Category: training Page 1 of 2

We’re Back!

2021 looks set to be a return to open meetings with the DZero travelling circuit (or should that be circus?) planned through the summer and autumn. So how do you make these boats really go? We asked some previous champions in the fleet for advice.

Dan Holman: DZero designer, 2015 & 2019 DZero National Champion

Sail regularly with guys that are better than you, don’t be precious and have a delicate ego about being beaten like some club sailors seem to have – learn as much as you can from the experience and work really hard on learning and getting better than them. If you are really keen, many (but not all) can benefit from using a coach. Watching great sailors (from a RIB or similar) is also very insightful.

Steve Bolland: 2018 DZero National Champion

Change your name to Dan Holman! Seriously, fitness is my number one tip. The first winter I had the boat I was participating in one of the South West winter series races and I remember seeing a drone photo of Stacey Bray and myself going upwind. I thought I was sitting out hard but I clearly wasn’t, so I spent the next six months working on my core strength. This lets you extend your upper body rather than hunching up when sitting out. It seems to be more important in boats like the DZero which don’t have much width. 

Nick Craig trying quite hard

George Cousins: 2017 DZero National Champion

Upwind: Sail the boat as flat as possible. This is hard because the boat has low freeboard there is a tendency to want to heel the boat over to lift your bum out the water. Instead learn to hike with straighter legs – (observe Steve Bolland) Straight legs with a tight toe strap allow you to keep the boat flat which optimises the rig/ hull shape and balance of the boat all of which is fast.

Ian ‘Spirit-Level’ Baillie

All sounds like quite a lot of hard work and no quick fix….  Who would have thought?

8, 12, 16, 24 or 32?

Kicker purchase ratios seems to have been the hot topic of the 2021 non-season in the DZero fleet. But what is all the fuss about and what does it all mean?

Steve Bolland: 2018 DZero National Champion & RS300 supremo (32:1)

You started this whole kicking strap purchase debate – explain yourself!

Haha, you had to bring that up! OK, I’ll do my best to explain. So, my upwind sailing style is to adjust the kicker for each gust. In the Lark my crew used to look upwind and pull the kicker on when a gust hit and eased it as it passed, leaving me to concentrate on the telltales and the waves. When I sailed a borrowed boat in 2016 I had real trouble adjusting the kicker upwind, mostly because the control line is led down the centre of the boat which requires tricep muscle power when the bicep is the dominant arm muscle. After I bought my own boat I found that a 32:1 kicker was what I needed to play the kicker upwind easily. In most classes a 16:1 is sufficient but then the control lines are led to the sides of the boat and you can use your biceps. Also, at the 2016 champs I noticed that the shape of Ian Morgan’s sail was different to everyone else’s and it seemed he was using more kicker than most. Am I cleared? 

Regardless of the purchase they all do the same job. Does it all just boil down to strength and personal choice?

​So you’re saying I have weak arms! OK I admit it! I do prefer a lot of kicker upwind in a breeze but if you’re strong enough you can still get the desired tension with less purchase. I favour a powerful kicker set-up purely for ease of use rather than because I use more kicker tension. 

George Cousins: 2017 DZero National Champion, professional dinghy coach and sailmaker (8:1)

The debate about kicking straps and purchase which started when Steve Bolland unveiled his 32:1 kicker, coming into the class from the RS300: what are your thoughts on this?

I used 8:1. I like the idea of less string in the boat and the ergonomics of being able to crank on kicker in one big pull. That being said if with more purchase you feel more then that would work too.

Regardless of the purchase they all do the same job. Does it all just boil down to strength and personal choice?


Dan Holman: DZero designer, 2015 & 2019 DZero National Champion, 2nd at 2020 Int14 Worlds (8:1)

It is fair to say you know a bit about how the DZero works… In Weymouth you were using the class demo boat with the original 8:1 ratio. What are your thoughts on the kicker ratios out there with some people using up to 32:1?

