Blue Oak Wilson Trophy 2018

Team Positions after Swiss league

Team Won Place
West Kirby Hawks 15 1
Yale Corinthians 14 2
Days of Thunder 14 3
Birdham Bandits 14 4
Society Exodus 11 5
SMVC 10 6
Society 10 7
George Knights 10 8
Paddington Bears 10 9
Royal Thames Blue 10 10
Royal Thames Red 10 11
New York Yacht Club 10 12
Cambridge Blue 10 13
Wessex Exempt 9 14
WKSC 9 15
The Kiwis 9 16
Big Woop 9 17
Thames Exiles 9 18
Itchenor 9 19
BUSA 9 20
Hilbre Highlanders 8 21
Old Waynfletes 8 22
Tarquin’s Angels 8 23
Northern Clyde 8 24
Bristol Barracuda 7 25
Manchester University 7 26
West Kirby Athena 6 27
Edinburgh Export 6 28
MCS 6 29
Cambridge Purple 6 30
Royal Yacht Squadron 4 31
George Youth 3 32

69th Wilson Trophy at West Kirby Sailing Club

The West Kirby Hawks have won their fifth Wilson Trophy after a weekend of the closest racing in recent years. 32 teams took part from all over the UK, with overseas visitors from Ireland, USA and New Zealand. The forecast for all three days was for very light winds but somehow the weather gods really smiled on the event, which enjoyed wall to wall sunshine and perfect breeze for team racing.

By Saturday evening West Kirby Hawks were top of the league, closely followed by two extremely strong US teams, Yale Corinthian YC and 2016 finalists ‘Days of Thunder.’ Saturday night saw the always highly anticipated Wilson Trophy Dinner and Amanda Callahan from Days of Thunder was awarded the Joyce Evans memorial trophy for the crew who most embodies the spirit of team racing and crewing. She duly celebrated by getting everyone on their feet to learn four dance moves that she had picked up from previous Wilson visits.

Sunday saw a slight delay to wait for the wind to fill in, but it appeared by mid- morning to allow each team to complete 18 races, before the top eight teams advanced to the knockout stages. The quarter finals saw five UK teams, two US and one Irish making the cut, with the ‘Paddington Bears’ collecting the Wilson Plate as the 9th placed team.

The first three quarter finals followed the form book from the league ranking, with West Kirby Hawks defeating Royal St George Knights, Yale Corinthian beating the 2018 finalists Society. Days of Thunder beat SMVC in their deciding race and the fourth quarter-final saw Society Exodus defeat 2017 Wilson Trophy winners the Birdham Bandits. The semi- finals then matched the two US teams, with the two GBR teams facing each other, thus ensuring a US vs GBR final, which is always great for the crowds. The first semi final saw the Hawks defeat Society Exodus in two extremely hard-fought races and the all US semi went the way of Days of Thunder 2-1.

And so the scene was set for a repeat of the 2016 final between the West Kirby Hawks and Days of Thunder. The crowds lined the shore, packing out the grandstand or taking advantage of the glorious sunshine, sitting out on the rocks to get a real ring side view, all accompanied by expert commentary. Following on from the new event website and social media links, for the first time there was also live video and commentary streamed via Facebook from a RIB following the racing. There was immediate feedback from around the world that showed the future potential for this kind of innovation. Professional sports filming company VR Sports were also on hand and they produced some fantastic footage which can be seen on their website at

With the wind softening conditions were ideal for the Firefly dinghies to utilise their full range of roll tacks and roll gybes which are a real feature of sailing those boats. The first race was exceptionally tight with the three last boats testing the finishers by crossing the line within nano-seconds of each other, the US team taking the victory with a 2,3,5 combination. Race 2 saw the Hawks bounce back with a 1,2 breakaway to level the score, with race 3 also going the way of the Hawks with a 1,3,6 after another very tight finish. With the Hawks just one win away it was all to do for the US team and they looked to have the advantage going onto the final beat in a winning 2,3,4 combination, but the Hawks dug deep to put themselves back in contention. When one of the US boats was given a penalty for an infringement just 20 metres from the finish, the Hawks were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a 1,3,5 combination, to be crowned Wilson Trophy winners for the fifth time.

