Imperial Poona at the 54th Wilson Trophy

Tuesday, 27 May 2003
click to enlarge

The 54th Wilson Trophy As the cut was made for the quarter finals, Spinnaker SC was sitting atop the table with the Pirates in second place and GBR Challenge’s starting helmsman Andy Green in third place with his Imperial Poona team. The fact that four out of five American teams then occupied the remaining berths along with Friends of Alice Lisle (7th) made for an exciting and competitive run in to the finish. The eventual finalists and world champions, Whishbone, thought they had been eliminated as they finished on the same points as five other teams in eighth place but an intelligent countback, weighting wins against the stronger teams, saw them sneak through to the quarters by the skin of their teeth. The stage was set and the racing was on. First shock of the tournament saw the hot favorites, Spinnaker SC, eliminated by Whishbone in the first flight of the quarters quickly followed by Imperial Poona at the hands of the American Silver Panda team. There was much shaking of heads and introspection by both teams and then the Ungrateful Colonists took the scalp of the New York Yacht Club in an all-American flight whilst the New Forest pirates cruised to victory against the ‘Friends of Alice Lisle’. The semi-finalists were decided and the competition noticeably went up another gear. The crowds gathered in the grandstand of what must be the best racing viewpoint in world sailing with the expert commentary of American college coach (Tufts University) Ken Legler in attendance with his unique brand of sailing commentary. Now was not the time for dramatics and the New Forest Pirates made their intent known by dispatching the American Silver Panda team with relative ease to book their berth in the finals. A combination of power sailing and educated race tactics of the highest order ensured that they would be the toughest of tough acts to beat in the final. However lurking in the corner were the team from Whishbone who overcame their fellow Americans the Ungrateful Colonists in a thriller of a semi-final winning on the decider in their best of three series after a re-race of race three. The stage was set and the crowd were going, to coin a Football phrase, wild! Best of five and winner takes all. The tension was unbearable as the three-minute gun fired, the wind gusted in to 15 knots but off the start line the home crowd cheered as the heavyweights of team racing went toe-to toe for the first time. At the top mark the Pirates held a 1,2,5 and planed off to the first downwind mark. It was tight and with the wind gusting, the chances of overtaking on puffs was a real threat. However by the last beat Stuart Hudson was in control with Owen Modral just behind to control the chasing pack and they crossed the line to take first blood. 1-0 to the Brits! Race two and off the start line, Whishbone were in all sorts of trouble with one boat over early and another handed a penalty by the on-water umpires. Pirates were in control again and as the top mark approached a clever trap saw Owen Modral hike like hell and plane in to the inside berth allowing the team to hold 1,2,3 at the start of the run. With the competition close, 1,2,3 became 1,2,6 with Dom Johnson in the lead and Modral holding up proceedings in second. A calm final beat ensued with no place changes and the Pirates held on to take their second win in succession. 2-0 to the Brits and fingernails were being chomped shoreside. Third race and again it was another shocker for Whishbone with two boats over the line early although the Pirates had their own problems with Hudson adjudged OCS and forced to return. However up front the destiny of the 54th Wilson trophy was being decided as Modral and Johnson leapt out into an unassailable 1,2 combination with room to spare. The lead was so big in team-racing terms that a comeback from the plucky (should that say ‘lucky’?) Americans was virtually impossible. By the final leeward mark, the trophy was off to the New Forest mantelpieces as the Pirates cruised to a crushing 3-0 victory and extremely popular win. After the disappointment of Auckland, it was a sweet victory and as they say ‘revenge is a dish, best served cold!’ For the spectators shoreside, expecting some mild May weather, cold wasn’t the word…It was freezing! So the Wilson Trophy came to a climactic end, befitting one of the sailing calendars top events. I can not say enough about the organisation of West Kirby SC and it’s volunteer members. Running a regatta that has nearly 300 starts and 192 competitors is no small feat, however they carried it off with consummate ease and in my opinion an awful lot of clubs could benefit from taking a leaf out of their book. The results service was first-rate being beamed back to the clubhouse and surrounding porta-cabins in real time and relayed via a series of flat screen LCD televisions. The on-water judging was fair and consistent whilst the course setting was straight out of the top-drawer. The volunteer members created an air of conviviality, ably manning the excellent catering facilities and ensuring that everyone was well-fed, warmed up and went home with a smile on their faces. This was an event that was a credit to sailing both on and off the water, the only problem is that we have to wait a whole year for the next event which incidentally takes place on the 15th and 16th May 2004… Book me in, I’m hooked! More Information: * YachtsandYachting.com Team Racing Page Recent Related Articles: Castaways Cup Random Pairs Team Racing 12:16 15th May 2003 The Castaways Cup, a very handsome trophy, and now 49 years old, has been revived by Castaways as a random pairs two-a-side team racing event for London University students. 54th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby Sailing Club - Day 1 10:21 11th May 2003 A clear, crisp, Wirral morning greeted the 192 competitors for the 54th running of the Wilson Trophy. With entry demand at an all-time high it’s no surprise to see the competition on the water as tough as ever. Tamesis Club vs. Castaways Team Racing 08:44 29th April 2003 Tamesis Club took on the Castaways at home for an unusual "friendly" match on Sunday, April 27th. It was sailed both in National 18s and Fireflies, and for the Firefly teams it was valuable practice for West Kirby's Wilson Trophy. Firefly Team Racing at Royal Lymington Yacht Club 13:49 24th April 2003 With a few notable exceptions due to a wedding in South Africa only three teams managed to get to the event. To make life more interesting it was decided to reconfigure the event to 2-boat team racing with 5 teams. BUSA Team Racing Championships at Spinnaker Club 18:08 14th April 2003 Spinnaker, Ringwood was the setting for the 2003 BUSA Team Racing Finals, hosted by Southampton University and sailed in thirty-six Fireflies matched in six flights. Nearly 300 races were sailed over three days.

© Copyright 2018 British Racing GreenWeb Design by Toolkit Websites