My formative years were in the laser with only rope loops for purchase and 8:1 was ok then for me – its more a matter of technique to get enough on. I think 8:1 in the Zero with cushy ball bearing blocks is plenty and that these days everyone is soft and spoiled and have come to expect everything to be convenient and easy! But in all seriousness, as a designer I’m of the school of thought that for simplicity, elegance and cost, a design is not done when you’ve finished adding stuff to it, but when you’ve finished taking stuff away. By the same token I also have to recognise that the customer is always right and that the rest of the world has moved on since 1993 and that many punters may like to have more purhcase and more string washing around their cockpits. I think that there could be an issue with some boats with massive purchases (8:1 is self limiting!) but I haven’t heard of issues in the zero in this regard, and you always have to be able to duck the boom!

Well I think that sorts out that debate, maybe….

George Cousins Coaching –

Team Hunts go play on the Sea

The Hunts D-Zero fleet is very fortunate that one of them has a lovely house at St Osyth and offered to host a training weekend over the May Day Bank holiday.  Sadly Paul Jefferies couldn’t join us and a couple of others were MIA but Alistair and his daughter Elizabeth welcomed Jon, Will, Gary, Graham, Abby and Louise for the weekend.

How many D-Zero sailors does it take to rig a boat?…. Photo Copyright Will Deutsch

We were joined on Saturday morning by Ian Morgan, Morgan Sails and current D-Zero Class Champion.  Boats were rigged and Ian went over each boat suggesting minor modifications.  Most of us have changed out kicker straps so it is centred under the (fitting!) on the boom. Abby had her downhaul inverted for the others to copy, mast foot steps were changed around and chocks moved.

Ian suggested not using the kicker and instead first deploying the Cunningham.  When the Cunningham has run out of room then get the kicker involved.  A quick lunch later we dragged the boats down to the beach.  Abby was using the blue rig, and had the easiest passage under the various telephone and power lines…..  Ian and Chris Pell, who was our safety RIB for the weekend rowed over to the pontoon while the rest rigged and launched.

Off they go. Photo Copyright Will Deutsch

Off we sailed, led in the general direction of France by Louise Foreman – put the woman on open water and off she goes!  Chris and Ian caught us up, Louise was lassoed into line and to the tune of Ian’s whistle we were put through out paces.  We went quite a long way out and then had a 20 minute run back to the harbour, outpacing a yacht with 3 sails up!  Abby kept up with the grey rigs upwind but they left Abby behind on the run in.

Will decided running was boring and had fun reaching back and forth with a quick swim at the end.  Boats were trollied back to the house (many thanks to Alistair’s patient neighbours who had to put up with cars/boats/trailers all weekend) washed, snacks were found and drinks were poured.  Ian had been videoing the afternoon’s fun (great shots of sea….waves…oh – and sailors!).  It is interesting and instructive to watch yourself sail with expert commentary.  Louise provided supper, tall tales were told (Chris fell asleep watching the boxing) and sleepy sailors bedded down.

Sadly that was the last of the sailing as Sunday was a complete blow out.  It might have suited the training squaddies but not us.  Look out for the videos – especially of Louise flying in on the run!

Hill Head Training and Open Meeting Details


Hill Head are hosting a 2 day event on the 23rd and 24th July.

Saturday 23rd July – Training Day focusing on wave sailing hosted by 2016 National Champion Ian Morgan.

  • £10/boat (free for Hill Head SC members)
  • Rigged but not changed by 11:00
  • Free camping overnight Saturday
  • 1 free drink Saturday evening with your open meeeting entry
  • Food and bar will be available

24th July D-Zero Open meeting

  • £15/boat
  • Briefing 11:00
  • First race 12:30
  • 3 races back to back

Pwllheli sea training hosted by Gaz henshall

Two days training at Plas Heli in Pwllheli on 7th / 8th May

6 (Andrew Jones, Dave Woods, Gaz Henshall, Gordon Bennell, Jeremy Cooper & John Cheslett) intrepid adventurers drove deep into Wales for a weekends sailing on the sea and in waves.

Rigging up in a light drizzle spirits were high amongst the group even after Dave decided to pick a fight with the one rock in the car park.
The forecast looked good with 9-10kts from SW is perfect wave conditions for Pwllheli.
All rigged up, the first part of the day was to acquire a good strong coffee and head to the classroom. As I had never actually seen anyone sail before we kept the briefing short and decided to use the morning as a “see where we are at” session. By the time I was able to get around with the RIB a solid < 1kts of wind had kicked in and I drove round the corner to the beach to see all five boats slowly drifting their way out towards the sailing area which had no waves. After a bit of toeing to get through the steep chop going into the labour entrance we settled on an area to sail in and I laid a windward / leeward course for the to sail round.

