Ian Morgan leads the D-Zero fleet at the 2016 Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

On the 19th and 20th November 2017 6 hardy D-Zero sailors gathered at Draycote Water SC for the Draycote Dash. This event is round 1 of the D-Zero Winter Series and round 1 of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series 2017.

Some were a little apprehensive give the forecast with Storm Angus due to give some big winds on the Sunday. Angus departed over breakfast Sunday and we are told that Mssrs Lennox and Southwell definitely did not sample the waters during the course of the event.

Roving reporter Nigel Austin takes up the story:

Draycote’s parking can divide fleets and so it was when we arrived on a frosty morning on 19th November. Rob Lennox, Gordon Stewart and myself in the northerly camp and Ian Morgan, Tom Southwell and Rob Campbell in the southerly one. The winds were a Force 2-3 and with the 103 assorted boats assembled on time the 4 back to back races started. Ian disappeared off like he does, with Rob L in pursuit, followed by The B-Team!. yours truly managed to grind out a 3rd with some scrapping between the remaining 3, but with Gordon finishing ahead of Rob C and Tom. A massive windshifts happened after the first race and Rob L took advantage and beat Ian, myself stayed the same but with Tom finally awakening to take 4th ahead of Rob C and Gordon.

Race 3 saw a closer race although Ian and Rob L eventually rose to the top, however not before the National Champion was overtaken on a dead run by DZero 191, (highlight of the year for the helm!). Unfortunately the sudden rush of blood to the head saw him (me) drop back to 5th. Race 4 saw an early bit of excitement for the safety boats as Rob Lennox tacked and just kept on rolling – brrrrrrr!

With the remaining pack keen to capitalise on this they held Barnt Greens’ best at bay until the last lap when he capitalised on the “go left” Secret Draycote nugget (that he revealed at breakfast the following day!).

So Day one ended with Ian ahead of Rob with 3 first and a second and Rob L second with 3 seconds and a first. Myself and Tom Southwell were joined at the hip in third equal and Gordon and Rob C were the wingmen of the group.

Sunday saw Storm Angus still blowing when all arrived, however with it scheduled to drop the breakfasts were of medium quantity although Tom did stock up a little more than others. A frenetic start saw Gordon push Rob L towards the line and so with a need to accelerate along the line Rob made a flying start and that was the last most of us saw of him. Catching up folk or being caught up in a pursuit race with 100 boats is nerve racking but a very complex course of 2 large beats and what felt like 10 reaches and fetches, with endless “calls for water” and loss of wind as larger boats sail over you, also keeps you on your toes. Ian fought his way back to close the gap on Rob, and clinch a creditable 7th overall.

Both Ian and Rob received prizes for their efforts, amusingly books on asymmetric sailing!

Top sailing and a good amount of close racing – just a shame that more from the Midlands didn’t make it

So after 1 event Ian takes an early lead from Rob and his clubmate Tom. The current standings after 1 event are:

1st Ian Morgan
2nd Rob Lennox
3rd Tom Southwell
4th Nigel Austin
5th Gordon Stewart
6th Rob Campbell

Full results for the Draycote Dash can be found by clicking here.

From here the D-Zero class moves on to Burghfield SC on the 3rd December for a re-scheduled Open Meeting and then on to round 2 of the Winter Series, the Datchet Flyer, on the 10th and 11th December 2017.