|Draycote Dash||24/25 Nov|
|Brass Monkey||27 Dec|
|Grafham Grand Prix||30 Dec|
|Bloody Mary||12 Jan|
|Steve Nicholson||23 Feb (re-scheduled)|
|Tiger Trophy||2/3 Feb|
The strong wind trend of the GJW SailJuice Winter Series set to continue at Rutland Water.
Strong winds have been the theme of the 2012/13 season of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, and strong winds is what the current pre-entry of more than 160 boats are likely to experience this weekend at Rutland Water.
It’s the 20th anniversary of the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, the annual winter handicap event held in memory of the Olympic silver medallist who won the inaugural event at his home club, and who was renowned as a speed demon in strong winds.
A cold, strong northerly breeze on Saturday, followed by a strong westerly on Sunday is the kind of forecast that will appeal to Fireball World Champions Tom Gillard and Simon Potts, who tore up the track at the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey a few weeks ago at Christmas time.
The wind should also suit overall SailJuice Series leader Pete Nelson in his RS600. But there is plenty of other talent scattered throughout the handicap fleet, with Endeavour Trophy winners Ben Saxton and Alan Roberts teaming up to compete in a hot Merlin Rocket fleet. Last year’s Tiger winners Tom Jeffcoate and Tom Pygall are back to see if they can do it again in their Scorpion, although the conditions look a good deal stronger this year than the light-wind drifter that concluded the pursuit race in 2012.
On the Saturday evening is the Tiger Trophy dinner where guests will be entertained by Rod Carr and his stories of managing last year’s Olympic Regatta, his time in charge of the RYA and as Olympic Team manager in 1980s and 1990s, during which time he witnessed John Merricks and Ian Walker win their 470 silver medal and a teenaged Ben Ainslie win his first gong.
This weekend’s event was set to be the finale of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, and as such was made a non-discardable event from the best-four-of-six series. But with the snow and poor conditions having forced the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy to be postponed until Saturday 23 February, we may have to wait a while longer to see if anyone can topple Peter Nelson from the top of the standings, a position he has held since last November’s opening event, the Draycote Dash.
While entry for the Steve Nicholson Trophy was filled up well in advance, the rescheduling of the event has meant not all the original entrants will be able to make the 23 February event. So if you still want to get in on the action, further entries will become exclusively available at www.SailJuiceSeries.com. Online entries will reopen on Tuesday 5 February and will be allocated strictly on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Meanwhile, if you can’t make it to Rutland this weekend, you can follow all the action live, thanks to Simon Lovesey of SailRacer who will be writing blow-by-blow live updates throughout the racing. Follow the action online at: www.sailjuiceseries.com
Top 10 after four events of GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series
RS600 - PETER NELSON
SOLO - MICHAEL SIMS
LASER - CRAIG WILLIAMSON
PHANTOM - SIMON HAWKES
PHANTOM - ANDY COUCH
FIREBALL - THOMAS GILLARD
ENTERPRISE - MARK LUNN
MERLIN ROCKET - MATT BIGGS
OSPREY - MIKE PICKERING
LASER 2000 - MATT SARGENT