After an unbelievable season of qualifiers, the grand finale of the BKL is now fast approaching. The Royal Thames Yacht Club have set the stage and are ready to welcome the finest sprint keelboat racers from all of the UK. Taking place from the 27th – 29th September, these teams will be battling it out on Queen Mary reservoir, Ashford.
With the stage set and teams filling up the qualifying places, which teams will be ones to watch in the finals?
Securing their place by winning the 2018 edition of the British Keelboat League, it would be tough to bet against the reigning champions of Royal Thames YC, as after an excellent display in Ullswater in the first qualifier of 2019, they are well suited and prepared for the finals weekend. However, getting the better of them in their qualifier was Ullswater Yacht Club skippered by Jono Shelley. Shelley has a strong racing CV managed to maintain a lead of RTYC earlier this year.
Another hot pick for the finals, has to be the youthful Lymington Town SC team. Skippered by Liam Willis, who recently claimed the RS Aero 9 UK nationals title, Willis and his crew are emerging youth talent, whom will be a team to watch at the finals. From the energetic youth to the seasoned pros, Budworth Sailing Club, were dominant on day one of their qualifier at Draycote water sailing club, sailing excellently well in the light airs.
One more team heading into the finals is the 2019 RYA Club of the year, Royal Torbay Yacht Club. Opening up their BKL account with 3 back to back wins on the race course, they were terrific at getting the boat going in medium airs, taking advantage of local knowledge in Plymouth Sound. But a home waters advantage won’t be in their favour in a few weeks time.
So, there are some of the teams to watch, but during the event there will also be lots to enjoy!
The main event of the weekend will be a hosted at the Royal Thames Yacht Club head office at Knightsbridge, London, where all competitors will be sporting their finest attire at the black tie dinner. Throughout the weekend, racing will be available on social media via a fully commentated live stream from the race course, straight to the BKL Facebook page.
Just like each of the qualifying events, teams will be competing in the new fleet of RS21 keelboats. At each qualifier teams have become quickly familiar with how to get the best out of these boats on the short sprint race courses. Each Boat in the fleet has a sponsor who has helped support the management and delivery of the qualifying series throughout the summer. Teams at the finals will also get the chance to meet our sponsor throughout the BKL weekend, a chance for these companies to be appreciated for their vital support this year. Each of the teams will now be very familiar with the ; names of; Kingfisher Yacht Ropes, A-Plan Marine Insurance, MDL Marinas, PA Consulting, GJW Direct, E-Propulsion, Rooster, Bainbridge International, Draper Tools and RS Sailing.
For team who have qualified for the finals, please confirm your attendance by the 18th August. Otherwise, if you’re a team who thinks they deserve one of our wildcard entries, get in contact with why your RYA affiliated Club deserves a place in the final, contact Steve@rssailing.com with your pitch to the man who could hold the key to your team being a part of this headline event!