Please select your home edition
Noble Marine 2019 - Leaderboard

Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Chris Gandy 25 Nov 2013 10:58 GMT 23-24 November 2013

Text book sailing from Schooling at The Dash

Ben Schooling races his Musto Skiff to victory at the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash

Datchet Water's Ben Schooling raced his Musto Skiff to victory in the 2013 Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, the first event of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series.

After a slow start in the first race, Schooling hit form - counting a third and two firsts from Saturday's round of four trapezoid course handicap races. A third in the pursuit race was enough to seal the victory.

Sailed in a light northerly breeze all weekend, 96 boats competed, with classes ranging from a Topper to the RS800s.

With a few people late to the start in the first race, the fast and medium fleets got away cleanly. The slow fleet were over-keen and a general recall followed. With the wind dying off during the first lap, two Solos snuck through for a second lap and as the breeze returned they capitalised to take first and second.

The second race was won by the RS400 of Robert Gullan and Jack Holder of the Royal Southern Yacht club.

Due to a wind shift, race officer Tom Vian and his team quickly reset the course to get the final races of the day away before the wind and light disappeared. Races three and four were won by the event winner, Ben Schooling.

Sunday dawned marginally warmer with a slight increase in breeze for the 120 minute pursuit race. The course set was an epic trip around the lake, ensuring no corner remained unvisited. Tom Smith in a Topper led the entire first lap but was eventually caught by the Miracles of Sam Mettam/Harry Jones and Jeremy Davy/Ethan Plank. Positions were tight right through the fleet and the race was eventually won by the Scorpion of Peter Gray and Rachael Rhodes from Staunton Harold Sailing Club. With just minutes to go, the yellow spinnaker of Ben Schooling appeared behind the leading bunch although the leading Scorpion and Solo who were having their own downwind tussle just managed to hold on to finish in front.

On being asked the secret to his success at Draycote, Ben Schooling offered five observations about his performance:

  1. I've had a lot of practice this year in those conditions 4-14kts and since the Europeans my boat handling is pretty sharp. The Inlands the weekend before had been similar, if a little lighter.

  2. The Musto is able to get planing in relatively light breeze, before most other more conventional dinghies so I was able to use this to my advantage off starts to break into clean breeze early.

  3. Keeping my nose clean when passing other boats. It pays to give slower boats a wide berth when overtaking where at all possible. Cutting it too close can lead to luffing and other adverse tactics so I just try to avoid confrontation – going low of the rhumb line on reaches and climbing up to the mark at the end.

  4. The majority of the gains are made downwind so I was really trying to make the most of these sections, especially in the pursuit race, to make up ground.

  5. Having other competitive Musto Skiffs around also helped. I had a good battle with Sam Barker (recent Inland champion) and Ian Martin and we kept pushing each other round the course.

Draycote Water would like to thank their event sponsors Fernhurst Books for supporting the event and providing some very nice and worthwhile prizes. We hope the winners enjoy their new reading material! The next event in the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series is the Datchet Flyer on 14 & 15 December.

Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash: (top six)

1st – Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff 487) Datchet Water Sailing Club
2nd – Michael Sims (Solo 5302) Carsington
3rd – Tom Gillard (Solo 5469) Sheffield Viking/Northampton
4th – Peter Gray/Rachael Rhodes (Scorpion 2022) Staunton Harold
5th – Alan Johnson/Paula Fisher (Enterprise 19876) SCYC & SSC
6th – Craig Williamson (Laser 200906) Staunton Harold

For full results visit and to enter other events in the Series visit

Related Articles

McPherson & Lewis blast to Bloody Mary glory
420 victory in 5th leg of this season's Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series Dylan McPherson and Jack Lewis followed in the footsteps of some great names to sail their 420 to victory at last weekend's GJW Direct Bloody Mary, the fifth leg of this season's Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series. Posted on 14 Jan
A breezy Bloody Mary in store for Saturday
Almost 250 boats entered for the GJW Direct Bloody Mary Almost 250 boats entered for the GJW Direct Bloody Mary this Saturday, with online entry closing at midnight on Wednesday... Posted on 7 Jan
Four Grand Prix in a row for White's F18
Grafham Grand Prix hits its 200-boat entry limit Spread across three race courses, for the second year running the Grafham Grand Prix hits its 200-boat entry limit, with victories for the Formula 18, D-Zero and 2000 classes... Posted on 30 Dec 2019
Murrays mint another Monkey
Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series Round 3 at Yorkshire Dales Colin and Oly Murray sail their Norfolk Punt to another victory in a light airs Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey while this Sunday's Grafham Grand Prix has already hit its 200-entry limit... Posted on 29 Dec 2019
A soft Monkey and a stiff Grand Prix?
Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series continues after Christmas Entry for the the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey this Friday is already maxed out at 100, while this Sunday's Grafham Grand Prix is rapidly hitting its 200-entry limit... Posted on 25 Dec 2019
Podcast: An extraordinary 10 years of sailing
Andy Rice, Mark Jardine and James Boyd discuss the sailing decade In the last podcast before Christmas, Andy Rice joins with fellow sailing journalist James Boyd and Mark Jardine, managing editor of and to look back on an extraordinary 10 years of sailing. Posted on 21 Dec 2019
The Top 10 Biggest Sailing Stories of 2019: Part 2
Andy Rice and Mark Jardine discuss the most popular stories Intro paragraph to go here...In the second and concluding part of the Top 10 biggest stories of 2019, the list from 5 to 1 looks like more familiar territory (compared with some of the wild and wacky revelations in Part 1). Posted on 17 Dec 2019
The Top 10 Biggest Sailing Stories of 2019: Part 1
Quite a few surprises and interlopers in this elite group of stories... Following on from last year's round-up of the Top 10 big stories in the sailing world, Mark Jardine shares the most-read stories in 2019 from and Posted on 13 Dec 2019
Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series Datchet Flyer
Barton races Aero 7 to victory Pete Barton wins round 2 of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series against a maximum capacity fleet of 100 at Datchet Water... Posted on 9 Dec 2019
Datchet Flyer maxed out at 100 entries
Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series Round 2 Round 2 of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series was booked out by the start of the week, and there's a huge range of boats entered, from the Albacore to the Yachting World Dayboat... Posted on 6 Dec 2019