by Andy Rice
There’s a windy showdown in store for the conclusion of the SailJuice Global Warm-Up 2011, this weekend at the John Merricks Tiger Trophy at Rutland Water.
Tiger Trophy (Rutland) - John Merricks Tiger Trophy
With warm and wet wind gusting strongly from the south-west, Saturday’s three handicap races will provide a muscle-sapping challenge to the competitors in a whole range of dinghy classes. The breeze might drop for Sunday’s concluding pursuit race, but there’s no doubt the Tiger will be a real test of skill and stamina.
Ian Walker usually likes to attend every Tiger Trophy in memory of his 470 helm, John Merricks, with whom he won an Olympic Silver Medal in Savannah back in 1996. Walker can’t be there this weekend as he’s in Abu Dhabi working on the build up to his Volvo Ocean Race campaign, which he’ll be skippering around the world later this year. But he wished all competitors well.
'John would have loved it, particularly if it’s a windy one this weekend. Those were his favourite conditions,' said Walker. 'I’m sure it will be an action-packed weekend and I’ll be watching to see who wins.'
The prize giving for this year’s event will take place in the new John Merricks Training Centre, a high performance facility funded by Sport England, Rutland SC, the John Merricks Sailing Trust and Tony Everard at Everards Brewery. It will be opened by John’s father, Dennis Merricks, and Tony Everard.
Keen to finish up the high rankings this weekend will be the leading contenders in the SailJuice Global Warm-Up. Last year’s winners of the Tiger Trophy, Matt Biggs and Ben Hollis, will be hiking hard to keep their Merlin Rocket ahead of Andy Peake’s Musto Skiff, who closed the gap on the leading team after last weekend’s light-to-medium-air outing in the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy.
The points gap between these two leading contenders is negligible, and there are others further down the leaderboard who could yet steal their thunder.
With the final prize-giving for the series set to take place at the RYA Volvo Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace at 1245pm on Saturday, 5 March 2011, there are some great prizes being provided by: Rooster Sailing, Hyde Sails, Holt, RS Sailing, Laser Performance, YachtsandYachting.com and SailJuice.com