Dobson and Tunnicliffe win Sailjuice Winter Series

The seventh edition of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series came down to a battle of dinghy world champions, with GP14 World Champs Ian Dobson and Andy Tunnicliffe getting the better of Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard, who campaigned over the winter with Andy Couch in a 505.

We’ve seen many extreme conditions during past seasons of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, but never have we witnessed a winter as consistently windy as in 2015/16. The opening day of the first event of the Series, the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, set the tone for the rest of the Series. With gusts in excess of 35 knots, Draycote was a war of attrition that took out even some of the big names including last year’s Series winner Nick Craig, whose hi-tech rigging on his Merlin Rocket mast gave way in the big breeze.

That first weekend proved to be a ding-dong between Dobson and Gillard, with Gillard overtaking the GP14 in the Sunday pursuit race to win Draycote and become the first of five Series leaders during the course of the seven-event, three-month competition.

Going into the final event, the Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Ben Schooling was leading the Series after some exceptional boat handling in his Musto Skiff at previous events including the Oxford Dash which he won. But the big breeze at Rutland proved too much even for Schooling. And so it came back to a renewal of that Draycote battle between Gillard and Dobson, with Dobson again sailing his GP14 incredibly effectively in the strong winds to finish 6th at Rutland, just one place behind Gillard’s Five-Oh. That was good enough to give Dobson and Tunnicliffe overall victory this season, making the GP14 the sixth dinghy class to win the overall prize in seven seasons of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series.

Harken Youth Trophy

It was also success for the GP14s next generation with Nick Devereux winning the Youth Trophy. With two bullets at the start of the Series and managing to hold onto to his lead to the final round, it looked like D-Zero sailor Tom Southwell from Hill Head would lift the inaugural Harken Youth Trophy. However, Nick Devereux (GP14) and Edward Higson (Laser) both mounted late challenges to take 1st and 2nd places respectively, knocking the D-Zero sailor into 3rd. Fifteen year old Eleanor Craig (Radial) took the under-16 prize and 4th overall in the youth class.

Pictures and results can be found in the Yachts and Yachting write up.

Does this make Dobson and Tunnicliffe the favourite’s for Barbados?! Get your¬†predictions in to win a bottle of Barbados rum in the sweepstake.

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