so much racing on Saturday due to Sunday’s forecast, and then a gusty tiebreak race against Ali Morrish to finish off the round robin. Looking forward now to the UK Grand Finals at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in two weeks’ time!”
Winner of the Scottish Student Sailing prize Thomas Goodman added: “It was great to see so many new competitors on the water this weekend along with some old stalwarts of the Ceilidh Cup keeping the matches competitive. Thank you to the race officials for pushing hard for a long day afloat on Saturday which fortunately gave us a result going into a breezy Sunday.”
* denotes a team eligible for the SSS Match Racing Prize. A full breakdown of the results can be found here.
The RYA Summer Match Racing Series - supported by Marlow Ropes, Harken and Hyde Sails – will conclude with the Grand Final, 21-23 October 2022, at the Royal Southern YC in Hamble, Southampton.
Find out more about RYA Match Racing and all upcoming events at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk