On the 31st January the hardy D-Zero winter sailors gathered at Northampton SC for the Steve Nicholson Memorial Trophy which is also Round 8 of the D-Zero Winter Series 2015/2016. With 8 pre-entries for the event the D-Zero was among the bigger classes. Unfortunately 2 sailors decided discretion was the better part of valour and stayed home in the warm rather than brave the windy conditions are Northampton.
Nigel Austin GBR191 reports on the event:
The wind forecast for the day seemed to be way off the mark as 6 D-Zeros waited patiently for their 12.30 start, alternately starting with the double handlers. Whilst it was “posted as full” there were 13 no shows in the singlehanded fleet alone out of 62, which is a shame as I’m sure that they could come with a better system to allow replacements. Saying that the start line on the first race was so biased for the pin end both Jon Cowper and myself bailed out at the last minute (as it was black flag) amid a phalanx of Phantoms and array of Aeros. It had ramped up to a force 4-5 by this stage and I think Kevin Moll had already had a swim. At the windward mark, myself and Rob Lennox managed to head Jon and Gordon Stewart. What followed was and a close fetch and two runs (yes sounds impossible but thats Pitsford for you, they do like their trapezoid courses, asymmetric friendly). During this first lap Mike Corney decided to join swimming club and realised that he should have put some more layers on (swimming trunks and a t-shirt is not really on!). So then there were 4. The second lap saw yours truly trying to follow the recent video advice on “sailing by the lee”, unfortunately I have a recording of my own of “how not to sail by the lee” and fell back to 4th behind Rob, Jon and Gordon.
After a hearty late lunch (NSC must lead the top nosh at clubs league) all 6 of us prepared for Race 2. The wind had actually racked up another force by the time the second race was due to start. Unfortunately Jons’ kicking strap webbing failed and he limped home. The start was as manic as the first one but it soon saw Rob miles ahead of Mike and myself, followed Gordon and Kevin. Kevin had sought advice from his fellow D-Zero sailors at half time and heeded it by sailing on the second run leg close to the shore, however having capsized and needing to be rescued, was unsure whether he would listen again! The order for the next 2 laps stayed the same but Gordon pushed me like mad and would have got me but succumbed to a spectacular downwind gybe on the last lap. We all limped back tired with smiling faces.
We were all packing up when the prizes when the tannoy announced I’d won the mid Fleet prize (turned out to be a can of McLube lubricant, trying to work out where to use it!). Before setting off Gordon, Jon and myself got hold of the provisional results and it appeared Rob got black flagged in the second race (which was a shame as he sailed effortlessly, any tips?). So surprisingly I was first D-Zero, followed by Gordon, then Rob, Jon, Mike and Kevin. A difficult gusty shifty day, full of differing experiences but fun!!
So after a fun day on the water where the final D-Zero results look as follows:
1st Nigel Austin (24th)
2nd Gordon Stewart (26th)
3rd Rob Lennox (36th)
4th Jon Cowper (38th)
5th Mike Corney (39th)
6ft Kevin Moll (45th)
This also causes some shake-ups in the Winter Series overall standings which will be released shortly.
From here the fleet moves swiftly on to the final event at, the Tiger Trophy at Rutland this coming weekend which will also complete the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series 2015/2016. With most of the major contenders entered it will come down to the wire. Can Ian Morgan overhaul David and take the winter series title? Any one of 3 people are in the running for the final podium spot with Tom, Rob and Nigel all capable of completing the podium. Tom is also in pole position in the Harken Youth standings, can he maintain this and can the D-Zero overturn the small advantage that the Laser has in the Overall Class standings?