The penultimate event in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series heads to Rutland Water for the two-day Tiger Trophy in aid of the John Merricks Sailing Trust. Amongst those already entered for the 4th & 5th of February is Ian Walker MBE, winner of the last Volvo Ocean Race.
This week Walker is helming the multi-million dollar TP52 Interlodge at Quantum Key West Race Week in the warm, blue waters of the Florida Keys. He flies back home later this month to ready himself for a much tougher, colder challenge, when he takes the helm of an RS400 worth just a few thousand pounds.
Crewed by class veteran Keith Bedborough and representing Dalgety Bay Sailing Club, Walker returns to the event that was first won by his old friend, the late John Merricks. Those names Merricks and Walker become synonymous with Olympic dominance during the mid-nineties, as they won international event after event in the Men’s 470, and finished off their campaign with a hard-won silver medal at the 1996 Games in Savannah.
Walker hiked his way to another silver medal, this time with Mark Covell in the Star class at Sydney 2000. But that’s about the last time the veteran of three Volvo Ocean Races had to use his hiking legs, so the outing in an unfamiliar RS400 could be a rude awakening for the professional sailor who these days is more used to gripping a wheel than a tiller extension. On Saturday evening Walker will also be the guest speaker at the famous Tiger Dinner, where he will remind his fellow sailors of the great times he had racing against and alongside Jonny Merricks.
If you want to race against Ian Walker and the other top-class competition at Rutland Water in just over two weeks’ time, enter here: www.sailjuiceseries.com
Update on GJW SailJuice Winter Series rankings
After five rounds out of seven, the various rankings are starting to shape up, although with four events to count the results are still wide open with many sailors still in with a chance.
GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series Rankings
For the overall rankings, the Bloody Mary marked the first discard with four results to count for the Series. Winner of Round 1, Craig Williamson sailing a Laser held onto top spot. Musto Skiff sailor Ben Schooling moved up ten places to take second overall, Ben achieved 2nd overall in the 2013/14 Series, so will be looking to go one better this time. Andrew Snell in a Supernova, maintained his consistent form to jump one place to third overall. With two events to go, the top 10 is looking wide open.
Trident Top Club
No change for the top two in the Trident Top Club Rankings, with Carsington and Datchet maintaining their positions. Defending Champions, Burghfield Sailing Club are looking set for a late surge, jumping a place to third overall and reducing the points gap to Carsington at the top. Hayling Island Sailing Club achieved the best combined result for their top three boats at the Bloody Mary, to jump five places to sit sixth overall.
GUL Top Lady
The girls were out in force at the Bloody Mary, looking to take top spot in the GUL Lady Rankings. Ann Jackson in the Enterprise, made it back-to- back wins from the Grafham Grand Prix and the Bloody Mary. For overall GUL Lady rankings after Round 5, defending champion Eleanor Craig jumps two places to retake top spot. She pushes fellow Radial sailor Alice Woodings down to second and Jackie Craven in the RS Aero to third.
Harken Youth and Juniors
There was a big youth turnout at the Bloody Mary, including a 15-strong Topper fleet. It was 13-year-old Sam Jones, a Topper sailor from Hill Head Sailing Club, who headed the Harken Youth and Junior rankings, seeing off many older sailors. The Topper class made it a 1,2,3 with Leo Wilkinson and Bill Hudson completing the other podium positions. For the overall Harken Youth and Junior rankings after round 5, there is no change at the top, but Radial sailor Eleanor Craig is now tied on points with leader George Coles in his Laser, only losing out after the tie breaker has been applied.
Dinghy Rope Top Class Rankings
The Dinghy Rope Top Class Rankings after Round 5 sees little change at the top, although defending champions the Laser Class have closed the gap on the RS200s. After a strong showing at the Bloody Mary, the Enterprises jump up to sixth overall.
The Allen rankings calculates the improvements in relative corrected times of each sailor to the front of the fleet in each race. After round 4, Craig Williamson heads the overall rankings from RS Aero sailor, Jackie Craven, and fellow Laser sailor Greg Bartlett in third.
Again with light winds at Datchet, speeds recorded from the SailRacer GPS trackers were on the low side, so it was impressive to see the F18 and F16 cats getting into double figures and sailing quite a bit faster than the actual wind speed. On Saturday the F18 of William Sunnucks and Freddie White was the fastest boat on the water by some margin both on an actual and adjusted basis. On Sunday, it was the turn of the new Nacra 15 of Grant Piggott and Molly Desourgher to see the fastest actual speed recorded on the SailRacer GPS trackers. Jonathan Carter (Vortex) was fastest on adjusted speeds. Combining all the speeds across all races, it was Ben Schooling (Musto) who came out on top. All winning some great SpeedSix gear. Looking at the overall SpeedSix rankings (adjusted speeds) after 2 rounds of GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, Mark Barnes (B14) sits at the top from Ralph and Sophie Singleton (RS800) and the Comet Trio of Alex Horlock.
Grafham Grand Prix Video
Catch up with the official round-up after GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series #4 and update on all the rankings
Try a new Hadron H2 at GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series events
Hadron Dinghies have made available 2 of the new Hadron H2 single hander dinghies for use at GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series. Designer Keith Callaghan will bring these boats to the event and will provide shore support, including rigging and unrigging the boats.
Winter Cat Series
After Round 2 for the new GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Cat Series, Will Sunnocks maintains top spot, showing great pace in the F18 at Datchet and F16 at Grafham. Youth sailor William Smith swapped the F16 for a Spitfire at Grafham to sit in 2nd overall position. John Tuckwell completed the podium sailing a Hurricane SX at both events. The final round is the Tiger Trophy (Sunday) at Rutland.
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 © Paul Williamson