The record 184 advance entries for the Grafham Grand Prix are set to contest the fourth event in the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series in cold but sunny northerly breezes on 2 January 2017. See Andy Rice's event review.
Among the 52 classes from 98 clubs are many of the leading lights in the UK sailing scene. For example winners of the previous two events in the Series, Matt Mee and Emma Norris, will have to be at the top of their game when they race against fellow RS200 entrants and Grafham locals, Ben Saxton and Izzy Hamilton. Saxton represented GBR at Rio 2016 in the Nacra 17 and successfully defended the Endeavour Trophy in the autumn. The all-time Endeavour record holder, Nick Craig, is racing with Alex Adams in a hot fleet of Merlin Rockets.
This event also marks the second outing for the inaugural Winter Cat Series, and the dinghy sailors will get a chance to see Neil Klabe put an A-Class singlehander through its paces. William Smith and Abi Clarke will be dueling with Grant Piggott and James Stacey in a Spitfire dog fight, while Will Sunnucks and Megan Smith take on Tony Stokes and Sam Curtis in Formula 16s.
The GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series is open to all kinds of dinghies including the little-known Hadron singlehander, with two demo boats being raced by Richard Burton and Michael Iszatt. Another recent entrant to the singlehander scene, the D-Zero, now boasts a fleet of 20 at the Grafham Grand Prix.
Meanwhile, here’s a round-up of the story so far after three events of the Series…
Results GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series Overall Rankings
Round 1 winner, Craig Williamson (Laser) jumps back to top spot after three rounds. Richard Pryke (Enterprise) jumps five places to 2nd overall, and Greg Bartlett (Laser) is up seven places to complete the podium. The Laser class currently have four boats in the top 10, but with four events to go and four to qualify, the rankings are still wide open.
Allen Best Improver
Based on the trend of corrected times and SailRacer GPS data (when available), compared to the top 10 in each race to see who is making the most improvement across each event. For the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series #3, Colin Mather (Solo), from Ripon Sailing Club showed the most improvement, with Rob Larke and Andy Tarboton (49er), from Netley Sailing Club in 2nd, and Steve Dawson (Phantom), from Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club in third place.
Dinghy Rope Top Class
The Laser class continue their defence of the title for Top Class, and make it three rounds at the top. But the RS200 Class are making big gains, up two places to 2nd overall and only 15 points (0.09%) behind the Lasers. The Musto Skiff class jumps two places to complete the podium.
GUL Top Lady
It was great to see so many ladies out at the Yorkshire Dales. Emma Clayton and Faye Caswell (RS200) toped the GUL Top Lady rankings for the Brass Monkey, achieving a fantastic 10th in the open results. For the overall GUL Top Lady Rankings across the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, Eleanor Craig (Radial) returns to the top spot as she defends her title. Alice Woodings (Radial) and Jackie Craven (RS Aero 7) both jump up a place to complete the podium in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Harken Youth and Juniors
The youth sailors were out in force at the Brass Monkey. Sam Platt (GP14) with the Lasers of Haydn Griffiths and Henry Rastrick, all tied on equal points at the top of the rankings based on extracted Harken Youth results, with the GP14 taking 1st place on count back. In the overall Harken Youth Rankings for the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, Radial sailor Eleanor Craig holds top spot with George Coles (Laser) in second ahead of another Radial sailor, Thomas Woodings.
Trident Top Club
Carsington Sailing Club jumped two places to take the top spot, with Datchet Water maintaining second place and defending champions Burghfield up one place to third.
To find out more, and see all the results so far, go to www.sailjuiceseries.com
The following regattas constitute the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2016/2017:
Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 November 2016
Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December 2016
Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
Tuesday 27 December 2016
Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
Monday 2 January 2017
Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club
Saturday 7 January 2017
John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 February 2017
Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
Saturday 18 February 2017
Photo © Tim Olin