12 September 2016

Entry opens in a few weeks for the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, which kicks off with the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash on the weekend of 19/20 November 2016. More details will be announced at the launch of this season's Series at the Southampton Boat Show this Friday, 16 September. Organisers Andy Rice (Sailjuice.com) and Simon Lovesey (Sailracer.co.uk) will be there at 1030am at the GJW Direct Insurance stand.

Now widely recognised as the definitive dinghy winter championship for the UK, previous winners of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series include multiple national and world champion Nick Craig who won two seasons with various crews in his Merlin Rocket, 2015 Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard who won the 2012/13 season, and GP14 World Champions Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe who are the current winter champions after a storming performance in the strong breeze of last winter.

Here are some more facts on the Series:


Last year’s GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series saw over 1,000 competitors taking part in 82 different racing classes. The Series has a massive online following each winter, with a big growth in mobile access. Last year attracted more than 36,000 unique users who totalled more than 107,000 visits to the Series website, www.SailJuiceSeries.com


Last year a number of classes scheduled the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series as a key part of their calendars, with SailRacer producing class specific extracted results.  Any class interested in their own Winter Series as part of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, please contactSimon.Lovesey@SailRacer.co.uk, with class prizes for any achieving 15+ entries.

Brass Monkey at Yorkshire Dales

© Tim Olin: the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey



The same seven events are back from last year’s Series. Once again, you must count your best four results from these seven events. Of course, you’re welcome to enter and compete in as many events as you like - all seven if you’re big enough to take on the challenge. This will give you more shots at getting a set of four good scores to put on the board. Christmas time was looking a bit congested in past years, and so the Oxford Blue has been moved back to February and is the final event in this year’s Series.


The following regattas constitute the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series 2016/2017:


Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club

Saturday 19 & Sunday 20 November 2016


Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club

Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 December 2016


Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

Tuesday 27 December 2016


Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club

Monday 2 January 2017


Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club 

Saturday 7 January 2017


John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club 

Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 February 2017


Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club 

Saturday 18 February 2017


Find out more at:


Handicap racing used to be dominated by ‘bandit classes’ which tended to hog the limelight and used to run away with the prizes more often than perhaps they should. Part of the aim of this Series is to iron out the imbalances and create fairer competition, rewarding the best sailors regardless of which class they are racing. It’s an imperfect science, but our Great Lakes group of handicapping experts have spent the past seven years analysing historic race data. Early on, the big swings in numbers were controversial, but the Great Lakes team have seen enough data to have a pretty good handle on the relative speeds of all the well established classes. The newer or rarer classes are trickier to handle, but the more a particular boat competes, the more accurately the number can be nailed down. We’re pretty happy, and proud, at how things have progressed with the handicapping Why? Because we’re seeing a far wider spread of classes taking individual race wins and overall regatta victories. 


SailRacer’s online entry system means you can enter anything from one through to all seven events and make a single payment, saving you time andguaranteeing your place in advance. A number of the events were oversubscribed last year, and we’re expecting the same again this year. Enter early!


However! Please note that each of the events has its own criteria for what kinds of boat and class are eligible. You are responsible for checking that you are eligible to compete at each of your preferred events in the Series before submitting your entry online. A broad rule of thumb: If you’re planning to race a monohull dinghy that’s as fast as or faster than a Topper, but no faster than a 49er (Big Rig), then you’re probably OK. International Moths, keelboats and multihulls should be careful because they are likely to be eligible for some, but not all, events in the Series.


As with last year, for some of the events SailRacer will be providing GPS Tracking, analysis and live updates from the race course for those wanting to follow the action in real time, and allow sailors to replay their races when they get home.


Thanks to generous support from Series sponsors, we have some great prizes for competitors and some classes too. The prize giving is scheduled for the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace in London on the weekend of 4/5 March 2017. We will look back at highlights from the series and interviews.  The 2016/17 season will see a number of special Prize Categories, including most travelled and top speeds.


Photo Credits: Tim Olin 


Previous winners of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series

2015/16 Ian Dobson & Andy Tunnicliffe (GP14)

2014/15 Nick Craig & various crews (Merlin Rocket)

2013/14 Michael Sims (Solo)

2012/13 Tom Gillard & Simon Potts (Fireball)

2011/12 Peter Gray & Rachael Rhodes (Scorpion)

2010/11 Andy Peake (Musto Skiff)

2009/10 Olly Turner & Richard Whitworth (Merlin Rocket)


Sailjuice Winter Series

© Tim Olin: Start at the Tiger Trophy at Rutland Sailing Club