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Tiger Trophy finale to GJW Sailjuice Winter Series looms

by Suzy Hamel 20 Jan 2015 11:18 GMT 31 January - 1 February 2015

The Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy is looming as large as the storms battling the UK. Held a weekend earlier than the traditional first weekend of February, on 31st Jan and 1st February. This year sees it again as the culmination of the series that sorts the men from the boys in winter sailing, the GJW Sailjuice Winter Series.

Awards galore and the long-running tradition of the Tiger Dinner on Saturday night, this year's event promises to be as hard fought as ever, both between competitors and the elements.

Last year saw the first home club winners in the 21 year history of the event, which was established in 1994, before being dedicated to raising money for the John Merricks Sailing Trust in 1998. Ed Connellan and Will Alloway in a 29er brought youth back to the event, helping Rutland Sailing Club win the newly presented Tiger Club trophy for the best Club performance overall.

Primary sponsors, Everards Brewery will once again provide ample evening refreshment, which perfectly compliments the traditional black tie, Bangers and Mash extravaganza that has become the mainstay social event of the darkest month of the year for hardy dinghy sailors.

Everards connection to both the Tiger Trophy and John Merricks began many years ago when the then Chairman, Tony Everard, provided funding and support to John to further his career by providing him with a 420, after seeing his dedication, sportsmanship and "can do" attitude through his Mirror sailing.

After winning world championships in the 470 class and an Olympic Silver medal in 1996, John was tragically killed in a freak car accident in 1997. John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), the charity set up in John's memory, continues to provide support to deserving individuals, clubs and youth organisations that have demonstrated their commitment to sailing and financial need. Last year the JMST, as the official charity of the RYA's OnBoard program, donated 6 Toppers, 3 Optimists, 3 Bic Techno's and 1 Laser to 13 youngsters selected from over 70 applications after competing in the RYA Zone and Home Country Championships. This was the 2nd year of a five year programme designed to offer these young sailors new boats for 2 years exclusive use, after which the boats return to the sailors original OnBoard club.

Rutland Sailing Club are proud to welcome one of the first recipients of an award from the JMST as the evening speaker for the Tiger Dinner. Nick Bubb, who is now a Trustee of the JMST, received support for his fledgling Mini Transat campaign in 2003 before progressing to race in the Volvo Ocean race, Route du Rhum, Transat Jacques Vabre and a whole host of other ocean classics including the non-stop around the world, Oryx Quest on a maxi-cat. In early 2013, Nick skippered the Shackleton Epic Expedition, crossing the Southern Ocean in a 23 foot wooden boat using only vintage equipment. Nick now spend his time promoting the wildlife charity Fauna & Flora International.

The Tiger Trophy is one of the main fund raising events for the Trust where up to 250 top sailors from around the country come together to do battle on Rutland Water. The standard format will be retained, with three handicap races on Saturday and the Tiger Trophy pursuit race on the Sunday, which is non-discardable. It is certainly an event that requires commitment and an immunity to the cold.

So will the world's greatest amateur dinghy sailor and "UK Sailor of the Year", Nick Craig step up to the plate and wrap up the GJW Sailjuice Winter Series at the Tiger Trophy? Or will it be a final event showdown. Only time will tell.

Enter via the GJW Sailjuice Winter Series website and book your ticket for the dinner at registration.

www.tiger-trophy.com

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