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Make sure your class is represented at the GBSC Grand Final

by Andy Rice 20 Sep 2019 12:23 BST 28-29 September 2019
Bala Long Distance Race 2019 in the Great British Sailing Challenge © Tim Olin /

The Grand Final of the Great British Sailing Challenge has already attracted an entry of more than 50 top-flight boats to this brand new event which takes place at Rutland Sailing Club on 28 & 29 September. However, there are still some big classes yet to get their names on the list, so find out how to make sure your favourite kind of boat is there on the start line. And there are some spots up for grabs for Endeavour Trophy competitors....

With more than 50 accomplished teams or individuals lining up for the inaugural Grand Final of the Great British Sailing Challenge, winning this event for the first time will be no straightforward task. Last season, for example, the 2000 sailed by Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge managed to prevail in the hotly contested Selden SailJuice Winter Series. Will they manage to come out on top at Rutland Water on 28 & 29 September, in this conclusion to the first ever season of the GBSC?

After their phenomenal first season in the 505, beating some of the great legends of the fleet, Penny and Russ Clark will be out to show what they can do in a mixed handicap fleet.

With Olympic silver medallist Dave Wilkins as PRO, the competitors know the racing will be run to the same high level as the John Merricks Tiger Trophy which takes place on these same waters in early February.

On the Saturday evening, competitors will be invited to make an 'Elevator Pitch' for their class, a 20-second sell to convince others "why you should join my fleet". There will be a prize for the Elevator Pitch that is the most convincing, with voting on social media. Then there's an early evening meal and a discussion around "The future of dinghy racing in the UK", where GBSC organisers Andy Rice and Simon Lovesey will host a Q&A and invite competitors to throw in their ideas and examples of best practice that they've witnessed over recent seasons. Everything about the GBSC is aimed at making Great Britain's already strong racing scene even better and stronger for the coming years.

As an invitation-only event, and with an entry limit of 100 boats, this is not open to everybody. However there are some gaps in the entry list to be filled, with the aim of making the GBSC Final as representative as possible with the breadth and diversity of small boat racing. The event also serves as the Y&Y Battle of the Classes which previously took place during the Southampton Boat Show.

If you want to make your case for inclusion in the Final, then please contact Simon Lovesey with a brief CV of your achievements in your chosen class. For example, a top 10 finish at a recent national, European or World Championship, would be good, but if you feel you've got a strong case on other grounds or achievements, then let Simon know by emailing him at:

Here's a list of some of the bigger classes that have yet to be represented, but you're welcome to apply even if you class isn't on here. Check the list of current entries here:

Classes yet to be entered:
Merlin Rocket
Flying Fifteen
Sprint 15
International Moth
International 14

Remember: even if your class isn't on this list, check the entry list to get your fleet represented

With the Endeavour Trophy following hot on the heels of the GBSC Final, when 30 national champions will be fighting for class glory in a fleet of RS200s, the GBSC also invites a maximum of five entrants to this year's Endeavour Trophy to compete at the GBSC Final. For those who need all the familiarisation time possible in the RS200, competing at Rutland could prove a useful warm-up opportunity amid hot competition. Again, email Simon Lovesey, and the five Endeavour places will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Results will be scored using the Great Lakes version of the PY handicap numbers, and other prizes will be awarded based on performance measured by the SailRacer trackers.

Great Britain's most prolific dinghy photographer Tim Olin will be there to capture all the action, and there will be live updates of the racing during the weekend.

More than 750 sailors have competed in the qualifying events during the season, and now it all comes down to the Final at Rutland.

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 (sailing journalist and marketer) and Simon Lovesey of SailRacer (event organiser and GPS tracking expert) has completed its 10th season.

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