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On the 25th October the D-Zero class gathered at Oxford Sailing Club for their first open meeting. The event was billed as a bit of fun and with Suntouched providing a small prize for every D-Zero sailor there were smiles everywhere before the racing even started.

Before racing and whilst people were unpacking there was a fair amount of dinghy park chatter with people wondering around getting to know fellow D-Zero owners. With careful eyes being cast over things like control line routing, the number of chocks people were running (with some then wondering back to their boats and making a few changes). People had travelled from as far north as Rossendale SC, as far south as Hayling Island, as far west as Tewkesbury and as far east as Hunts SC. So a good spread of visitors, some having travelled several hours to attend.

At launch time a total of 15 boats went on the water, this was a great turnout for the class for their first meeting and represents around 1/3rd of delivered boats. Unfortunately Adrian Brunton (one of the demo stalwarts) managed to break himself shortly after leaving the shore and decided that discretion was the better part of valour and returned to shore.

Race 1 saw everyone getting in there and mixing it on the start line. At the gun we got away first time. Mike Hobin managed to get away hotly pursued by Tim Weedon, David Summerville and your reporter. A couple of people decided that the beat was not long enough and decided that sailing to a different mark was definitely the way forward. This dropped them down the fleet some way and left them rueing this as it was clear that coming through the fleet where people were so evenly matched was not going to be easy. David did manage to get past Tim and set off in pursuit of Mike. By this time though Mike had built a good lead and just needed to keep his nose clean in order to take the bullet. I caught Tim on the final run but couldn’t quite sneak past him at the finish.

Race 2 again saw everyone mixing it up on the start line. This time there was a second hoot as someone was over. Thinking it was me I went back and was then left with the unenviable task of trying to catch the fleet and see if I could regain any ground. It was easy enough to catch the tail end of the fleet but then impossible to find a lane through with people going several ways up the beats, some tacking on every shift, some banging the corners we all still came together at the windward mark. At the front it was the same 3 as race one who were leading us round. This time David got out front and sailed away getting a good lead with Tim following him home in second and Mike taking third.

Race 3 saw people start taking different options up the first beat. David managed to break away out front but Jon Cowper and myself decided to go left. This paid handsomely when the wind shifted in our favour and we rounded the windward mark second and third. After gybing at the wing mark Jon decided he would try some aggressive Laser style downwind sailing and promptly chucked it in to windward much to the delight of the people around him. During this Mike managed to get past me leaving me to battle with Russ Hopkins and Tim for the final podium spot. Russ managed to get past on the next run but never managed to get away leaving a tight finish for positions 3 to 5.

Race 4 and with the event win still up for grabs between Mike and David everything was still to play for. There was another individual recall this time but no one went back so someone was sure to be disappointed at the finish. Your reporter by this time was definitely feeling a lack of fitness and managed to get pretty much everything wrong including hitting the windward mark and was pretty much plumb last after rotating. At the front David had gotten away again and he looked good for taking the meeting as Mike was caught up at the front of the chasing pack. It was not to be for David though as part way through the race his kicker decided enough was enough and let go leaving him no option but to take an early shower. This left the rather surprised Jon Cowper leading the race from Mike and Tim. I am sure they were both secretly hoping he would do another spectacular capsize but it was not to be. So a delighted Jon took the gun in the final race followed home by Mike and Tim. Russ Hopkins coming home 4th and prospective D-Zero owner Ed Deacon taking 5th, clearly enjoying the windier conditions once he had a little time in the boat to get a feel for it.

With Mike only managing 2nd in the final race this meant David Summerville took first blood in the D-Zero class as well as being the first Master with Mike Hobin taking 2nd and Tim Weedon taking 3rd. Jon’s win in the final race was not quite enough to over haul his club mate (your reporter) much to his disappointment.

The ladies prize was taken by Mandy Horton who sailed very well given that she is some 10kg under the lower end of the ideal weight range, even more impressive given how windy it was throughout the day. She is definitely one to watch when the breeze is not as big. She was offered the new ‘Blue’ rig which is aimed at the smaller/lighter sailor but elected to stick with the bigger rig on the day (more information on this in the near future).

Once off the water everyone was buzzing following a great day of racing. The racing was definitely close and, on the whole, if you made a mistake it was definitely punished with the boats and helms being pretty evenly matched through the fleet. Those at the lighter end of the weight range were perhaps wishing they had a few more pies for the upwind legs but then easily made back anything they lost (and often a little more) on the offwind legs showing that the D-Zero definitely does not punish your weight (or lack of it).

The next D-Zero specific event is their Training Day followed by an Open Meeting on the 29th/30th November at Grafham Water. Prior to that though is the Draycote Dash, round one of the GJW SailJuice Winter Series, where 2 D-Zeros are already entered and other have said they are considering travelling.

For event photos and to see the comments from the sailors take a look at our Facebook group: The photos taken by Suntouched on the day are here.

Thinking of buying a D-Zero and joining the most exciting new dinghy class in the UK? Then contact Rodney Cobb at Suntouched Sailboats

Full Results:

Position Helm Sail Number Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Total Points Nett Points
1 David Summerville GBR 132 2 1 1 DNF 20 4
2 Mike Hobin GBR 111 1 3 2 2 6 5
3 Tim Weedon GBR 113 3 2 5 3 13 8
4 Russ Hopkins GBR 119 5 4 3 4 16 11
5 Paul Jefferies GBR 101 4 9 4 6 23 14
6 Jon Cowper GBR 42 7 7 12 1 27 15
7 Jeremy Carey GBR 53 6 5 6 DNF 33 17
8 Dave Woods GBR 105 8 6 7 8 29 21
9 Mandy Horton GBR 135 12 8 8 7 35 23
10 Ed Deacon GBR 114 11 11 10 5 37 26
11 Gordon Stewart GBR 104 8 10 9 10 37 27
12 Graham Cooper GBR 123 10 12 11 9 42 30
13 Scott Dereham GBR 121 14 13 DNF DNS 59 43
14 Stuart Bailey GBR 115 13 14 DNF DNS 59 43
15 Adrian Brunton GBR 109 DNS DNS DNS DNS 64 48