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British Team edge tight British American Cup

by Tim Hancock 12 Oct 2023 12:20 BST 27-30 September 2023
British American Cup 2023 © Simon Winkley

The British American Cup began in 1921 when a group of British and American yachtsmen got together to encourage international competition. The first match was held in Cowes in 6 meter class boats, with four boats on each team.

Fast forward 102 years to 2023 and the international competition remains as fierce with the Royal Thames Yacht Club as the custodian for the British entry and Seawanhaka Corinthian Yacht Club (Oyster Bay, NY) as the custodian for the American entry.

The 4th match of the 6th series of the BA Cup was held at Queen Mary Sailing Club in Royal Thames Yacht Club's fleet of brand new sonars. The format was 4v4 team racing in a first to 7 race wins series, with each race having a 45 minute target time. This is the test match version of team racing where races see many twists and turns around the two or three lap course before often being decided meters from the finish line.

Day one saw steady breeze and very close racing with the teams emerging even with two wins apiece. Day two enjoyed similar champagne conditions and towards the end of the first race, an injury was sustained by one of the US skippers. The sailors all stopped sailing in what was an exceptional display of respect and sportsmanship between the two teams, something which has been rich in the long history of the event. When the teams regrouped the day ended up with the British team taking two wins and the US one, to leave the score going into the final day at 4-3 to GBR.

Day three saw much lighter breeze initially and a different set of conditions and challenges to throw the sonars around in. Historically lighter winds have favoured the US teams in Sonars but now with the Brits having their own fleet, they seem to have evened things out as the British team put together two strong race wins to move to match point at 6-3. The 10th race was arguably the best of the whole series, a race which saw half the fleet turn back down wind half way up the second beat to engage in some extremely close team race manoeuvres which continues right up the the finish where all the boat crossed the line in such close proximity, the sailors had to await confirmation that the British team had taken the race win, and with it the Match, 7 wins to 3.

The event wrapped up with a regatta dinner at the RTYC clubhouse in Knightsbridge where umpire Bernard Kinchin became the first non sailor to be awarded the prestigious yellow jacket for 'overachievement'

Both teams thanked the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Sponsor ORTUS energy, Race Committee, and Umpire team for three fantastic days racing and all were hopeful that the event will continue on in the same spirit of close, fair, international competition into the 7th series and beyond.

British Team: Arthur Henderson (Helm & Captain), Tim Gratton, Jamie Webb, Honor Fell, Andy Cornah (Helm), Guy Brearey, Rachel Tilley, Simon Morris, Murray Hampshire (Helm), Jack Hanslope, Tom Williams, Jem Lawson, Scott Wallis (Helm), Rosie Watkins, Matt Wallis, Morgan Dibb.

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