Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Floaters

Olympic medallists to make guest appearance at top team racing event

by Georgie Corlett on 24 Apr 2013
Wilson Trophy Wilson Trophy www.wksc.net
Two Olympic silver medallists are set to take on West Kirby Sailing Club’s home team plus other top teams from across the UK, USA and Ireland, as the world’s largest team racing event, the British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy, is hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club over Bank Holiday weekend (3-5 May).

Amongst the 34 teams entered, the hot contenders for the Trophy win include special guest entry, British Sailing Team, fronted by 2012 Olympic silver medallists in the men’s 470 class, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. The duo also have silver medals from World and European 470 Championships under their belts, and are both 2016 Rio Olympic hopefuls.

Explaining his motivation for entering the event, Bithell says: 'The Wilson Trophy is an event I used to do as a crew when I was very young and I loved every minute. Now we are going there to improve our knowledge of the rules and how we can use them to our advantage in fleet racing.'

Despite their outstanding fleet racing CVs, the pair is under no illusion that the event will be an easy ride. Patience says: 'Given that we rarely team race, it’s impossible to tell how well we will do. I am sure we will be targeted hard by the team racing world and shown how it’s done!'

Patience and Bithell will be joined by third helm, Christian Birrell, who boasts National Championship wins in several classes, and is a former Endeavour Trophy winner.

Birrell competed at the UK Team Racing Championships also held at West Kirby Sailing Club in March and despite the weather was so enthused by the club and the competition that he was determined to come back for the Wilson Trophy with his Olympic friends. He says: 'When I was invited to do UKTRA, I became a total convert to team racing. I’ve always listened to friends talk about the excitement in the build up to the Wilson Trophy and the tales which follow, and now I get that excitement!'

This talented trio forms the back-bone of the six-person team, with Lib Manser, Bethan Carden and a ‘special guest’ completing the line-up as crews.

The British Sailing Team will face particularly fierce competition this year, as the home team and current ISAF Team Racing World Champions, West Kirby Hawks, seek to defend their 2012 trophy win. Other contenders include the current UK National Team Racing Champions, Spinnaker Auspicious; as well as Royal Thames Yacht Club, Southampton Male Voice Choir, Grafham Sailing Club, Itchenor Sailing Club, Royal Forth Hoosiers and two other local West Kirby teams.

From overseas, New York Yacht Club’s team has traditionally presented a strong challenge and is predicted to do so again this year. A team from Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Pistols, should also feature in the mix, along with three strong Irish teams representing Royal Cork, Royal St George and Howth Yacht Clubs.

Also competing will be several university teams, including recent BUSA winners, Bristol. Two school teams are also taking part in the form of RYA Youth Team Racing Champions, Magdalen College, and Schull Community College from Ireland who won the Under 21 category at the Wilson Trophy last year.

With so many top sailors vying to earn those all-important places in the quarters, semis and ultimately, the final, all eyes will be on West Kirby as the teams battle their way through the event’s Swiss League format.

Commodore of West Kirby Sailing Club, David Taylor, says: 'West Kirby Sailing Club is delighted to welcome our Olympic medallists to take part in this year’s Wilson Trophy. The Wilson trophy is renowned for its very special atmosphere; and this is a fantastic opportunity to come and watch some of the world’s finest sailors in action and to cheer on our Olympic heroes. This year promises a truly thrilling line-up.'

The Wilson Trophy is the largest event of its kind in the world; now in its 64th year, the three-day team racing extravaganza takes place in the unique amphitheatre formed by West Kirby’s Marine Lake.

With a premium on boat handling and close-quarters tactics, races are short and action-packed, taking place just metres away from the shore. The promenade and sea wall form ideal vantage points for spectators, with live commentary and grandstand seating, and flights of equally-matched colour-coded Fireflies, making the action easy to follow.

Racing takes place over three days, beginning at noon on Friday and at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. The finals are scheduled to commence at 2pm on Sunday. Wilson Trophy website
Protector - 660 x 82Southern Spars - 100Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewear

Related Articles

New Zealand's influence at JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship
Can the Yamaha 18ft Skiff team become the first NZers to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour? Can the Yamaha 18ft Skiff team of David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins become the first New Zealand team in the 79-year history to win the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship on Sydney Harbour? The team came within one point of the 2016 winner, Smeg, and are determined to go that one better this year.
Posted today at 9:18 am
RORC Caribbean 600 - Maserati Multi70 in a fight for lead with Phaedo3
After 24-hours of racing in RORC Caribbean 600 Race Maserati Multi70 trimaran is locked in a fierce struggle for lead After 24-hours of racing in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race the Maserati Multi70 trimaran skippered by Italian ocean racer Giovanni Soldini is locked in a fierce struggle for the lead with the race record holder Phaedo3.
Posted today at 5:09 am
3rd line honours in a row for Phaedo^3 in the RORC Caribbean 600
After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in RORC Caribbean 600. After an epic battle with their MOD70 sistership Maserati, Phaedo^3 took multihull line honours in the RORC Caribbean 600.
Posted today at 4:04 am
Phaedo^3 side by side with Maserati South of Guadeloupe
It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. It was a Gybe for Gybe competition for the two MOD70’s in a Monsoon like storm South of Guadeloupe. Phaedo^3 has now managed to pull away on the leg up to next mark off Barbuda.
Posted today at 4:01 am
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman talks about a finish on Friday night
The dismasted, now jury rigged entry in the Vendee Globe, Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/ The dismasted, now jury rigged entry in the Vendee Globe, Foresight Natural Energy, skippered by Conrad Colman (NZL/USA/FRA) is making slow progress towards the finish line at Les Sables dÓlonne on the west coast of France. Although he is showing modest speed on the water his progress is still painful
Posted on 21 Feb
Newport Shipyard prepares for busy season, announces major events
Newport Shipyard will once again prove its prowess as New England’s “yachting hub” when a rush of superyachts head north Newport Shipyard will once again prove its prowess as New England’s “yachting hub” when a rush of superyachts head north to the famous “City by the Sea” after the America’s Cup in Bermuda this June.
Posted on 21 Feb
50th anniversary year for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
Founded in 1967, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) this year celebrates its first 50 years of existence. Founded in 1967, the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) this year celebrates its first 50 years of existence. This morning during a press conference held in Milan at the Riccardo Catella Foundation, an association dedicated to the research and promotion of sustainable local development since 2007, the YCCS presented a programme of social and sporting events to mark the occasion.
Posted on 21 Feb
New gunboat class to join race and festivities at BVI Spring Regatta
With six Gunboats confirmed to race, the competition dial has been notched up for one of the best Caribbean racing With six Gunboats confirmed to race, the competition dial has been seriously notched up for one of the best Caribbean racing events under the sun.
Posted on 21 Feb
RORC Caribbean 600 – Day 2 – More Argyll than Antigua
After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. After a champagne start to the race there was a huge change in weather conditions by the end of the first day. The low pressure system emanating from the north arrived earlier than anticipated, extinguishing the trade winds to provide a windless night for many competitors.
Posted on 21 Feb
Vendée Globe – Rich Wilson takes thirteenth place
Wilson, at 66 years old the oldest skipper in the race, completes the pinnacle solo ocean racing event for second time. Wilson, at 66 years old the oldest skipper in the race, successfully completes the pinnacle solo ocean racing event for the second time.
Posted on 21 Feb