Nigel Austin in the light conditions at the 2017 Tiger Trophy. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

On the 4th and 5th February 2017 the D-Zero class travelled to Rutland SC for the 2017 Tiger Trophy in aid of the John Merricks Sailing Trust. Various online weather forecasts had predicted winds ranging from no wind, through the nice scale right up to apocalyptic. (Un)Fortunately the forecast storm did not really materialise leaving the wind towards the bottom end of the scale.

Nigel Austin GBR191 takes up the story:

I now longer believe in online weather forecasts that are anything longer than 24 hours in advance!!

Full of Promise was the Tiger Trophy but on the Saturday morning on the way to Rutland, Tom Southwell and I were looking for any sign of air moving!. Unfortunately it was, from the tailor tyre and relatively quickly the shredded remnants were strewn along Phoenix Parkway, Corby – 10 miles from our destination. By pure co-incidence, a chap I had gone to Primary school over half a century ago, was working in a tyre shop half a mile away and within 45 minutes of despair we were on our way with a borrowed tyre from him!!

We needn’t have worried because the start, despite being about 2 miles away was postponed whilst the race committee wondered where the wind was coming from, so we met up with Rob Lennox and Rob Campbell and weaved in and out of the 119 boats – except we avoided the 18ft skiff!

The fast fleet disappeared in a Force 1-2 and we all wondered which way to go up the beat – i decided left and just kept going for about 10 minutes until i hit the layline and then realised no-one was with me – i found out later that Rob L had been duffed up by a Laser on the line and the other two had gone right. Anyway it paid off and I squeezed ahead of Tom. The lead changed hands several times until the rounding of the last bouy when i forgot to cover tack Mr Southwell (by this stage!) and he shafted me. Rob L and Rob C didn’t manage to claw through the RS200’s to catch us, so we were quite chuffed!.

Of course Rob L was just toying with us, like a cat with a mouse, and after about 3 minutes of the 2nd race he was out of sight. Tom and I continued the very close racing from the first race whilst Rob C was trying hard to overcome the light wind conditions. I had a heated altercation with a RS200 which broke the tranquillity of an otherwise uneventful race – i nearly had to challenge him to pistols at dawn instead of quoting Rule 69 as he was not at all sporting!.

Race 3 was starting to look a little like a one lapper with the sun going down rapidly and a gasping Force 1. Rob L and myself managed to get a big gap from the other two and as the wind became less the likelihood of the gap closing decreased. I was with Rob L for about 15 minutes and then he was gone!.

A 45 minute crawl and pump back to the clubhouse (why don’t they ever finish on a beat at the windward mark ???) meant the food and drink was better appreciated I suppose. The best part of the day was yet to come, as I made my way from the changing room to the bar to be greeted by people who usually walk straight past, congratulating me rather bemusingly – on winning the first Race (out of all 119 boats! Including Olympic double silver medallist Ian Walker). Of course it was Tom Southwell who badgered me to “Fess up” to the Race Officer but I didn’t for 20 minutes while I basked in the “fake news” notoriety.

The amended results were still kind to me as despite losing to Mr Southwell in 2 races, I had a big enough gap in the last race to creep above him. Rob L obviously took the honours on Day 1 and Rob C showed great patience on a frustrating day (again in light winds – all winter!!!).

Ian Walker was the guest Speaker at the Tiger Dinner – good entertainment and top nosh !!.

Then the Sunday!!!! Everyone was ready and we all looked at the Moths and Skiff countless times, got changed – but the Fog just wouldn’t move!! Eventually after 2 hours it was abandoned for the day – I think Rob C had the best idea, stayed in bed!.

Thats sailing or not as the case was. Well done to all who took part it was not D Zero weather but one day it will be…………………….

See you at Oxford hopefully – let it blow please!!

Overall results for the class were as follows:

42nd – Rob Lennox – GBR195
58th – Nigel Austin – GBR191
63rd – Tom Southwell – GBR217
100th – Rob Campbell – GBR190

The Tiger Trophy was also Round 7 of the D-Zero Winter Series 2016/2017, you can find a short series update and the latest standings by clicking here.