Despite the forecast of light winds a small but perfectly formed fleet of 7 D-Zeros gathered at Bough Beech on the 2nd April for the start of the travellers series. With class poster boy Tom Southwell, winner (again) of the Winter Series attending he was clearly a target for the rest of the fleet.

As a new venue to the class and at an event shared with the Supernovas and Finns we were keen to put on a good show.

First order of the day was to locate the club, for those who hadn’t been before finding a pair of innocuous blue gates was the first order of the day. Rigging took place in a very sheltered area and, despite the sunshine, there was some trepidation as to whether we would get any racing in.

Photo Copyright Martyn Smith

As launch time approached the entire surface of the lake was covered in breeze which was building nicely, full hiking upwind for most and easily planing on the offwind legs. We were second fleet of the 3 to go off so had a bit of an idea what the wind was doing from watch the Finns during the short (3 minute) start sequence. After a clean getaway we headed off upwind. It was clear that neither side was favoured with the fleet converging at the windward mark. Tom duly led us round but never really had much of a gap to the chasing pack until lap 3 when he and your roving reporter made a break for it. After a tacking duel up the final beat Tom took the gun followed by Paul with Tim completing the podium.

Race 2 was held back to back, the wind was holding nicely but was shifting around a lot with a few holes starting to appear to catch out the unwary. Tom and David decided to make an early break for it and built a lead up of over a leg at times. Paul managed to break away from the chasing pack pursued by local sailor Ian Patrick, using his local knowledge to good effect. Despite closing rapidly on the last lap Paul could not quite catch David, who took the gun, followed by Tom. Ian came home 4th nearly caught on the line by Jon.

Look at those lovely pink mainsheets! – Photo Copyright Martyn Smith

As we lined up for race 3 everything was to play for. Any one of 3 sailors could take the win, it was winner takes all if any of them could seize the opportunity. After a lighting start Paul looked to have got the best of the fleet, but the wind gods decided to roll the dice causing an incident at the windward mark (more on the later). Despite that Paul round first, pursued by Tom. It looked like Paul was going to do a horizon job on the fleet until the wind gods rolled the dice again. This split the fleet massively, those who could stay in the wind and who were not quite so portly came charging through to the front. By the final lap it was Jon leading from Tim with Paul trying valiantly to keep up. At the line a happy Jon took the gun followed by Tim with Paul taking another 3rd (Mr consistency).

Photo Copyright Martyn Smith

There was yet another twist in the tail though, following the incident at the windward mark a protest was lodged against Paul by David. Would this affect the results? We didn’t think so but the process needed to be followed through. After a short hearing the committee had made their decision. The protest was dismissed so the results stood. The 2 protagonists thanked the protest committee and duly shook hands and beer was promised at the nationals.

So Tom took the event counting 1,2, Tim was 2nd counting 3,2 and Paul was 3rd counting 2,3. It seems consistency didn’t pay quite so handsomely on the day!

Thanks to Bough Beech for hosting our first Open of the season, those who attended thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we will be back next year! Hopefully some of the interest at Bough Beech will have turned into more local boats by then with David fielding several enquiries.

Full results:

RankSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3TotalNett
1328Tom SouthwellLee on Solent12473
2312Tim WeedenEmsworth Slipper SC372125
374Paul JefferiesHunts SC23385
442Jon CowperHunts SC651126
566David ValentineEmsworth Slipper SC517136
6325Ian PatrickBough Beech SC745169
755Steve SouthallShoreham SC4661610