My first Wilson Trophy, what a journey! After the three very beneficial days of training at Rutland Waters, it was time to take that and put that into practice at West Kirby for the main event. Fortunately, the organising committee gave us the chance to get into a set of the competition boats for a little hit out on the venue the day before the event. Thus, providing the team with a feel for how the boats had been rigged up and the unusual calm arena. Trust me, it felt like an arena, the way the wall encased the water reserve felt like you had been closed in for battle. The training was made even better when the team that ended up finishing second overall in the event jumped in another set of boats and joined us for a practice. Making personal gains and the team getting a realisation of how good the other sailors would be we went back to the house to plan for the regatta ahead.
The regatta was set to be raced in light winds, and we all knew that this meant that racing was going to be tight and manoeuvres would be essential in the making of races. The Firefly’s were easily pivoted meaning they were capable of so much in close quarters. Across the regatta, we had a 50% win record, so we won 9 races, and we lost nine races which we were very pleased with considering the talent within the field when it comes to teams racing. Let along the knowledge of the competitors of which some had done 10+ Wilson Trophies on the trot. In a very competitive fleet of 32 teams, it saw an impressive amount of races completed with a very slick operation from the start boat and change over system. Without a doubt, this was an immaculately organised event where the use of the Swiss League system which ranks you against other teams that are at the same difficulty so the better the quality of racing. Unfortunately, the team missed out on the finals series by one point, where the top 8 are separated into four races and duel till there are four teams and then 2 and then the overall winner. Undoubtedly, the team hoped for a better result but keeping it in perspective there was an enormous gain from the experience and the knowledge base that was built on strategy, venue and especially the boats which none of us had sailed before.
Big thanks to the team, Craig White, Mum and Dad, the shore supporting team (my Grandad and Moira for making the trip up to support the team and I) and Reuben Corbett for the opportunity to crew for him and the knowledge he passed on to me!