31 January 2011

Andrew Peake has closed the gap on series leaders in the SailJuice Global Warm-Up 2011, the Merlin Rocket of Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis. Peake scored two bullets in the asymmetric division at the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy at Northampton Sailing Club last Saturday. Two 3rd places gave Biggs and Hollis 4th overall in the doublehanders fleet, to add to their other consistent scores from the Grafham Grand Prix and Bloody Mary.

With all three events counting towards the series leaderboard at this stage, Biggs and Hollis lead with 29.08 points to Peake's 32.29. However when these two competitors discard the worst of their scores thus far, the Musto Skiff leads the Merlin by just over 4 points. In other words, there's nothing in it, and all to play for at the final of the four events this weekend, the John Merricks Tiger Trophy at Rutland Water.

Steve Nicholson Trophy
© Chris Weston / SailJuice.com

Biggs and Hollis won last year's Tiger Trophy, so they know their way around Rutland Water, and Peake will have to be on top form to topple the Merlin. Then again, there are others are waiting in the wings when the discard kicks in, notably Simon Childs's Phantom and Tom Stewart/ Rachel Williamson's National 12, both of whom have the ability to displace the Merlin and the Musto from the top of the tree if they finish high up the Rutland rankings.

With a record 172 boats competing at last weekend's Steve Nicholson Trophy, the asymmetric and non-asymmetric divisions took it in turns to race on the confined waters of Pitsford Reservoir. It's for weekends like this and the Grafham Grand Prix that the scoring formula devised by
SailRacer.co.uk comes into play, as SailRacer's Simon Lovesey explained: "Scores for each fleet are referenced and adjusted to the fleet that has the most number of entries across the whole Series, which up to this point was the Bloody Mary with 194 boats."

On the other hand, the Tiger Trophy pits all competitors against each other on the same leaderboard, with the whole fleet racing on Rutland Water at the same time. Looking at the long-range weather forecast, with big south-westerlies expected, the outcome of the SailJuice Global Warm-Up could yet be determined by who capsizes the least.

With the final prize-giving for the series set to take place at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace on the weekend of 5/6 March 2011, there are some great prizes being provided by: Rooster Sailing, Hyde Sails, Holt, RS Sailing, Laser Performance, YachtsandYachting.com and SailJuice.com

Provisional Top 10 Standings after three events

Pos       Class             HELM            POINTS

1     Merlin Rocket     Matt Biggs         29.08
2     Musto Skiff         Andrew Peake    32.29
3     Phantom            Andrew Wilde     103.46
4     Musto Skiff         Ian Martin          124.16
5     Merlin Rocket     Paul Hollis         135.45
6    Phantom          Andrew Gregory    213.28
7    Phantom          Simon Childs        213.61
8    National 12         Tom Stewart       217
9    Fireball            Chips Howarth       236.02
10    Lark               Stuart Hydon        236.15

For full results: www.sailracer.org/globalwarmup