Monday, 6 May 2013
by Georgie Corlett
The preliminary rounds have now been completed at the 2013 British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy. 34 teams from as far afield as America, Ireland and across the UK have been battling for quarter-final place qualification since Friday lunchtime.
The sun is shining on West Kirby’s marine lake and all teams have completed 19 races each. Crowds of spectators are now gathering in the grandstand and lining the shore as the top teams prepare to enter the final rounds.
Qualifiers for the quarter-finals include home team favourites and defending Trophy holders, West Kirby Hawks, who have qualified at the top of the league. Team-member Ben Field says: “We are taking every race at a time and hoping to do our best.”
Also looking to be strong contenders for this year’s win is Royal Forth Hoosiers, who topped the leaderboard overnight, and Wessex Exempt, who have sailed consistently well throughout the weekend to qualify in second place.
Rhode Island Pistols, one of two teams representing USA, are also through, along with Spinnaker Auspicious and Team Itchenor. Grafham Goblins have achieved some solid wins this morning to ensure they are in to the last eight, whilst the final slot went to Royal Thames Yacht Club - one of several teams tied on an equal number of wins, but qualifiers on countback.
The final best-of-five match between the top two teams is scheduled to take place at around 2.30pm this afternoon.
The final match will be sailed in West Kirby Sailing Club’s newest flight of equally matched Firefly dinghies, which sport the distinctive yellow and red branding of event sponsor, DHL. The new flight has brought an extra splash of colour to the marine lake this year, an eye-catching addition West Kirby Sailing Club’s fleet.
Wilson Trophy event co-ordinator, Jamie Marston says: “The Wilson Trophy has received significant support from a number of sponsors this year, in particular from DHL, which has really enabled the event to continue going from strength to strength. West Kirby Sailing Club is extremely grateful for their support.”