Everyone enjoying a little drift around Pwllheli Bay

After a little drifting around about 7kts kicked in from the East which meant we could finally do something productive with the day. As they were sailing round the course I rotated round them all to give some pointers and friendly advice. We looked at everything from Mark Rounding, Tacking / Gybing to Straight Line Speed. With conditions now so the sailors were either just hiking or comfortably perched on the edge the real training kicked in.

Dave Woods hiking with a solid technique keeping his boat flat

Moving on we started to do some tacking & gybing on the whistle to really nail the techniques. Generally speaking, the group was very well behaved and tacked when they were told too and this also gave us some great sections where we could compare speed.

Straight Line Speed and Gordon coming out in front

At the end of each one I zoomed in front of them to drop a windward / leeward mark for them to go round and to bring the group back together ready to start again. This caused some fun at the leeward mark as they tended to come around it all as a tight group.

Some fun at a Leeward mark

By this time, it was already early afternoon and we decided that we would make the most of the wind and stay out for one longer session instead of coming in.
Trying to confuse the sailors I introduced 360 practice into the Tacking/Gybing this really showed who the polite sailors were amongst the group, see if you can figure out where Andy (201) is going in this photo.

Can anyone figure out where Andy is going?

It was starting to get late and the wind felt like it was slowly dying again so we quit whilst we were ahead and headed in for a debrief with some good video footage. I had written down a couple of notes I wanted to go through which lead us up to dinner time.

Only a couple of notes made during the day

The learning didn’t stop when we were having dinner either, turns out if someone is eating in a restaurant they wouldn’t like it if a local (not very sober) would decide to stand in the doorway chatting to friends outside letting in the smallest of drafts. Was it blown out of proportion (no pun intended)? Massively. Was it fun to watch? Immensely.

Roll on Sunday and hopefully some Waves!!!

Waking up to the sound of torrential rain didn’t fill me with confidence for the day ahead but thankfully I was wrong, well at least on the rain front.
I would be joining the sailors in my own D-Zero today with my Dad, Brother & Uncle all happily sitting in the RIB with the camera and causing chaos.
Deciding from the start to go for one long session we came up with a plan and I briefed the group on wave technique in more detail in optimistic fashion.
Using the same format as the Saturday we started off with a simple windward leeward course to work on our technique in a steep chop and comfortable hiking conditions. The difficult part was trying to decide which was quicker, sailing loose and fast to keep the power on, or sail higher to keep your height. Turns out it depended which tack you were on. Starboard seemed to prefer a loose and fast setup where as Port was the opposite.
The waves downwind were just about surf able but you had to work quite hard to catch them but generally sailing by the lee was the fastest option.

Gaz working hard to catch a wave

WALES DOES GET HOT!!! The sun was out and the breeze was warm it was definitely not a day to be wearing a 5mm wetsuit under the remainder of my hikers. Rapidly we were all taking layers off to try and keep cool.
Whilst the wind was with us we had perfect conditions. But unfortunately all good things must come to an end eventually and the wind dropped off slightly as the day went on meaning the sea flattened out but it did get even hotter.
At some points it felt like John was able to point directly into the wind and still be moving, he was certainly pointing the highest out of all of us.

John flying upwind

Again doing more tacking / gybing on the whistle was useful with the ever changing conditions, each time I went upwind I tried something slightly different with my controls hoping to find the “perfect” set-up. Downwind was now a case of sitting still and running by the lee like any good lake sailor would do.

Downwind a variety of techniques used

As with Saturday we decided to quit whilst we were ahead and I am glad we did, it took us what felt like an hour to drift our way downwind to the beach from where we were.

The worst part of the weekend has to be pulling your boat back up the beach at the end of the day, all I can say is that I am glad I only did it once unlike the rest of them who did it on the Saturday too. There was a colour run on along the beach and we were all in danger of our boats ending up being more colourful than Dave’s Blue Machine.

