My Scots-dominated team bags yachting’s ‘most prestigious trophy’
Yes! My team is celebrating, after winning one of sailing’s most prestigious trophies – The Commodores Cup. The crews of the “Celtic Team” were dominated by Scottish sailors who claimed their victory after a gruelling week of competition off the Isle of Wight. The teams experienced everything from drifting conditions to a full gale.
The Commodores Cup, held every 2 years in the Solent, is now the most prestigious international team yachting event in the world.
The Celtic Team of three boats – “Shaitan” (Jean Eudes Renier), “Adventurer”! ((My boat) and “Keronimo” (Andy Williams) – was sponsored by Aberdeen Standard who continue to show their commitment to sailing.
We competed strongly from the beginning and were hardly out of the podium positions throughout the week in any of the 3 classes being raced. We finished 30 points clear of a team from The Netherlands.
The domination of the event would have been even greater had my own yacht, “Adventurer”, not blown out a mainsail in gale force conditions during the last race of the series. “Adventurer” had started the final race leading the European Championship, which was being held in conjunction with the Commodores Cup. With no chance of securing the European title for a single boat, “Adventurer” skilfully navigated its way to the finish line with its remaining sails crossing the line ahead of other full sailed yachts to secure the points necessary for the Celtic Team to win the Commodores Cup trophy.
Straight afterwards I told reporters it had been disappointing to lose the European Championship, but our objective had always been to win the Commodores Cup. By jury rigging the boat we managed to get around and finish which was all that mattered. Our team were remarkably cool in the circumstances they faced in the last race and huge credit goes to our helmsman Joss Voller who is only 21 and our race tactician, Andy Sinclair, aged 25.
The huge Scots contingent took inspiration from Scotland beating England at cricket (an unlikely, but huge moment). We told ourselves that if they could do it so could we. It is a real tribute to the talent of young Scots in sailing at the moment and it certainly counts as one of Scotland’s greatest ever yachting successes – and the first in the history of this competition which began in 1992.”