Please select your home edition
Edition
GJW Direct - Multi Dinghy Insurance

Walker celebrates the memory of Merricks with victory at the Tiger

by Dick Sanders, David Wilkins and Andy Rice on 6 Feb 4-5 February 2017

Ian Walker celebrated the memory of his fellow Olympic silver medallist by winning the John Merricks Tiger Trophy at Rutland Sailing Club over the weekend of 4th & 5th February.

Walker, who competed with Merricks at the Atlanta Games in 1996, was racing an RS400 crewed by Keith Bedborough. Despite having done little dinghy sailing in recent years, Walker proved masterful in the light winds of Saturday to notch up scores of 2,1,2 in the 130-entry handicap fleet.

The Everards sponsored event is also the sixth in the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series and it was the usual high-calibre of entries which included past or present world and national champions in many different classes. Multiple national and world champion Ian Pinnell sailed his 505 to fourth overall crewed by Norman Byrd, while just behind him was Solo national champion and former winner of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, Michael Sims.

However, the split between the fast and slow handicap fleets and the square course in light airs really seemed to suit the RS400s, with Russ and Penny Clark winning the third race and placing third overall, a place in front of RS400 national champions Paul and Mark Oakey. The only boat to spoil the 400 party was Phil Meakins' and Andrew Eggett's Osprey which finished second overall.

As it turned out, Saturday would be the only day of racing as Sunday dawned to dense fog and very little wind. So the Pursuit Race didn't take place and Walker and Bedborough's overnight lead turned into overall victory. It had been a few years since Walker had managed to get to the Tiger Trophy, an event he always likes to attend whenever his professional sailing schedule permits, because he's one of the co-founders of the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST).

The Trust provides starter boats through the RYA ONBoard scheme to young sailors just starting on their career as Tony Everard did for John back in the mid 1990s.The Leicester brewers, continue to support the regatta and the Tiger Dinner with Tiger beer and prizes and all entrants were included in this years social on Saturday night with 200 sitting down to bangers and mash.

Walker was guest of honour and he spoke about his memories of John and the progress of the JMST in his capacity as trustee. He also recounted his experience of three Volvo Ocean Race campaigns and his initial reluctant role as skipper which ultimately led to his winning the 2015 race. He spoke about the importance of his early enjoyment of sailing in many different boats as helm and crew and finished by explaining how he ended up at this year's Tiger, helming an RS400.

The demographics of the Tiger have changed since its domination by young sailors and this was clearly demonstrated by the runner-up, Phil Meakins who won the Shere Khan Trophy for the first helm over 60 and also benefited from the receipt of a Musto Abu Dhabi Volvo HPX dry top, won by a non-sailor at the auction following Ian's address the night before and gifted to whoever came 2nd. Nearly £1000 was raised from the auction.

The new youth trophy went to the RS200 team of Chay Taylor and Niamh Davies from Burnham SC in 11th.Jack Lewis and Charlie Bacon (420 Draycote SC) won the under 16 Junior Trophy and the first lady, winning the Lady Tiger Trophy was another Youth, Eleanor Craig (Radial Draycote SC).

Next year will be the 25th Tiger and plans are being prepared to encourage more young sailors to participate in this Rutland Challenge on the level playing field that is Rutland Water. Everyone who has taken part over the last quarter century will be invited. The seventh and final event of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series is the Oxford Blue at Farmoor Reservoir on 18 February.

The following regattas constitute the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2016/2017:

Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 November 2016

Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December 2016

Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
Tuesday 27 December 2016

Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
Monday 2 January 2017

Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club
Saturday 7 January 2017

John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 February 2017

Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
Saturday 18 February 2017

Find out more at www.SailJuiceSeries.com

Related Articles

Williamson out to defend his title
At the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash A year ago Craig Williamson steered his Laser to victory in the opening event of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash. He'll be up against some stiff competition if he's to hold on to the title... Posted on 17 Nov
Leigh & Lowton Revett Series day 1
Winter series runs through to December It wasn't a day for the feint hearted as a bright but cold day and a gusty north westerly breeze greeted competitors for the first weekend of Leigh & Lowton Sailing Clubs Revett series which started on the 12th November. Posted on 14 Nov
Beat the Last Minute Rush
For the Draycote Dash - GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series opener Entry closes this Sunday, 12th November, for the opening event of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash (and there's NO entry on the day, so get your skates on!). Posted on 9 Nov
Contender Inlands at Rutland
Final event of the UK Travellers Series The final event of the UK Travellers Series took place on the weekend of the 28th and 29th October at Rutland Sailing Club, which also included the Contender Inland Championship. Posted on 6 Nov
Osprey Final Fling at Rutland
A roller coaster of an event Partly due to the forecast a smaller than normal sized Osprey fleet attended, however for the 13 brave teams that did attend, Rutland delivered a roller coaster of an event. Posted on 30 Oct
4000 Inlands at Rutland
Regulars, newcomers and returners Yet again Rutland served up champagne conditions for the final series event of the year, with 11 boats attending including regulars, newcomers and returners to the fleet. Posted on 26 Oct
Contenders last stand
Inlands at Rutland on 28-29 October Yes, it's that time again. 2017 has flown past, with the Contender TT Series starting way back in March at Burton Water Sailing Club. Since then we have visited a number of sailing clubs up and down the UK. Posted on 19 Oct
Early entries rolling in
For the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2017/18 It's still more than a month away to the first event of this winter's big handicap racing series, but advance online entry is open and sailors are signing up early to guarantee their place on the water... Posted on 15 Oct
RS400 Inlands at Grafham Water
A healthy entry of 37 boats On Saturday 7th October, 37 RS400s arrived for their annual pilgrimage to Grafham Water Sailing Club for the 2017 Inland Championship which was the penultimate event of the RS400 Magic Marine Championship Tour. Posted on 11 Oct
National Squib Inlands at Rutland
A fine entry of 37 boats A fine entry of 37 Squibs travelled to Rutland on the weekend of 7 & 8 October for their Inland National Championship. Saturday dawned grey and forbidding but thankfully with a great, if somewhat chilly, shifty, force 4 breeze from the west. Posted on 10 Oct