Some of the D-Zero fleet discussing the weight of darker gel coat. Photo Credit – Paul Jefferies

On the 26th September 2015 11 keen D-Zero sailors gathered at Hunts SC. Many had travelled for several hours in spite of the dire forecast which predicted a paltry 2-3kts from the North with the actual wind that could best be described as variable in both strength and direction.

With sustenance in the form of bacon butties and tea/coffee on arrival included in the entry fee and the sun shining the day looked promising. Until you glanced out over the lake to see it almost mirror smooth with barely a zephyr of wind.

In typical D-Zero fashion people gathered round various boats to see what the latest pimps and bimbles were (as well as discussing the relative weight of dark gel coat pigments) and to look at one brand new D-Zero that was being launched that day.

Following a short postponement the fleet launched at 11:30 and headed out to the start line. The wind looked promising but it was just lulling us in to a false sense of security as it dropped off during the sequence. Unperturbed the race officer let the start go. With 2 of the local boats the only ones to spot the increased pressure out to the left the majority of the fleet went right and sailed in to one of the many holes. At one point it looked as though Nationals runner up Ian Morgan might have managed to dodge the holes only to tack into nothing about 20m from the mark to allow local sailor Paul Jefferies (your intrepid reporter) through to lead closely followed by Ian (once he got moving again) and then a large group. Cue the wind to drop and swing wiping out any advantage. This pretty much set the tone for the race with those that could find wind making large gains and those who missed out going backwards. Eventually though (more by luck than judgement Paul and Tom Southwell managed to escape the chasing pack and opened up a sizeable lead where they indulged in a battle for the rest of the race. Tom got ahead a couple of times but the local knowledge (aka luck) held good for Paul who managed to sneak across and take the bullet by the narrowest of margins from Tom. There was then a large gap to another local sailor, Jon Cowper who had a battle down the last run with Nigel Austin. Jon managed to sneak ahead taking 3rd with Nigel 4th.

The 3 event contenders battle it out in race 1. Photo Credit David Catto

There then followed a short break for lunch and right on cue the wind decided to stabilise.

Adter lunch with the wind seemingly holding we set off for race 2. Paul was far too keen at the start and ended up having to go back. The allowed visitor John Turley to lead the fleet up to the windward mark closely followed by local sailor Jon Copwer and another local Graham Cox. Paul pulled off a great comeback to round just ahead of the main pack in 4th. Cue yet another wind change of heart which allowed some of the lighter guys to come through. With the wind becoming increasingly more erratic in direction it was an eyes out the boat race, spotting and then getting to the pressure before the boats ahead. Those that did this came through and those that did not went backwards. With Jon having his hands full at the front being chased firstly by John T, Graham and Paul and later in the race by the fast charging Tom (with Ian coming through with Tom only to fall back into the pack again) it seemed that others could sneak past. Jon held his nerve though to take the bullet closely followed by John T and Tom.

This meant it was all to play for in the final race with Paul, Jon or Tom able to win the meeting. Sadly the wind was to have the deciding vote in this by shutting off completely during the last start sequence. With time pressing on and many people having a long drive home ahead of them the fleet collectively took the decision to abandon the last race and sail ashore.

The left Jon ‘hop-a-long’ Cowper at the top of the pile counting 1-3, Paul in second counting 1-4 and Tom in 3rd counting 2-3.

After packing away and snacking on cakes and nibbles provided by the Solo fleet who shared the event with us the prizes were given out.

The next event for the D-Zero fleet is the Inlands at Yorkshire Dales SC on the 10th/11th October 2015, click here to find out more.


Name Club Sail # Race 1 Race2 Total Position
John Cowper Hunts Sailing Club 42 3 1 4 1
Paul Jefferies Hunts Sailing Club 101 1 4 5 2
Tom Southwell Hill Head 178 2 3 5 3
John Turley Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club 103 6 2 8 4
Ian Morgan Hill Head 156 5 7 12 5
Rob Campbell Cransley 123 8 5 13 6
Nigel Austin Cransley 128 4 10 14 7
Dave Woods Rossendale Valley Sailing Club 175 7 8 15 8
Greham Cox Hunts Sailing Club 108 11 6 17 9
Jeremy Cooper Shotwick Lake Sailing Club 149 10 9 19 10
Gordon Stewart N.H.E.B 181 9 11 20 11
John Cheslett Bala Sailing Club 67 12 12 24 12