University College Dublin Sailing Club (UCDSC), the defending Varsities champions, hosted the Irish University Sailing Association (IUSA) Intervarsities out of Clifden Boat Club from the 10th to the 12th March. 26 teams were racing at the final IUSA event of the year representing UCD,Trinity (DUSC), DIT, DCU, UCC, CIT, NUI Galway, Queen's University Belfast, Loughborough, Edinburgh and the Scottish University Sailing Association (SUSA). In total the event was attended by over 160 sailors.
The event kicked off on Thursday with Trinity, three UCC teams and SUSA building early leads. Trinity, two of the UCC teams, and SUSA finished the day unbeaten to carry over their one hundred percent records to the second day of the round robin. After finishing day two with eleven wins from twelve races, Trinity, along with three UCC teams, booked their place in the final day’s Gold Fleet semi-finals.
The third and final day of sailing saw the culmination of the round robin and the division into the Gold, Silver and Bronze Fleets for the knockout stages. Hosts UCD were represented across the fleets with their Fourth team taking victory in the Bronze final. UCC’s Fifth team took the Silver Fleet final while in the best-of-five races Gold Fleet final was contested by Trinity’s Firsts and UCC’s Thirds. After Trinity took a 2-1 lead, a black flag offence by UCC boat on the finish line meant that Trinity team of Scott Flanigan, Cara McDowell, Daniel Gill, Kate O’Reilly, Richard Roberts, and Laragh Lee returned to shore as 2017 Varsities champions.
Trinity club captain Daniel Gill said “it's the best week of results in recent history for Trinity Sailing and the first time we have won varsities in eleven years. Results have been consistently strong at all the regional events this year and the changing of helms and crews throughout shows how strong the club is at the moment, particularly given that many of them are sailing on our seconds, thirds and fourths, showing the depth we have in the club."
The culmination of such a well-run event resulted in UCDSC being awarded IUSA Event of the Year at the final evening’s awards ball, where UCC’s Florence Lyden was awarded Fresher of the Year with Brendan Lyden, also of UCC, awarded Sailor of the Year.
The IUSA AGM also took place during Varsities, with UCC’s Paddy Hogan elected as the incoming Treasurer/Secretary and Trinity’s Chris Phelan elected as President.
The 2017 Colours Match between Trinity and UCD will take place on April 1st in Grand Canal Dock and the Student Yachting Nationals will be held at the end of April, doubling as the qualifiers for the Student Yachting World Cup (SYWoC) and marking the official end of the student sailing season for 2016/17.