Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

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
NaiadBarz Optics - Melanin LensesAncasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

More winners announced in RORC Caribbean 600
As dawn broke on day five, crews who had finished the race were beginning to arrive back in Antigua. At Dawn on the fifth day, the leading Class40s were approaching the finish. Throughout the race, the battle in the class had been intense, with three yachts taking the lead at various points along the course.
Posted today at 4:50 pm
Conrad Colman finishes Vendée Globe under jury rig for 16th
Colman constructed and stepped a remarkable jury rig which has allowed him to sail the final 740 miles of 27,440nm race New Zealander Conrad Colman wrote a new chapter in the storied history of the Vendée Globe when he crossed the finish line of the eighth edition of the non stop solo round the world race under a makeshift jury rig.
Posted today at 4:37 pm
Vendée Globe – Romain Attanasio takes fifteenth place
French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the solo race around the world French skipper Romain Attanasio, sailing Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, took 15th place in the non stop solo race around the world this morning (Friday 24th February) when he crossed the finish line at 1006hrs UTC.
Posted today at 4:05 pm
Vendee Globe - Conrad Colman finishes under jury rig - First images
New Zealand solo sailor Conrad Colman has finished the Vendee Globe race under Jury rig. New Zealand solo sailor Conrad Colman has finished the Vendee Globe race under Jury rig. Here are the first images from the finish in Les Sables d'Olonne
Posted today at 3:34 pm
International Maxi Association 2017 program full due to new events
The 2017 calendar, open to owners of all maxi boats (ie 60+ft LOA), features two new events in the Mediterranean. The 2017 calendar, open to owners of all maxi boats (ie 60+ft LOA), features two new events in the Mediterranean.
Posted today at 12:35 pm
Clipper Race Coxswain Training commences
We often tell the stories of the 40 per cent of crew who take on the Clipper Race with no previous sailing experience We often tell the stories of the 40 per cent of crew who take on the Clipper Race with no previous sailing experience, but there are also many talented and experienced sailors amongst the fleet.
Posted today at 11:40 am
Tawera Racing joins Extreme Sailing Series line-up in Muscat
Team has been formed to give New Zealand's sailors a launch pad into the cutting-edge world of foiling multihull racing. The seventh challenger for Act one is announced today in the form of New Zealand-flagged Tawera Racing, which will compete as a full season entry.
Posted today at 11:09 am
JJ Giltinan Trophy - Images from the Invitation Race
Michael Chittenden, was on Sydney Harbour this afternoon for the Invitation of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs Top Sydney skiff photographer, Michael Chittenden, was on Sydney Harbour this afternoon for the Invitation of the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship. Winds were light to non-existent, until a bit of puff appeared out of Rose Bay allowing the fleet to sail a three leg course. Here's the images from the day
Posted today at 10:52 am
EFG Bank Monaco sets sights on rivals in EFG Sailing Arabia – The Tour
French sailing star Thierry Douillard says his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) crew will focus firmly on defending their title French sailing star Thierry Douillard says his EFG Bank Monaco (MON) crew will focus firmly on defending their title from arch rivals Team Al Mouj Muscat (OMA) as the Arabian classic approaches its climax.
Posted today at 9:50 am
JJ Giltinan 18fters - 26 skiffs enter championship starting Saturday
The Invitation Race for the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship has been sailed ahead of the start of the series The Invitation Race for the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship has been sailed ahead of the start of the Championship proper on Saturday - which has drawn a fleet of 26 skiffs from around the world. First race in the seven series is on Saturday. Little as to the form of the countries competing could be deduced from the Invitation Race - which suffered from a lack of wind.
Posted today at 3:48 am