Lipton Cup – The ‘Davis Dozen!’

Greg Davis pic by Trevor Wilkins

Greg Davis
pic by Trevor Wilkins

Greg Davis has won the Lipton Cup today for the 12th time – that’s more than any other individual.

So why is he such a prolific winner?

In researching the answers to this question, I asked David Hudson his opinion as he has sailed with Davis, and is managing the RCYC team this year.

Hudson said: “Contrary to popular belief it is not because he has the fastest boat – known in the fleet as 074 – as he notched up four Lipton Cup successes, and a number of very near misses, before he ever started racing 074.

Davis, quite simply, takes this event a lot more seriously than anyone else in the fleet.

His boat preparation is key. He is meticulous about functionality, ensuring that every system on the boat is carefully optimised. We all know the huge difference between racing a boat where all of the dynamic controls work perfectly and one where they are not quite right.

He is meticulous about underwater surfaces. His foils are invariably close to flawless – he puts more time and energy into this than anyone else.

He is notoriously fussy about his sails and in specifying exactly what he wants from his sailmaker. He has no hesitation in having his sails cut – and recut until he is satisfied.

Take a careful look at the names of the crew he has chosen over the past 20 years and you can’t help noticing that, in terms of years of racing experience, there are few, if any, Lipton teams that have come close. He picks good crew – all people who will contribute positively to the campaign, the boat, boat speed and overall success.”

In his Lipton Cup successes during the past 20 years, Greg’s five helms were Mark Sadler, Ian Ainslie, Gareth Blanckenberg, David Rae and David Hudson. All of them have considerable track records of successful helming far beyond the L26 Class.

Apart from Davis being a regular at the top end of the Finn Masters World Championship – he has 4 top 10 finishes in fleets of over 200 boats – he has an intuitive feel for both wind and boat.

“In terms of the boat, 074 does appear to have a slight edge upwind in light to moderate conditions. That may translate into a few boat lengths over a full Lipton beat, but is not the primary reason why he wins” said Hudson.

So in reality, it is the men and not the boat who are responsible for this victory. There may be inexperienced sailors and others who believe it is all about the boat, however the more experienced sailors will compare the teams on the criteria above. The answers to his success lie in all those areas.