It was definitely brass monkeys at the Yorkshire Dales SC Brass Monkey on the 27th December 2014.
Initially 7 D-Zero sailors had signed up for the YDSC Brass Monkey. Unfortunately a combination of bad weather and illness meant 3 of these were missing in action. For the 4 hardy D-Zero sailors who made it they were greeted by a thin covering of snow, icy roads and below freezing temperatures.
Your intrepid reporter started the 3 hour trip at 5am with a little trepidation given the overnight snow and reports of major disruption around the Sheffield and Leeds area. Thankfully the A1 going north was clear aside from a stretch where it was down to 1 lane. The final part of the journey was interesting as the good old sat nav decided to take me down the narrow and untreated country lanes.
Having safely negotiated these I arrived at the club at 8:15 and was impressed by the scenery with its thin covering of snow but less than impressed with the lack of wind.
After a hot coffee and a superb bacon/sausage and egg butty it was time to rig. Problem one, my boat had been sat on top of a double stacker overnight and the cover was frozen solid! Once that problem was resolved it was a case of rigging up and getting ready for briefing.
The course was a ‘round the cans’ style course with all 3 fleets sharing. We were in fleet B so the middle start after the slow boats and before the faster boats. By the time race 1 was ready to start the wind had picked up a little giving some of us hope for some good racing.
We got away first time in marginal hiking conditions. These conditions seemed to suit your reporter who eased away from the other D-Zeros and was the first of them to round the windward mark having caught the back end of the slower boats that had started 3 minutes ahead. The other 3 D-Zeros rounded shortly after in close company and proceeded to reel in my advantage once we were all on the run. Things looked set for a close battle between the 4 of us. One the next beat I managed to extend away again, managing to nail the beat and pulling out a large lead over Russ Hopkins and John Turley. Leigh had fallen away a little over the beat.
Unfortunately for me the wind then died off completely for the next upwind leg leaving me sat still to watch Russ and John drift on by some distance to leeward and both have a handy lead over me by the next windward mark. Russ then escaped from John leaving me to take advantage of the new breeze as it filled in to chase John down. By the finish it was not to be though with John crossing the line some 20 seconds ahead.
Race 1 positions after the spreadsheet had done its magic:
41st Russ Hopkins
49th John Turley
52nd Paul Jefferies
69.5 Leigh Russell
After a hearty lunch Race 2 got under way. After a general recall for the first 2 fleets the Race Officer decided that the black flag was required. So after a quick reset of the course and moving the line the sequence was started again. Russ and John found the conditions at the start of the race very much to their liking and soon got away from myself and Leigh. Rounding the windward mark it was John with a handy lead from Russ then a big gap to Leigh finally followed by me. Over the next couple of legs I managed to overhaul Leigh and escape away off in pursuit of Russ and John who were having a good scrap (from what I saw). John held Russ off to take D-Zero honours in race 2 followed by Russ then Paul and Leigh. The race officer decided to limit us to 1 lap given that the breeze was fading away along with the light.
Race 2 positions after the spreadsheet had done its magic:
31st John Turley
32nd Russ Hopkins
51st Paul Jefferies
68th Leigh Russell
This meant, after a quick bit of maths, that the final positions were as follows:
34th Russ Hopkins
39th John Turley
46th Paul Jefferies
72nd Leigh Russell
Overall it was a good day of sailing despite the fluctuating winds and well worth the 3 hour journey for me. Well done to Russ for taking the D-Zero honours at this event. The next event of the GJW SailJuice winter series is the Oxford Blue where there are currently 4 D-Zeros entered. If you are thinking of going then pre-entering is a must as this event had a limited entry.
Some links to photos from the event: