This year the University of Limerick Sailing Club is set to host the annual Irish University Sailing Association Intervarsity Championship. The annual Intervarsities is an event which sees all sailing clubs from colleges throughout Ireland compete in a team racing format of sailing over three days of racing. This event marks the end of the sailing season and so the ultimate winner is crowned the IUSA Intervarsity champion for 2013. 

The event will take place in Tralee Bay Sailing Club in Fenit Co. Kerry between the 15th and 17th of March. UL have been very successful at this event in previous years winning three consecutive titles from 2009 to 2011 and will be eager to regain this success after University College Dublin took the crown last year. ULSC’s reputation on the University sailing circuit both at home and in the UK is something of short of legendary.

UL have been in excellent  form this year winning all three of the regional events and are hot favourites to win the national event come March. This year will see 28 teams from University of Limerick, University College Dublin, University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin, Cork Institute of Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, National University of Ireland Galway and Queens University of Belfast as well as composite teams from Scottish universities compete for the much coveted title.

Racing takes place in two person Firefly dinghies in team racing format. This means that two teams of three boats race around a course to finish in the best combination possible. In total a team will comprise of six sailors. It’s tactical, fast paced and exciting. As in every sport it also gets pretty heated at times. Although many people may not have heard of team racing it is the most popular format of racing on the University sailing circuit. People who join sailing clubs at University level learn all they need to know by attending events and attending training sessions which occur throughout the year. 

Depending on where a boat finishes across the line, they are awarded a point. (ie. 1st place 1 point). Each team adds up their accumulative points at the end of the race and the team with the least number of points wins. The first day of racing will see 28 teams split up into four groups of seven teams. Following the seeding rounds (placing rounds) teams will be ranked into Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets. 

Day 2 will consist of all teams within each fleet racing each other once and, if time and weather permits each team will race twice. The results from Day 2 are then recorded and teams are drawn into quarter finals with the lowest finishers paired against the highest. Quarter finals are then raced on day 3 as well as semi finals and overall finals.  

There will be a lot of excitement in the build up to this year’s Intervarsities as there has been very close competition from UCC and UCD that will make racing all the more competitive for UL. There is plenty motivation for winning as the winners will qualify for the British University Sailing Association Intervarsities later this year.

The event ends on the final day with the annual black tie ball and presentation ceremony which will see a team crowned IUSA Intervarsity Champions for 2013. If UL hope to secure this much coveted title they will need to rely on all their skill and tactical planning which has developed throughout their weekend training sessions throughout the year. So here’s hoping that the IUSA Intervarsities will continue to display the excellent standard of sailing that the circuit has come to expect year after year. If you’re in college this year or will be in the near future and this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of check out the relevant college websites for information on clubs and societies. Become part of something exciting and join the IUSA sailing circuit.

By Colman O’Riordan and Lauren Joslin – UL Sailing Club

Posted in: Racing
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