Academicians at The Wilson Trophy


After a series of strong performances throughout the year at university events and the UKTRA Finals, RTYC Red and Blue teams travelled to West Kirby SC last weekend for the famous Wilson Trophy. Strong winds delayed racing on the Frida afternoon, but the determined efforts of the Race Office and the West Kirby members allowed racing to get underway at around 3 pm.

With over a dozen of the top teams in the UK and some strong challengers from across the Pond, the field was tougher than ever and competition was fierce; it was heartening as always to see many former and current Academicians in the very top teams, whether wearing the colours of the Thames or not!
With the breeze dipping in the late afternoon Royal Thames teams took the initiative with early wins against New Forest Pirates and Itchenor SC for Blue, while Red took wins against MCS and Howth YC, leaving both teams 2 wins from 3 overnight. Racing commenced at 8am sharp on Saturday morning in bracing conditions, setting the tone for a long but immensely enjoyable day of racing.

RTYC Blue quickly moved on to 5 wins from 7, while RTYC Red struggled in the weather, reaching 3 from 7 by midday. Losses to Royal Forth Hoosiers (eventual Champions) and Spinnaker Auspicious (including BA Cup helm Sam Littlejohn along with veterans Tom Hebbert and Matt Findlay) stalled RTYC Blue’s progress before strong wins against Royal Dee YC (last year’s finalists), Rhode Island Pistols and West Kirby SC took them to 8 wins from 13 overnight.

Meanwhile, RTYC Red overcame their earlier problems to put together a late charge, taking wins against Bristol Barracuda, Cambridge and Southampton Universities, and the Atlantic Partners to reach 7 wins from 13 in a day which saw 160 races completed over 9 hours in winds reaching well over 30 kts for periods of the day.
Exhausted sailors rallied themselves gamely for the Wilson Trophy dinner, a great reminder of the spirit of openness and friendship between racers, and the joy of good company (and reasonable wine). Ben Field, another BA Cup helm and former Academician, had the honour of being invited to speak, and raised the roof with stories of Wilson’s past, before the competitors, umpires and race committee alike took to the dance floor to shake out any stiffness from a long day’s racing.
Unfortunately Sunday dawned very windy, and despite the competitors gamely reaching the club ahead of the anticipated 7.57 warning signal, racing was postponed and eventually cancelled with winds consistently over 30 kts all day. This left RTYC Blue lying in 9th place overall and RTYC Red in 13th, with both teams taking silverware with the Wilson Plate (RTYC Blue, highest place team outside of knockouts) and the U21 Trophy (RTYC Red) going to Royal Thames. Despite the frustration of not having the chance to challenge for knockouts, both teams had fantastic weekends and have shown the culmination of a very strong season, with much promise for next year in the Academy.
RTYC Red – Sam Jenkins, Josh Adams, Guy Dixon, Thea Crawshaw, Nick Upton, Joe Gough

RTYC Blue – Phil Derry, Guy Stephens, Ben Gratton, Ben Rahemtulla, Kathryn Twemlow, Catherine Cherry