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Weston Grand Slam set for champagne sailing at Easter

by Andy Rice 17 Apr 19:16 BST 20-21 April 2019
Weston Grand Slam © Weston Sailing Club

Online entry closes on Thursday evening for the Weston Grand Slam, the Great British Sailing Challenge event which takes place this Easter weekend. The forecast looks glorious, with sunny, moderate breezes in store for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Already a host of different craft have lined up for the three-day event, ranging in scope from the RS Aero and D-Zero to the Nacra Carbon 20 high-speed catamaran.

As part of the Great British Sailing Challenge, there are some small changes to the setup of what has already proven a very popular and successful event over the years. As a preview to the average lap handicap racing on the Saturday and Sunday, on Good Friday there is a chance to race against the clock in the Rooster Time Trials. Using GPS trackers provided by SailRacer, the race course will be open between 12.00 and 15.00, where you will be timed over as many laps as you wish to race, with the winner decided on the best average lap, adjusted to dynamic handicap according to the wind conditions experienced. Rooster have provided some great prizes for the top 3 and winners across GBSC divisions, with class prizes for those with three or more boats competing.

There is flexibility within the event for classes to run their own favoured format, and the Hadron singlehanders have opted for a one-day open meeting taking place on the Saturday only.

For the Saturday and Sunday, there will be three back-to-back races per day with the racing run under the tried-and-tested Great Lakes handicap numbers. Taking up the charge at the fast end of the fleet will be John Tuckwell from Bala Sailing Club, with other cat entries such as local sailor Jeremy Pilcher racing his Nacra 16 Solo Spi and another Weston entry, Jonathan and Sarah Batey in their Formula 18. Offshore veteran Nigel King will be out in his Phantom, taking on a wide range of hiking singlehanders including Peter Craggs' RS Aero 7 from York RI Sailing Club and Ian Morgan from Netley in his D-Zero. The Hadrons will be out in force for the class open on Saturday, with some looking to stay on for longer.

John Reynolds and Fran Howell's 4000 from Grafham Water should enjoy a good battle with the AltO doublehander sailed by Timothy Kift and Jo Wicken from Wilsonian Sailing Club, host of another Great British Sailing Challenge event later this summer. A trio of Challenger trimarans from Rutland will enjoy close battles with each other, Val Millward, Graham Hall and Jack Alderdice being well used to racing it out in busy handicap fleets at the Selden SailJuice Winter Series events.

With Rooster Sailing (www.roostersailing.com) providing the prizes for Good Friday, the local watersports specialist retailer Andark (andark.co.uk) are sponsoring the prizes on the Saturday and Sunday.

Camping will be free to visiting competitors who are welcome to camp and park their cars and boats in the large field adjacent to the club, overlooking Southampton Water. The camping field will be open from Friday morning until Sunday evening. The bar will be open during the day and on Friday and Saturday evenings. The galley will be open for breakfast, lunches and snacks. And everyone is welcome to attend the evening meal on Saturday night. Tickets can be booked and paid for (cash only) at registration.

For a great weekend's sailing over Easter, come and sail at the Weston Grand Slam. Online entry is open at www.sailingchallenge.org.

GBSC Calendar 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

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

Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
16 February 2019

King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club
16 & 17 March 2019

Weston Grand Slam
20 & 21 April 2019

Derwent Dambuster, Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club
11 & 12 May 2019

Wilsonian River Challenge, Wilsonian Sailing Club
1 & 2 June 2019

Bala Long Distance, Bala Sailing Club
22 & 23 June 2019

Mountbatten Centre, Plymouth
8 to 10 August 2019

Ullswater Ultimate, Ullswater Yacht Club
17 & 18 August 2019

Grand Finals, Rutland Sailing Club
28 & 29 September 2019

How do I get to the Grand Finals?

The Grand Finals of the GBSC are designed to celebrate the best of everything in small-boat racing in Great Britain. So there are many ways to qualify....

Finish in the top 10 of the travellers' series (based on your best three results)

Top qualifiers in a number of boat categories:

  • Fast Asymmetric
  • Fast Non-Asymmetric
  • Slow Asymmetric
  • Slow Non-Asymmetric
  • Multihull
  • Sportsboat
  • Best Improver
  • Most attended
  • Any boat valued at less than £1000
Top qualifiers in a number of age and other categories, for example:
  • Youth (Under 19)
  • Master (Over 60)
  • Female
  • Two Generations (two people sailing together, minimum age gap of 18 years - could be parent/child but not necessarily)
There will also be a number of 'wild card' invites available based on various criteria.

Hang on, but what even IS the Great British Sailing Challenge?

It's a series of handicap racing events that take place throughout the year, and it's open to pretty much any sail-powered craft. The Challenge involve events throughout the whole year, running large regattas at a variety of inland and open water venues. Competing sailors will earn ranking points from each event they compete in, with the top 100 sailors invited to a winner-takes-all-final at Rutland Water in September, a celebration to bring together the best British sailors of the year.

Who came up with the idea?

The idea comes from the organisers of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series which has been one of the big success stories of the past decade. Organised by Andy Rice of SailJuice.com (sailing journalist and marketer) and Simon Lovesey of SailRacer (event organiser and GPS tracking expert) has completed its 10th season.

www.sailingchallenge.org

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