After a weekend of lighter conditions at the previous two events of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, it looks like it's back to business as usual this Saturday for the Oxford Blue.
True to form for this ridiculously windy winter, the forecast suggests it's going to be a challenging south to south-westerly wind for the 110 boats entered thus far. If it does prove to be windy on Farmoor Reservoir, it will come in stark contrast to the previous editions which have been very light.
The Contenders showed their potential in the strong winds at the Datchet Flyer a couple of weeks ago, and will probably enjoy the square-course racing at Farmoor. As usual there is plenty of talent throughout the mixed handicap fleet, and a strong turnout in the D-Zero and RS Aero singlehanded classes, with this being the RS Aero Winter Championships. Top Moth sailor and former Laser Radial Youth World Champion Ben Paton will be up against Pete Barton and other leading lights in the RS Aeros.
The Series is attracting plenty of lesser-seen classes to events, and the Oxford Blue has brought in entries from boats such as the 29erXX, the K1, K6, and the National 18s who have made the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series their travellers' circuit for the cold half of the year.
After four events, it's an Oxford Sailing Club crew in a RS400, Grant Blake and Jessica Barker who lead the overall standings ahead of David Summerville in a D-Zero, with Paul Young and Emma Coleman 3rd overall in an Enterprise. Currently in 4th overall, Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe have only completed three of the four events so far. But another good score at one of the three remaining competitions will put the GP14 World Champions in good stead for the overall season victory.
There are a number of other battles going on throughout this Series, and here's a round-up of how things stand, now we're just past the half-way mark.
Battle of the Classes
No change for the Top 3 (D-Zero, Laser and RS200) but the gap between these has closed significantly even after the four latest races. Radials jump to 4th and Solos 5th.
Trident Top Club
Steady progress for the top 2, with Hill Head SC heading the Trident Top Club rankings and Burghfield SC in second. Staunton Harold SC jumps to 3rd after strong results at the Brass Monkey and Grafham Grand Prix.
GUL Top Lady
After strong performances at the Brass Monkey and Grafham Grand Prix, Eleanor Craig (Laser Radial) from Staunton Harold SC jumps to the top of the GUL Lady Rankings.
Harken Youth Trophy
Tom Southwell (D-Zero) from Hill Head SC, holds onto the top spot but after straight wins in the first two rounds, was pushed hard at Grafham with several other Youth sailors having strong performances. Eleanor Graig (Laser Radial) from Staunton Harold SC jumps to second spot and Nick Devereux (GP14) up to third.
MUSTO Speed Challenge
After a blistering adjusted speed of 15.3 kts at the Datchet Flyer, Ian Morgan (D-Zero) from Hill Head SC still tops the MUSTO Speed Wall.
With more than 110 boats already entered and a limit of 150 entries, it's worth entering soon. Just £20 per boat, online entry closes at 23:59 hours on Thursday night, 31 December 2015. Entries made in person after this time will attract a supplementary entry fee of £10. As with the Datchet Flyer, VRsport.tv will be there to capture the action on video, and live GPS tracking will be provided by SailRacer.
Photo © Tin Olin