After being eliminated by virtue of their nationality at the ISAF Team Racing World Championship in Auckland this year, the New Forest Pirates have taken the Wilson Trophy for the second year running.
Beating the current ISAF Team Racing World Champions, Wishbone from USA 3-0 in a final that they dominated from start to finish, it was another feather in the cap of the team coming back from a disappointing result in Auckland.
The final day yesterday dawned with a brisk 12-15 knot southerly and the 0800 UTC start certainly blew the cobwebs away for most. By mid morning it was decided a universal reef was required, meaning those who adapted best and quickest to the new balance of the Fireflies would benefit.
Following over 220 round robin races using the Swiss league system, the eight quarter-finalists were decided, with eventual runners-up Wishbone only graduating to the quarters following a count back when they were placed eighth, along with five other teams, in the round robin. There was an even split with four of the five American teams and four British teams making the cut.
Hot favourites for the event, Spinnaker SC, (GBR1 at the World Championship in Auckland) were swiftly despatched by Wishbone, and Imperial Poona led by GBR Challenge Helmsman Andy GREEN, were sent packing by the Silver Panda Team. The all-American and All British battle on the other side of the draw saw the New Forest Pirates and the Ungrateful Colonists progress to the semi-finals.
As is almost unique at West Kirby Sailing Club, the location of racing saw spectators line the grandstand alongside the marine lake for the semi-finals. They were not disappointed and in a thriller of the all-American second semi -final, Wishbone progressed to the final only after a re-run of the third and final tie-break race.
The final proved to be a much quieter affair with the British team proving utterly dominant from the outset. Some shocking starting problems from Wishbone coupled with fast sailing from the New Forest Pirates saw 1,2 results in the first 3 of the best of five final, giving them the victory 3-0.
As always, the difficult logistics of running one of the world's largest team racing events was handled well by West Kirby Sailing Club, the on the water judging was fair and consistent, and with over 300 races and 96 competitors, it continues to be a huge event.