12 June 2021 Sponsored by Solent Boatworks
Sun and blue sky met the D-Zero’ists as they collected on the Quay at Emsworth Slipper, arriving early to setup and rig in covid compliant conditions. Emsworth is a busy town, with many cafes and people walking the promenade, so another 24 D-Zero’s consisting of many visitors, at the top of the harbour club produced a good spectacle for all.
As they sailed out to the race area, light winds from the North were unexpected, and made some close on timing as PRO – Dave Cockerill started the countdown and R1 got underway in a trapezoid ABCD format, hopefully to make the most of the fun and speed from a D-Zero on a reach. Keen local David Valentine attempted a pin-end port flyer, though was met with several others coming in and forced him over the line and tap another with his boom, only to return and do some spins and from last, headed back out with gusto. Not being a sheep, he banged again onto port and found clear air to lift his position. Close racing other than the very front, though little reaching speed, where Ben Oakley of Emsworth showed a light wind masterclass and led from the first mark, though the second lap made a few places change hands. Ben Oakley took the bullet, with the D-Zero poster boy Tom Southwell of Hill head in 2nd, and Jonathan Cunnison also of Emsworth in 3rd.
With the wind up and down, R2 setoff with some puffs, Valentine learning from last race and chasing Ben Oakley hard on starboard, with Tim Weeden of Slipper, Joe Constable of Grafham and Class Chair Paul Jefferies of Hunts showing his experience and jostling for position. More close racing with many rounding marks all together. The D-Zero not being affected by weight or size of sailor, and allowing racers to continually challenge every position through the race. As the wind lightened, the PRO wisely chose to shorten the race, and as the wind dropped out Ben Oakley took the bullet. Joe Constable and david valentine were neck and neck with a boat length to get to the finish, and Valentine decided on a couple of tacks to try and find air, and just scraped through by inches to take 2nd. Joe Constable taking 3rd. All the rest of the pack were backed up between the Committee Boat and the 4th mark, and used every bit of skill to creep across the line, some gaining, some losing right at the bitter end, with Tim Weeden taking another solid 4th.
Then the sea breeze came in, flipping the direction 180 degrees and added about 10 knots. The PRO looked to swop marks around, though some smart comms with the patrol craft and some local sailors managed to share the new course between the D-Zero’s and run a DCBA course. The line was a little tight though all 24 managed to cram themselves in, though David Valentine left the start like a scolded cat, with Ben Oakley and Gavin Fleming pushing a little too much and gaining an OCS. Keen watching from the PRO and pin-end patrol craft enabled some quick spotting. Valentine got to the 1st mark, keeping his D-Zero very flat, rounded and shot away down the reach. Gavin Fleming not realising his OCS was not far behind and had several of Ben O, Tom S, Gordon Stewart of North Herts East Beds, Ben Davis of Thorney, and Ian Lloyd-Williams all the way from Bala challenging his position, with Tim W very close. Valentine was watching with interest as they fought their way down the run, covering off anything as he zigged his way to the last mark, rounding with speed with several coming in quickly, so gaining composure and drove his DZ hard upwind tacking close to cover off, and took the bullet with a reasonable lead. Ben O and Gavin following up though no hoot to their shock. 1st David Valentine, 2nd Tom Southwell, 3rd Gordon Stewart.
The PRO being wise took the decision to bale whilst the going was good and get everyone home for the sponsored post-race tea from Solent Boatworks, which as promised provided plenty of refreshments, cakes and other carbs to feed the hungry sailors, which was probably the best tea ever !
David Valentine, as event organiser, presented the glassware from Emsworth Slipper to the top 5 overall – 1st Ben Oakley , 2nd David Valentine, 3rd Tom Southwell, 4th Tim Weeden and 5th Jonathan Cunnison.