#sywoc – Ireland's UCD sailing team have beaten Canada by 12 points to win the Student Yachting World Cup in France after the series was shortened due to gales in La Rochelle. The Irish team took the lead on Tuesday and extended it after being reinstated in a race they were previously disqualified from.
The event had been decided on the results of 13 races and two discards. IRL were clear winners on 25 points from Dalhousie University on 37 points and Italy's CUS Brescia in third place on 41 points. 14 Teams competed. (See full results sheet for download below).
It is the second time Ireland has won the prestigious trophy, Cork Institute of Technology won in 2008.
The Irish team claimed victory by the largest margin ever recorded by an Irish team competing throughout the 32 year history of the event. Team Ireland dominated the regatta by consistently scoring podium places in almost all of their 13 races throughout the championship to finish on a total of 25 points while their closest rivals, Team Canada, finished on 37 points.
The regatta which was held in La Rochelle, France, saw the top 14 teams from around the world compete for six days in wide ranging sailing conditions and race course formats. Team Ireland set down a clear marker of their intentions on the first day of the regatta by carding two second places. Team Ireland took a little longer to find their groove on the inshore race course however carding an eighth place, leaving them in third place overall on the first evening.
UCD hike hard on their way to a World tite win in La Rochelle
From there, the team's ability and confidence improved as they learned how to sail the boat most effectively in the varying wind and wavy conditions that La Rochelle produced on a daily basis. Team skipper Aidan Mc Laverty produced some breath-taking start line manoeuvres when jostling with the other nations trying to ensure the team started at the most favourable end of the start line on each occasion. Team Ireland's tactician Barry Mc Cartin's research on wind and tides in La Rochelle paid dividends as he frequently called the best lines and angles to sail the team around the course.
Day two of the regatta brought similar sailing conditions with a short chop and 12 knots of breeze. Team Ireland carded once again two second place finishes and an unfortunate "Did Not Finish" in the inshore race due to a navigational error. It was at this stage in the regatta where Team Ireland's training began to show as sail trimmers Simon Doran and Cathal Leigh-Doyle ensured the team maintained the best boat speed in the fleet.
The regatta brought numerous twists and turns on day three as the team carded a third place finish followed by two first place finishes in race numbers 8 and 9. The team utilised their subs tactically by brining on Ben Fusco and Ellen Cahill for the night race. This six hour long race was started at 16.30 and provided a unique tactical challenge to the team who had to cope with pitch black darkness as they sailed around La Rochelle bay. The team fought extremely hard in the testing conditions and finished third only securing their place on the last 20 meters of the race. Team Ireland's pit crew member Alyson Rumball, played a crucially influential role in ensuring our sail changes went smoothly and quickly throughout the night.
Going into the final three days of the regatta, Team Ireland had the smallest of cushions over second place Team Canada. Team fitness allowed the team to push on in the increased winds. Team mast man Theo Murphy and bowman David Fitzgerald excelled in the conditions and allowed them to out manoeuvre the other teams downwind while Bella Morehead trimmed brilliantly downwind.
Unfortunately, the last two days of the regatta had to be cancelled due to winds gusting 40 knots on the race course. However, Team Ireland's lead of 12 points ensured they secured the prestigious trophy and won the regatta. As a result of their win, Ireland Sailing Team –UCD will return to defend their title next year in France.
The team have to thank everyone for their support in the lead up and during the event. Support from Ireland and across the world during the regatta has been amazing and kept the team motivated and focused on representing our country.