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Jon Emmett hikes his Radial to victory at the King George Gallop

by Andy Rice 28 Jan 08:10 GMT 26 January 2020
Jon Emmett wins the King George Gallop 2020 © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

A diverse range of conditions delivered some diverse results at the King George Gallop on Sunday 26 January, but it was Jon Emmett who raced his Laser Radial to victory at event No.6 of this season's Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series.

Sailing in conditions gusting from 10 to 20 knots around a 2.3 mile course on King George Reservoir in North London, the Weir Wood sailor won the first two races on handicap and was able to discard a fifth in the third and final race of a frenetic afternoon.

The variable conditions produced good performances from different ends of the boatspeed range, with Datchet Water's Stuart Jones trapezing his Contender to second overall, beating the 420 of first female and youth finisher in the event, Megan Ferguson crewed by Ethan Davey. The Frensham Pond duo started poorly with a 24th, improved to a fourth in the next race and then finished off the day with a bullet in race three.

While the podium finishers held a few points gap over the rest of the fleet, just three points separated places fourth to ninth, with Antonio Pascali's Topper beating defending Seldén Sailjuice Winter Series champions Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge's 2000 by a point for fourth and fifth overall respectively.

The Gallop is the newest event in the Series, this year attracting a total entry of 73 boats out of a maximum 80 slots. The Series now moves from the confines of the relatively small King George Reservoir to the broader expanse of Rutland Water next weekend for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy. Already there are more than 100 entries including Dave Hall and Paul Constable whose Fireball has made an appearance at the event since it began more than 20 years ago. Favourites among the Fireballs will be reigning World Champions and former Tiger winners Ian Dobson and Richard Wagstaff. Last year's winners at Rutland Neil Marsden and Jonny McGovern will be competing in a 470.

There's a whole range of boats competing, from the 2.4m sit-in keelboat along with the K1 and K6s, some Challenger trimarans, a smattering of catamarans and a whole host of hiking and trapezing monohulls up to an SB20 sportsboat.

The Tiger Trophy is also a celebration of the memory of John Merricks, the winner of the first Tiger Trophy before he went on to win an Olympic silver at the 1996 Games with Ian Walker in a 470. The Tiger Dinner takes place again this year at RSC starting about 7pm on Saturday evening.

The cost is £10 if booked online beforehand on www.sailjuiceseries.com, or you can order from the RSC office before Saturday (01780 720292). It is £12 if booked on Saturday. The menu will be John's favourite of Bangers & Mash with Peas and Onion Gravy. Sausages will be usual Lincolnshire or if preferred, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free sausages - please specify your requirements. This is followed by apple crumble and custard and cream.

Either before or during the dinner, there will be a "Experts Q&A" session compered by Ian Walker. A number of top sailors at the event will be open to questions and share some of their experiences and advice on how to improve performance and results. So bring any questions you want to ask.

Online entry is open until 9am Thursday at: www.sailjuiceseries.com

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