Overall, a great weekend had by all and plenty of lessons learned with more things to work on in the future. Let’s see if all that practice helps us down in Highcliffe (hoping for waves) for the Nationals.

I currently intended to run a second training weekend probably at Pwllheli again (but am open to suggestions) for anyone who is interested. I will try to not clash it with other D-Zero events this time so we may get a few more sailors.


Pre-Nationals Sea Training – Pwhlleli


Gaz in action at the 2015 D-Zero Inlands. Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

Fancy some sea training prior to the D-Zero 2016 Nationals? Then your request has been answered.

Gaz Henshall and the Shotwick D-Zero fleet are planning to go to Pwhlleli on the 7th and 8th May 2016 for 2 days of sea training. There are a total of 12 spaces available and the attendees will need to cover the cost of hiring a RIB from Pwhlleli for the 2 days. Gaz estimates that this cost will be no more than £35/head for the 2 days as long as all the places are filled.

The plan is that day 1 Gaz will run the training from the RIB then will join the boats on the water for day 2 with the RIB performing safety cover. The idea of the weekend is for people to get some sea experience prior to the Nationals as well as get some coaching in and, of course, having fun.

Places will be allocated on a 1st come 1st served basis and are limited to 12 as any more will require an additional RIB.

For Facebook users Gaz will create an event in invite you to it. For non Facebook people Gaz will email you the details.

Anyone interested should complete the form at the bottom of this post.

The more eagle eyed amongst you will notice that this is also the weekend of the POSH Regatta so there are 2 sea based events that weekend for anyone wanting to get some salt water experience in.

A little bit about Gaz. He is an accomplished sailor (as his performance at the 2015 Inlands will attest where he did 1 day, it was his first competitive outing in his D-Zero and he was at the sharp end of the fleet). He is also on the WYA coaching team for their Topper and Laser squads and has coached the GBR Topper squad in the past.


Grafham D-Zero Training, Open Meeting, Class AGM 2015 and Winter Membership

IMGP1498 (Custom)
Lining up for the start at the 2014 Grafham D-Zero Open. Photo Credit Nikky Evans

On the 28th and 29th November 2015 the D-Zero class will return to Grafham Water for their second class training day, AGM and Open Meeting. With a large home fleet, sponsorship from Suntouched Sailboats and My Pinnacle Nutrition and the Grafham Open Meeting being the second round of the D-Zero Winter Series 2015/2016 the class is expecting a large entry.

The training day is on the 28th November and is the perfect opportunity to finely tune (or pimp and bimble) your boat prior to the Open Meeting the following day. The training will be run by 2015 National Champion Dan Holman (with 2015 Inland Champion David Summerville in reserve as Dan has an upcoming house move that may clash) and is generously sponsored by Suntouched Sailboats who are the UK distributor of the D-Zero. This means it will be free to Grafham Water members and those who take up the Winter Membership deal but will cost £13.50 to non-members.

Timings for the training day are as follows:

  • 11:00 to 12:30; meet and greet and look at rigging of boats in park.
  • 12:30 to 13:00 lunch.
  • 13:00-13:30 briefing for afternoon.
  • 13:30 to 16:30 sailing – exercises
  • 17:00 – 18:00 debrief
  • 1800 to 1900 AGM followed by a 2 course meal (£10/head, book by noon on the day)

The class AGM will be held in the upstairs bar at Grafham Water Sailing Club following the training and will not start before 18:00. A full agenda will be available on the day. If you have any matters that you wish to raise at the AGM please contact the D-Zero Class Secretary by completing the form here.

The 29th November will see the class taking to the water for the Suntouched Sailboats/My Pinnacle Nutrition D-Zero Open Meeting. With local hotshot and current Inland Champion David Summerville sailing there will be a target for the rest of the fleet. Grafham are also expecting a good turnout of local boats for the large home fleet and with other local fleets expanding an entry of 20+ boats is almost certainly possible if not more! The warning signal for the first race on Sunday will not be before 10.55 with 2 races back to back followed by lunch and then 1 more race.

For the full Notice of Race click here.

To pre-enter before midnight on the 24th November 2015 and save yourself £5 on the Open Meeting entry fee click here.

