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Brass Monkey already stuffed before Christmas

by Andy Rice 22 Dec 2017 14:29 GMT 27 & 30 December 2017
The Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey takes place on 27th December © Tim Olin /

The third event in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey, sold out with two weeks to go, and there's a very mixed fleet of 100 dinghies set to contest a day's hot competition on the chill waters of Grimwith Reservoir on 27 December. Meanwhile, entry is filling up for the Grafham Grand Prix on 30 December, with more than 100 places already booked. You need to be fast to secure your spot before online entry closes at 8pm on Thursday 28 December.

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Among the capacity fleet of 100 entries are plenty of hot prospects looking to compete for handicap honours at the Brass Monkey, including past winners from Ullswater, Matty and James Lyons racing their 49er. While the Lyons are racing together, other siblings are pitted against each other, with the Holdens from Halifax, Tim and Ben, doing battle in Contenders. Local Yorkshire Dales sailors, Tim and Hector Simpson, are set to duel in their Finns.

Some are making the trip from the south to race in the north, including Hamilton and Alistair Roaf in their Graduate from Chipstead Sailing Club, and Brass Monkey regular from Stokes Bay, Richard Wadsworth racing is RS700. Other ones to watch include Mr Fireball himself, Dave Winder racing his boat with Ben Rayner against a fleet of fellow Fireballers, and Andy Couch, whose win at round one of the Series, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, has convinced a few other Phantoms out on to the water.

There's a big fleet of Laser Standards set to race, including a few Series stalwarts like Dan and Simon Wigmore from Grafham, Craig Williamson from Hayling Island and Eleanor Craig from Draycote in the Radial. If it's light, the RS200s could fare well, having won the past two editions of the Brass Monkey, and Andrew Snell's K1 keelboat was doing well in the light airs of the Datchet Flyer recently. That said, the long range forecast currently predicts strong westerly winds for next Wednesday.

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Other News from the Series...

King George Gallop steps in for cancelled Bloody Mary
Following the reluctant but necessary cancellation of the Bloody Mary due to low water levels at Queen Mary Sailing Club, King George Sailing Club in North London is to host a replacement event on 6 January 2018. The newly-titled King George Gallop, named after the famous horse race the King George VI Chase, becomes a temporary replacement for the Bloody Mary in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series.

GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series prizes and rankings
In addition to the overall top 10 rankings there are numerous other specialist awards and a chance for every one to win. Over 100 prizes were awarded across the series last winter.

Allen Performance Challenge
Based on analytics showing the best progression towards the front of the fleet in each race. At Datchet Steve Norbury (RS Aero 7 - Warsash SC) showed the best performance progression. After two rounds, Andrew Snell (K1 - ASA) tops the leader board, from young Hamilton Roaf (Graduate - Chipstead) and Colin Murray (Norfolk Punt - Ullswater YC).

Dinghy Rope Top Class
Based on the best three results for each class across every race, with Dinghy Rope vouchers up for grabs for sailors in the top three classes at the end of the Series. After GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series #2, the D-Zero class jump three places to top the rankings, with the Solo class holding onto second place and the Challenger class, jumping four to complete the podium.

Trident Top Club
Based on best three results for each club across every race, 2015-16 Winter Series Trident Top Club, Burghfield SC swapped places with Draycote Water SC to top the leader board. Netley SC, jumped four places to the complete the podium.

GUL Top Lady
Eleanor Craig (Radial - Draycote) and runner up last winter maintains top spot, with Val Millward (Challenger - Rutland) in second, tying on points with Emma Pearson (Byte CI - Weston)

Youth and Junior Rankings
It was great to see a strong youth contingent out at Datchet, helped by GJW Direct grants for those entering multiple events. At Datchet, Curtis McKay (Radial - Queensmead SC) was top youth and Leo Wilkinson (Topper - Datchet), best junior. For the overall youth ranking after GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series #2, Hamilton Roaf (Graduate - Chipstead SC) tops the leader board, from last years winner George Coles (Laser - Carsington) and Zoe Bazen (Fireball - Bowmoor SC) in third. Abigail Larr (Topper - Northampton SC) is best junior and 4th overall in youth and juniors.

SpeedSix Challenge
The top speeds recorded by the SailRacer GPS trackers at Datchet came from the 49er of Matty and James Lyons from Ullswater. For the SpeedSix Challenge rankings, based on the best sustained speeds adjusted to handicap across all races, the Vortex of Jonathan Carter leads the Norfolk Punt of Collin and Olly Murray, with Andrew Snell in the K1 third. The next SpeedSix round will be the King George Gallop.

The Events

The following regattas constitute the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2017/18):

  • Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
    18 & 19 November 2017

  • Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
    9 & 10 December 2017

  • Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
    27 December 2017

  • Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
    30 December 2017

  • King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club (replaces cancelled Bloody Mary)
    6 January 2018

  • John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
    3 & 4 February 2018

  • Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
    17 February 2018
You can find out more about the Series at

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