Wirral club welcomes international sailors for Bank Holiday sporting spectacle
The flags are flying and the boats are lined up for launching, as West Kirby Sailing Club readies itself to welcome top UK and international sailors ahead of this weekend’s Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy (3-5 May).
With over 200 competitors – including 2012 Olympic silver medallists, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell – set to do battle on West Kirby’s Marine Lake, the three-day event promises a thrilling demonstration of top level sporting action, which is free to watch.
Crowds are expected to pack the promenade in their thousands, taking advantage of free grandstand seating and live commentary, not to mention the chance to see two of Britain’s Olympic heroes in action sailing just metres from the lake wall.
Wirral residents will have three home teams to cheer on, including the defending Trophy winners and current World Champions, West Kirby Hawks. With the Hawks having qualified for the final place play-off for the last four years, hopes are high for a repeat performance, as team captain, Andy Cornah, says: “We are feeling confident this year having performed well at all the big events this season and done more training than previous years.”
Representing New York Yacht Club – one of two American teams entered in the event – is Chris Museler, two-time US National Team Race Champion and Wilson Trophy veteran. A team from New York Yacht Club has been coming to compete at this event, the biggest of its kind in the world, since 1995.
Speaking ahead of his team’s arrival in West Kirby, Chris says: “There is certainly something magical about the town, the piece of water where the racing is held with the appearance of Wales’ green hills through the mist each morning and expertly run racing with happy club members and pleasantly aggressive teams.”
Commenting on the competition, team-mate Mike Huang, says: “Who will be the toughest opposition? Some years it’s obvious and others, like this year, it’s a complex question. We are hoping to knock the dust off in the early rounds to make a charge in the final rounds. If we get in there, you’re likely to be quite entertained by our performance going forward.”
The final rounds are scheduled to take place on Sunday from 2pm, when the action reaches its climax, with the top eight of 34 teams entering a play off for the all-important final match.
Amongst the contenders are three teams from Ireland, and top teams from across the UK, including the current UK National Team Race Champions and British Universities Champions, all vying for their place in Wilson Trophy history.
All that remains now for the volunteer organisers at West Kirby Sailing Club is to make the final preparations before the teams and umpires arrive for the official briefing on Thursday evening, ahead of what should be an exciting and fun weekend for spectators and competitors alike.
The 2013 Wilson Trophy is proud to have support from sponsors: DHL, Carlsberg, GJW Direct, MI Finance and Speed Medical.
Follow the results at www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy