About the Wilson Trophy

The Wilson Trophy is widely regarded as the premier team racing event in the world, attracting some of the world’s most skilled exponents of the discipline, along with many fleet racing and match racing world champions and Olympians.

The regatta is held annually in May, taking place at the ‘theatre of dreams’ that is West Kirby Marine Lake. The venue is perfectly suited to team racing with (usually) uninterrupted winds blowing across the Dee Estuary with racing taking place meters from the shore, complimented by commentary and a grandstand for spectators. This is the stadium racing that so many other disciplines are trying to recreate but West Kirby have been doing it, and doing it well for 70 years.

With typically close to 300 races being run over the three day, the Wilson Trophy is equally well regarded for its off the water activities where long standing friendships are rekindled from around the world and the infamous Wilson dinner which now always includes a mystery guest speaker, the awarding of the Joyce Evans Trophy to the crew deemed most worthy and the now traditional singing of Jerusalem lead by Wilson stalwarts the Southampton Male Voice Choir. Fierce racing, fiercer socials and the 8am start times on Saturday and Sunday really make for one unforgettable event.

What is Team Racing?

For the uninitiated team racing is all thrills and spills and there’s not a foil or a wing sail in sight. Races last typically 8 – 10 minutes round a short course in colour coordinated boats with 3 boats on each team, manoeuvring to get their team into a winning combination of 10 points or less. The discipline really pushes all the sailing skills; to win you need to excel at boat speed, boat handling, starting, tactics, rules and teamwork. The event also adopts the ‘swiss league’ format for the first stage of the competition, which pitches teams on equal or similar number of wins against each other to ensure the best racing for everyone. Then come Sunday lunchtime the top 8 advance to the quarter finals and the magic of the event really kicks in as the remaining competitors and spectators crowd the grandstand and shoreline to cheer on their heroes and friends in the knockout phase of the contest. Races are umpired on the water with boats penalised during the race so there are no protests ashore; the team that wins across the line is the team that takes the glory. [Read more…]