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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Quick catch up with Seldén SailJuice Winter Series Draycote Dash winner, Ben McGrane

by Susannah Hart 16 Dec 2021 09:00 GMT
Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane win the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash 2021 © Tim Olin / www.olinphoto.co.uk

Having sailed various classes of dinghy since he was a child and achieving National and European championship wins, Ben McGrane moved into the 505 at the end of 2018.

We spoke to Ben following his recent win at the first event of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series, the Draycote Dash.

Have you sailed in the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series before?

"I've been sailing in winter events going back to youth sailing, the Grafham GP, Tiger Trophy, Bloody Mary and the Pompey Perisher in the late 90s. I'm keen to race all year round and the Seldén SailJuice events offer a different challenge. You have to generally bring it all together to win one of the events, and it keeps people racing in the off season."

With the Series attracting some very talented sailors, was there stiff competition this year at the Draycote Dash?

"I think with the way the handicaps have evolved there is less of a 'bandit' feel these days. Draycote was a mix of conditions and courses. We aimed to sail well against the other 505s and then you just have to see on the overall. Sunday was better for us with more wind, but the course was a real challenge to get a 505 around cleanly especially with 90 boats to pass."

What makes a winning boat?

"I think you have to have a well sorted package. Our 505 is made up of hull, foils, spar and sails, which are all proven winning designs within the class. I think with the competition level at these events now you have to be turning up with your boat in top condition using your best kit to challenge for the win."

What type of mast does your boat have?

"I use a Seldén Alto section which is a well proven and a successful section in the 505 class."

Why did you choose this mast?

"When we came into the 505, the current world champions were using the section so that helps, but also having good knowledge of the processes at Seldén, I was confident that should we bend or break our rig - or buy a new boat - we would be able to be confident about the mast being the same as the one we had last time, with the same bend characteristics."

What does the mast give you with regards to competitive performance?

"We know it is as fast as any other option on the market and at that point it becomes something we don't think about any more."

What do you think your chances are going to be in the next race of the Series?

"It will be interesting. The 505, as a class, is heavily developed towards racing on long windward-leeward courses in open water. These handicap events are round the cans and short legs, so it puts emphasis on sailing the boat in ways we don't normally, such as tight reaching, two-sail reaching, lots of corners and focus on getting back up to speed.

"Then finding clear wind while still going as best you can the right way is also a big challenge. All of this is why we will be there, to push ourselves in what isn't normal 505 racing. You then just have to come in and see how you have done when the results are calculated. Looking forward to it!"

View the Seldén Dinghy Class Data Sheet [PDF] for the 505.

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