The weekend started earlier for some members of Imperial Sailing, as they left the lecture theatres, packed up their sailing bags and drove up to Warwick on the Friday night. The specially appointed driver (Toby) was trusted with towing two of the club’s boats that Warwick Sailing Club had borrowed, and which would later use the mast of one of them.

Whilst the group partied all of Friday night and socialised with other uni sailors, the rest of us were aiming to get an non-optimal amount of sleep before the 6am drive on Saturday. In the morning, the departure was inevitably delayed due to a late fresher, Marta, who still doesn’t know how to use an alarm clock.

Still, the sun was starting to come out and, with plenty of sailing freshers to spare, we decided to let our sleepy fresher make her own way to Leamington Spa (the closest train station she could find to the sailing club).

With a minibus packed and another car filled to the brim, we made a start at 7am and managed to have all of 25+ sailing members in Draycote Water for a 9.30am briefing.

On arrival, the expected strong winds, low temperatures and snow were thankfully not apparent right away. Ignoring the promise of stronger winds throughout the day, the boats were rigged with full sails instead of cut-downs. Our teams Imperial Blue, White and Red launched to start racing right away. Shout out to Dan’s team spirit (Third Team crew) for immediately after finishing his race, jumping into the car and picking up his sleepy teammate from the train station. Apparently, driving with sailing kit doesn’t affect your driving skills.

The races started slowly and in spite of temperamental winds and confusingly marked locations, our teams were getting on well. As the wind built up towards the end of the morning, the rain started and so did the capsizes from our fourth team – Imperial Kobra Hurricane. The team proved itself to be more than nine social sailors, as they attentively listened to their coach – James McLeod (Development Officer) on how to become unbeatable. However, the advice did not prove very useful, as one of the freshers managed to sail down the opposite end of the lake and missed the start of the race by 4 minutes, getting the club’s first DNS (Did Not Start) on a competition event.

The racing came to an end by mid-afternoon when sunlight was too low to carry on sailing. Our club was feeling optimistic about our performance. Overall Imperial Blue and White (first and second team) were both tied in 1st with 100% wins, and Imperial Red (third team) showed good improvement during the day, getting 2 wins in total.

It was finally time to get off the wet sailing kit and dress up for the curry social. As per tradition the social at The Turtle, there was copious amounts of Eliminator prepared for all the sailors. This is the famously alcoholic cocktail prepared by Warwick students, the recipe of which is closely guarded. Upon hearing the news that this year the teams would be allocated with a certain number of bottles, our members soon started to devise a plan to get a hold of the highest quantity of bottles possible.

Eliminator really lived up to its name, causing some sailors´ memories of the night to be foggier than others, accounts of the occurrences vary slightly. All that is certain is that all of the Imperial sailors made it to the curry, and most of us then went on to Kelseys (a nearby club). There, we procured more Eliminator, played pool and slowly split up into groups to make our way back to our host´s house. The accommodation provided seemed too scarce for our 4 teams and a half, leaving members to get creative on how to get a good nights of sleep – we hear someone managed to sleep in the bed of one of the hosts, and someone else booked an Airbnb, conveniently close to Kelseys.

Sunday morning came too soon for many of us, along with incredibly strong winds. Because of this, races were initially postponed and, after Felix tried to test sailing conditions and almost capsized, were ultimately cancelled. This came as a welcome announcement to the many hungover sailors.

Boats were speedily packed up and we all bundled into our cars and minibuses, happy to finally be out of the wind. Everyone arrived home safely and, went straight to bed.

Many thanks to University of Warwick Sailing Club for organising the event. Special thanks to the designated club drivers for getting everyone (and our two fireflys) to Warwick. Lastly, thanks to Rooster Sailing for providing us with sailing kit during the year!