24 Apr 2024

Commodores Welcome to the 2024 Wilson Trophy

Welcome to the premier dinghy team racing event in the world – The Wilson Trophy. This year it reaches a notable milestone; its 75th Anniversary.

In April 1948, West Kirby Sailing Club was invited to send a team to Dun Laoghaire for a mixed class team racing event competing against teams from the South of Ireland. To the surprise of the Irish, West Kirby were runners up in the final to Royal St. George Yacht Club. That evening over a celebratory drink in their hotel room, Cyril Clarke, Harry Dennis, and Glyn Evans discussed the possibility of holding a similar team racing event in West Kirby but limited to one class only – the Firefly One Design. This was the conception of the Wilson Trophy which was first held at West Kirby in the summer of 1949.

The ‘theatre of dreams’ that is the Marine Lake will play host to a spectacle of the best racing you will ever see. With close to 300 races being run over a three-day event, the Wilson Trophy is revered for its fierce racing, famous socials, live commentary and breath-taking skill which
all make for one unforgettable event. Races typically last between 8 to 10 minutes round a short course in colour co-ordinated boats with three boats on each team, racing to get their team into a winning combination of 10 points or less. Then, come Sunday lunchtime, the top eight 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. With an established track record for delivery, West Kirby Sailing Club produces an illustrious championship enjoyed by competitors and spectators from around the world and the local community alike. I trust you all have a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.

Adam Whittle