John Merricks Tiger Trophy - Fireball beats fleet of 210

John Merricks Tiger Trophy 2013
Paul Williamson
At the John Merricks Tiger Trophy, fifth event of the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, Ian Dobson and Sam Brearey have sailed their Fireball to victory. A fourth place in Sunday’s no-discard pursuit race was good enough to give the Fireball sailors victory over a fleet of 210 boats.

Brearey is the reigning Fireball World Champion, having crewed for Tom Gillard at the 2012 Worlds in Australia. And it was his fellow World Champion Gillard who won the pursuit race crewed by Simon Potts, a good finish to their Tiger weekend but with only one result in the top 10 from the Saturday’s three handicap races, they weren’t consistent enough to challenge for the overall prize.

Tiger - 2013 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series
Paul Manning

The Saturday had been 420 weather, with gusts up to 30 knots. But Sunday’s pursuit race was a little lighter, gusting up to 20 knots but mainly in the 10 to 15 knot range for the majority of the race. Overnight leaders Craig Dibb and Matt Wallis failed to replicate the strong-wind form from Saturday, the leading 420 sailors getting a 12th in the pursuit race to slip to third overall. Sandwiched between the winning Fireball and the 420 was the runner-up, a 29er sailed by Matt Venables and Will Alloway.

For a long time Mark Hartley and Anonymous Crew led the pursuit race in their Wayfarer, but were eventually overhauled by Gillard’s Fireball and a 49er steered by World silver medallist Rick Peacock and Nick Murray. Hartley’s Wayfarer was the only non-trapeze boat to make the top 10, coming 10th behind a quartet of 420s.

John Merricks Tiger Trophy 2013 start
Martin Hollingshead

John Merricks Tiger Trophy 2013 - Slow handicap start
Paul Manning


For full results from the Tiger Trophy 2013, click here

This weekend’s event was set to be the finale of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series, and as such was made a non-discardable event from the best-four-of-six series. But the snow and poor conditions of late January forced the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy to be postponed until Saturday 23 February.

While entry for the Steve Nicholson Trophy was filled up well in advance, the rescheduling of the event has meant not all the original entrants will be able to make the 23 February event. So if you still want to get in on the action, further entries will become exclusively available at SailJuice Series. Online entries will reopen on Tuesday 5 February and will be allocated strictly on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

John Merricks Tiger Trophy 2013 winner Paul Manning
Paul Manning

The Series incorporates these six big winter events, with competitors counting their best four scores, one of which must be the concluding event, the Tiger Trophy:

- Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club - Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November 2012
- Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club - Thursday 27th December 2012
- Grafham Grand Prix, Grafham Water Sailing Club - Sunday 30th December 2012
- Bloody Mary, Queen Mary Sailing Club - Saturday 12th January 2013
- John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club - Saturday second and Sunday 3rd February 2013
- Steve Nicholson Trophy, Northampton Sailing Club - Saturday 26th January 2013 re-scheduled for Saturday 23rd February 2013