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Six Metre World Championship 2023 at the Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes - Prize Giving

by Fiona Brown 9 Sep 2023 06:38 UTC 31 August - 8 September 2023

The Royal Yacht Squadron's famous lawn overlooking the Solent was the setting for an elegant sunset Prize Giving Reception that brought the International Six Metre World Championship 2023 to a close.

The sailors gathered in the presence of His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain to celebrate their champions and enjoy one final evening together.

This has been the 50-year anniversary of the ISMA World Championship. The first regatta was held in Seattle in 1973, and the trophy presented then by the Port of Seattle and the Puget Sound 6 Metre Association, The Six Metre World Cup, is still awarded today. Of the competitors participating in Cowes, GER96 Hanko III is the only boat that was also at that first event. At that time, she was known as US96 Eclipse. She was sailed by C. William "Bill" Brasier of Tacoma, Washington and placed twelfth of the twenty entries. The event was won by Tom Blackaller of the St Francis Yacht Club sailing US100 St Francis V in a duel with Australia's Olympic Gold Medal Star sailor David Forbes sailing KA6 Pacemaker that went down to the last race.

International Six Metre President Louis Heckly was full of praise for all who had made the regatta possible, saying, "Firstly, to my fellow competitors, without whom we would have no regatta, I say thank you for your continuing commitment to the Six Metre Class and for travelling from across the Globe to Cowes to be part of this 50th Anniversary World Championship. Thank you too to the British Six Metre Association, and to the Royal Yacht Squadron team who have made this such a special celebration for us. So many people have given so much time to make the event a resounding success, but on behalf of the Class and the competitors I would particularly like to thank Race Officer Peter Saxton and his wonderful team who have been exemplary. They really did a fantastic job of getting us one race on Wednesday and they missed no opportunity to make the game fair and keep the competition wide open to the very last race.".

Royal Yacht Squadron Commodore, The Hon Sir James Holman, praised the sailors on the quality and fairness of the competition and issued a standing invitation to the class for future championship events, before handing over to Louis Heckly and British Six Metre Chairman Tom Owen for the presentations. Among the presentations were:

The Jean-Pierre Odero Trophy, for an individual who makes an exceptional contribution to the Six Metre Class, to Mauricio Sanchez-Bella for his outstanding work in revitalising and supporting the Spanish Six Metre Fleet.

The Trophy Pierre-Paul Heckly, for the winner of the Corinthian Open Division, to Philippe Durr and Reiner Muller's Junior

The Corinthian Classic Division Trophy to Patrick Sandman's May Be VI

The KSSS Cup for the highest placed yacht built to the First or Second International Rule which retains its original underwater configuration, and The Tim Street Perpetual Trophy, presented to the top performing yacht certified before December 1965, competing under the exception defined in Appendix A of the International Six Metre Rule, to Fenton Burgin's Sioma

The Astor Cup, for the highest placed yacht whose crew includes a person under 25 years of age, to Simon Williams' Silvervingen

The Lucie Trophy, for the highest placed yacht whose crew includes a woman as helmsperson or crew, to Violeta Alvarez' Stella

The Djinn Trophy, for the Classic Division, to His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain's Bribon

And finally The Six Metre World Cup to Jamie Hilton's Scoundrel.

Speaking about the appeal of the Six Metres, 2023 Six Metre Open World Champion Jamie Hilton said, "We could go on for hours about that. It was interesting, during Covid you couldn't come to regattas like this and in Sanxenxo last year [at the 2022 Worlds] it was the first time I'd seen some friends in three years, and if felt so good because there are so many really great people sailing these boats. So first and foremost, for me it's the people, but the boats are just fantastic. I sailed a Vintage boat for a long time, Lucy, which was really a truly special boat. And I've got to thank Matt Brooks [owner of Lucy] because without him I wouldn't be here sailing Six Metres. They're fantastic boats to sail, but none of my guys, aside from Mike Marshall who sailed a Six last year, have sailed Six Metres before, but what they love about them is that they're really technical, there's so many things you can do to make the boat go a little bit faster, so it's a real challenge to get the boats to perform at their optimal levels."

The Six Metre Class has seen a considerable resurgence of interest in recent years, attracting new owners, new designers, new builders and new sailors. It is exciting to see new teams and new boats join the fleet, and it is a testament to the careful management and control of the Class by the International Six Metre Association, that yachts separated in age by a century continue to race together, and that a thirty year old wooden boat can still win the World Championship against her most modern composite sisters. A quick glance down the top five in the Open Division confirms that they were built in 1989, 2017, 2021, 1981 and 2020 respectively. The oldest boat in the competition, the 97-year young Sioma, finished in a very creditable ninth place in the Classic division.

The next International Championship for the Six Metres will be the 2024 European Championship which is expected to be held on the French Mediterranean coast next summer. Further details of this event will be available from later in the year.

Our thanks to Six Metre sailor Matt Cockburn for the background information about the history of the first Six Metre World Championship in Seattle.

Overall Results: (top five)

Open Division
1st Scoundrel, USA123, Jamie Hilton - 1, 3, 7, 3, 2, 2, 2 (19/RTD) = 20pts
2nd Stella, GBR112, Violeta Alvarez - 5, 2, 1, 4, 6, 3, 6, (6) = 27pts
3rd Momo, SUI143, Dieter Schoen - (9), 5, 8, 2, 1, 1, 4, 7 = 28pts
4th Junior, SUI77, Philippe Durr and Rainer Muller - 6, 9, 4, 1, (11), 4, 1, 9 = 34pts
5th GinkgoToo, SUI140, Jan Eckert - (14), 1, 6, 12, 3, 5, 7, 2 = 34pts

Classic Division
1st Bribon, ESP16, His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain - 3, (12), 4, 1, 4, 1, 1, 4 = 18pts
2nd Dix Août, FRA111, Louis Heckly and Gery Trentesaux - 1, (14), 1, 4, 1, 6, 4, 7 = 24pts
3rd Silvervingen, GBR31, Simon Williams - 7, 3, 7, 3, 9, (16/UFD), 2, 3 = 34pts
4th Titia, ESP72, Mauricio Sanchez-Bella - 11, 1, 5, 7, 3, (16/UFD), 2, 3 = 35pts
5th May Be VI, FIN51, Patrick Sandman - 9, 7, 2, 6, 5, 5, (16/DSQ), 8 = 43pts

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