Further savings can be made by taking out winter membership of Grafham Water Sailing Club (£70.00) which runs from that weekend to the end of March. Winter members are entitled to participate in the event free of charge and also can save a further £13.00 (total saving of up to £45.00) from the entry fee for the Grafham Grand Prix on 28th December.

D-Zero Coaching and Demo day at Yorkshire Dales SC

D-Zeros racing at the Yorkshire Dales SC Brass Monkey 2014 Photo Credit: Nicola Evans

John Turley of JT Sailsport (D-Zero Northern Area Sales Agent) and Yorkshire Dales SC member has arranged a coaching session at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club on Sunday 12/04/2015 with RYA Coach Peter Robinson.

This is open to any D-Zeros who wish to take part for a small fee (yet to be disclosed) and to join in club racing later in the day. Feedback from Peter will be given throughout the day with the coaching starting at 9.30AM. Peter coached his sons who and went on to win European/World Championship at junior level in the Mirror, so he knows how to teach old dogs new tricks.

The coaching will be joining with other club boats as well due to the small home fleet of D-Zeros (so far) but it will make for realistic starting practice in a mixed fleet.

Hot lunch meal deal for £4.95 at midday, luxury clubhouse with underfloor heating! (Ed’s note: I can vouch for this their clubhouse is amazing and the club is in the prettiest location I have had the pleasure of sailing at).

This may also serve as some good location specific practice for those wish to attend the D-Zero Inland Championships later on in the year which are being hosted by Yorkshire Dales SC.

There will also be the opportunity to try a D-Zero if you have not had a go and wish to see what all the fuss is about.

To book yourself in contact John Turley using any of the methods below:

Phone: 07503 189980 (mobile) 01937 833386 (office)
Or complete the contact form below:

Suntouched D-Zero Nationals 2015 22nd-25th May 2015


The D-Zero class are pleased to announce that entry to the Suntouched D-Zero 2015 Nationals is now open. We are partnering up with our friends at SailRacer and the Nationals are part of SailFest ’15. Do be assured that we will be having our own start from the common start line with a separate course so we will not have our racing compromised by other events that are part of SailFest ’15.

Friday 22nd May will be a training and familiarisation day so, if you want to steal a march on your rivals then try to get there early to take advantage of this (there may be a small extra fee payable to cover launch fees, this will be confirmed closer to the event).

The actual National Championships will be run from 23rd-25th May. Race format is currently being planned but we are currently looking at 3 races Saturday and Sunday with an alternative format on the Monday and also allowing D-Zero sailors to take part in the SailFest match racing event if they wish to. More details to follows on this.

Your entry fee also includes the Class dinner on the Sunday evening. Extra tickets will be available for this should you be bringing the family.

Accommodation is available on site with either a B&B option (working out at just under £29/person if you get a triple room for 3 nights) or you can camp from £10/person and purchase breakfast separately. There is also limited campervan parking but no electric hookup. All of this can be booked from the event website by clicking on the ‘Order Extras’ option at the right hand side of the menu.

To enter simply surf on over the the event website:

Please note due to an issue with the SailFest/D-Zero entry page any extras/accommodation booked prior to 24th Feb 2015 may not have booked correctly. Please check with SailRacer or the venue directly to ensure they have your booking.

Grafham Training and Open Meeting 29th/30th November 2014

IMGP1498 (Custom)

Lining up for the start. Photo Credit Nicola Evans

Report from David Summerville:

Following a successful Training Day on Saturday 29th November under the guidance of the boat’s designer, Dan Holman, and the inaugural AGM of the class on the Saturday evening, the 2014 Grafham Water D-Zero Open Meeting was held on Sunday 30th November in Westerly winds ranging from 6 to 14 knots under a mostly blue sky. Subsequent to a 20 boat turnout for the training, 17 boats participated in the racing and the entire weekend was generously sponsored by Suntouched Sailboats.

