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UCD Team Triumphs at NYC’s Inaugural Student Match Racing Invitational

7th April 2023
Close racing during the Student Match Racing Invitational hosted by the National Yacht Club over the weekend of 1-2 April
Close racing during the Student Match Racing Invitational hosted by the National Yacht Club over the weekend of 1-2 April Credit: NYC

Skipper Loghlen Rickard with crew Oisin Cullen and Kate O’Connor on UCD 2 were the victors in the National Yacht Club’s inaugural Student Match Racing Invitational, which took place in Dun Laoghaire last weekend 1-2 April.

The event brought six collegiate team from around the island of Ireland together to compete in some very close and competitive match racing over the weekend.

Saturday brought a calm 10-15 knots with overcast skies along with a double round robin. TUD were leading on eight points after a dominant performance, narrowly losing just two races on Saturday.

UCD 1 and UCD 2 were tied on six points with UCD 1 taking second place on count back due to their two wins over UCD 2 in the round robin. Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) completed the top four teams going through to the next stage on Sunday on 5 points.

While the University of Limerick (UL) and Munster Technological University (MTU) displayed some very competitive match racing, they were unfortunately the bottom two placed teams and did not make it to Stage 2.

Sunday morning brought a two-hour postponement in order to wait for a sea breeze. Then the quarter finals took place in the form of a round robin between the remaining four teams. UCD 1 won every race in this round, giving them the right to pick who they faced in a best-of-three semi-final. UCD 1 picked UCD2, with TUD facing QUB in the other semi-final.

A close and competitive UCD semi-final saw UCD 1 win the first match. Tensions rose in the second when UCD 1 did not enter on the correct side, leading to a UCD 2 protest and causing UCD 1 to incur a penalty that cost them the match.

With UCD 1 back to the favoured starboard entry in the third match, the pre-start was close and both boats started even off the line and converged again at the windward mark, remaining close on the downwind and rounding the leeward gate at the same time.

Ultimately it came down to one mistake from UCD 1, as going left on the upwind proved to be unfavourable. With UCD 2 going to the favourable right side, they came around the windward mark several seconds ahead of UCD 1. UCD 2 went on to win the match and their semi-final.

QUB faced TUD in the other semi final, with tight racing throughout the pre-start and the race leader changing several times each race. Queen’s beat TUD in two straight matches, securing their place in the finals against UCD 2.

The Belfast team proved to be a worthy adversary to UCD 2, and certainly not one to be underestimated. Ultimately it came down to who would lead back to the start line first in the pre-start in the light conditions, with UCD 2 being successful in the first match and going on to win it.

QUB manoeuvred themselves in order for them to be the first to turn back to the start line, allowing them to go on to win the second match. In match three, UCD 2 were able to best QUB once again — match point.

In match four, UCD 2 started in a favourable position tight to leeward of QUB, forcing them to tack off to the lighter right side of the course. This proved to be decisive, with UCD 2 remaining narrowly ahead of QUB for the remainder of the race and ultimately going on to win the race and the event.

“An event like this would not be possible without the volunteers that give up their time to allow this event to be a success,” the NYC said. “A huge thank you to race officer Tadgh Donnelly along with his team: Peter Sherry, Rosemary Cadogan and Mary Gorman.

“Likewise, match racing would not be possible without an umpire team, thank you to Ailbe Millerick, Gordon Davies and Dan Little as well as all who helped them throughout the weekend.

“Congratulations to the winning skipper Loghlen Rickard, along with crew Oisin Cullen and Kate O’Connor.”

More images of the weekend’s racing action can be found on the NYC website HERE. Team

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About Match Racing

A match race is a race between two competitors, going head-to-head.

In yacht racing, it is differentiated from a fleet race, which almost always involves three or more competitors competing against each other, and team racing where teams consisting of 2, 3 or 4 boats compete together in a team race, with their results being combined.

A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. With effective boat handling and clever use of wind and currents, a trailing boat can escape the grasp of the leader and pass. The leader uses blocking techniques to hold the other boat back. This one-on-one duel is a game of strategy and tactics.

About the World Match Racing Tour

Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors