The Student Windsurfing Association

               The finale to another fantastic year was one of the best in recent history and Southampton and Bristol battled it out at the top once again

The BUSA nationals at Calshot, Southampton has been the finale to the student windsurf season for the last 13 years and is traditionally the toughest of all the core events, with the racing taking place on the sea. Previous winners here have gone on to big things in the world of windsurfing and the list reads like a who's who in the sport; John Skye (PWA competitor), Ian "chuckie" Ross (Lodey sails designer), Leo Mcallin (Team GBR olympic hopeful).

This year the Bristol team came to Southampton with the hope of winning the title back off, the "Manchester Utd of student windsurfing"*, Southampton who have been the most sucessful uni here to date. With top UK racer Hugh Sims-Williams in their team a hot favourite for the title a tough battle was sure to follow. Not to forget the other unis involved there was also a lot expected of an Exeter team headed up by Jimbo Bullied and a Cambridge team that have often done well and won the overall event in the past.

With light winds predicted for the whole weekend the kit of choice for the division 1 sailors was the maximum sail size permitted; 7.5m2 and the trusty (sch)long board. Race officer Pete Boustred set 3 testing course races in the morning which did well to spread the fleet. The wind got up to a light F4 and some of the shortboarders managed to do well in the conditions. It was clear though, after the first set of races that the longboarders had the advantage as Hugh Sims-Williams and Jimbo Bullied came home 1 and 2 in each of the races. Long time tax dodger/PhD student from Cambridge Michael Crisp did well to get 3rd by the end of the course racing given his lack of (sch)longboarding experience.

In the afternoon the upwind buoy was abandoned and a figure of 8 slalom course was set, by this time the winds had dropped slightly and the (sch)longboarders still had the advantage. In the end Hugh Sims-Williams of Bristol came out on top followed by Jimbo Bullied of Exeter and Seb Graham of Southampton in 3rd. Dylan Watt of Southampton must also get a mention here as he ended up on equal points with Seb but lost out on 3rd due to his higher discards as he missed the first two races as he was helping rig some one else's kit-what a legend! In the ladies competition there was a very close battle for the top spots, with last year's champion Tanya Saleh battleing it out with Imperial's on loan sailor Alice Monk and SWA series leader Erica Phillips of York. Once again Tanya came out on top followed by Alice and Erica in third. This was a very close run thing with only a few points seperating the top 5 girls.

Saturday morning briefing

Division 2 racing

In the second division racing was held in the lagoon at Calshot and officers Javier Choi and Chris Hughes set a series of slalom races to test the sailors. Some quality racing took place and Richard Bracher of Bristol came out on top, followed by Giles Munro-Faure of Southampton and Steve Clareboats of Cardiff. In the ladies Jess Bennett of Southampton did extremely well to finish 9th overall and first girl. Gemma Onslow of Nottingham came 2nd with S Pongu of Birmingham claiming 3rd.

In the third division, where the racing is slightly less serious and it's all about getting out there and having a good time, SWA director Beaker and James Savage controlled procedings. A great number of enthusiastic smiling beginners turned up and spent the saturday fine tuning their skills and sizing up the opposition. The wind was a perfect direction and strength which meant that even the most inexperienced sailors saw their ability improve and by the afternoon everyone was phsyched for racing. The course was set as an out-and-back crosswind classic with a scattering of children in oppies to provide a slalom effect. Andy Hart from Bath set a cracking pace round the course and established himself as the alpha-male (intermediates for you next season Mr Hart!), closely followed by Mike. The majority of the fleet was of the fairer species and Rachel Newstead had to keep her sail full of wind to stop the mob from overtaking her. Alex, Liss, Cat and Jordon were hot on her heels and must be commended for their gallant efforts especially on the sunday when a last minute change of wind direction saw the beginner division setting off on an upwind course.

Team racing startline

Turfdog action on Sunday

On the Sunday team racing was the order of the day and the decider for the overall uni title. With a late high tide though everyone had to wait until after lunch before there was enough water to do anything. Fortunately Adam Cropper of Turfdog was on hand to organise an impromptu turfdog freestyle contest. Sam Stevens of Southampton came out on top with an impressive display of freestyle spinning trickery.

As the water returned the teams lined up for the team racing. 13 teams in all entered which is a record and considering the light winds they all did exceptionally well. The big battle was between Bristol and Southampton, and Bristol started well winning the first race with Southampton in second and Oxford in third. Bristol needed to win the remaining two races to secure the overall championship title but the superior pumping tactics of the Southampton team came through and they took the next two races and the overall championship. Bristol came second and cambridge managed to beat their old rivals Oxford into third.

Hugh Sims-Williams (Bristol) - Mens BUSA champion

Tanya Saleh (Bristol) - Ladies BUSA champion

A fantastic weekend was had by all and many thanks must go to Southampton Uni and the boat crews headed up by Chris Tuffill, the Southampton uni windsurf club and Dave Dawson for putting on a fantastic social and coordinating the sponsors, Laurence Barber, head of business services at Southampton Uni, Vikki Scott from BUSA and all the SWA volenteers for running the racing and scoring throughout the weekend and calshot activities centre for once again putting up with us. Also many thanks to all the sponsors of the event listed below, as well as the SWA series sponsors:

pics by Javier Choi words by Phil Cutter and Beaker

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