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Scuttlebutt News:
58th Wilson Trophy - West Kirby, UK - May 12-13, 2007
Story by Team Silver Panda - Photos courtesy of wilsontrophy.co.uk

(May 17, 2007) Team Silver Panda (Clay Bischoff/Martha Carleton, Colin Merrick/Amanda Callahan, Pete Levesque/Liz Hall) won the 2007 Wilson Trophy by defeating rival team Whishbone in a rematch of the 2006 Wilson Trophy Final.

Hosted by the West Kirby Sailing Club in West Kirby, UK the 2007 Wilson Trophy was another huge success. 32 teams from around the world returned to Team Racingís Mecca for what the Brits have dubbed the "Wimbledon" of Team Racing. This yearís field included top teams from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland and England as well as five teams from the US. Representing the US were the US National Champion Silver Panda team, the 2006 Wilson Trophy Champion Team Whishbone (Tim Fallon/Karen Renzuli, Tim Wadlow/Ery Wadlow, Pat Rynne/Galen Largay), the Larchmont Yacht Club (Danny Pletsch/Emily Whipple, Cardwell Potts/Caroline Hall, Brian Bissell/Alexis Rubin), Route 3 Split (Nick Ewenson/ Meredith Nordham, Joel Hanneman/Augusta Nadler, Frank Ustach/Caitlyn McCabe) and the New York Yacht Club (Colin Gordon, Michelle Yu, Mason Woodworth, and Chris Muesler).

Saturday morning the modified Swiss League format began promptly at 8:00 AM under sunny skies and a nice 12-15kt breeze from the south. The hometown favorites West Kirby Hawks and perennial British powerhouses Spinnaker and the New Forest Pirates jumped out to an early lead over the pack with unbeaten records while the Americans struggled with jet lag and early season mistakes. However it was not long before the Americans lead by Team Whishbone started clawing their way back into the action. After 144 races, competition was called for the day with Whishbone atop the heap just ahead of the Pirates, Hawks, Pandas and the Irish.

Following the historically wild and formal dinner and dance party Saturday night, racing resumed early Sunday morning under skies just as cloudy as many sailorsí heads. After 15 rounds and 240 races the top eight teams advanced to a quarterfinal knock-out best of 3 series. The first round of the bracket saw top seeded WHishbone sweep the 8th seeded British University All Star BUSA team. The second seeded and hometown hero West Kirby Hawks swept another local team the 7th seeded Wirral Waders while the 3rd seed Silver Panda swept the 6th seeded Irish team of the Royal St Georges Knights. Rivals from the Englandís south fought out the final match as 4th seeded New Forest Pirates defeated and 5th seeded Spinnaker.

In round two, Silver Panda bested the Hawks in two close and hard fought races to reach the finals for the third straight year. In the other series, it took three races for Whishbone to defeat the talented and veteran Pirates team. Whishbone secured their spot in the finals with a come from behind victory on the last beat finishing 1,2,6.


Winning Team Silver Panda
The finals of the 2007 Wilson Trophy saw only the second ever all American final as Silver Panda and Whishbone met each other for the second year in a row. Defending Wilson Champion Whishbone won the coin toss and opted for the yellow fleet of boats. After a briefing by head umpire Peter Johnson both teams were aware that rule 42 violations would not be tolerated in the dying breeze. In the first race, the Pandas in the blue fleet of boats were able to take advantage of a right shift along the sea wall on the last beat to convert a 1-4-5 into a more stable 1-2 combination. In race two, it was the Pandas again with a better start than Whishbone, enabling the team to hold the lead for the entire race. Whishbone avoided the sweep by taking race 3 after a close leeward mark rounding sent one of their boats off to the right to catch the favorable famous seawall shift. With the Whishbone boat Catapulted from 3rd to first, Whishbone had comeback on their minds. In the final race, the Pandas capitalized on a crippling rule 42 call on team Whishbone and eventually finished with a 1-2 combo to seal their first ever overall win at the Wilson Trophy.

For more information:www.wilsontrophy.co.uk

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