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All set for a family affair at the Datchet Flyer

by Andy Rice 30 Nov 2018 16:08 GMT 8-9 December 2018
Selden SailJuice Winter Series Datchet Flyer on 8-9 December © Tim Olin /

Lots of different combinations of families are entered safely ahead of this Monday's midnight deadline for discounted entry to the Datchet Flyer. Round two of the Selden SailJuice Winter Series is set to take place on 8 & 9 December.

While water levels at the London reservoir took a hammering during the long, dry summer, the water has come back up again sufficiently for good racing next weekend. There are lots of familiar names already entered and a few new ones besides. To make sure you get the low price, you need to enter at before midnight this Monday.

A year ago Peter Gray, Rich Pepperdine and Simon Forbes raced their National 18 to victory in a winter wonderland, and they're back to defend the title in what looks to be a milder outing than 2017's frosty affair.

In its 10 years the Selden SailJuice Winter Series has established itself as the place to race pretty much all types of dinghy, which is why some of the lesser-seen classes like the National 18 like to take advantage of the close handicap competition. The Norfolk Punt is another example, with Colin and Oly Murray looking to follow up on a strong showing at round one of the Series in November, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash.

The Murray father-and-son duo from Ullswater Yacht Club are one of a growing number of examples of families looking to enjoy racing alongside and sometimes even against each other. Eden and Josh Hyland from Chasewater Sailing Club are set to battle it out for family bragging rights in their Blaze singlehanders. Then there's Alex and Bob Horlock from Exe Sailing Club racing their Comet Trio MK2 together, the father and daughter RS800 speedsters Ralph and Sophie Singleton, and Ben McGrane who steps out of Roger Gilbert's 505 from Draycote and into the family Merlin Rocket which he sails with his hard-hiking wife Roz.

In the Ospreys, Ben and Simon Hawkes have committed to racing in all seven events of the Selden SailJuice Winter Series and at Datchet the son-father combo will enjoy some close class competition from Warsash warrior Phil Meakins and Weymouth's Emma Stevenson and Tim Bowden.

This event is also the second in the brand new Great British Sailing Challenge. And as ever, there are competitions within the competition and here's the update after round one at Draycote.

Sailing Chandlery Top Class rankings

The RS Aero 7 class put up a strong showing at Selden SailJuice Winter Series #1 to head the Sailing Chandlery Top Class leaderboard, but they are hotly pursued by defending champions the Solo Class and the Blaze Class completing the podium.

Trident Top Club

Staunton Harold Sailing Club members were out in force at Draycote, topping the Trident Top Club rankings. Previous winners Burghfield SC were not far behind in second, with Netley completing the podium.

Youth Rankings

It was great to see new names and very young sailors competing at Draycote. Jamie Mason (Radial) from Blithfield was top youth taking three wins on extracted results. Series regular, Abigail Larr (Laser 4.7), Northampton took the other two races and second overall, with Lydia Barber (Radial), Blithfield not far behind in third.

GUL Top Ladies

Previous winners Eleanor Craig (Radial), Draycote, and Ann Jackson (Enterprise), Burghfield, enjoyed some very close racing to find the top lady. In the end Ann came out on top on extracted results, with Eleanor second and Emma Pearson (Cherub), Stokes Bay third, despite sitting out the non-discardable pursuit race.

SpeedSix Challenge

Kyle Stoneham (International Moth) topped the SpeedSix Speed Wall, seeing a sustained 14.7 knots, nearly 50% faster than the wind, with the Cherub of Emma Pearson and Nick Pearson second, and regular Speedsters the Singletons (RS800) in third. On an adjusted basis the Cherub moved to top spot, with the Challenger of Val Millward second, and RS600 champ Richard Smith completing the podium.

Here's a video review of round one at the Draycote Dash:

Please note that the 70-boat entry limit for Round 3 at the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey on 27 December has already been reached. To enter the remaining events, go to

The Events

The following events constitute the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series 2018/19:

  • Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
    17 & 18 November 2018

  • Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
    8 & 9 December 2018

  • Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
    27 December 2018

  • Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
    30 December 2018

  • Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club
    12 January 2019

  • John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
    2 & 3 February 2019

  • Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
    16 February 2019
You can find out more about the Series at

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