Please select your home edition
Rooster 2020 - Impact BA - 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

Henry Bomby accelerates keelboat learning curve
Lack of time is always the biggest enemy for an ambitious sailor Lack of time is always the biggest enemy for an ambitious sailor. Which is why Olympic aspirant Henry Bomby is using every trick and tactic at his disposal in speeding up the learning curve. Posted on 29 Jun
That elusive final 1% of boatspeed
Andy Rice discusses how to get it with dedicated professional sailor, Henry Bomby How much time and money would you put into finding that last, elusive 1% per cent of boatspeed? How much for a new set of sails, for example? Posted on 11 Jun
Mark Jardine joins Andy Rice for Sailjuice Podcast
Could the Corona Effect send the Vendee Globe stratospheric? Mark Jardine joins with Andy Rice to see how the sailing world is coping in the virtual world forced by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. While most events are suffering, could the Vendee Globe actually profit from the circumstances that we're facing? Posted on 29 Apr
Sailing adjusts to a Coronavirus world
Andy Rice & Mark Jardine discuss worldwide sailing events Andy Rice & Mark Jardine discuss a rapidly changing world held in the grip of coronavirus, and celebrate the fact that the 18ft skiffs still competed on Sydney Harbour for the JJ Giltinan Trophy. Posted on 20 Mar
What's it like after 8 weeks of self-isolation?
Andy Rice talks to Choni Lin who is 'crawling up the walls' in Shenzhen Andy Rice talks to Choni Lin who is 'crawling up the walls' after two months of self-isolation in Shenzhen, the tech capital of China. Posted on 18 Mar
Coronavirus didn't kill the Dinghy Show
Mark Jardine and Andy Rice discuss the show and the Sydney SailGP Mark Jardine from and joins Andy Rice to look back on their favourite bits of an RYA Dinghy Show in North London. Posted on 6 Mar
Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series overall
Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge have become the first ever repeat winners Seldén SailJuice Winter Series Prize Giving at RYA Dinghy Show (Sat 29 February 10.15am) Posted on 21 Feb
Dennis the Menace says No to the Oxford Blue
The dreaded arrival of Storm Dennis has forced the cancellation of the Oxford Blue Following fast on the tail of Storm Ciara, this weekend's heinous forecast and the dreaded arrival of Storm Dennis has forced the cancellation of the Oxford Blue, what would have been the final event of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series... Posted on 13 Feb
John Merricks Tiger Trophy 2020
Marsden and McGovern defend their title in fierce conditions Neil Marsden and Jonny McGovern put the 420 hammer down to beat an entry of 148 in nuclear winds at Rutland Water's Tiger Trophy, seventh event of the Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series... Posted on 4 Feb
Mild and breezy forecast for the Tiger Trophy
There's already a good line-up of 420s for this weekend's event at Rutland With online entry about to close, there are more than 110 boat entered for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, the sixth event in this season's Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series. The 15 to 18 knot forecast could be good for the trapeze boats. Posted on 29 Jan