Eighty boats are already entered for this weekend’s Datchet Flyer, the second event of this season’s GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series.
With a mild, moderate-to-breezy south-westerly forecast for the Saturday and Sunday, the conditions look very promising. The competition is looking strong, with some world-class representatives in a number of classes. Last year’s winner at Datchet, Nick Craig, has forsaken his Merlin Rocket in favour of his B14, which he’ll be racing Tom Pygall.
However there are still some strong candidates in the Merlin Rocket, not least husband and wife team Ben and Roz McGrane who will be up against the likes of Chris Jennings and Pete Horn. Winners of the first event in the Series, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, are back in their 505, the reigning Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard crewed by Andy Couch.
The singlehanders are out in force, with a big entry from the D-Zeros which includes Ian Morgan, who has done well racing his Laser at past editions of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series. Local sailor Stuart Jones is one to watch in the Contenders, while the Musto Skiff fleet has scheduled this event as its Inland Championship after the Ovington Inlands at Grafham had to be cancelled due to an excess of wind. Datchet sailor Ben Schooling will be tough to beat, but former World Champion Richard Stenhouse might fancy his chances in the stronger breeze predicted for Saturday afternoon.
This Series welcomes all kinds of dinghy across the spectrum, including three spectacular examples of the National 18 class, which is using the Series as a showcase for this historic three-person dinghy, recently revamped by designer Phil Morrison.
Organised by Datchet Water in conjunction with SailRacer, the Datchet Flyer will use GPS tracking, enabling competitors and spectators to follow the action, and replay and rewind online at a later date.
Three races are scheduled for Saturday, with first warning signal not before 1145 hours. The intention is to run all boats on the same course with, depending upon numbers and class splits, two or three starts at 3 minute intervals. The Datchet Flyer concludes on Sunday with a pursuit race, which has been configured in such a way as to give the faster boats more time on the water. The fleet will be split into two, around the same course, with the slowest class and the mid-fleet class starting at the datum time. There will be two separate sets of fleet results, each with double point scoring.
Online entry for the Datchet Flyer closes at 11.59pm on Thursday night, 10 December 2015.
For results of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series after one event: http://events.sailracer.org/eventsites/results_viewer.asp?eventid=203845
and to enter other events in the Series: http://www.SailJuiceSeries.com
UPDATE ON ‘IN-SERIES’ COMPETITIONS
Round 1 of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series Top Class Award saw 19 classes with 3+ boats entered to put them in a strong position for the New Top Class Award. Based on the best three results from each race, on a high scoring basis to find the best class. The Scorpion class currently tops the rankings, closely followed by the 10 boat D-Zero Class fleet, only 1.2% behind, so all to play for.
Harken Youth Award
Tom Southwell (D-Zero) tops the new Harken Youth Award, from Eleanor Craig (Radial) also best Under 16. Arran Holman (29er), completes the podium positions after Round 1.
Trident Top Club Award
With a bumper entry, GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series Round 1 hosts Draycote, managed to get three boats in top places and head the Trident Top Club Rankings, but closely followed by Notts County and Hayling Island. The key is getting three boats to each event.
GUL Top Lady Award
The ladies were certainly giving the men a run for their money at Draycote, with Val Millward (Challenger) securing four top-10 results on Day 1 in the extreme conditions, to give her a fantastic 5th place overnight. Val now leads the Gul Top Lady rankings from Eleanor Craig in the Radial.
MUSTO Speed Challenge
Run on the second day of the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, Martin Boatman (RS800) topped the MUSTO Speed Wall on corrected speed, and wins a MUSTO Aqua Top, great for the colder months. And the sailor topping the Speed Wall over the 2015/16 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series could win £500 of great MUSTO kit.
Photo © Tim Olin