SAMS news room

Marine science students make waves with maiden sailing victory

A new sailing team formed by students at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS UHI) has navigated its way to a national title just months after starting up.

The University of the Highlands and Islands Wind and Wave Club, which is so far made up entirely of SAMS UHI students, won the silver class at the recent Ladies Team Racing Championship at Forfar Loch, organised by Scottish Student Sailing and hosted by Dundee Sailing Club.

It was the ladies team’s first competition, having only started training in October, and three of the six women had only set foot in the Racing Firefly boat used in competition two weeks prior to the event. The inexperienced team was led by captain Ashlie McIvor, who has only been sailing since May.

The multi-national SAMS UHI team, taken from undergraduate and Masters levels, comprises: Ashlie McIvor (Scotland), Regina Huttunen (Finland), Fatima Gianella (Peru), Iona Helyer (Scotland), Francesca Molinari (Italy) and Lea Riehn (Germany).  When racing, the team identified themselves by wearing shower caps in their university colour of purple.

Club coach Joe Penhaul-Smith, a PhD student at SAMS UHI and former Staunton Harold sailor, said: “I only set up the club a couple of months ago because there seemed to be a fair bit of interest in watersports at SAMS UHI.

“We have around 10 to 15 sailors at training at the moment, some of whom are complete beginners, so to have won a competition so early on is fantastic.

“We are currently borrowing boats and equipment from Oban Sailing Club but I hope that with some more support the club can continue to grow.”

The Wind and Wave Club is open to all University of the Highlands and Islands students and trains every weekend at Oban Sailing Club.

The club is affiliated to Oban Sailing Club, where Dr Finlo Cottier - SAMS' senior lecturer in polar oceanography - is commodore.

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