Afloat Magazine September 2017 – Witch of the Waves Wins World 8 Metre Championships
Avia Willment (Universal Marina Owner and MD) and her team proudly brought the World Championship Cup home from Hanko in Norway at the end of August. On ‘Miss U’, the team members were Avia at the helm, Rich Burlingham – trimmer, Neil Harrison – tactician, James Hemingway – bow, Marcel Herrera – pit and Ian Smyth – trimmer.
Avia Willment said “I am tremendously proud of the crew. It has taken 17 years sailing these tricky metre boats both in the 6 metre and 8 metre class. The 8 metres were used as practise for the Americas Cup and were pre-war Olympic boats. So we feel we have worked our way through the fleet from the classics into the moderns. It just goes to show that persistence and hard graft wins!” This wonderful success story has an astonishing synergy with the ethos of teamwork and shared passion enjoyed working at Universal Marina. “Thank you team!”
Avia Willment first started competing in the 8 Metre World Championships, international category back in 2000 in the classic division. ‘Miss U’ was launched in La Trinité, France in 2014. The 48 foot yacht is the only tandem keel boat in the fleet and was designed by Jacques Fauroux, built by Skeens in Gosport – the project manager and tactician being Neil Harrison. The yacht was finished on site at Universal Marina and prepared for the Norway World Championships by Ian Smyth at Liquid Marine who was also on the crew.
Richard Burlingham, General Manager at Universal Marina said ‘We are so proud to bring back the cup. We literally had a blast in Norway, as if winning wasn’t enough; we were delighted to compete against King Harold of Norway who had his 80th birthday celebration whilst we were there. Avia cheekily presented him with a bottle of the local ‘Isle of White Mermaid Gin’ as a memento of ‘Miss U’ – a state of the art and distinctive boat with a mermaid on her bow.’
‘Miss U’ will race again in the 2019 8 Metre World Championships, to be held here at home in the Solent, so hopefully will have many supporters to cheer her on.