American team Silver Panda won the 59th Wilson Trophy after a glorious weekend of team racing hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club in Great Britain.
Sailing in an all-American final against Larchmont YC, Silver Panda, the 2007 ISAF Team Racing World Champions
, won the famous team racing sailing event with three straight wins in a best of five final. With hundreds of spectators watching from the grandstand beside the Marine Lake in glorious sunshine, West Kirby Sailing Club once more put on a superb event, with over 200 races completed with military precision over two days.
Thirty-two teams, including teams from the USA, Canada and Ireland as well as all over Great Britain competed for the 59th Wilson Trophy. The competition, known as the British Open Team Racing Championships, has long attracted the best team racing teams in the world to travel hundreds of miles to compete.
Two very tight semi-finals saw two home West Kirby teams, the West Kirby HAWKS and West Kirby SC competing against the two eventual finalists. With each semi-final going to three races, in a best of three race series, the true calibre of the teams racing at the Wilson Trophy was on show for all to see.
The annual event, which first took place in 1947 is sailed in two-man Firefly dinghies, provided by West Kirby Sailing Club. The boats, which are matched trios of colour-coded dinghies, make spectating from the grandstand beside the Marine Lake easy, with expert commentary provided. Each of the boats is kindly sponsored by several locally-based companies, such as Buckley Industrial, as well as global companies such as Carlsberg and Musto. After a round robin in which all of the teams raced against one another, the weekend culminated in the top eight teams taking part in the quarter finals, with winners going through to semis, followed by finals. The identical boats, sails and equipment make team racing a true test of the sailors' skills. Team racing has been likened to playing chess on the water, with crews using tactics and the rules of sailing to gain advantage over the opposing team.
Next year, the 60th annual Wilson Trophy will be hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club. The committee plans to run a three day celebratory event over the May Day Bank holiday weekend.
For more information and results, visit: www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy
ISAF Team Racing microsite - www.sailing.org/teamracing