Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

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
Wildwind 2016 660x82Zhik Dinghy 660x82Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Bouncing back on Day 1
Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent Quantum Racing pretty much carried on from where they left off in Sardinia earlier this month, ferociously consistent and proving the value of every point gained on each race course. After their ninth and tenth places respectively at the Audi Settimana delle Bocche Vladimir Liubomirov’s Bronenosec and Takashi Okura’s Sled both bounced back with a strong opening day to the third regatta of the five
Posted on 25 Jul
52 Super Series – Puerto Portals Sailing Week – Races 1 and 2 images
Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races one and two Photographer Max Ranchi has provided this gallery of images from races one and two
Posted on 25 Jul
New challenges for Oman Air at halfway stage of Extreme Sailing Series
Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s. Race organisers have extended the race area on the River Elbe to cater for the higher speeds of the new foiling GC32s but Oman Air skipper Morgan Larson says avoiding errors will still be the biggest challenge if they are to extend their overall lead with their third Act victory of the season.
Posted on 25 Jul
Rolex Swan Cup – A noble approach to sailing
Mention the Swan Cup to any sailor and the feelings evoked are common – great competition in an enviable environment Mention the Swan Cup to any sailor and the feelings evoked are common – great competition in an enviable environment, a prevailing spirit of fair play and an opportunity to sail yachts renowned for their grace, enduring appeal and rich heritage.
Posted on 25 Jul
Comanche's Trans-Atlantic record attempt hits soft spot
Light air zones threaten record-breaking pace as 100ft yacht charges across mid-Atlantic With 1,548 nautical miles left to sail to the finish of the Transatlantic record (as of 08:30 GMT today) at Lizard Point, UK, Comanche remains on course to break Mari Cha IV’s 2003 record. Stan Honey, Comanche navigator, noted this morning: Chilly here. Set the A-3 Gennaker to go deeper. Very flat water. Smooth sailing. Not much wind down low near the cold water. Visibility 10meters.
Posted on 25 Jul
World of Sailing in review - July 2016 edition - Round the Island Race
World Sailing present their July 2016 video magazine featuring the Round the Island race World Sailing present their July 2016 video magazine featuring the Round the Island race (around the Isle of Wight) and preview several personalities and aspects of the upcoming Rio Olympics
Posted on 25 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – More final day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery has provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul
America’s Cup World Series – Final race day images by Ingrid Abery
Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images from final day Ingrid Abery provided this gallery of images from final day
Posted on 25 Jul
PA Consulting and Allen RS Feva Worlds - Practice and opening day
164 boats completed registration and had their practice race just out of the harbour entrance in front of the city beach 2016 PA Consulting/Allen RS Feva World Championship - It’s officially Fiesta Week in Santander! Oh yes, in addition to the traditional massive fair and circus and two public holidays this week there is this year the RS Feva Worlds. 164 boats completed registration and had their practice race just out of the harbour entrance in front of the city beach.
Posted on 25 Jul
Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - And not a lot of people know that...
As well as bearing a remarkable resemblance to Michael Caine, RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine leads an extra-ordinary life. 2016 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup - As well as bearing a remarkable resemblance to Michael Caine, RORC Admiral Andrew McIrvine leads an extra-ordinary life.
Posted on 25 Jul