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Goodwin to celebrate season victory at the RYA Dinghy Show

by Andy Rice 26 Feb 20:14 GMT 3 March 2018

Alistair Goodwin has become the first sailor to win the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series in a Laser singlehander. Over the nine editions of the Series, eight different types of boat have won, with only the Merlin Rocket winning twice.

This season's Series was the closest fought yet, with four different types of singlehander in with a serious chance of winning. Andy Couch was unable to attend the Oxford Blue in his Phantom, leaving it to three other contenders to fight it out in the seventh and final event.

Nerves appeared to show in the first race in light winds at Farmoor Reservoir, with Goodwin, Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) and Andrew Snell (K1) all scoring their worst scores in the opening race. Series leader going into the event and winner of the pre-event online poll to predict the winner, Goodwin got into his stride to rattle off two bullets to win the Oxford Blue and overall Series. Once the overall rankings had been calculated, it was clear that this was the closest Series ever, with less than 9 points separating the top three. Goodwin is the first Laser sailor to win and one of the youngest.

Goodwin is from Haversham Sailing Club near Milton Keynes, where he has sailed since he took up the sport at the age of 10. He started out in Picos but soon moved into the Laser 4.7 and worked his way up through the different size rigs. "I was in the youth squad for a couple of years and I did spend some time training alongside the senior squad but recently I got a job and am going to focus on full-time work for a while," said Goodwin, who is now working at a health clinic helping people with losing weight and increasing fitness.

Fellow Laser sailor Craig Williamson has come close to winning the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series in recent seasons but Goodwin is the first to actually get the win. He felt that this season's predominantly light winds were a factor in his success. "Oxford was just about right for the Laser and that helped me out," he said. "Andrew Snell has proved he can be really fast in the K1 keelboat in really light winds, but it was just windy enough to get hiking in the Laser and get the boat moving. But if there had been more breeze, then Ben Schooling would have been a threat in the Musto Skiff."

Goodwin says all the starting during the seven events of the Series helps make him race sharp for the start of the spring season in the Laser events. "It's pretty busy on some of the start lines and often you're up against boats that are faster than you, but if there's a line bias I tend to get stuck in and try to get a good start from the favoured end. After that, it's about sailing clean and fast and trying to keep your air clear as much as possible. In handicap racing you're always racing against the clock, so you can never relax for a moment."

Snell, who led for much of the Series, finished up very close on points to Goodwin but had to settle for the runner-up spot in his K1 keelboat while Schooling came third, an impressive result in a season which really didn't suit the Musto Skiff particularly well. First doublehanded sailors in fourth overall were Phil Meakins and Tommo Tomson in an Osprey.

Here's a wrap-up of other competitions within the Series...

Dynamic Handicap Rankings
Based on dynamic handicaps that automatically adjust using SailRacer GPS data for each leg and various performance parameters calculated for each class and then compared to historic data. In the light conditions experienced at Oxford, Alistair Goodwin (Laser) came out top for results based on standard handicaps and dynamic ones. Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) moved up to second on dynamic rankings, with the system calculating a more representative light weather handicap. The Solo of Lawrence Creaser was third. For the overall rankings across the SailRacer tracked events, Alistair Goodwin (Laser) was 1st, Andrew Snell (K1) 2nd and Ian Morgan (D-Zero) 3rd.

Youth and Juniors
We saw a big youth contingent out for the final round of the 2017/18 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series. The RS Aero sailors dominated the youths at the Oxford Blue, with Roscoe Martin (RS Aero 7) winning from Liam Willis (RS Aero 9) and Chris Hatton (RS Aero 9) in third. For the overall rankings, defending youth champion, George Coles (Laser) managed to hold onto to his title despite not sailing in the final round. George Sunderland (Radial) moved up to second place and top junior, with Hamilton Roaf (Graduate) completing the podium for youth rankings and second junior.

SpeedSix Challenge
Light winds were the order of the day at the Oxford Blue, with race 2 seeing the best breeze and speeds recorded on the SailRacer GPS trackers. Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) achieved the best speed, recording a sustained 10.56 kts in Race 2. On an adjusted and cumulative basis across all three races, Ben was also fastest with Jonathan Carter (Vortex) in second. For the overall Series Ben Schooling (Musto Skiff) jumps to top spot after a very consistent performance, Jonathan Carter (Vortex) with previous speed winners Ralph and Sophie Singleton (RS800) finishing in second. After leading the SpeedSix rankings for most of the Series Jonathan Carter dropped to third overall.

Allen Performance Challenge
Sean Thijsse (Musto Skiff) showed the best improvement and progression towards the front of the fleet at Oxford across the three races. For the overall Allen rankings at the end of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, Richard Botting who has sailed six of the seven events jumps to the top, with Colin and Oly Murray (Norfolk Punt) in second and Ian Morgan (D-Zero) 3rd.

Trident Top Club
Rutland managed to hold on to top spot and scoop the Trident Top Club Award for the first time. Defending champions, Datchet had a strong showing at Oxford, and jumped three places to end the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series in 2nd spot, with 2015/16 Champions, Burghfield dropping to third overall.

GUL Top Lady
There was a close tussle for top lady at Oxford, with Rachael Rhodes and Hannah Edge (Scorpion) winning out on extracted results ahead of Jessica Berney (National 18), swapping places on actual results across all boats in 30th and 29th places respectively. For the overall GUL Top Lady rankings, Emma Stevenson (Osprey) managed to hold onto top spot, with defending champion Eleanor Craig (Radial) in second and Val Millward (Challenger) in third.

Dinghy Rope Top Class
Defending Champions, the Laser Class put up a strong fight to try to overhaul the Solos who have led the Dinghy Rope Top Class rankings for the last few rounds. With both classes seeing two boats in the top ten at the Oxford Blue, the points were very close, but with several other Solos delivering top 20 results, the class was able to hold onto top spot and crowned Dinghy Rope Top Class for 2017/18 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series.

GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series Prize Giving
RYA Dinghy Show (Sat 3rd March - 10.30)

The official prizegiving takes place on Saturday 3rd March at the RYA Dinghy Show. Series organisers Andy Rice and Simon Lovesey will present the highlights from this Winter, with a vast array of prizes to be awarded across the numerous categories. Andy and Simon will be on the stand from 1015am on Saturday soon after the doors open, ready for the prizegiving which will start promptly at 1030am. It takes place at the Class Association Stage, which you can find by heading in the direction of the big organ. Book your RYA Dinghy Show tickets now.

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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