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#wilsontrophy – Two Olympic silver medallists are set to take on West Kirby Sailing Club's home team plus other top teams from across the UK, USA and Ireland, as the world's largest team racing event, the British Open Team Racing Championship for the Wilson Trophy, is hosted by West Kirby Sailing Club over Bank Holiday weekend (3-5 May).

This year there will be four Irish teams competing from the Royal St George YC, Royal Cork YC,  Howth YC and Schull. Irish Umpires Cxema Pico and Gordon Davies will be part of the team of 25 umpires attending.

Amongst the 34 teams entered, the hot contenders for the Trophy win include special guest entry, British Sailing Team, fronted by 2012 Olympic silver medallists in the men's 470 class, Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. The duo also have silver medals from World and European 470 Championships under their belts, and are both 2016 Rio Olympic hopefuls.

Explaining his motivation for entering the event, Bithell says: "The Wilson Trophy is an event I used to do as a crew when I was very young and I loved every minute. Now we are going there to improve our knowledge of the rules and how we can use them to our advantage in fleet racing."

Despite their outstanding fleet racing CVs, the pair is under no illusion that the event will be an easy ride. Patience says: "Given that we rarely team race, it's impossible to tell how well we will do. I am sure we will be targeted hard by the team racing world and shown how it's done!"
Patience and Bithell will be joined by third helm, Christian Birrell, who boasts National Championship wins in several classes, and is a former Endeavour Trophy winner.
Birrell competed at the UK Team Racing Championships also held at West Kirby Sailing Club in March and despite the weather was so enthused by the club and the competition that he was determined to come back for the Wilson Trophy with his Olympic friends. He says: "When I was invited to do UKTRA, I became a total convert to team racing. I've always listened to friends talk about the excitement in the build up to the Wilson Trophy and the tales which follow, and now I get that excitement!"
This talented trio forms the back-bone of the six-person team, with Lib Manser, Bethan Carden and a 'special guest' completing the line-up as crews.

The British Sailing Team will face particularly fierce competition this year, as the home team and current ISAF Team Racing World Champions, West Kirby Hawks, seek to defend their 2012 trophy win. Other contenders include the current UK National Team Racing Champions, Spinnaker Auspicious; as well as Royal Thames Yacht Club, Southampton Male Voice Choir, Grafham Sailing Club, Itchenor Sailing Club, Royal Forth Hoosiers and two other local West Kirby teams.

From overseas, New York Yacht Club's team has traditionally presented a strong challenge and is predicted to do so again this year. A team from Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Pistols, should also feature in the mix, along with three strong Irish teams representing Royal Cork, Royal St George and Howth Yacht Clubs.

Also competing will be several university teams, including recent BUSA winners, Bristol. Two school teams are also taking part in the form of RYA Youth Team Racing Champions, Magdalen College, and Schull Community College from Ireland who won the Under 21 category at the Wilson Trophy last year.

With so many top sailors vying to earn those all-important places in the quarters, semis and ultimately, the final, all eyes will be on West Kirby as the teams battle their way through the event's Swiss League format.

Commodore of West Kirby Sailing Club, David Taylor, says: "West Kirby Sailing Club is delighted to welcome our Olympic medallists to take part in this year's Wilson Trophy. The Wilson trophy is renowned for its very special atmosphere; and this is a fantastic opportunity to come and watch some of the world's finest sailors in action and to cheer on our Olympic heroes. This year promises a truly thrilling line-up."

The Wilson Trophy is the largest event of its kind in the world; now in its 64th year, the three-day team racing extravaganza takes place in the unique amphitheatre formed by West Kirby's Marine Lake.

With a premium on boat handling and close-quarters tactics, races are short and action-packed, taking place just metres away from the shore. The promenade and sea wall form ideal vantage points for spectators, with live commentary and grandstand seating, and flights of equally-matched colour-coded Fireflies, making the action easy to follow.

Racing takes place over three days, beginning at noon on Friday and at 8am on Saturday and Sunday. The finals are scheduled to commence at 2pm on Sunday. You can also follow the results at www.wksc.net/wilsontrophy

Published in Team Racing

#team racing – The Howth 2K keelboat team racing event will take place in Howth on 1st and 2nd June (with a practice session on 31st May). The event will be sailed in J80s writes Gordon Davies.

Expressions of interest have been received from several teams, including the leading Dutch 2k team, the current Irish Match Racing Champion and from leading team racers. A Notice of Race is attached below and ready for download.

