Exeter University wins RYA National Team Racing Championship

24 teams compete at Spinnaker SC for Prince Philip Trophy
26 Mar 24

Six Firefly dinghies - three with blue jibs and three with red jibs - team racing in sunshine on the lake at Spinnaker SC for the RYA national championship.

A team from Exeter University has claimed overall victory and the Prince Philip Trophy at the RYA National Team Racing Championship 2024.

Twenty-four of the best teams from the UK circuit comprising 144 sailors in total battled it out in Firefly dinghies at Spinnaker Sailing Club (23-24 March).

With blustery conditions on the Saturday, a hectic 110 races were completed.

Squalls, accompanied by hail, resulted in a shift to cutdowns in the middle of the day, making for some difficult sailing as the winds eased towards the 5pm cut-off.

The Sunday then had colder but sunnier conditions and a return to full sails for the completion of Stage 1, with each team having completed 10 races.

The fleet split into four leagues for Stage 2, with Elmside Neighbours, West Kirby Hawks and George Jesters finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd to qualify for the semi-finals.

Fourth-placed Southampton Green meanwhile faced a sudden death repechage against Exeter Blue, winners of the Silver League.

This went to Exeter Blue with finishing positions of 1,2,5, producing a semi-finals line up of West Kirby v. George Jesters and Elmside Neighbours v. Exeter Blue.

Exeter Blue beat Elmside Neighbours 2:0 while West Kirby Hawks needed the third and deciding race against George Jesters to go through to the final on a 2:1 score.

Petit final & final

The petit final might have gone to three races, but for a black flag incident on the final beat of the second race, which saw six penalty points added to the Jester's score, giving Elmside Neighbours third place on a 2:0 scoreline.

In the final, defending title holders West Kirby Hawks had an early win against the Exeter Blue team of Ollie Meadowcroft & Katy Jenkins, Jamie Tylecote & Cally Terkelsen and Freddie Fisher & Gabby Clifton.

An impressive comeback, however, saw the team from Exeter University then taking two wins - 1,2,6 and 1,2,3 - to claim the championship and the Prince Philip Trophy.

Full results breakdown for RYA National Team Racing Championship.

It is the first time a university team has won the event in nearly a quarter of a century since Cambridge University took the championship in the year 2000.

Team captain Ollie Meadowcroft said: “It was an incredible final day. We came into the day down in Silver League, so by the time we got to the semis and finals, we were just really happy to be there, and I think the lack of pressure really helped us. Racing the Hawks in a final was every bit as intense as we could have imagined and we're elated to come away with the win!”

Team of six sailors from Exeter University with the Prince Philip Trophy (a ship's wheel) at the prize giving after winning the RYA National Team Racing Championship 2024.

At the prizegiving the competitors raised a glass in remembrance of the late Richard Thompson, a stalwart of UK Team Racing. 

The sell-out #rockupandrace championship was supported by the UK Team Racing AssociationRYASpinnaker Sailing Club and kSail.

The event followed on from the previous weekend’s RYA/BUSA Women’s Team Racing National Championship, also hosted by Spinnaker SC and won by a young team, with Royal Hospital School claiming both the Under-19 prize and overall title.

Spinnaker SC’s Operations Manager James Oborne said: “The club is really happy to have hosted both these national team racing championships and we’ve had two great weekends of racing for more than 200 competitors across the two events.

“It’s also been fantastic to have new teams competing and taking away trophies, with the next generation and some very good young sailors coming into the sport. We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back for more events in the future.”

Find out more about team racing at RYA Racing.