Please select your home edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Blueoak Estates 70th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby Sailing Club

by Lucy Storey 16 May 2019 06:14 PDT 9-12 May 2019
Blueoak Estates 70th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby © Howard Williams

On the 70th anniversary of the Wilson Trophy, 36 teams travelled from around the world to compete at West Kirby Sailing Club from Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th May 2019. Five flights of Fireflys were beautifully fettled in anticipation of the welcoming the world's elite to the paradise peninsula.

The event was kickstarted with the Cross Nations Trophy, a newly established invitational event in memory of Tony Cross. In its inaugural year seven international teams were selected to compete for the trophy coming from as far as Australia, America, and Austria. In spite of a never ending 'British afternoon shower' and shifty light airs the race office managed to power through all bar one race of the round robin. Credit to the starters, finishers, and umpires who stuck it out in damp conditions- a few commenting that it was a fitting tribute to those who first braved the elements to pioneer 'on the water' umpiring! By 4pm with the tide on the ebb, the remaining 5kts of wind died to none and so racing was abandoned. As overall round robin leaders the Birdham Bandits (GBR) were presented with the Cross Nations Trophy in the warmth of the clubhouse bar with promises of a better forecast for the following morning.

Friday morning saw the remaining 29 teams arrive to be greeted by glorious Costa del Kirby sunshine. The first 3 minute warning hooter rang out across the lake at precisely 09:27 BST, and with that the Swiss League was under way. The promise of sunnier skies held true until 11am at which point hefty gusts started to sweep across the lake and team Hilbre Highlanders spotted the responsible ominous front on the horizon. Before the media team had time to turn around and take a photo of the electric skyline a rumble of thunder followed by a fork of lightning at the far side of the marine lake prompted a hasty race postponement and return to shore for all boats. Following a quick spell of hail racing resumed to conclude the day with 72 races in the bag and Wessex Exempt sitting at the top of the table.

Friday night saw the first socials of the event with the US & Irish themed party for competitors running alongside the Commodore's reception. The competitors enjoyed two bands performing in the summer pavilion with Manchester University SC leading the way onto the dance floor and the Commodore Jean-Louis Simons leading the way to the bar.

On Saturday morning racing commenced at 8am in a brisk 8-10kts blowing away any remaining cobwebs from the night before. Wessex Exempt remained at the top of the Swiss League for most of the day and took a notable win from SMVC to win the Dobson Trophy and a bottle of port, courtesy of Ian Dobson's capsize. As the breeze picked up into the afternoon a 'rumoured 25 boats' capsized and the decision was taken by race office to switch to storm sails. The beach team executed a speedy change to cutdowns and with less than 15 minutes delay the boats were back out on the water and continuing with the Swiss League. Rolling starts for the remainder of the afternoon left race office satisfied at 5.30pm to call it a day and allow the competitors a quick shower before the evening's shenanigans commenced.

The infamous Saturday night Wilson dinner was launched with Pimms on the patio and an umpires drinks reception. After a few Mexican waves and a dash for the pre-ordered wine everyone settled down to enjoy a fabulous three course meal. Peter Price was celebrated for his lifetime contribution to the Wilson Trophy and Emmett Smith was the proud recipient of the Joyce Evans Award for his crewing ability and commitment to the sport of team racing. As guest speaker Leo Dixon got a large proportion of the room to join him in shots at the bar and thus the party ensued.

Sunday dawn found a pair of boxers at the top of a firefly mast. Conveniently the perpetrator had sewn in a name tag so they were quickly returned to their rightful owner before racing got under way at 8am. By Sunday afternoon the marine lake was basked in sunshine with perfect sea breeze for the knock out stages to commence. Quarter finals were hotly contested and the Americans asserted their dominance to progress three of their teams to the semi finals alongside Birdham Bandits (GBR). The Bandits proved their worth on home soil by beating Screaming Eagles in a protest filled semi final, briefly interrupted by a black flag hearing ashore to make sense of an action packed final beat in the second heat. As the finals got under way a large crowd of teams plus families, friends, and members of the public gathered in the grandstand and along the edges of the marine lake to watch the US vs. UK showdown.

Birdham Bandits (GBR) vs. East Coast Drifters (USA + Spain + Portugal) lined up for their final in champagne sailing conditions. In a clean sweep East Coast Drifters took three consecutive wins and enjoyed massive support from their fellow American team mates watching on the rocks.

Congratulations to the East Coast Drifters a conglomeration of nationalities and first-time victors of the Wilson Trophy (Martin Anderson, Mackenzie Bryan, Greiner Hobbs, Marino Cano, Mike McBrien, Miranda Bakos).

Full results are

More at or

Related Articles

A new American crew set for the Globe40
With two other American projects also in the pipeline Following on from Joe Harris - Gryphon Solo 2 - whose track record includes a first circumnavigation of the globe in 2016, another top-flight American crew has now joined the Globe40 ranks. Posted on 10 Apr
How and when to reef
The sailing season is upon us! Air temps are coming up, the water is warming up and you haven't put on a pair of long-pants for at least six weeks. Well, some of us have not. Posted on 10 Apr
M32 North America 2021 schedule
15 events to enjoy for the North American fleet The season includes a mix of coastal distance and high intensity around-the-buoy racing building up to our anticipated 20 boat fleet at the Miami World Championship in November. Posted on 10 Apr
Get ready for Spring Adventures with Henri-Lloyd
Wherever you sail, we have the products for your next adventure Wherever you sail, we have the products for your next adventure. Shop now at Henri-Lloyd's new direct price. Posted on 10 Apr
New Tracing Sticker Program launching Summer 2021
Goal is to maintain beach safety and access for kitesurfers around the world At its core, the Global Kitesports Association's main objective is to continually ensure that kitesurfing has safe practices through the development and implementation of equipment standards. Posted on 10 Apr
Charleston Race Week day 1
Off to rousing start with multiple races completed Charleston Race Week 2021 got off to a rousing start on Thursday with organizers completing multiple races for all classes in moderate to medium conditions. Posted on 10 Apr
Sailing featured at Junior Pan American Games
US Sailing requests eligible sailors to submit participation form The first-ever Junior Pan American Games is set to take place in Cali, Colombia. This international multi-sport event is for athletes in the Americas aged 18 to 21. Posted on 9 Apr
Registration opens for 2021 Rolex Big Boat Series
Scheduled for September 15-19 at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California The Notice of Race has been posted and registration is open for the 2021 Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California. Posted on 9 Apr
Charleston Race Week back following 1-year hiatus
Activity at many of the marinas around Charleston Harbor on Thursday a welcome sight There was activity at many of the marinas around Charleston Harbor on Thursday, and it was a welcome sight. Posted on 9 Apr
Nova Scotia to host 49er,49erFX, & Nacra 17 Worlds
The world's best sailors from over 35 countries will visit Canada in 2022 Nova Scotia will host a 400-strong field of the world's best sailors from over 35 countries when the World Championships for three Olympic classes, the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17, kick off in September 2022. Posted on 9 Apr
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - 728 x 90px - 004 gif BottomUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERSelden 2020 - FOOTER