Race 1 was sailed in 6 – 8 knots. On the very long windward leg Richard Major, racing the D-Zero for the first time in a demo boat, swapped places with David Summerville in the shifting breeze, with the fleet very compressed. Richard was first round the windward mark followed closely by John Aston, Neil Washington and Mandy Horton. The leading 2 boats pulled away from the fleet on the 4 downwind legs in the patchy conditions, with Richard taking the bullet from John and Graeme Tumber taking the right hand lane to the finish to squeeze Neil out for a respectable 3rd, with Neil in 4th ahead of Mandy in 5th.

Race 2 was sailed in a lively 12 – 14 knots round an Olympic course. After a closely fought first beat David rounded the weather mark just ahead of Mike Hobin, with John, Dave Woods and Adrian Brunton in close attendance. David extended slightly down the 2 reaches with the following group converging at the leeward mark. Up the second beat, David and Mike worked to the left of the rhumb line, with Adrian and Dave heading hard right towards the starboard lay line. With more breeze and a right shift Adrian and Dave rounded the windward mark 1 and 2. David passed Dave down the run and pulled up to Adrian by the leeward mark, but Adrian was safe for the bullet with David in 2nd and Dave taking a well-earned 3rd. Mike eventually finished 4th with John in 5th.
With a break for lunch it was looking tight on the leaderboard. With a no discard 3 race series there were still 5 or 6 potential winners of the event.

Race 3 was again sailed around an Olympic course, with winds in the 10 – 13 knot range. John and David, lying 1st and 2nd overall after 2 races had a good battle up the first beat and rounded the first windward mark well clear of the chasing pack, which was headed by Mike. John and David extended their lead down the two reaches, with David getting past John on the 2nd reach, in what was now becoming the race for the event. Richard also sailed extremely well down the reaches to move into 3rd place. John managed to edge past David up the 2nd beat and was comfortably ahead by the weather mark. David managed to eat away at John’s lead down the final run and picked the angles well to move into the lead well before the leeward mark. At the finish David took the bullet, with John finishing 2nd and Richard in 3rd. Mike finished 4th again with Jon Cowper in 5th.

In all a very close event with helms from under 70kg and 5’6”, to 100kg and 6’4”, taking race wins. David Summerville took overall victory on countback after tying with John Aston on 9 points. Richard Major sailed very well into 3rd place, a further 3 points back. Close racing was the order of the day throughout the fleet, particularly in the breezier races 2 and 3.
Great prizes were provided by Suntouched Sailboats, in addition to which all participants were awarded a bottle of wine!

Upcoming events where the D-Zero will be in attendance are the Yorkshire Dales Brass Monkey on 27th December and the Grafham Grand Prix on 28th December, both of which form part of the GJW SailJuice Winter Series.

Full Results:

Rank Sail No Helm Club R1 R2 R3 Nett
1st 132 David Summerville Grafham Water SC 6.0 2.0 1.0 9.0
2nd 3 John Aston Grafham Water SC 2.0 5.0 2.0 9.0
3rd 114 Richard Major Grafham Water SC 1.0 8.0 3.0 12.0
4th 71 Neil Washington Grafham Water SC 4.0 6.0 8.0 18.0
5th 111 Mike Hobin West Oxfordshire SC 11.0 4.0 4.0 19.0
6th 105 Dave Woods Rossendale Valley SC 10.0 3.0 7.0 20.0
7th 135 Mandy Horton Grafham Water SC 5.0 10.0 10.0 25.0
8th 42 Jon Cowper Hunts SC 12.0 9.0 5.0 26.0
9th 119 Russ Hopkins Tewkesbury SC 13.0 7.0 6.0 26.0
10th 108 Adrian Brunton RYA 8.0 1.0 DNC 27.0
11th 5 Graeme Tumber Grafham Water SC 3.0 11.0 DNC 32.0
12th 104 Gordon Stewart North Herts and East Beds SC 15.0 12.0 9.0 36.0
13th 109 Mike Woodhead Yorkshire Dales SC 14.0 13.0 11.0 38.0
14th 123 Graham Cooper South Cerney SC 9.0 14.0 DNC 41.0
15th 130 Dave Goudie Grafham Water SC 7.0 DNC DNC 43.0
16th 7 David Whitrow Grafham Water SC 16.0 DNF DNC 52.0
17th 139 Michael Edwards Grafham Water SC 17.0 DNC DNC 53.0

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén