Marine Lake to host the 75th Wilson Trophy

Wilson 2023
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Final preparations are being made for the 75th Wilson Trophy on the Marine Lake in West Kirby.

Described as the premier dinghy team racing event in the world, it is taking place from Friday 3 – Sunday 5 May.

A total of 34 teams with 204 competitors from the UK, Ireland and the United States will be competing on the water for the coveted trophy.

The history of the competition dates back to 1948 when 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.

Wilson Trophy. Photo courtesy of @NWoodsphotos
Wilson Trophy. Photo courtesy of @NWoodsphotos

West Kirby Sailing Club commodore, Adam Whittle, said: “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 remaining competitors and take to the grandstand and shoreline to cheer on their heroes and friends in the knockout phase of the contest.

The East Coast Drifters from Rhode Island will be aiming to retain the title they secured in 2023.