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Schooling’s Musto Skiff wins the King George Gallop

by Andy Rice 8 Jan 11:28 GMT 6 January 2018
First ever King George Gallop forms part of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

The King George Gallop was an eleventh-hour replacement for the Bloody Mary which went down well with competitors from around the country

Ben Schooling sailed his Musto Skiff to victory in the first ever edition of the King George Gallop, the fifth event in this season's GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series
. It was a cold northerly breeze of 10 knots, with the moderate breezes throwing possibilities wide open for who could win this pursuit race, a 2.5 hour trek around a 2.5 mile-lap course on King George Reservoir in North London.

For more than the first two hours of the race, Yana Skvortsova's Topper held the lead until the 15-year-old from Island Barn Reservoir was overtaken by a Wayfarer sailed by Andrew and Tom Wilson from Datchet Water.

The breeze built half way through the race and the SailRacer trackers were predicting that the fastest boats might pull through to the front, with Dan Holman and Graeme Oliver's International 14 hitting a sustained 11.44 knots boatspeed. However, the breeze started to drop in the dying stages of the race, which saw five laps of the course completed by the time Schooling was approaching the finish line.

Schooling is a past master of light and variable conditions, and the Stokes Bay sailor was systematically working his way through the slower boats. With ten minutes to go, the front of the race was in sight, with Schooling speeding past the Wilsons in their Wayfarer, travelling at over 50 per cent faster on the close reach at the end of lap four. By the finish Ben was 0.2 mile ahead of the second placed Wayfarer, who managed to hold off Andy Couch in his Phantom.

Given the large spread of boats at the finish, and the challenge of the asymmetrics gybing downwind compared to the more direct route taken by the symmetrical and non-spinnaker classes, the SailRacer trackers were able to produce accurate finishing positions.

Andrew Snell finished eighth in his K1 keelboat, a result good enough for him to retain the lead in the overall series, although Alistair Goodwin's Laser is up a place to second overall, and just three points off the lead.

It was brave of King George Sailing Club to take on a new event for the first time at short notice, but it went down very well with competitors. Regular series competitor James George, sailing a 420 with his son Harry, commented: "I think it was one of the most all-round welcoming and enjoyable events yet. Certainly the best I have sailed over the past year in terms of organisation and chilled out atmosphere."

Next event in the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series is the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, taking place at Rutland Sailing Club on 3-4 February.

Enter at: www.sailjuiceseries.com

King George Gallop results:

Overall Winner - Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff)
First Youth and Lady - Yana Skvortsova (Topper) - 13th
SpeedSix fastest sustained speed (unadjusted) - Dan Holman and Graeme Oliver (Int 14)
SpeedSix fastest sustained speed (adjusted) - Ben Schooling

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