Ian Morgan leads the D-Zero fleet home at the Bloody Mary. Photo Copyright Jeremy Carey

On the 9th January 2016 the D-Zero fleet consisting of 9 Grey rigs and 1 Blue rig descended on Queen Mary SC for the 2016 Bloody Mary pursuit race which is round 7 of the D-Zero Winter Series 2015/2016 and Round 6 of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series 2015/2016. It was clear from the forecast that the conditions were likely to be challenging. Early reports from people at the event suggested a gusty wind that built throughout the event which favoured the later starting faster boats. With 247 boats on the water traffic was a constant consideration and those who could find or make gaps definitely held and advantage.

Mike Corney ‘on the edge’ (he went a bit far the next time and sampled the waters). Photo Credit Jeremy Carey

Nigel Austin GBR191 reports on his day:

Despite the frenzied flurry on Facebook the previous night, the bacon rolls were still there when I rocked up at 10am, as was a non muddy spot to rig, unlike most I think! It was actually the disabled car bay, but more on that later.

With growing anticipation and a growing wind blowing straight onto the launching slipways, 9 D-Zeros set off for a crowded start line, setting off 34 minutes after the Toppers, it seemed a tall order. Ian Morgan was once again off like a greyhound chasing the rabbit, whilst the rest of us attempting to form a posse like approach to chasing down the slower handicap boats. The problem was the wind force kept on changing from about 15 knots to squalls of 25 possibly even slightly higher. This led to some instability of boats ( no names just initials MC) plus some pretty hairy mark rounding as the asymmetrics descended from every angle possible claiming room from 20 boat lengths out – check bullying policy next time!.

With young Mr Tom Southwell firmly established as 2nd D-Zero (obviously had 2x full breakfast’s), the fight for 3,4,5 built nicely, with Mike Corney sneaking through ahead of me and Dave Woods, although Dave was extremely unlucky to be forced to tack round at the leeward mark, when a Finn I think, denied him room.

It was so crowded it was difficult to see Rob Campbell, Alistair Hill, Kevin Moll and Seb Prowse but they did all finish which is a brilliant achievement in itself. Graham Cox in the D-Zero blue also did, after making a great start. the biggest challenge was the return to the leeward shore and it felt a bit like finding a spot in breakers when surfing, miss it and you risked being driftwood!!

I am sure we all survived, but I didn’t quite manage to in the boat park when a 505 mast fell on my head when it was being de-rigged! As Sarah, my long suffering wife said, was the mast damaged?. It may knock some sense into my sailing upwind at the Steve Nicholson, no rhythm!

Well done to all and although, on handicap, we didn’t quite shine, it is an experience and most will not forget the increasing choppy and congested waters as the race progressed.

Graham Cox poses for the camera. Photo Credit Jeremy Carey

So the class results were as follows (overall result in brackets):

1st (90th) Ian Morgan
2nd (130th) Tom Southwell
3rd (133rd) Mike Corney (despite his swim)
4th (138th) Nigel Austin
5th (146th) Dave Woods
6th (169th) Rob Campbell
7th (170th) Seb Prowse
8th (205th) Graham Cox (Blue rig)
8th (207th) Kevin Moll

The D-Zero Winter Series Results will be updated shortly along with the GJW Direct Sailjuice Overall, Youth and Top Class standing.

Rob Campbell and Seb Prowse have a drag race. Photo Copyright Jeremy Carey

From here the class moves on the the Steve Nicholson Trophy at Northampton SC on the 30th January for round 8 of the D-Zero Winter Series followed by the Tiger Trophy a week later to conclude the series. The Steve Nicholson Trophy is not a GJW Sailjuice Winter Series event this year but you can enter online by clicking here. At the time of writing there are 6 D-Zeros entered. If you are thinking of entering make sure you do it sooner rather than later as this event is always popular and is usually full well in advance of the day.

Fianlly thank you to Jeremy Carey for being class photographer for the day (I am sure there is a good reason he didn’t sail). You can see his full album by clicking here. Tim Olin has also now posted his photos from the event, you can really see how congested the racecourse gets. Click here to view them.