Thanks to Jeremy Carey for the below report and helping organise this event-
D-Zero inaugural Winter Sprint Championship
3rd December 2017
Burghfield Sailing Club
After the postponement of the event from 28th October to 3rd December due to lack of wind it was always going to be more difficult to persuade a large number to competitors to dig out their winter gear and take part in the inaugural D-Zero and Phantom Winter Sprint Championship. Whilst the running of the event was timed to slot neatly in between the GJW winter series events – weekend passes are difficult to come by for many and with commitments to the GJW series already confirmed, a select group of D-Zero helms made the trip to Burghfield. The day started ominously with mirror like conditions across the lake(was this to be a repeat of October was in everyone’s mind) but by the time of the race briefing the wind was thankfully starting to appear and by race one there was wind across the lake, albeit in veins.
Sharing the event with the Phantoms, the D-Zeros were given first start to keep the turnaround of races tight and as the flags came down all got away cleanly onto the Olympic style trapezoid/sausage course. With the first beat set on the right hand side of the lake most of the fleet took a direct approach, short tacking to the right of Pancake Island. Burghfield sailor, Jeremy Carey took a different approach and bore off to the left of the island into what was more wind. As he came back on a big port lift toward the windward mark it was clear he had made the right choice, leaving the rest of the fleet in lighter airs, he cleared the mark with a comfortable margin which he held to the end of the sprint race. Behind it was definitely a battle between Nigel Austin and Tom Southwell, Nigel in his aptly named boat ‘Southwell Beater’ was harrying Tom constantly with places changing constantly and though he did not hold the lead to the end his intentions for the day were clear.
The first three races were back to back before the lunchtime break with no ‘free passes’ to the lead for Jeremy again (the rest of the fleet had cottoned on to the fact that left was a good way to go!) Race two and it was once again Tom, Nigel and Jeremy who were first up the beat in that order, though Jeremy lost some ground sorting an issue after the rounding the windward mark. Tom and Nigel battled once again, with place switching constantly happening over the short course, but once again, Tom came out on top taking the bullet. Chris Jeffries and Graham Cooper were at the same time having their battles and were now equal on points. Race three and this time it was Jeremy’s turn to try and harry Tom as he once again led round the windward mark, but Tom’s downwind techniques kept him clear through to the end with Nigel coming across the line in third.
After a brief lunch ashore, it was a further four quick fire races back to back for the afternoon. The wind by now had strengthened and settled into a pure easterly, and though still typically Burghfield in its shifts, it was nevertheless more consistent in strength. With gentle planning conditions across the top and bottom reaches the fleet once again got away cleanly for race four with Jeremy successfully picking his way up the shifts on the beat to lead by a clean margin round the windward mark which he held to the end of the 20min race. Nigel and Tom were once again in the thick of it and it is testament to the format of the racing that the place changing was constant through the short duration, but on this occasion, Nigel’s boat name came pulled him through to take a well earn place in front of Tom. Chris and Graham were at the same time continuing to swap finishing positions as if guided by a metronome, with each now tied on 4,5,4,5 and 5,4,5,4 respectively. Race 5 got underway as soon as the line was clear and it was no mistake that Tom got off the line cleanly in clear wind having been hugging the committee boat transom all day, waiting for the others shenanigans to happen first. Jeremy got mired on the start with a chunk of weed on his rudder and by the time this was sorted he was firmly at the back by a good 30m. Nigel and Tom got up to their tricks again but with Tom once again popping his head out in front but only by luffing Nigel along the final reach toward the finish line allowing Jeremy, who had battled back from the poor start into third, to get his hopes up by going low and hoping to accelerate beneath the others. It was not to be, however as Tom took his third bullet with Nigel counting his third second place to boot.
Race 6 was Nigel’s ‘piece de resistance’ as he firmly shut the door on both Jeremy and Graham at the committee boat, Jeremy being forced to tack out and come round again, leaving Nigel to control the beat. Chris meanwhile had sauntered into a good position and by the top of the beat it was Nigel cleanly away in first followed by Chris and Graham with Tom and Jeremy bringing up the rear. Along the top reach Graham was a little too generous and allowed both Tom and Jeremy to saunter by to windward on a gust. Nigel held the lead from start to finish to record his first bullet and though Jeremy manged to recover from his lacklustre start to second, Tom had a rather unaccustomed 4th to mar his otherwise strong score line.
This meant coming into the final race of the event there was all to play for between Tom and Jeremy for the top sport, though Jeremy really needed a bullet for it to happen. Up the first beat and Tom was marking Jeremy which allowed Chris who had started at the pin end of the line a clear line to the favoured left of the course which he made best use of and held a clear lead after the first rounding. Though Jeremy and Tom swapped places a bit over the race, Tom’s superior downwind speed kept him coming back and he took a comfortable second place from Chris allowing him to take the title of First ever D-Zero Winter Sprint Champion.
Many thanks to all who turned up to the event and to the fantastic work of the race and safety boat teams who made the event go so seamlessly, the format is just great and everyone enjoyed the close tactical racing to the point where we have already decided to come back again in early November 2017 for next Winter Sprint Championships
For full result please click here