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Murrays' punt wins the hunt in round 1 of the Great British Sailing Challenge

by Andy Rice 23 Nov 2018 09:34 GMT 17 November 2018
Colin and Oly Murray's Norfolk Punt wins the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash - round 1 of the Great British Sailing Challenge © Tim Olin /

Medals went to division winners of round one of the Great British Sailing Challenge last weekend, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash

Ben Schooling might have won round one of the Selden SailJuice Winter Series last weekend, but the Musto Skiff sailor was beaten into first place in his division of the Great British Sailing Challenge (GBSC). In the Fast Asymmetrics, it was the father and son duo from Ullswater Yacht Club, Colin and Oly Murray who won the gold medal in their Norfolk Punt, relegating Schooling to second place overall.

While the Selden SailJuice Winter Series is scored conventionally using the Great Lakes Handicap numbers, taking your best results from all races and discarding your worst, the GBSC scoring is done completely differently. Devised by Simon Lovesey of SailRacer who was running the GPS tracking at the weekend, the scoring for the GBSC relies on Dynamic Handicapping. "Perhaps the best way of describing it is as a 'Flying Lap', where we take each boat's best single performance around the race course. Whereas normal PY handicapping such as the RYA or the Great Lakes is a measure of time on time, we're taking a measure of time on distance. And whereas conventional results are based on your performance across the weekend, we're taking your best performance in an individual race, a bit like your best lap when Formula One drivers are trying to qualify for pole position on the starting grid."

This perhaps explains why Schooling was able to dominate the weekend with an outstandingly consistent performance - with the exception of his discarded result - while the other Musto Skiffs were unable to match the winner's consistency. Andrew Stickland was 17th out of 111 boats, yet finished just one place behind Schooling in the Fast Asymmetric category of the GBSC scoring. His individual race performance was almost as good as Schooling's.

Aside from the Murrays, other division winners were Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane in the 505 (Fast Non-asymmetric), Jasper Barnham and Serena de Nahlik in the 2000 (Slow Asymmetric) and Tom Gillard (Slow Non-asymmetric). Top of the Youth category was Jamie Mason sailing a Laser Radial. While the term 'Non-asymmetric' is a bit of a mouthful, it's currently the least worst way the GBSC organisers can think of for describing boats that sail straight angles downwind. Co-organiser Andy Rice commented: "The aim is to distinguish the two fundamentally different ways that boats sail downwind - the big gybing angles of the gennaker boats like the Musto Skiff and the 2000 for example, compared with the GP14s and 505s with symmetrical spinnakers which mostly sail more down the rhumb line downwind, along with the single-sailed single-handers such as the Solos and Lasers."

Aside from the headline story of the Murrays beating Ben Schooling, there many similarities between the results from the Selden SailJuice Winter Series and the GBSC 'flying lap' scoring. Lovesey attributes this to a couple of factors: "Firstly, Draycote produced some fairly consistent medium airs sailing on the weekend, which is why we saw the Great Lakes numbers produce 17 different classes in the top 20. Where the GBSC will start to look different from the standard results is when we're looking at both extremes of the wind range. But the other thing to bear in mind is that in these early stages we have only limited data to work off, so the GBSC algorithm is pegged closely to the Great Lakes and the proven numbers in that system. As we gather more data and build more confidence in the new system, the numbers will start to reflect that more strongly."

The next event in the Selden SailJuice Winter Series and the GBSC is the Datchet Flyer coming up on 8 & 9 December.

Medal winners in round 1 - Fast Asymmetric:

1 Colin MURRAY/ Oly MURRAY Norfolk Punt RMSC RNSA
2 Ben SCHOOLING Musto Skiff Helensburgh SC
3 Andrew STICKLAND Musto Skiff Thorpe Bay YC

Medal winners in round 1 - Fast Non-Asymmetric:

1 Roger GILBERT/ Ben MCGRANE 505 Netley SC
2 Peter GRAY/ Simon FORBES/Sam JONES National 18 Staunton Harold SC
3 Sam METTAM/ Tim SAUNDERS Fireball Papercourt SC

Medal winners in round 1 - Slow Asymmetric:

1 Jasper BARNHAM/ Serena DE NAHLIK 2000 Snettisham Beach SC
3 Stephen COCKERILL/ Sarah COCKERILL RS400 Stokes Bay SC

Medal winners in round 1 - Slow Non-Asymmetric:

1 Tom GILLARD Solo Sheffield Viking SC
2 Tim HAND Solo Swarkestone SC
3 Lawrence CREASER/ Maciek MATYJASZCZUK GP14 Hayling Island SC

Medal winners in round 1 - Youth:

1 Jamie MASON Laser Radial Blithfield SC
2 Abigail LARR Laser 4.7 Northampton SC
3 Lydia BARBER Laser Radial Blithfield SC