Written by Richard Cornah – Published in Yachts & Yachting

Previous Winners & Runners Up

Year Winners Runners-up
1949 Itchenor S.C. Oxford and Cambridge S.C.
1950 Itchenor S.C. Oxford and Cambridge S.C.
1951 Oxford and Cambridge S.S. National Y.C.
1952 Oxford and Cambridge S.S. University of London S.C.
1953 Cambridge University C.C. University of London S.C.
1954 Oxford and Cambridge S.S. Oxford University   Y.C.
1955 Oxford and Cambridge S.S. Royal St. George Y.C.
1956 Royal St. George Y.C. Midland S.C.
1957 West Kirby S.C. Oxford and Cambridge S.S.
1958 Minima Y.C. Itchenor S.C.
1959 West Kirby   SC United Hospitals S.C.
1960 Royal Corinthian  Y.C. Royal Corinthain  Y.C.
1961 West Kirby  S.C Oxford & Cambridge S.S
1962 University of London S.C. United Hospitals S.C.
1963 United Hospitals S.C. Royal Corinthian Y.C.
1964 Oxford & Cambridge S.S. London Hospitals S.C.
1965 West Kirby S.C. London Hospitals S.C.
1966 Royal Navy S.A. London Pirates
1967 Hollingworth Lake S.C. Castaways
1968 Hollingworth Lake S.C. West Kirby S.C.
1969 West Kirby S.C. Hollingworth Lake S.C.
1970 Burwain S.C. London University S.C.
1971 University of London S.C. West Kirby S.C.
1972 Royal St.George Elton S.C.
1973 West Kirby S.C. Royal St.George
1974 Royal St. George West Kirby S.C.
1975 West Kirby S.C. Royal St. George
1976 Nottingham University Royal St. George
1977 Hollingworth Lake S.C. London University S.C.
1978 Hollingworth Lake S.C. Nottingham University
1979 Nottingham Outlaws Hilbre Highlanders
1980 West Kirby S.C. Nottingham Outlaws
1981 Castaways Nottingham Outlaws
1982 Castaways Grantchester Flash
1983 West Kirby S.C. Castaways
1984 Castaways Nottingham  Outlaws
1985 West Kirby S.C. Nottingham Outlaws
1986 Not sailed because lake wall collapsed
1987 Grantchester Flash Nottingham Outlaws
1988 Nottingham Outlaws West Kirby S.C.
1989 Grantchester Flash West Kirby S.C.
1990 West Kirby S.C. Castaways
1991 West Kirby S.C. Nottingham Outlaws
1992 West Kirby S.C. Nottingham Outlaws
1993 Nottingham Outlaws West Kirby S.C.
1994 Spinnaker Club West Kirby  S.C.
1995 British Universities S.A. Wessex Exiles
1996 Spinnaker Club West Kirby S.C.
1997 Pablo Picasso (USA) West Kirby S.C.
1998 Spinnaker Club Whishbone (USA)
1999 New York Yacht Club (USA) Wessex Exiles
2000 Spinnaker Club West Kirby S.C.
2001 West Kirby S.C. Royal Yachting Association 1
2002 New Forest Pirates West  Kirby S.C.
2003 New Forest Pirates Whishbone (USA)
2004 Spinnaker New  Forest Pirates
2005 Spinnaker Silver Panda(USA)
2006 Whishbone(USA) Silver Panda(USA)
2007 Silver Panda USA) Whishbone (USA)
2008 Silver Panda(USA) Larchmont(USA)
2009 West Kirby Hawks Larchmont (USA)
2010 Team Extreme (USA) West Kirby Hawks
2011 Team Extreme (USA) West Kirby Hawks
2012 West Kirby Hawks New Forest Pirates
2013 Wessex Exempt Grafham Gorillas
2014 Royal Forth Hoosiers Paddington Bears
2015 West Kirby Hawks Wessex Exempt
2016 West Kirby Hawks Days of Thunder USA
2017 Birdham Bandits (Itchenor Sailing Club) Royal Thames Blue
Wilson Trophy