Sam became the first person ever to win the Tiger Trophy 2 times. The event which is steeped in history and a famous part of the UK sailing calendar has been running for 20 years in memory of John Merricks. The money the event raises goes towards the John Merricks Sailing Trust which helps young people get into and develop within sailing.
Before last weekend, no one (including Olympic medalists) has managed to win the event twice. Its a huge honor and achievement for Sam.
Current fireball World Champions, Christian Birrell and Sam Brearey dominated a windy Tiger Trophy at Rutland SC.
The pair had a hit and miss winter series, but managed to regain some form for Saturday’s windy 3 handicap races.
Christian and Sam started well, winning a tight first race on a day where Fireballs were commanding on handicap. The pair had some technical issues and missed the 2nd race, a situation that eventually prevented them from being the first ever crew to win all 4 races.
After a quick equipment change on shore, Christian and Sam went on to win the 3rd race of the day, a blustery one with several crews taking some swimming lessons. Over night, Fireballs held the top 3 positions with Ian Dobson and Ben Ainsworth in second.
The second day’s pursuit race, a famous tiger tradition, bought around a gusty, cold, northerly wind averaging 15 – 20 knots, but as the fleet found, there were also some big light patches and gusts! The final pursuit race is always a taxing affair testing the sailors’ boat handling, speed and limitation of mistakes.
Christian and Sam started badly, but battled through to the front and showed the rest of the fleet a clean pair of heels. Winning the pursuit race made it 3 out of 4 wins, so close to the elusive perfect sheet!
This was Christian’s first Tiger Trophy win despite many attempts at the title. Afterwards, Christian remarked, “its great to win the Tiger. It’s always been a tradition in my 420 days and the John Merricks Trust is such a great cause. Great to finally pull a series together over the whole weekend and we are looking forward to the next challenge.”
In contrast, Sam won the Tiger Trophy in 2013 and this win makes him the first ever person to win the Tiger Trophy twice in the event’s 22 year history! An incredible feat from the young man who conveyed, “its amazing to win the tiger again. I didn’t realise no one had won it twice until someone mentioned it Saturday night. It was just great to start sailing a bit better, and I’m excited for this season with Christian and trying to defend our World Title in Wales. We couldn’t do it with out the great supporters to our sailing. Christopher Ward, North Sails, Gul, English Braids, Allen, 511 tactical and many more are all great to us.”
Next for the team will be the Grafham Grand Prix where they look to continue to build their consistency and performances ahead of the big world title defense in Wales in August!