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News / Biblical weather for 150 at the Steve Nicholson

The 2014 Steve Nicholson Trophy, which is part of theGJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series, was amazing in many ways with a beautiful winter sail to start and an apocalyptic storm to finish!

The event, which raises money for Asthma Research, yet again reached the entry limit of 150. The quality of all three fleets was superb with many National and World Champions in attendance. The Prizes for the event were generously donated by HarkenGulGillZhikP&B

Race one was started in a benign Force 2 and winter sunshine making many wish they had put their sunnies on. The Doublehanded fleet were first off, and Steve and Sarah Cockerill in a Merlin were first to show from a congested port end, hotly pursued by Christian Birrell and Richard Anderton in a Fireball. Further down the fleet (but not much) Nick Copsey with local youngster Lewis Bowen crewing were well up in their National 12, as was the GP14 of Sam Watson and Andy Hunter. It was the GP that took the honours on handicap.

The names at the front of the Singlehanded fleet often appear in race reports and it was Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard, this time in a Solo, who enjoyed the lighter conditions to win the first race from the talented Ben Pickering in a Blaze who relegated Charlie Cumbley in another Solo to third.

Whilst the larger fleets stopped for a bite of the excellent Northampton Sailing Club food, the Asymmetric fleet took to the water for their first race. The stunning VX One was flying but it was Ben Schooling in the Musto Skiff who took the race on handicap from Felix Crowther and Tom Darling in a 29er who in turn pipped the ever consistent Nick Craig in his D-One.


The breeze, as per the forecast, was starting to build for the Single- and Doublehanders' second race. This was to the liking of the Fireballs who shot off the line, Matt Burge and Waggers got to the top mark first and stayed out of trouble to take the victory but Christian Birrell and Richard Anderton added another second to take the fleet prize. Meanwhile the wind was building and the rescue boats were getting into the swing of things having to tow several boats off the lee shore and recovering a Blaze with a broken mast.

Just as in the Doublehanded fleet the trapeze boats in the Singlehanded fleet revelled in the breezier conditions. Contender National Champion Stuart Jones showed the way and took first from Phantom star Andy Couch. Charlie Cumbley is a Solo heavy weather expert but nonetheless his third place in race two in strong breeze is still very impressive, and it was good enough to secure the fleet victory.

The Asymmetric fleet set out for their second race under darkening skies. The fleet got down to the bottom mark with a few spills but as they lined up to start all hell let loose.

Ben Schooling commented: "The 40kt squall that came through on the start of the Asymmetric fleet second start was epic! At one point I eskimo-rolled and the whole boat flipped out of the water, over my head and landed 6ft away! The sail and mast took a hammering, numbers and Musto Skiff logo have started peeling off with all the ragging. Nathan and Ian (Martin) turned turtle in the VX1 twice and K6s were washed up on the far shore."


The well-practised rescue boat drivers of Northampton went into overdrive and everyone was brought ashore safely, if in some cases a little worse for wear. By the time the prize-giving took place there was a rainbow over the lake, sunshine and a gentle force 2!

More Photos:


Overall Results:


PosBoat TypeSail NoHelmCrewClubPYR1R2Pts
1st Fireball 15107 Christian BIRRELL Richard ANDERTON Chichester 965 2 2 4
2nd Fireball 15093 Matt BURGE Richard WAGSTAFF Northampton Sailing Club 965 12.5 1 13.5
3rd GP14 14132 Sam WATSON Andy HUNTER South Staffs / Nantwich 1130 1 14 15
4th Fireball 15089 Rob GULLAN Tim LINSELL Royal Southern 965 17.5 3 20.5
5th National 12 3528 Nick COPSEY Lewis Bowen Hunts SC/ Northampton 1065 3 19 22
6th Merlin Rocket 3658 Chris JENNINGS Ally MARTIN Burghfield Sailing Club 975 7 18 25
7th Merlin Rocket 3745 Stephen COCKERILL Sarah COCKERILL Hayling Island Sailing Club 975 4 23 27
8th Merlin Rocket 3739 Ben MCGRANE Roz MCGRANE Netley Sailing Club 975 20 8 28
9th 505 9063 Andy DAVIS Norman BYRD Northampton 888 24 6 30
10th Icon 18 Paul BARTLETT Greg BARTLETT Starcross Yacht Club 1000 15.5 16 31.5
1st Solo 5387 Charlie CUMBLEY     1148 3 3 6
2nd Solo 5469 Thomas GILLARD     1148 1 6 7
3rd OK 2162 Jim HUNT   Blithfield SC / Beaver SC 1114 5 4 9
4th Blaze 807 Martin SAVEKER   Chase SC 1032 4 8 12
5th Phantom 1345 Andy COUCH   Rudyard 1008 11 2 13
6th Solo 5302 Michael SIMS   Carsington 1148 13 5 18
7th Laser 200906 Craig WILLIAMSON   Staunton Harold SC 1117 9 9 18
8th Phantom 1346 Will GULLIVER   Northampton SC 1008 10 11 21
1st Musto Skiff 487 Ben SCHOOLING   Datchet Water 857 1   1
2nd 9ER 1908 Felix CROWTHER Tom DARLING Hisc 900 2   2
3rd D‑One 5 Nick CRAIG   Frensham Lee 971 3   3
4th RS 800 1203 Tim SAXTON Sam LITTLEJOHN Gwsc 800 4   4
5th RS 800 1166 Ralph SINGLETON Sophie SINGLETON Datchet Water S C 800 5   5
6th 9ER 1249 Kim MAY‑PAPAILIOU Aaron REYNOLDS Poole YC 900 6   6

Full results can be found here.

To find out more about the GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series visit


Jostling for position at the Steve Nicholson Trophy - photo © Anthony York /


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