2k is an exciting discipline in which two teams of 2 boats jockey for position to control boats from the other team. The outcome of the race is rarely settled until the last boat finishes – the team with boat finishing last loses. This is a recognised and developing branch of the sport with racing in the UK, the Netherlands, Monaco and Italy, plus new venues planned for later this year. The advantage for competitors is that they have no need to own let aloe transport a boat to an event. Fortunately, most venues are accessible via low-cost flight, making this the most economic form of international competition.

Entry for this event is restricted to eight teams. To secure an invitation, and for further details, please contact the Irish Team Racing Association at [email protected]

Entries must be confirmed before 1st May.

Published in Team Racing

#schoolteamsailing – Current Munster school sailing champions Schull 1 will go head to head with Leinster champions Kilkenny College for the Irish title this weekend when the Irish Schools Sailing (ISSA) Team Racing National Championships takes place in Schull, West Cork. 12 teams have qualified from there regional events with two teams travelling from the UK.

The Fastnet Trophy will be awarded to the first Irish Team Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to the first three Irish teams.
The FMOEC Trophy will be awarded to the first overseas Team.

The qualifying teams are:
Schull 1
Schull 2
Schull 3
PBC
Rochestown
Scoil Mhuire
Kilkenny College
Gonzaga
Belvedere
St Andrews College
Mt Anville
Rice
MCS
Morespeed

Download NOR for the event below

Published in Team Racing

#teamracing – An Irish team has won a top Australian team sailing championship on Sydney Harbour.

The Gladiators - whose members have represented Ireland at almost all team sailing world championships since 2003 - have beaten 21 teams to take the New South Wales titles at Woolahra Sailing Club.
The NSW states, sailed in supplied 3.7m Pacer dinghies, is often more competitive and better-attended than the national championships.
The Gladiators were denied racing on the first day of the two-day event because of light winds on the short S-shaped course on Rose Bay on the first weekend of April.
And things were looking bad for a clean win on the Sunday with just four wins against two race losses.
But that was enough to slip into a tight three-race semi-final against Imperial Poona Yacht Club - captained by veteran racer Paddy Oliver (not Olliver), originally from Ballyholme, County Down, butbased in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, championship defenders and national match race champions Cruising Yacht Club Australia had lost the opposite semi to the unbeaten Sydney University.
Gladiators won the best-of-three final after only two races, scoring a 2,3,4 and a 1,3,6 in millpond conditions - making a miraculous recovery after a disastrous 2,5,6 windward mark rounding in the final race.
The six-strong team, accountant Sam Hunt, 30, Sydney/ Kinsale; carpenter and token Aussie Elliott Noye, 21, Hobart; journalist Conor Byrne, 29, Darwin/Skerries; engineer Claire Cassidy, 30, Sydney/Dublin; recruiter Gillian Burke, 28, Sydney/Howth; and Dr Frances O'Loughlin, 31, Nowra/Malahide; was third in the 2012 edition.

Published in Team Racing

#teamracing – The Royal St George Yacht Club continues to develop as the centre of team racing in Ireland. The "George Invitational" sailed on 23rd – 24th March marked another important step – with the inauguration of a flight of brand new Firefly dinghies.

Nine teams competed this year for the Invitational trophy The top Irish teams were competing: - the National Champions the George Knights; the newly crowned University Champs, University of Limerick and double School Champions (both UK and Ireland) from Schull Community College. Two teams from the UK competed, 'Spinnaker' and, above all 'Wessex Exempt' the current Irish Open Champions, who had drafted in World Champion Andy Cornah into their line up making them the pre-event favourites.

The weather did not cooperate. Event organiser Marty O'Leary, acting as OOD, ably assisted by Nin O'Leary and Richard Bruton did well to complete two rounds of sailing on Saturday in a gusty 25 knot south-easterly.

Competitors raced in the home club fireflies, 6 of which were the brand new Orange and Blue boats. The multiple mark rounding in winds gusting up to 30 knots meant for plenty of thrills and spills. With some marks within feet of the the East Pier the passing Saturday strollers were entertained by some skilled and spectacular sailing.

After an initial mini round robin, the 5 top teams went through to the Gold Fleet with the bottom 4 sailing in the Silver. After this round Wessex Exempt led the Gold Fleet with 3 wins, breaking the tie break with their Southampton rivals Spinnaker who also had three race wins. The home club's team the RSGYC knights had 2 wins to lie third, defending champions Howth Yacht club lay fourth with one win and the college stars of UL were fifth.

Sailors and Umpires enjoyed a great dinner in the Royal St. George's formal dining room on Saturday night, with Marty O'Leary acting as compere for the evening and encouraging each team to perform a party piece.

