Shropshire sailing club cheers on UK team

Sailing clubs throughout Shropshire are setting their alarms and preparing to buckle in for an exciting ride as the British team races to compete in an upcoming competition.

Team UK competing in the Prada Cup
Team UK competing in the Prada Cup

This weekend will see the third round of the Prada Cup, with the winner set to face the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron's team and the Emirates Team New Zealand in the prestigious America's Cup.

The UK team is in action on Friday and sailing groups across the county are getting ready to cheer on their national representatives.

Commodore David Partridge, of Chelmarsh Sailing Club near Bridgnorth, said: "We have been watching the Prada Cup series which will decide on which team competes against New Zealand with great excitement.

"Chelmarsh sailors always know how to join the dots looking for higher wind speed, marked by darker water, and windshifts. The water at Chelmarsh in many ways is very similar to Auckland. The scale is just a little different.

"Our racing dinghies are 15 feet long and do 10 knots compared to Ben Ainslies 75-footer doing close to 50 knots. Our boats however cost hundreds or thousands, not millions.”

David added the club was particularly excited as, against many expectations, the UK team has suddenly turned its fortunes around and after a disappointing Christmas, they are in a winning position to go through to the cup races.

The America’s Cup is considered the pinnacle of yachting and was first contested in 1851, making it the oldest trophy in international sport, pre-dating the modern Olympic Games by 45 years.

The current defenders, Emirates Team New Zealand, have chosen to sail on home territory and the 36th America’s Cup match will be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from March 6 to 15 and will see them racing against the winner of the Prada Cup.

The UK team have won all four of their races so far, the Americans are in deep trouble after a high speed capsize and the Italian Luna Rossa Team are looking very quick, leading an aborted race against Ineos with great boat speed.

Chelmarsh Sailing Club is engaging in tactical discussion, support and explanation and David added: “I hope Sir Ben knows how many club sailors are rooting for him.”

The club in Chelmarsh is a finalist in the Royal Yachting Association's Club of the Year and there is still time to vote at awards.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/chelmarsh-sailing-club/

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