Report by Jamie Briggs – D-Zero Youth Ambassador – The D-Zero Scottish National Championships – 25/26 September 2021 – Prestwick SC

The D-Zero Scottish National Championships were really something special this year with 20 sailors signed up though some notable absences due to injury and Covid. 

Some competitors arrived early on Friday evening, and the club kindly opened the bar and organised a Chinese takeaway.

On the first day, Saturday, it was looking like light winds at first but the wind whipped up to 12-15knts for the start of the first race, and then steadily increased. It was close racing on the exciting triangular course with massive waves to surf. The difference between first and last was tiny, with any mistake being very costly, and there was plenty of position changing throughout the fleet, and close racing known with the D-Zero. Ian Baillie lead the first two races, with Niel Ritchie taking the next 2 bullets. Jon Bassett was taking consistent 3rds and David Valentine, from below the border running consistently 4th, though got the better of Jon on the last race of the day. As one of the lighter and younger sailors, I was holding mid-fleet, though still enjoying the racing and beating many of the older sailors at their game – experience doesn’t always pay off !         The conditions took their toll on a number of sailors and their boats, including myself. Unfortunately, in the last race on Saturday my kicker broke and I had to retire back to the shore. The D-Zero class is so friendly and everyone rallied around with help and parts to get my boat fixed for the next day. 

Tired though excited sailors stayed for an Indian buffet, all part of the service offered, and shared tales of their sailing spills and thrills from the day.

Overnight results:

1st – Niel Ritchie – Aberdeen & Stonehaven, 2nd and by one point – Ian Baillie – Dalgety Bay; 3rd – Jon Bassett – Largs; 4th and by one point – David Valentine – Emsworth Slipper

On Sunday, the forecast was for higher winds, though the Race Officer did an incredible job, getting us racing despite the committee boat being unable to reach the race area due to a large swell. Extreme gusts and large waves made it survival conditions at times but exhilarating sailing in between. The ‘mental’ strong winds combined with the speed and stability of the D-Zero meant it felt like I was taking off on the reaches.  I would have to say it was the most fun I’ve ever had in a boat! 

Rhodri Thomas from Dalgety Bay took the first race, with Niel Ritchie hanging on to 2nd, and Ian Baillie in 3rd. I was performing much better with an improved kicker and Cunningham, so could depower the D-Zero and challenge the heavier sailors.

As only 2 races, I put everything into my last race, and managed a 3rd place, after one of the leaders made a tactical error of rounding the wrong mark. Ritchie has another great performance and led the way, followed by Baillie. Valentine dropped into 4th. A few capsizes for most, and some exciting gybes, planning off the waves and punching the beats, just having the two races was beneficial for all.

Videos were being taken by one of the patrol craft crews, showing off plenty of silly grins from the D-Zero sailors, surfing down many a wave. Shown on the Devoti D-Zero Sailing Facebook page, and kindly sent in by Grahame Pinkerton. Thanks to him and his cox for taking some great shots.

Neil Ritchie was the well deserved winner of the weekend – sailing away from the fleet on Sunday.

Prestwick Sailing Club did a great job at organising the event and whilst I did not sample one myself, I heard their Killie Pies were to die for. 

Overall it was an amazing weekend with great weather, a super friendly club, top class organisation, and brilliant sailing.

Since I moved into a D-Zero each event seems to attract more and more youth sailors, and the D-Zero is so much fun and I can’t wait for the next event. 

Jamie Briggs – 300 – D-Zero Youth Ambassador

Final Results

1st – Niel Ritchie – 326 – Aberdeen & Stonehaven
2nd – Ian Baillie – 336 – Dalgety Bay
3rd – David Valentine – 66 – Emsworth Slipper
4th – Jon Bassett – 306 – Largs
5th – Rhodri Thomas – 148 – Dalgety Bay
6th – Billy McCarlie – 265 – Largs
7th – Jamie Briggs – 300 – Largs
8th – Michael Green – 182 – Rossendale Valley
9th – Scott Munro – 338 – Aberdeen & Stonehaven
10th – Tom Whitehead – 128 – Prestwick
11th – Stuart Moss – 251 – Largs
12th – Eamonn Rankin – 242 – Prestwick
13th – Richard Bryant – 189 – Annandale
14th – Mike Grant – 281 – Largs
15th – David McClay – 188 – Prestwick
16th – Alan Henderson – 233 – Prestwick
17th – Samuel Sloss – 111 – Largs
17th – Stuart Khaliq – 141 – Largs