Sunday morning brought more South Easterly breezes but with winds now gusting 35 knots and an air temperature of 4 degrees, competitors, race committee and umpires were keen to stay ashore. A second Gold Silver league had been started on Saturday evening with the Knights making the early running. But ultimately the weather had the final say and the results of the previous Gold/Silver rounds determined the trophy.

So the team of Wessex Exempt ; Jon Pinner, Sharon Quigley, Andy Cornah, Rachel Williamson, Claire Lasko and Bethan Carden ended up winners of the 2013 RSGYC Invitational.

For further information on team racing in the Royal St George contact John Sheehy: [email protected]

For information on team racing in general contact Gordon Davies, Hon Sec Irish Team Racing Association: [email protected] and telephone 0861501220

Link to the latest Irish Team Racing News

Published in Team Racing

#teamracingThree days of great racing on Tralee Bay, snatched from under the decidedly unsettled Patrick's Day weekend weather, saw the annual Irish Universities Sailing Association (IUSA) team championship raced at full pressure from March 15th to 17th writes WM Nixon. University of Limerick (UL) took the title from University College Dublin (UCD) in a cliff-hanger finish for the Gold Fleet, while University College Cork 1 (UCC 1) topped the Silvers. And in a healthy geographical spread of champions which augurs very well for the growing strength of college sailing in Ireland, the Bronze Fleet was won by Queens University Belfast (QUB).

Traditionally, St Patrick's Day is when the keener Irish sailors take the winter covers off their boat. But the university year dictates that all college racing is done in the off season, and most of the 26 teams which descended on Tralee with snow and northerly gales forecast had already put in several team racing events in 2013.

They were rewarded by Tralee Bay having some of the best weather going in all Ireland for the long weekend. And with Commodore Pat Daly of TBSC heading up the support effort from a host club which is noted for its hospitality (and that in Kerry, which is Ireland's Hospitality HQ), the event went in great style, with 196 races completed to provide a comprehensive awards list.

Hosting club ULSC had its noted helm Robert O'Leary stand aside from sailing duties in order to put through the organizing of this hugely demanding series, and the Limerick college were supported in their administrative efforts by sponsorship from Ulster Bank, while Banna Beach Resort just up the Kerry coast from TBSC's base at Fenit were able to row in with accommodation support towards housing a total of 156 sailors.

There was an international element to the event, as the Scottish Universities Sailing Association (SUSA) sent a representative selected squad. But in the end, all the trophies stayed on the island of Ireland after three days of varying but sailable weather. The format meant that the Bronze fleet were decided first with QUB captained by Jack Alexander-Gebhard taking the title, and then in the Silvers UCC 2 captained by Robin O'Mahony had the best of it from UL2 captained by Peadar O'Suillebhan.

intervarsities2

Winning University of Limerick captain Ross Murray on Tralee Bay - he is also the current IUSA Sailor of the Year Photo: Cian Gallagher

In the Gold Fleet, UCC 1 (Rob Lehane captain) placed third, then in the final between UCD (captain Simon Doran) against UL captained by IUSA Sailor of the Year Ross Murray for best of five, it went to the wire with UL taking it on the line for three out of five wins.

With the team racing decided, this marks the conclusion of what could be called the college numbers game for 2013, although the UL team now have to go to England for the British Universities Team Opens at the end of April. But meanwhile elite crews are being selected by each university for the Irish selection trials for the Student Yachting Worlds in France. The selection will be a three day format, racing the ISA SailFleet J/80s (based this year in Howth) on April 6th, 13th and 20th. Interest is intense, as the Worlds will also be raced in J/80s, and Ireland will have two places. UCD well be there as of right, as current world champions, so there'll be a place for an additional Irish college team up for grabs in April.

Published in Team Racing

#teamracing – Eight Leinster schools gathered at the Royal St George Yacht Club on Sunday to battle for provincial bragging rights and coveted places at the Irish Nationals in Schull writes Heather King. The sailors raced in two six-boat flights of Firefly dinghies owned by the RStGYC, including one flight just out of the wrappers!
Under the stewardship of Organiser John Sheehy and Racing John Downey, the racing was slick and very competitive. Conditions were fairly light and tricky though, with the finish line just yards away from the changeover point halfway down the East Pier. Great spectating for competitors, parents and strollers.
After the twenty eight race round robin with each team racing seven times, a clear divide emerged with 4 teams ahead on 5 or 6 wins. Kilkenny College and Gonzaga both had six and St Andrews and Belvedere College were both on five. In the second half of the table Mount Anville emerged top on 3 wins with a young team that very nearly took one or two big scalps along the way. The other teams – Gonzaga B, St Gerards and a selection from Bray schools - all had their finer moments and consistently displayed great teamwork and camaraderie.

