The GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series kicks off with the Draycote Dash on the weekend of 24/25 November 2012.

Here are some facts on the Series:


Never heard of this Series before? For the past three years it has been known as the SailJuice Global Warm-Up, incorporating some of the UK’s best-known dinghy handicap classic events. Now, with the support of new title sponsor - GJW Direct Insurance - we’ve changed the name of the Series, but the principal goals remain the same: to get sailors from many different classes out racing during the winter, and to find out who’s the best handicap racer in the country. In last year’s Series, the events attracted more than 600 boats from 92 different classes, emphasising the importance of handicap racing in the UK.

Glen Wallis from GJW Direct commented: “The GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series attracts the keenest sailors to come together from across the country and compete in a huge range of different classes. The big handicap events are a real focal point of winter sailing and we’re delighted to be supporting the Series this year.”


The Brass Monkey at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club makes its debut in the Series, the first event we’ve had in the North of England. For the South, there’s the Bloody Mary, and then four dotted around the middle of the country - the Draycote Dash, the Grafham Grand Prix, the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy and the John Merricks Tiger Trophy. This season you must count your best four results from these six events, although your score from the Tiger Trophy is non-discardable. Why? Because it’s the final event in the Series and we want to see a head-to-head showdown between the leading contenders for the Series. You can still put a full series together without attending the Tiger Trophy, but your chances of winning will be massively reduced. On the other hand, for those mad/brave enough to take on the whole Series, you have the chance to improve on your worst score by competing in all six events.


  • Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club - Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th November 2012
  • Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club - Thursday 27th December 2012
  • Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club  -  Sunday 30th December 2012
  • Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club - Saturday 12th January 2013
  • Steve Nicholson Trophy, Northampton Sailing Club - Saturday 26th January 2013
  • John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club - Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd February 2013


Historically, handicap racing has had its ‘bandit classes’ which run away with the prizes more often than perhaps they should. Part of the aim of this Series is to iron out the imbalances and create fairer competition, rewarding the best sailors regardless of which class they are racing. It’s an imperfect science, but our Great Lakes group of handicapping experts have been hard at work analysing historic race data and there are more changes to handicap numbers this year, although fewer big changes than last year. From the dominance of the ‘handicap bandits’ - those classes that were cleaning up a couple of years ago and long before that - in early 2012 we saw a much wider spread of winners from a much greater range of classes at last year’s events. We aim to see this trend continue through this winter season.


SailRacer has done the number crunching to calculate the points scores for the past couple of years of the Series, and this year Simon Lovesey and this team are running the online entry process for all six events, as well as introducing new sponsors to the Series. SailRacer’s online entry system means you can enter anything from one through to all six events and make a single payment, saving you time and guaranteeing your place in advance. Some of the events were oversubscribed last year, and we’re expecting the same again this year.


However! Please note that each of the events has its own criteria for what kinds of boat and class are eligible. Please note that you are responsible for checking that you are eligible to compete at each of your preferred events in the Series before submitting your entry online. A broad rule of thumb: If you’re planning to race a monohull dinghy that’s as fast or faster than a Topper, but no faster than a 49er (Big Rig), then you’re probably OK. International Moths, keelboats and multihulls should be careful because they are likely to be eligible for some, but not all, events in the Series.

GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series starts with Draycote Dash
© Malcolm Lewin Photography: DSix big events in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2012/13


Thanks to generous support from Series sponsors, once again we have some great prizes for competitors, but also for spectators. For the sailors, of course the top three will get their rewards but we like to honour people from the top to the bottom of the results for having the sheer guts and perseverance to venture out into the depths of winter. And the same goes for spectators and volunteers who help run these events, so we’re offering prizes for the best media contributions, whether they be photos via Flickr, videos through YouTube, or tweeting or blogging through the Series Facebook page. Some classes have adopted the Series as their own class winter travellers’ series, and we welcome and encourage this. For the class that does the best promotion of the Series, there's the chance to win an OverBoard waterproof bag for your tech (mobile, camera or iPad) - great for live reporting at your events .

In addition to title sponsor GJW Direct Insurance (, the UK’s largest direct boat insurer, our silver-level sponsors are:

Gul - Experts in Performance Apparel

Trident - The Dinghy & Yacht Shop on the Web

Overboard - The Leaders in Waterproof Bags & Cases

and we also have prizes from one of the Series’ longest-standing supporters: Holt, renowned for their dinghy and catamaran marine hardware.

SailRacer will be present at the Dash for live reporting of all the action, so you can follow the racing from home. But of course, if you are planning to go to the Draycote Dash...


Enter the Series here:

Two reasons to enter sooner than later:

1. Early entrants get put into a prize draw. The first draw takes place before the Draycote Dash, with other ‘early entry’ prize draws being held before Christmas. The earlier you enter, the more chances you give yourself. Prizes include Gul winter gear to keep you warm and subscriptions.

2. Even more important, some of last season’s events were oversubscribed well in advance of the day. Enter online and enter early to guarantee your spot.

Enter the Series here:

The website will tell you more about the events in the Series, more about the Great Lakes handicapping process, and we’ll keep you updated on everything else you need to know.