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Selden 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Birds swoop to victory at Burghfield Breezer

by Andy Rice 29 Dec 2021 06:23 GMT 27 December 2021

Event #3 of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series was a brand new event, the Burghfield Breezer, the first edition of which has been won by an Enterprise sailed by husband and wife team, Nigel and Andy Bird...

Nigel and Andy Bird raced their Enterprise to victory at the first ever Burghfield Breezer, the third event of this season's Seldén SailJuice Winter Series.

Keen for the event to go ahead, the staff and volunteers at Burghfield Sailing Club near Reading were watching the news from Boris Johnson to see if restrictions would prevent the event from going ahead. With the British government imposing no further restrictions and everyone at the club remaining Covid-free, the Burghfield Breezer was able to go ahead.

It was also unseasonably temperate for the time of year, the mild conditions providing a warm welcome for the 66 boats entered for the one-day competition. The south-easterly breeze was pulsing between 7 and 14 knots, ready to offer a challenging but very sailable day.

As sailors arrived at the club, the drizzle had set in, but as race time approached, conditions improved. The fleet was split into three for the morning handicap race.

Conditions were a little tricky, with some big shifts and the odd gust coming down the lake.

In the fast fleet, the Osprey of Roger and James led the way hotly challenged by Tom Gillard and Rachael Gray in the Merlin Rocket. In the medium handicap, British Sailing Team member Sam Whaley in the RS Aero 7 led the way and overtook many slower fast boats.

In the slow fleet, the start was challenging with so many boats pushing for the best starts, but Jon Emmett in his ILCA 6 along with Nigel and Andy Bird in the Enterprise were setting the pace, followed by local OK sailor Deryck Lovegrove. After the results were calculated, Sam Whaley took the bullet.

The afternoon race was a 100-minute pursuit. The new timers (off and onshore) worked in sync to help those who had launched and those waiting. But it was a day of two halves. The wind shifted further south, and rather than building, the wind started to drop and was quite erratic in places. This suited the early starters, particularly the Enterprise with Nigel and Andy Bird holding a commanding lead over local Enterprise sailors Ann Jackson and Alan Skeens, with Chris Jennings in his Solo in third. The Merlin Rocket of Gillard and Gray was rapidly closing in, but not quite quick enough. For the rest of the fleet, it was almost as if someone had flipped the table with those securing good results in the first race having a challenging race two, and vice versa.

Overall, Nigel and Andy Bird took the top spot with a clear lead of 5 points over the Merlin of Gillard and Gray who handled the small lake well in one of the faster boats. In third was Sam Whaley in the RS Aero 7 and Chris Jennings' Solo in fourth. There were eight different classes in the top 10 overall.

The SailRacer GPS trackers clocked the fastest sustained speed of 6.5 knots from Mike Lyons' Blaze, while Ellie Craig's RS Aero 7 notched the fastest speed when adjusted to handicap, with an adjusted speed of 6.03 knots.

Well done to the race team in getting the races off promptly, the caterers for keeping everyone fed and refreshed, and the safety teams for their selfless service.

Watch Jon Emmett's interview with the high-flying Birds:

With concerns about Covid causing the postponement of the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey and Grafham Grand Prix, the next event on the schedule is the GJW Direct Bloody Mary on 8 January 2022.

To enter the remaining events in the Series, visit

The Events

The following events are in the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series 2021/22:

  • Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, Draycote Water SC
    20 & 21 November 2021

  • Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
    11 & 12 December 2021

  • POSTPONED - Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales SC
    27 December 2021

  • Burghfield Breezer, Burghfield Sailing Club
    27 December 2021

  • POSTPONED - Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club
    2 January 2022

  • Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club
    8 January 2022

  • King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club
    22 January 2022

  • John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
    5 & 6 February 2022

  • Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
    19 February 2022
You can find out more about the Series at

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