kkwinners

kilkennycollegewinners

Royal St. George organiser John Sheehy (left) with (top) Kilkenny College winners and (below) the third placed St. Andrews College team
By 1600 hours the harbour had become a glassy pond and despite an effort to run another round, the RO called a halt. The big round robin series decided the results with tie-breaks going the way of "who beat who" in individual matches.
This gave the title to Kilkenny College and their team of Heather O Connor, Conor O'Reilly, Scott Levie, Sean Landers, Douglas Elmes and Emily McGrath, with Gonzaga 2nd and St Andrews 3rd and Belvedere College 4th. Mount Anville in 5th took 1st all-girl team. It is top 5 that are guaranteed places at the All-Irelands in Schull on April 13,14.

Published in Team Racing

#teamracing – Schools from across Leinster will sail for the province's Schools Team Racing Championship title in March at the Royal St.George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire.

The Leinster Schools Team Racing Championship 2013, for three boat teams, will take place on Saturday March 16th. The Championship will be sailed in the club's two person Firefly dinghies. Last year the title was won by Dublin's Gonzaga College.

The event run by the Irish Schools Sailing Association is open to all secondary schools. Each school will put forward a team of 6 sailors aged 18 years of age and under on 14 April 2013.

Prizes will be awarded to the first three school teams with up to four top teams then being selected to represent Leinster at the National School Team Racing Championship in Schull from the 13th to the 14th of April (subject to eligibility).

Teams wishing to compete should contact Carol Healion in the Royal Saint George Yacht Club; 01 214 7859 or [email protected]

A notice of race and an entry form are available to download below.

Published in Team Racing

#teamracing – Despite the news from the Dun Laoghaire ISAF conference last week that there will be no ISAF Team Racing Worlds in 2013, team racing in Ireland is still thriving, this country having hosted the last worlds in Schull in 2011. 18 teams travelled to Schull over the weekend of 10th - 11th November for the Irish Team Racing Association National Championships.

Two of Britain's best teams made the trip, repeating their success of last year. Irish teams included the highly experienced George Knights, the young stars of Schull Youth, college teams from UCC ad UCD, not forgetting two teams from Presentation Brothers, Cork particiapting for the first time. Full results are downloadable as a pdf below.

The organising team from Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre ran racing with great efficiency. On Saturday the occasional squall with gusts up to 35 knots held up racing as boats sheltered in the lee of the harbour wall. Despite this, by the end of the day a first round league had been completed and the second round was under way. League C of the first round was extremely close fought, with 3 teams on 4 wins. The two teams promoted to the Round 2 Gold League were only decided after the third tie break!

After he second round the two British teams, Wessex Extreme and Vultures were leading, allowing them an easier draw in the quarter finals. The Irish teams progressing to the knock-out rounds were:

George Knights, Schull Alumni, PP&J, UCC1 and the first two from the Silver League, UCD and Schull Youth. The hierarchy established in the leagues was maintained with, with the top fou teams progressing to the semi-finals. Wessex Extreme and the George Knights emerged victorious to contest the final.

Anxious to make it to the airport in time for their flight home, Wessex Extreme pulled out all the stops to win the final in two straight races, retaining their overall winner title from last year.

The George Knights added their name, yet again, to the long list of Irish Champions.

Next year's championship will be sailed in Dun Laoghaire on 9th -10th November 2013.

Results

Overall Winner: Wessex Extreme

Overall Second and Irish Champions : George Knights

Irish Youth Champions : Schull Youth

ISA Silver Medal : Schull Alumni

ISA Bronze Medal : PP&J

Published in Team Racing

#teamracing – Fresh from the success of the Junior All Ireland's at the weekend the Irish Team Racing National Championships are next up in Schull, West Cork on 10th and 11th November.

Organised by the Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre, the event will be sailed in the fleet of dinghies TR3.6 specially built for the ISAF Team Racing Worlds.

Teams from all the top Irish colleges, as well as the senior teams that continue to compete in this exciting form racing. Sailors from Schull will be numerous, continuing the tradition of the successful Schull

Youth team. Entries have already been received from British teams attracted by the sailing in West Cork, not to mention the legendary socialising.

Teams, both senior and youth, who wish to compete should contact the Irish Team Racing Association ([email protected]). A Notice of Race and Entry Form are attached to download below as word docs.

Published in Team Racing
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