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  • Selection Event for 420 World Team Racing Championship
    The 2015 420 World Team Racing Championship will be held at Campione Univela, Campione del Garda (on Lake Garda, Italy) from 9th to 12th of September

    The GBR teams were selected by the UK International 420 Class Association at a selection event at Spinnaker (sailing Fireflies) on Monday May 25th. (I understand that a hybrid team from West Kirby & Tonbridge won the event - further editing is needed)

    Posted May 26, 2015, 6:16 AM by Barry Vick
  • BUSA announce Team to Tour USA
    Alternating every two years, since its inception in 1957, teams of university students tour the USA and the UK to compete with their counterparts. In 2015 it is the turn of the BUSA to tour the USA and challenge their US Inter-collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) counterparts to a series of events, ranging over fleet, match and team racing. The tour will take place between 6 September and 4 October 2015.
    Applications from student sailors across all UK universities were sought and a great many received. The resulting selection process was highly competitive.
    BUSA are pleased to announce that, from the selection process, the following sailors have been appointed to this year’s team:
    Emily Nagel, BUSA Ladies’ Captain (University of Southampton)
    Connor Miller, BUSA Men’s Captain (Loughborough University)
    Cam Douglas (University of Bristol)
    Ben Gratton (University of Oxford)
    Tim Gratton (University of Cambridge)
    Arthur Henderson (University of Cambridge)
    Charlie Makepeace (University of Bristol)
    Mike Matthews (Loughborough University)
    Matt Reid (Southampton Solent University)
    Emily Wiltshire (Cardiff University)

    Posted May 26, 2015, 6:00 AM by Barry Vick
  • The Wilson - won by West Kirby Hawks
    Team racing’s annual pinnacle, the Wilson Trophy, came to a close this afternoon with a worthy victor in West Kirby Hawks. The third and last day of racing on the Wirral seaside town’s Marine Lake, overlooking the River Dee and with Wales as a backdrop, was roundly won by the local favourites, who beat Wessex Exempt 3-1 in the Final.

    For the last day of the Wilson Trophy, the wind had swung into the south, blowing out of the River Dee estuary, starting in 15 knots gusting to 18, then veering and dropping to below 10, for the final rounds. The Swiss League qualifiers ended after 22 rounds, before moving into best of three Quarter Finals and Semis and best of five Finals. These truly showcased team racing at its very highest level, with spectators lining the shallow banks of the Marine Lake providing a soundtrack of gasps, whoops, hollas and outcrys as the titans of the sport slogged it out.

    West Kirby Hawks hasn’t won the Wilson Trophy since 2012, but the team is the reigning World Champion, following their victory in Schull, Ireland in 2011. In fact this year is the first time since Schull, that the World Championship winning line-up of Andrew Cornah, Ben Field, Dom Johnson, Hamish Walker, Tom Foster, Debs Steele have regrouped. The reason for ‘getting the band back together’ is the team’s desire to defend its title this year at the ISAF Team Racing World Championship due to be held on Rutland Water in July.

    “The Wilson is the pinnacle of team racing, because there are so many fantastic teams here pitting it out,” explains West Kirby Hawks leader Dom Johnson, who flew in from Singapore especially for the event. Here he was reunited with his crew, Debs Steele, one of the most capped Wilson Trophy competitors of all time, having sailed it 23 times and been in the final 12 times. “If you look at any of the top eight teams, any one of them can perform and take races off the other.”

    Saying that, West Kirby Hawks finished the Swiss League qualifiers having only been beaten in three after 22 races. In fact throughout this Wilson Trophy they only suffered four defeats. However, as Johnson pointed out, their races “weren’t walkovers. They were gritty races where we were having to do conversions and come-backs. There weren’t too many 1-2-3 sail-aways. The conditions were part of that, because it was quite changeable, but that was great for us in terms of progression and practice.”

    The Finals also saw a number of incidents, including a major one which Johnson (fourth from the right above) admitted he may have caused, as he explained: “Mark 3 at the bottom of the run can often be a ‘point of congestion’ in team racing. In one race we felt in control with a 2-3-4, which is a winning combination, and there was a slight boat handling error on my part: I was trying to gybe across, spun out slightly in a puff and crashed into my team mate and also the opposition boat that was trying to do a mark trap. So I caused a bit of mayhem.” That was in the only race of the Final in which the Hawks suffered a defeat.

    Some eminent sailors failed to make the grade. One of the most promising teams, from the Royal Dee Yacht Club, led by Team GBR Nacra 17 sailor Ben Saxton, ended up being knocked out in the Semi-Finals, a repeat of their performance here last year. Sailing with Saxton was ‘super crew’ Toby Lewis. “One of the reasons we have done okay is that we are all fast sailors and boat speed is important because it makes your tactics a lot easier if you are quick,” observed Lewis for whom this was his seven Wilson Trophy. “They are all very good sailors here – it is a challenge.”

    London 2012 Olympic 470 silver medallist Stuart Bithell was racing as part of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy team: “It has been a brilliant Wilson Trophy for us – I think we’ve had the most wins we’ve ever had, even though we didn’t make the Quarters. In fact we were quite up and down – we’d have a really good run and then we’d start racing better teams and it became trickier…” While this is only his third time at the Wilson Trophy with the WPNSA team, Bithell originally raced the Wilson a nipper, when he represented his original club, Hollingworth Lake, near Rochdale.

    In summary, West Kirby Sailing Club Commodore Phil Shepherd commented: “It has been a fantastic weekend – everything went well. The boats held together very nicely and the number of races, the speed of turn-arounds speaks for itself. The quality of the competitors was also amazing. This is certainly the most competitive Wilson Trophy I have ever witnessed.”

    And in case you are wondering, the total number of races run by PRO Adam Whittle and his team at this year’s Wilson Trophy was…324.

    You can get all the information from their website, www.wilsontrophy.co.uk/  -  their twitter feed @WilsonTrophy  or their Facebook page.
    Posted May 26, 2015, 5:57 AM by Barry Vick
  • Inter-Services
    The annual Inter-Services Team Racing Match was supposed to take place between teams from the Army, Navy and Air Force, on Thursday and Friday April 23/24.

    Sailed in Laser 2000's and hosted by the Air Force, at Farmoor Reservoir, it suffered from a distinct lack of wind. Only four races were sailed on the Thursday and there was little sign of wind on Friday Morning. However, around 10.30 the cloud came over, bringing the wind with it and we had a great day of sailing.

    Two round robins were completed and were followed by a best of three final for the A Teams and B Teams. The B Team final saw the Navy beat the Army 2:0. The A Team final was more closely fought with a final score line of 2:1 to the Army over the RAF.

    Prizes were presented by Air Vice Marshall S. Reynolds Admiral of the RAF Sailing Association.

    Photos of the event can be seen at:-
    https://plus.google.com/photos/108523364880993392190/albums/6141225749441809105
    Posted Apr 24, 2015, 10:13 AM by Barry Vick
  • Welsh Varsity Match
    Swansea University have won the Welsh Varsity Match beating Cardiff 6:3 in a hard fought battle.

    Swanse took the first two races. Cardiff got the third race but Swansea got the next two to leave it poised 5:1 With Swansea only needing one more race win to take it. Cardiff began a comeback taking the next two races to bring it to 5:3 but they couldn't hold it and Swansea took it overall with a 1,3,5 race win to get to the 6 wins they needed.

    Much celebrations and they are all off to watch the other events.
    Posted Apr 22, 2015, 8:06 AM by Barry Vick
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