Davis Summerville and Rob Lennox pick their way through the fleet at the Oxford Blue Photo Copyright Tim Olin

Last weekend saw Round 6 of the D-Zero Winter Series 2015/2016 and Round 5 of the GJW SailJuice Winter Series 2015/2016. With 13 D-Zeros entered the fleet once again looked like being one of the largest. Sadly 4 of the entries could not make it on the day with a combination of illness, injury and last minute family commitments. So 9 D-Zeros made it to Oxford in the wind and rain and they were greeted with a crowded race course with all 3 fleets on the same course. As with the Grafham GP getting a good start and finding a clear lane would be key.

Nigel Austin- GBR 191 reports on his day:

I have not known such a windy winter as 2015-2016, well not since the Indian takeway came to our village in 1995. And in Event 5 of the Sailjuice Series, 9 out of the 13 D Zeros registered were again treated to another 15 gusting 25 south-southwesterly (I think!).

From my perspective this was far better than last years drift, and tooled up with grippy toestraps, stopwatch (first time in 45 years of sailing I have used one!) and the traveller tighter than a ducks backside (due to Xmas grip cleat thing), I felt much more at one with the boat.

All three starts were obviously biased to starboard although they did have to reset for Race 3 as it had become a little too much!. In intermittent driving rain, three D Zeros (Dave Summerville, Rob Lennox and Ian Morgan) made it to the top of the fleet in all 3 races (well nearly, not sure what happened to Rob L in Race 1?), and generally disappeared off into the sunset (if there had been any sun). The remainder of the fleet found the RS Aero’s (who had descended en masse for their winter championship) were quite a challenge, and it was difficult/impossible to overhaul them (I blamed the tight fetch, dead run and broad reach, well it has to be something?!).

3 back to back races are OK as long as the restarts are fairly quick, but unfortunately they didn’t seem to be, so much so that I had time to do a first in a D Zero (no I didn’t win a race) – i managed to eat a Sherbert Fountain including dipping licourice whilst bobbing up and down between Race 1 and 2, the expected energy burst didn’t happen and in a frantic mid fleet finish, Tom Southwell and Russ Hopkins overhauled me, with Rob Campbell starting to threaten.

Gordon Stewart said he wasn’t having a good day in between races, but I am pretty sure it was capsize free (see Tom Southwell for details of capsizing prior to Race 3) and his 3rd race was his best result. Scott Derham didn’t unfortunately finish the third along with Russ, but both were in the mix in the first two races – I am sure there are sub stories etc?.

Overall, I think most of us ended with a smile, as the majority got better as the races went on (especially David S and Rob C), and whilst on handicap the D Zeros didn’t get as high as in previous events, we all pushed each other on, and I for one am ever grateful for the nuggets of tips I glean on and off the water, so I am sure we will soon be up there (well a little bit closer to Dave, Ian and Rob L etc).

There is still so much to learn about the D Zero, like how some folk fly upwind and some fly downwind (and some do both!) but at Oxford I am pretty sure all those who took part learnt a little more!

PS If you are erring on whether to go to the Bloody Mary – do, its such an experience and its bound to be a good wind – last year Russ H went past me as a blurr and that was the moment I said “I want to sail one of those!” – mind you 2 minutes later passed him in my Comet, after he decided to take a dip.

In the overall results David Summerville came out on top coming home 13th over all, Ian Morgan second in class at 28th over all and class newcomer Rob Lennox third in class at 29th over all.

Class results are given below, these will be used for the D-Zero Winter Series results which will be updated shortly:

1st (13th) David Summerville
2nd (28th) Ian Morgan
3rd (29th) Rob Lennox
4th (67th) Nigel Austin
5th (71st) Tom Southwell
6th (77th) Russ Hopkins
7th (83rd) Rob Campbell
8th (95th) Gordon Stewart
9th (100th) Scott Derham

Full results can be found here and a photo gallery from Tim Olin can be found here.

From here the fleet moves on to the Bloody Mary on the 9th January. A bucket list event for many sailors! With 9 grey rig D-Zeros entered and 1 blue rig the D-Zero is again one of the largest classes so if you fancy joining them there is still time to enter simply click here.