As the D-Zero Winter Series 2015/2016 and the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series 2015/2016 both drew to a close it was clear that mother nature was going to continue with her windy theme. All of the Winter Series events have been windy to the point of extreme at times aside from the Brass Monkey which was the polar opposite. With the final podium place still up for grabs and any one of 3 sailors able to claim it the Tiger Trophy weekend was sure to be hotly contested.
As mentioned above mother nature threw a hissy fit on Saturday and as a result (and not before a B14 mast was snapped) racing on Saturday was called off. What next for the fleet? Several of them were subsequently seen trying their hand at land yachting (there is evidence on the D-Zero Facebook page). Then a surprise announcement from Rutland that Sunday would see 3 fleet races (weather permitting) and no pursuit. Word soon spread and the fleet reconvened at Rutland on Sunday morning.
Rob Lennox leads the D-Zero class at the Tiger Trophy. Photo Copyright Jess Austin
Nigel Austin GBR191 reports on his weekend:
Saturday – forecast was for 50mph winds, but like sailors the world over that wasn’t going to stop lots of the entries rigging and heading for the start line like lambs to the slaughter!!!, unfortunately the start sequence never got underway before we headed for any shelter possible before returning to the shore where the new D-Zero trolley dolly, Ian Morgan helped us in!. (Of course he swore he knew it would be cancelled….). So the was that, apart from Ian, Tom and I tried a little land yachting on a local recreation ground, later in the afternoon just to keep our hand in!
Sunday saw a slightly less breezy forecast, and with the race officer taking a straw pole of the remaining sailors and deciding on 3 fleet races (slow and fast) back to back, we screamed out to the start in less time than the rescue ribs. The trapezoidal course was perfectly designed to provide those viewing from the lakeside church with a capsize carnival, and many of the other boats obliged, however I am pretty sure that most D-Zeros survived the first race relatively unscathed with Rob Lennox leading from Ian Morgan, Tom Southwell, myself, Gordon, Alistair, Rob Campbell and Graham Cox (in the Blue), although perhaps the last two didn’t quite survive right to the end!
The 2nd race saw it still blowing a Force5 constantly with some gusts (well quite a few touching 6), and tiredness was starting to creep in, with capsizes increasing and the fleet sizes decreasing. Ian had bad gybe whilst in the lead, and Rob L had an upwind capsize in front of the committee boat but even having spent a while in the water he managed to motor though the fleet to win from Tom, myself and Gordon with Alistair hanging in their despite capsize showboating for the churchgoers on the run leg!!. Ian and Alistair decided enough was enough, as had Rob C after a nasty capsize in the 2nd, so that left 4 of us, Rob L, Gordon, Tom and myself. Rob led up the first beat but the first broad reach was ferocious and both Gordon and Rob gravitated gracefully into the choppy waters.
For about a minute yours truly led, but “he who dares wins” was never truer when Tom and Gordon gybed on the third mark in a squall, while I practiced granny tacking!
The last lap saw the largest squall of the weekend and have to say Gordon and Tom pushed their D-Zeros to Mach 10, I have never sailed in such a sustained and angry wind. A shortened course saw myself and Rob L doing a lap or 2 less than Gordon and Tom, but it was a blessed relief really!
All in all the boats stood up to a battering and so did all the helms who I am sure will have learnt from their experiences! Big time
So a fitting conclusion to what has been a windy end to 2015 and a windy start to 2016. Overall the D-Zero results looked like this:
1st Rob Lennox (49th)
2nd Gordon Stewart (52nd)
3rd Tom Southwell (53rd)
4th Nigel Austin (55th)
5th Alistair Hill (61st)
6th Ian Morgan (69th)
7th= Robert Campbell (75th)
7th= Graham Cox (75th)
Graham and Rob C both get a mention as they did travel and did go out on the water, kudos to them for giving it a go!
How these results affect the over GJW Direct/Sailjuice standings remain to be seen, more on that in the coming days.
The D-Zero Winter Series is now completed, you can find out all the details by clicking here.
There is also a great photo album taken by Jess Austin on the class Facebook group including a great capsize sequence, click here to see it.