Big benefit from handicap dinghy series

Published on February 26th, 2018

The simple brilliance of a smartly organized handicap dinghy series of seven events throughout the United Kingdom attracted 347 entrants and their wide array of boats for the 9th annual GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series.

With events from November to February, surviving the UK conditions and triumphant overall was Alistair Goodwin who became the first sailor to win in a Laser singlehander. Over the history of the Series, eight different types of boat have won, with only the Merlin Rocket winning twice.

Dinghy handicap racing provides an opportunity for boats to compete when they otherwise may not have the numbers for class racing, while classes with better numbers benefit from big fleet racing but can have sub divisions amid the overall ranking. For both, it offers something completely different.

For Goodwin, he’s attracted by the extra practice and the uniqueness of the format.

“It’s pretty busy on some of the start lines and often you’re up against boats that are faster than you, but if there’s a line bias I tend to get stuck in and try to get a good start from the favored end.

“After that, it’s about sailing clean and fast and trying to keep your air clear as much as possible. In handicap racing you’re always racing against the clock, so you can never relax for a moment.”

To further popularize the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, the Prize Giving occurs at the RYA Dinghy Show in London on March 3. Amid the show activity, crowds assemble as Series organizers Andy Rice and Simon Lovesey present the highlights along with a vast array of prizes awarded across the numerous categories.

Here’s a wrap-up of other competitions within the Series…

Dynamic Handicap Rankings
Based on dynamic handicaps that automatically adjust using SailRacer GPS data for each leg and various performance parameters calculated for each class and then compared to historic data. In the light conditions experienced at Oxford, Alistair Goodwin (Laser) came out top for results based on standard handicaps and dynamic ones. Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) moved up to second on dynamic rankings, with the system calculating a more representative light weather handicap. The Solo of Lawrence Creaser was third. For the overall rankings across the SailRacer tracked events, Alistair Goodwin (Laser) was 1st, Andrew Snell (K1) 2nd and Ian Morgan (D-Zero) 3rd.

Youth and Juniors
We saw a big youth contingent out for the final round of the 2017/18 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series. The RS Aero sailors dominated the youths at the Oxford Blue, with Roscoe Martin (RS Aero 7) winning from Liam Willis (RS Aero 9) and Chris Hatton (RS Aero 9) in third. For the overall rankings, defending youth champion, George Coles (Laser) managed to hold onto to his title despite not sailing in the final round. George Sunderland (Radial) moved up to second place and top junior, with Hamilton Roaf (Graduate) completing the podium for youth rankings and second junior.

SpeedSix Challenge
Light winds were the order of the day at the Oxford Blue, with race 2 seeing the best breeze and speeds recorded on the SailRacer GPS trackers. Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) achieved the best speed, recording a sustained 10.56 kts in Race 2. On an adjusted and cumulative basis across all three races, Ben was also fastest with Jonathan Carter (Vortex) in second. For the overall Series Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) jumps to top spot after a very consistent performance, Jonathan Carter (Vortex) with previous speed winners Ralph and Sophie Singleton (RS800) finishing in second. After leading the SpeedSix rankings for most of the Series Jonathan Carter dropped to third overall.

Allen Performance Challenge
Sean Thijsse (Musto Skiff) showed the best improvement and progression towards the front of the fleet at Oxford across the three races. For the overall Allen rankings at the end of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, Richard Botting who has sailed six of the seven events jumps to the top, with Colin and Oly Murray (Norfolk Punt) in second and Ian Morgan (D-Zero) 3rd.

Trident Top Club
Rutland managed to hold on to top spot and scoop the Trident Top Club Award for the first time. Defending champions, Datchet had a strong showing at Oxford, and jumped three places to end the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series in 2nd spot, with 2015/16 Champions, Burghfield dropping to third overall.

GUL Top Lady
There was a close tussle for top lady at Oxford, with Rachael Rhodes and Hannah Edge (Scorpion) winning out on extracted results ahead of Jessica Berney (National 18), swapping places on actual results across all boats in 30th and 29th places respectively. For the overall GUL Top Lady rankings, Emma Stevenson (Osprey) managed to hold onto top spot, with defending champion Eleanor Craig (Radial) in second and Val Millward (Challenger) in third.

Dinghy Rope Top Class
Defending Champions, the Laser Class put up a strong fight to try to overhaul the Solos who have led the Dinghy Rope Top Class rankings for the last few rounds. With both classes seeing two boats in the top ten at the Oxford Blue, the points were very close, but with several other Solos delivering top 20 results, the class was able to hold onto top spot and crowned Dinghy Rope Top Class for 2017/18 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series.

GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2017-18:
November 18-19, 2017 – Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
December 9-10, 2017 – Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
December 27, 2017 – Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
December 30, 2017 – Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
January 6, 2018 – King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club (replaces cancelled Bloody Mary)
February 3-4, 2018 – John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
February 17, 2018 – Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club

Additional details: www.SailJuiceSeries.com

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