After the success of a yard stick fleet racing regatta in April which attracted nine universities to Sydney, a teams racing regatta has been announced for the 2nd to the 4th of October.
The Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has agreed to provide the venue for the land mark event which represents a rapidly growing movement to establish a University Sailing Championship in Australia. Racing will take place in Pacer dinghies which are well established as a teams racing class.
The regatta earlier in the year began a discussion regarding the future of university sailing in Australia. The event gave some of the best, along with first time racers, the opportunity to come together and compete.
The event was sociable and fun while maintaining a competitive edge. All who attended agreed that similar events needed to be developed into some kind of university championship.
The general agreement so far has been to build a championship around fleet racing, match racing and teams racing. The fleet racing would be maintained as the most accessible of the three under the yard stick system allowing anyone to compete and participate. Then a more selective regatta program would be run for the teams racing and match racing as clubs and teams are developed in universities.
Most people are first introduced to teaming racing in high school, but as only a small number of schools have sailing as an option, numbers are few. University sailing provides a much broader opportunity for all to take part.
College or University teams racing in the US and Europe is very competitive and carries much prestige.
The establishment of a championship in Australia that includes the three disciplines will be a big step towards creating a comparable competition. One of the biggest challenges has been cost. Teams racing regattas are not known for being particularly affordable events, but as there are no university teams that can subsidise costs, entry fees will be borne by the students. Despite the evident challenge the entry fee for a 6 to 8 person team will be $600 plus a $500 damage deposit.
While this covers the main costs, we are still in need of support from volunteers. If you are an umpire and free to volunteer, it would be great to hear from you.
One of the biggest successes of the April regatta was the network it has created. We now have contact with university sailors in more than 20 universities around the country and while it may be quite a distance for some to come to Sydney for the teams racing, we are confident of a strong turnout. In April the longest travelling time went to the team from Queensland University of Technology but this time it looks like it will go to the University of Western Australia.
For the Notice of Race and entry form go to http://www.usydsailing.com/