At least 200 competitors are expected to take part in The Rutland Challenge for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy during the first weekend in February

Over 200 of the UK’s best Olympic, international, youth and club sailors will make the trip to Rutland Sailing Club for the John Merricks Tiger Trophy on 1-2 February. Held traditionally since 1994, the event has steadily become one of the most popular and well-attended winter regattas in the Country

First run in 1994, since 1998 it has been held in memory of John, the East Midlands sailor, winner of the first event, and life long Rutland member who, along with current GBR Challenge Skipper Ian Walker, his crew at the time, put British Olympic sailing back on the map with a Silver in the Men’s 470 at the 1996 Olympic Games in Savannah. John was tragically killed at the height of his career in Italy in 1997. All monies raised at the event go to the John Merricks Sailing Trust, set up in his memory to provide funding for young sailors to get established in the sport.

Following three handicap races on the Saturday is the now legendary Tiger Dinner and dance, with a live band in the evening. Traditionally, it has been a black tie affair to offer participating sailors the ‘unique’ opportunity to dispel the commonly held impression that they are all very scruffy, particularly the boys. In order to test this to the full, Everards, the Leicester Brewers, provide their famous Tiger bitter at £1 a pint. It was Tony Everard, an RSC Member who gave John his first chance on the Olympic ladder by buying him a 420 following his display of potential in the Mirror built by his Dad, Dennis. A midnight finish to the dinner ensures sailors are well prepared for the single, non-discardable all class pursuit race on the Sunday.

Top quality race management run by another Olympic Medallist, club member David Wilkins, coupled with the high class and depth of competitors expected at the event, along with the legendary hospitality extended by everyone at the newly refurbished Rutland Sailing Club will ensure the event is sure to be one to remember.

Registration opens at Rutland Sailing Club opens at 8.00 am, with a briefing at 11.00 and the first race at midday on Saturday. There are three races on Saturday followed by the pursuit race on Sunday.

For further details about the event and to enter online visit