Following the conclusion of the Selden SailJuice Winter Series, the Great British Sailing Challenge moves to north London for the King George Gallop on 16 & 17 March....
The King George Gallop is set to open a whole summer season of handicap competition in the Great British Sailing Challenge when the North London sailing club hosts its event on 16 & 17 March.
Last year the Gallop was launched as an eleventh-hour replacement for the Bloody Mary which couldn’t take place when water levels dropped low on the other side of London. King George Sailing Club received such great feedback from the sailors who took a punt on attending the new event that King George have decided to run it again, this time as a two-day regatta.
Following in the proven footsteps of multiclass handicap events like the Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, The Tiger Trophy and the Datchet Flyer, the Saturday will be three back-to-back handicap races with Sunday concluding with a double-points Pursuit Race. The event is open to any monohull dinghy with an equal or faster handicap than a Topper 4.2. Fastest boat at last year’s Gallop was an International 14 sailed by Dan Holman and Graeme Oliver.
Ben Schooling, who sailed his Musto Skiff to victory at the 2018 Gallop, said: “We had such a great reception last year from King George. It’s a lovely bit of water, the racing is great and the people are super-friendly. Everyone mucks in to help each other out, it’s a great atmosphere. I can see the Gallop becoming a really popular fixture.”
Tony Cooper, commodore of King George Sailing Club, said: “We had such a good reception last year, and the sailors really seemed to enjoy coming to King George, so we can’t wait to do it all again, especially as part of the new Great British Sailing Challenge.”
Aside from the race for the overall win, there are a number of other categories within the GBSC. For example, the SpeedSix Grand National is open to anyone who enters a boat worth less than £1000. Co-organiser of the GBSC Andy Rice commented: “There are so many boats around the country, unloved and rotting away under mossy-green covers, we want to give them a new lease of life by inviting them to compete in the GBSC too. Thanks to the handicapping system we’re developing, we can give them a more favourable handicap number which means a well-sailed £1,000 boat could still have a chance of doing well.”
Enter at: www.sailingchallenge.org
Online entry closes at 1159pm on Wednesday evening, 13th March.
Entry is available on the day for an additional £10 on top of the advance online entry.
GBSC Calendar 2018/19
Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash, Draycote Water Sailing Club
17 & 18 November 2018
Datchet Flyer, Datchet Water Sailing Club
8 & 9 December 2018
Brass Monkey, Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club
27 December 2018
John Merricks Tiger Trophy, Rutland Sailing Club
2 & 3 February 2019
Oxford Blue, Oxford Sailing Club
16 February 2019
King George Gallop, King George Sailing Club
16 & 17 March 2019
Weston Grand Slam
20 & 21 April 2019
Derwent Dambuster, Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club
11 & 12 May 2019
Wilsonian River Challenge, Wilsonian Sailing Club
1 & 2 June 2019
Bala Long Distance, Bala Sailing Club
22 & 23 June 2019
Mountbatten Centre, Plymouth
8 to 10 August 2019
Ullswater Ultimate, Ullswater Yacht Club
17 & 18 August 2019
Grand Finals, Rutland Water Sailing Club
28 & 29 September 2019
How do I get to the Grand Finals?
The Grand Finals of the GBSC are designed to celebrate the best of everything in small-boat racing in Great Britain. So there are many ways to qualify....
Finish in the top 10 of the travellers’ series (based on your best three results)
Top qualifiers in a number of boat categories:
Any boat valued at less than £1000
Top qualifiers in a number of age and other categories, for example:
Youth (Under 19)
Master (Over 60)
Two Generations (two people sailing together, minimum age gap of 18 years - could be parent/child but not necessarily)
There will also be a number of ‘wild card’ invites available based on various criteria.
Hang on, but what even IS the Great British Sailing Challenge?
It’s a series of handicap racing events that take place throughout the year, and it’s open to pretty much any sail-powered craft. The Challenge involve events throughout the whole year, running large regattas at a variety of inland and open water venues. Competing sailors will earn ranking points from each event they compete in, with the top 100 sailors invited to a winner-takes-all-final at Rutland Water in September, a celebration to bring together the best British sailors of the year.
Who came up with the idea?
The idea comes from the organisers of the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series which has been one of the big success stories of the past decade. Organised by Andy Rice of SailJuice.com (sailing journalist and marketer) and Simon Lovesey of SailRacer (event organiser and GPS tracking expert) has completed its 10th season. If you’re familiar with the SailJuice Winter Series, then this will give you an idea of what’s on offer, except with a few key differences.....
All Year Round
The Seldén SailJuice Winter Series takes place in the cold months. The GBSC takes place throughout the year and incorporates some of the events in the Seldén SailJuice Winter Series as well as a number of other existing events, along with some brand new ones too.
Great Lakes and Dynamic Handicapping
One of the key reasons for the success of the SailJuice Winter Series is the introduction of the Great Lakes handicap numbers, a refined version of the standard RYA PY numbers. We’re taking the proven formula of the Great Lakes numbers to provide the backbone for the handicap system in the Great British Sailing Challenge, and then we’re using GPS trackers on the competing boats to start analysing the numbers in greater detail. We call this ‘Dynamic Handicapping’. Whereas the numbers in the Great Lakes are analysed and altered once a year, GPS-based Dynamic Handicapping enables much faster and more frequent analysis of the relative performance of different types of boat. Like Strava, the mobile app which has revolutionised the cycling world, or Park Run and what it has done to popularise running, the organisers are taking a ‘Big Data’ approach to the sailing world.
Over time, this will make it possible to produce accurate handicaps for:
different wind strengths
older, less competitive boats
sailors of different abilities, from virtual beginners to world-class athletes.
The sailing calendar’s already busy, do we really need more events?
It’s true, we’ve got loads of sailing events taking place almost every weekend of the year, especially during the summer months. But the majority of those events are not very well attended, especially some of the single-class open meetings where some of the less popular classes sometimes struggle to attract more than 10 boats. We don’t think that’s a sustainable way of running an event, either from the class’s point of view, or the club’s. With a multiclass approach to open meetings, we can create the scale for events that are more fun, and that a club really wants to host.