With the America’s Cup and Royal Ascot Gold Cup among its creations, the House of Garrard was well placed to take on the commission for a striking new trophy in 2011. The sporting event it would celebrate - the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) - offers some of the most dramatic displays of racing skill to be seen on the waves.
Described as gladiatorial in spirit, the WMRT pits the best individual racing sailors against each other in boats that are identical, making each win purely about strategy. Challenging courses and speeds of over 25knots require split second decision making, which makes all the difference to the leaderboard over the tour. With the action kept close to shore, each race draws thousands of spectators to witness the drama in person, as well as many thousands more watching live online.
As the tour works its way around the world it takes in a series of legendary racecourses before 12 top teams compete in finals at the end of the season. The challenge for Garrard was to capture the essence of this extraordinary event in silver and silver-gilt, and make a trophy the champion sailor could raise high in triumph.
In its designs for the WMRT championship, Garrard looked to the intensity of the race itself. The weather and the water are all-powerful - these must be mastered to win the tour. Waves swirl and rise to a crescendo on the trophy, the swells and eddies fixed forever in precious metal, yet seemingly ever in motion.
At their peak sits the WMRT logo of two sails in close combat, recognition of the highest level of skill shown by the winning sailor. In 2011, the year the trophy was unveiled, this was British racer, Ian Williams, who went on to win the WMRT three more times. After a year when the tour didn’t take place, 2019 has seen teams compete again around the world. As they gather for the final in Sweden the question on everyone’s lips is whose name will be engraved on the trophy this year.