Please select your home edition
Edition
Musto 2017 728x90 Superhuman
Product Feature
Zhik Men's Short Sleeve ZhikDry Polo
Zhik Men's Short Sleeve ZhikDry Polo

Wilson Trophy at West Kirby Sailing Club - Day 1

by Sailing Intelligence 9 May 2015 08:33 BST 8-10 May 2015

Four on five points after torrential opening day

Post-Election blues and drizzle that turned into torrential rain and eventually a deluge, did nothing to dampen the spirits of the 28 teams on the opening day of UK Team Racing's annual spectacular, the Wilson Trophy, run each year since 1949 by West Kirby Sailing Club on the Wirral.

With a phenomenal 300+ races to sail over three days, the Race Committee was ablur on the course, set up on West Kirby's land-locked man-made water way - Marine Lake, overlooking the River Dee. The event also possibly holds the world record for the number of on the water umpires it employs – 26 in total. But it is the hospitality of West Kirby Sailing Club that over the years has given the Wilson Trophy a special place in the heart of so many of its competitors – all those racing are put up by club members, plus there is the renowned 'blow the roof off the club' Wilson Dinner on the Saturday night.

2015 is an exciting year for Team Racing in the UK, the sport undergoing a considerable boost thanks to the ISAF Team Racing World Championship taking place on Rutland Water over 19th-24th July. The top three teams selected to represent Team GBR at the Worlds - West Kirby Hawks (GBR 1), Royal Forth Hoosiers (GBR 2), and Bristol University (GBR 3) - are all competing at this year's Wilson Trophy.

"We have got some really strong teams," says West Kirby Sailing Club Commodore Phil Shepherd of the Wilson Trophy line-up. "Cambridge is a really strong university this year as they demonstrated recently at the BUSA championships and they have several teams here. The Worlds have also helped, with teams coming here for some practice."

Today over the course of four hours and with a gusty wind ranging from four knots into the early teens, the race committee managed to fire off 84 races. This intense race program is another aspect that makes the Wilson special. One of the Bristol University team helms, James Grant, competing in his fourth Wilson Trophy, says that in other Team Racing events you might get to sail seven races over an entire weekend. "Today was fun apart from the rain, but the wind was good. The Wilson is well run and you do more races. Its definitely the event you want to win."

At the end of day one, four teams are on five wins. Wilson Trophy defending champions and reigning World Champions – West Kirby Hawks – lead overall, having won all but one of the six of the races they sailed today, losing out to Wessex Exempt, which lies second. They are followed by Bristol University in third place having lost two of their seven races to Royal Forth and the West Kirby Hawks, while Royal Thames Yacht Club Red is fourth.

"The rain obviously works well for us," said a soaking Honor Fell, who sails in Royal Thames Yacht Club Red as crew for Fiona Hampshire in one of the few all-female crews competing. "We had a lot of tight racing."

Lying surprisingly in the mid-field is the all-star team from the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy including London 2012 Olympic 470 silver medallists Luke Patience (above) and Stuart Bithell.

"I'm here primarily having fun, but it is SO good for us," says Patience, for whom this is his third Wilson Trophy. At present the WPNSA team is mid-field, the Scottish helm acknowledges: "We do get beaten a lot, but the people who come here year after year are so good at team racing that we learn so much and it is all really applicable to our Medal Races. It is frustrating because you come back and you learn a few things you remember you learned last year. I think it's because the speed at which things happen is so fast, I am not computing it very well in my brain."

Racing continues tomorrow. Mercifully the rain is set to stop for the remainder of the weekend with good breeze forecast dropping off in the afternoon tomorrow but blowing a solid 15, gusting to 20 on Sunday.

Individual race results are here

Overall team results here

Related Articles

70th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby
36 teams travelled from around the world for Firefly team-racing On the 70th anniversary of the Wilson Trophy, 36 teams travelled from around the world to compete at West Kirby Sailing Club from 9 to 12 May 2019. Five flights of Fireflys were beautifully fettled in anticipation of the welcoming the world's elite. Posted on 16 May
The 69th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby
32 teams battle it out over the May Bank Holiday weekend The West Kirby Hawks have won their fifth Wilson Trophy after a weekend of the closest racing in recent years. 32 teams took part from all over the UK, with overseas visitors from Ireland, USA and New Zealand. Posted on 8 May 2018
69th Wilson Trophy preview
British Open Team Racing Championship set for May The Wilson Trophy is widely regarded as the premier team racing event in the world, attracting some of the world's most skilled exponents of the discipline, along with many fleet racing and match racing world champions and Olympians. Posted on 3 Mar 2018
68th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby
30 teams race in the famous event The Blueoak Estates Wilson Trophy, held at West Kirby Sailing Club, is widely regarded as the premier dinghy team racing event in the world, as well as being recognised as the British Open Team Racing Championship. Posted on 23 May 2017
Wilson Trophy at West Kirby overall
West Kirby Hawks rule the roost Team racing's annual pinnacle, the Wilson Trophy, came to a close this afternoon with a worthy victor in West Kirby Hawks. Posted on 10 May 2015
Wilson Trophy at West Kirby day 2
Hawks flying high with 224 races now sailed If Friday at the Wilson Trophy was the 'great flood', then Saturday was the 'gale' that slowly through the afternoon abated and, with the sun breaking through, transformed West Kirby's Marine Lake into the Cote d'Azur, albeit a chillier Wirral version. Posted on 9 May 2015
65th Wilson Trophy
Royal Forth Hoosiers win The 65th Wilson will certainly go down in history as one of the windiest on record since the competition began. After a delayed start due to strong winds on Friday 9th May, the 32 teams prepared themselves to go racing. Posted on 14 May 2014
65th Wilson Trophy this weekend
Prestigious team racing event at West Kirby SC The Wilson Trophy British Open Team Racing Championships are to be held on West Kirby's Marine Lake this weekend (9th – 11th May) and will be hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club (WKSC). Posted on 7 May 2014
2013 Wilson Trophy overall
Wessex Exempt worthy winners The 2013 British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy was won by Wessex Exempt today (5 May) in a thrilling best of five final sailed on West Kirbys marine lake. Posted on 5 May 2013
Competitors taking to boats
For quarter-finals of Wilson Trophy The preliminary rounds have now been completed at the 2013 Wilson Trophy. 34 teams from as far afield as America, Ireland and across the UK have been battling for quarter-final place qualification since Friday lunchtime. Posted on 5 May 2013