Wilson Trophy attracts top team racers

Royal Thames in fierce battle against Newcastle - Wilson Trophy 2010
Phil Shepherd
Wilson Trophy British Open Team Racing Championship, hosted and organised by West Kirby Sailing Club, will take place on the Marine Lake in West Kirby from the 6 - 8 May.

In less than a month’s time, the world’s best team racers will once again congregate in the United Kingdom for the sixty-second edition of the Wilson Trophy.

This year’s Wilson Trophy has, as expected, attracted another high quality entry list, with the 32 selected teams coming not only from the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, but from Ireland and the United States as well.

Sailing in identically matched, colour coded Firefly dinghies, used exclusively for this event, the 32 teams will fight it out over three days of Swiss league and elimination rounds, culminating in a thrilling Grand Finale to be sailed in front of a packed spectator grandstand on the final afternoon.

The Wilson Trophy is a major logistical undertaking. Over the three days, more than 300 races are started, finished, accurately scored and uploaded to the online rolling results service. On the water, a twenty-five strong team of international umpires are on hand to give instant decisions on rule infringements and dish out the appropriate penalties. And to keep the throngs of spectators on shore happy and well informed, an expert commentary team broadcasts live updates on all the action out on the lake.

With many of the teams yet to confirm their final sailor line-up, an assessment of potential form is difficult at this stage. Suffice it to say however that the great and the good of the team racing world will be in West Kirby for this year’s Wilson Trophy.

2010 winners, Team Extreme from the USA are back to defend their title and will be looking to reproduce the calm and composure with which they swept undefeated through the qualification rounds last year, before inflicting an uncharacteristic and uncomfortable 3 - 0 whitewash defeat on local heroes the West Kirby Hawks, in the Grand Final. For their part, the West Kirby Hawks will no doubt be out for revenge and keen to expunge the memories of that 2010 final.

If recent form is anything to go by, the Hawks look to have hit their peak at just the right time. By all accounts they were on ruthless form at the recent UK RYA National Team Racing Championship; blazing through the elimination rounds undefeated before summarily dismissing locals Spinnaker Auspicious in the final, to retain their UK National Team Racing Champions title.

However with top quality teams like the Woonsocket Rockets (USA), the Royal St George Yacht Club (IRL) and the New York Yacht Club (USA) and several others with their eyes fixed on a Wilson Trophy victory, Team Extreme and the West Kirby Hawks will have their work cut out if they are to set up a return Grand Final showdown.

About the 2011 Wilson Trophy British Open Team Racing Championship
The 2011 Wilson Trophy British Open Team Racing Championship is hosted and organised by the West Kirby Sailing Club. Racing commences on Friday sixth May and continues until Sunday eighth May.

Wilson Trophy website
http://www.sail-world.com/82414