|Draycote Dash||23/24 Nov|
|Datchet Flyer||14/15 Dec|
|Brass Monkey - resail||18 Jan|
|Grafham Grand Prix||29 Dec|
|Oxford Blue||4 Jan|
|Bloody Mary||11 Jan|
|Steve Nicholson||25 Jan|
|Tiger Trophy||1/2 Feb|
Different winners at each event and increased participation shows the winter formula is working
The fifth edition of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series was the biggest yet, and delivered one of the closest finishes. In the end Michael Sims did just enough in his Solo to fend off the Musto Skiff of Ben Schooling. Nathan Batchelor and James Clark’s Fireball closed the gap on the front two by capitalising on good Fireball breeze at the final event of the eight in the Series, the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, but not quite enough to displace the two singlehanders.
At the prizegiving on the main stage of the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show, Sims picked up the crystal trophy presented by Mike Pope, executive chairman of GJW Direct, and was delighted with his solid performance throughout one of the wettest and windiest British winters on record.
In total there were more than 50 prizewinners, most of whom are listed on SailJuiceSeries.com here:
The Series attracted a total of 835 boats from 95 different classes, and produced some very close racing, thanks to excellent race management and some increasingly accurate PY handicap numbers which are created out of some close and detailed analysis by the Great Lakes Group. After the prizegiving at Alexandra Palace, Great Lakes chairman Andrew Craig, Commodore of Queen Mary Sailing Club, met with representatives from other clubs in the series and hammered out the numbers for next winter’s Series.
“In the first year we met, some of the numbers moved by an enormous amount, in some cases more than 50 points,” said Craig. “Each year the movements have become smaller and at this year’s meeting the biggest change for any of the established classes was just 10 points. We’re very pleased to see the numbers working so well for the events in the Series, and that some large flat water venue sailing clubs are adopting the numbers for their own club racing. Also, the RYA PY national numbers are in most cases moving in the same direction as the Great Lakes numbers, which is perhaps a reflection of the growing number of electronic returns the RYA is now receiving from sailing clubs running similar racing.”
Simon Lovesey, whose company SailRacer manages the online entry and results service, saw some interesting statistics from the Series. “We had different classes winning each of the events, with 64 boats completing four or more events this year, compared with 39 last year. The top 20 saw 14 different classes with every part of the handicap range represented from 800 to 1200 PY.”
Andy Rice, who set up the Series five years ago, said the team would analyse what went well and what could be done better for next year before announcing the line-up for next season. “We changed a lot of things for the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series just finished, including the addition of brand new events, and trialling live GPS tracking for the first time in winter handicap events. I think pretty much everything we tried worked out well, but the Series is always changing one way or another as we seek to deliver what we believe sailors want from their winter handicap racing. Two of the most important measures are: how many boats are we attracting, and how close is the racing? Participation increases year by year, and the growing accuracy of the Great Lakes numbers is producing every tighter racing, so I’m pleased with progress but always looking for more!”
In addition to title sponsor GJW Direct Insurance (www.gjwdirect.co.uk/dinghy), the UK’s largest direct boat insurer,
the silver-level sponsors are:
Gul - Experts in Performance Apparel http://www.gul.com/
Trident - The Dinghy & Yacht Shop on the Web http://www.tridentuk.com/
Overboard - The Leaders in Waterproof Bags & Cases http://www.over-board.co.uk/
Holt, renowned for their dinghy and catamaran marine hardware. http://holt.eu
Overall Results from the Series here: