Widnall Prize Announced for Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta at Marblehead Race Week

A new trophy in honor of Bill Widnall, master of the International One Design, added to Marblehead Race Week perpetuals.
Bill Widnall
Bill Widnall, International One Design Class stalwart and champion of Marblehead Race Week many times over. © WWW.OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM

On June 8, 2024, ahead of the Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series at Marblehead Race Week, the Widnall Prize was offered by the International Class (IOD) Fleet of Marblehead. The magnificent silver tray will be the perpetual trophy for the winner of the International Class at the annual regatta.  

The prize is dedicated to Bill Widnall, a legendary sailor in Marblehead, nationally, and internationally.  Widnall joined the Marblehead IOD fleet in 1966, and since that time has set a standard of excellence that is unlikely to be challenged by any future sailor.  To date, he has won twenty-seven Marblehead season championships, twenty-eight Marblehead Race Weeks, and ten International Class World Championships.

In addition, Widnall deserves much of the credit for bringing a new generation of sailors to Marblehead, top-flight competitors, including many who also won IOD World Championships – John Wales, Steve Wales, Charlie Hamlin, Ted Cook, Jud Smith, Bobby McCann, Peter Warren, and Bruce Dyson. Bill is a fierce competitor on the water, but always a generous, supportive, and gentle mentor ashore. He is a true sportsman who has been a quiet leader of the World Class for over fifty years (and counting.)

The prize is a beautiful sterling silver tray with a roped edge. It is hand-engraved in classic style. Across the upper part of the trophy are highlights of Bill’s achievements in the Class, the places where the number Bill’s accomplishments would be engraved in the trophy are intentionally blank – they will be engraved later—for Widnall is still sailing, and hopes to increment his accomplishments in each of those categories in the future.

Marblehead Regatta
Bill Widnall and his team on the International One Design Javelin have been a fixture of the IOD class in Marblehead.

The Marblehead Race Association and IOD Class will award this prize for the first time on July 28, 2024 at the conclusion of this year’s Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta at Marblehead Race Week.