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The University of Bristol Sailing Club are undergoing a fundraising campaign in order to help finance the replacement of their old boats reports Jack Franklin.

On the back of a successful campaign in 2016, the club are keen to bolster their resources and with the help of the Alumni Foundation, they are confident in doing so. Club President Magnus Lee was quick to praise the influence of the Alumni Foundation: ‘they have given us great support and we owe a lot to them’.

The fundraising scheme hopes to gather money to finalise the club’s plans as they look forward to tackling upcoming headwinds in the New Year.

This year, UBSC has seen a record number of beginners to have joined the club, largely thanks to the help of qualified instructors who give lessons down by the harbour side each Wednesday. Indeed, this is part of a three part set up the club uses to accommodate all standards.

The second element is the team racing which takes place at Chew Valley Lake and provides the base for four teams to represent the university in BUCS, whilst the yachting are the third and final aspect, as they too take on universities from across the nation in the April Yachting Championships.

On the water, Bristol hosts one of the biggest university national sailing events – the Bristol Brew, which attracts around 120 sailors from different universities.

Despite Bristol coming fourth last time, Lee has high hopes for the coming year: ‘Our teams have set their sights on BUCS team racing finals, and the Yachting championships at Easter’.

The club finished the calendar year of 2016 racing against Exeter back in December. A slow build-up of wind on the day made for perfect conditions, as Exeter black and Bristol red both finished unbeaten after the first day of their respective races. Despite a strong performance from UBSC, Exeter came out victors and have set Bristol a high, yet achievable precedent.

Past successes will give them motivation – Bristol took home silver in the British Universities Team Racing Championships in 2014, which mirrored their performance in the BUSA and RYA Ladies Team Racing Nationals, which also saw them finish in second.

This success had great ramifications for UBSC as they were awarded the Innovation of the Year prize of 2014, adding to their trophy cabinet of university prizes, such as the 2012 Club of the Year. Magnus Lee is aware of the quality at the club’s disposal: ‘Bristol University sailors are a dominating presence on the national and global stage’.

This is epitomised by Hannah Mills, who won silver at the London Olympics in 2012 in the Women’s 470 before going on to win gold at the 2016 Olympics in the same event. Mills was awarded an MBE as a result – a staggering achievement for an ex-Bristolian and one that will no doubt inspire the current group of sailors in the Bristol team.

The club currently run a number of weekends in Portsmouth sailing 40 ft yachts which sleep eight people, whilst the presence of qualified instructors encourage the participation of all standards of sailing.

The Club President also highlights the social side of the club which gives it a further dimension, ‘as well as being a high achieving squad, the sailing teams, beginners and yachters all come together on a weekly basis for a social.

We believe this is an integral part of the club that makes it fun to be a part of as well as creating dedicated and loyal members who work together to maintain the club’.

For more information on how to get involved with sailing, visit their website on bristolsailing.wixsite. com/ubusailingclub or on Facebook.

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