As the summer sailing season drew to a close in 2018 it seemed that some hardy D-Zero sailors still wanted more. So after a discussion the class decided to once again run the D-Zero Winter Series with the Series champion winning the kudos of being the hardiest D-Zero sailor and getting to carry the coveted ‘W’ on their sail for the next 12 months.
With people only needing to attend 4 out of the 8 events, the weather being kind the early signs were looking good for anyone to take the title. Especially as the previous Winter Series champ was sitting it out in the warmth of his lounge.
Round 1 – The Draycote Dash
In round 1 class poster boy Tom Southwell renewed his rivalry with Nigel Austin. They were joined by class newcomer Andrew Spencer. Unfortunately for Nigel Tom showed both him and Andrew a clean transom and sailed off to take class honours. Andrew also got the better of Nigel.
Round 2 – The Datchet Flyer
The 3 sailors from round 1 were join by 2 other, Seb Prowse and James Gerwat. On the Saturday the brutal conditions saw many non finishers including Seb who was ejected from his boat causing some minor damage in the process. The Sunday was much lighter and Tom duly led Andre and Nigel home with both James and Seb calling it a day and staying on shore.
Round 3 – The Brass Monkey
For round 3 a new face to the D-Zero and sailing royalty in the form of Nick Craig who had borrow the Class Chairs boat for the event. Unfortunately the weather meant only 1 of the 2 scheduled races could be sailed. Nick duly delivered and posted 2nd overall with the ever consistent Andrew coming home second and Mick green 3rd. Nigel had entered but was unwell and could not travel.
Round 4 – The Grafham Grand Prix
Grafham saw Tom return after missing out on the Brass Monkey. Could he keep up his perfect scoreline or would others have something to say? The answer is yes. Grafham local Joel Walker managed the traffic best and led the fleet home with Gavin Fleming from nearby Hunts SC taking second Tom only managing third.
This meant Tom was not as invincible as he had seemed and gave a glimmer of light to his challengers.
Round 5 – The Bloody Mary
Round 5 saw the return of Nick Craig. this time he had borrowed the UK Dealers personal boat whilst awaiting delivery of his own from Devoti. Steve Bolland also came out of hibernation to compete along with the usual suspects. Some of them may have wished they had stayed asleep though with the weather looking cold and windy. On the say conditions ranged from ‘nice’ to ‘a bit full on’. Nick carried on where he left off at the Brass Monkey and led the fleet home with Steve second and Tom only managing a third. The good news for Tom was that his series rivals were all behind him and with Steve and Nick unlikely to do any more events in the series the title was looking to be heading his way.
Round 6 – The Steve Nicholson Trophy
Tom elected to skip this event so it was an opportunity for Nigel to try and make up some ground. Unfortunately for him Gavin Fleming was also out meaning Nigel was relegated to second and the returning Kevin Moll chasing Nigel around for 3rd.
Round 7 – The Tiger Trophy
With Tom making a late entry to the Tiger all 3 of the series contenders were on the water. It was typical tiger conditions on the Saturday a cold, fresh breeze blowing across Rutland Water. Tom made the best of them to lead the class overnight with Kevin and Andrew giving race 3 a miss in the freezing conditions.
Sunday dawned cold and frosty and lighter winds. After defrosting it was Tom who again got away from the rest giving him class honours with Nigel getting the better of Ed Deacon to take second and third in class respectively.
With Toms class win he duly took the Winter Series with 1 event to spare.
Round 8 – The Oxford Blue
The final event of the series saw 8 D-Zeros on the start line. Could Tom, having already secured the title, take class honours and count a perfect score or would one of the others get in on the act? Nigel still had a slim chance of taking second in the series from Andrew but needed to take the class win to do so.
Tom was pushed hard by Paul Jefferies who was making his first appearance in the winter events. However, a costly swim and lack of youth and fitness from Paul meant Tom took the class win, Paul second and Nigel third.
Overall this meant Tom counted a perfect scoreline of bullets to be crowned D-Zero Winter Series Champion with Andrew pipping Nigel to second by a single point.
Full series standings can be found by clicking here.
In the Selden SailJuice Winter Series, which made up 7 of the events, Tom Southwell was the leading D-Zero in 25th overall, Andrew Spencer not too far behind in 32nd and the ever present Nigel Austin in 38th. Full series standings can be found by clicking here. In the Sailing Chandlery Top Class rankings the D-Zero came home 4th behind the Laser, Blaze and Aero 7 with not many point separating all 4 classes so a great achievement there.