British Clubs Head Out to Poland for Sailing Champions League
This week sees our 2 representative clubs Marconi ( 3rd in 2022 BKL final) & West Hoe (5th), Head out to Sopot in Poland to represent the BKL in the European Sailing Champions League.The teams will be racing against 19 of the top performing clubs from the European national Keelboat leagues. These include the Royal Danish YC and RR&ZV Maas&Roer winners of the Danish & Dutch leagues as well as 2nd place finishers in the Finland league Brändö Seglare. Finish teams have dominated the first two SCL Qualifiers this season & it will be interesting to see how our British teams match up against the strong competition in boats that they have some experience of. The event will be sailed in RS21″s, a departure from the usual j70’s used in Europe for short course racing. ‘This should help us‘, said Dan Nickalls( Marconi) ‘as we’ve done a lot of racing in the RS21 in recent years.‘ Both teams are hoping for ‘heavy airs’ and the Marconi team who arrived in Gdansk on Sunday night reported that conditions were currently, exactly that.
The West Hoe team will travel directly to Sopot on Wednesday, which is when practice sailing will take place at the Polska Ekstraklasa Zeglarska club, the last host on the SCL Qualifiers this season.
Earlier this year BKL teams, Strathclyde University and the Royal Northern & Clyde YC represented British clubs in Portugal and Germany and the Sopot event is the last chance for Britain to get a team through to the finals which will be held in Travemünde, Germany on 22-25th July.
Tom Low of the West Hoe club said, ‘our expectations are not high, we finished something like 24/30 in Keil in 2021, so I do not have high hopes of achieving great success.’
To qualify for the SCL final will need one of our teams to finish in the top 11 and Tom, reflecting on previous experience, went on to say, ‘Starts are critical; boat handling is really important, as is playing the shifts, and the other teams are very well-practiced and well-drilled, so small mistakes on our part tend to heavily penalise us.’
Racing starts on Thursday 15th June and continues through to Sunday. Results will be published live as races are completed and we wish our teams well as they represent their clubs, the BKL and all British clubs in this high profile international event.
Back home, the competition to find next years British club teams to represent us in the Sailing Champions League, has already started. To be in with a chance clubs need to win through to the British Keelboat League events and qualify for the BKL finals which will be held at the end of September. Four clubs have already qualified for the finals and the next opportunity comes at the Royal Northern & Clyde YC event on 24-25th June. You can enter here. Then on the 22-23rd July racing in the Royal Corinthian YC’s BKL event could also start you off on your progression to international sail racing.
The BKL are aiming to send Women and Youth teams to represent Britain in the SCL next season alongside the mixed gender teams, so get your teams together and enter the upcoming BKL events, all of which you can find links to from the home page of our website.
‘Going to an international sailing event always results in lots of learning, and is a really great experience.’ – Tom Low (West Hoe)
THINK – Champions Football League, SAIL – British Keelboat League