Tag: D-Zero Northern Championships

Zippy Zero at the 2021 Northern Championships

It was a mild October weekend and the DZeros were beginning to gather for the end of season Northern Championships at Yorkshire Dales SC. This report is brought to you by Zippy Zero, one of the boats competing at this fine annual event.

The high winds forecasted had put off several potential entries, but my Owner (Liz Potter) and the Class Chairman (Paul Jefferies) had arrived early on the Friday afternoon to avoid the traffic and decided to set off for a delightful sunset cruise around the lake perimeter to count the buoys and check that they’d rigged us correctly. It’s a peculiar thing how the humans can still mis-rig us after all this time, then whizz off to a blustery start line on a screaming reach with half rudder before realising the errors in their rigging efforts. They then face an agonising re-rig, using two fingers, a chin or two, a shoulder and some teeth to maintain control and get to the start on time. We boats raise one eyebrow and mutter “really?”. There were mutterings before we’d even left the trollies.

The following morning, 16 boats were lined up on a windy lake slipway. Will Hitchman’s boat had a raised eyebrow and was inspecting its Owner’s borrowed wetsuit boots, kindly loaned by Francis Neill when Will discovered he’d left his at home.

The first race started promptly in a very blustery, shifty Southerly Force 5-6. Many boats were making their Owners practice water starts, followed by rail riding skills. Those who were rubbish at it were practicing capsizing techniques.

The day progressed like something out of the latest James Bond film, but with the cool cars being replaced by us even sexier boats.

After 20 minutes of racing, Ian Baillie was in the lead. The rescue boat was on standby next to the leeward mark and managed to get the buoy’s rope caught around the propellor (have they used that in a James Bond film yet?). Several boats then rounded a different mark instead and the RO Movie Director Richard shouted “cut” – raising a flag to end the fiasco and started us again. Plenty of raised boat eyebrows and several sighs.

The race re-started with Ian, Tom Southwell and Niel Richie making a clean getaway from the fleet. Will suffered a huge capsize at the gybe mark and Francis-the-Destroyer ploughed into the disaster zone.

In the wings, someone from the movie crew shouted “cut”, so Francis planed across Will’s sail, locking his gps target locator on the boots he’d lent Will earlier, cleanly ripping the sail’s head off. As the movie plot was clearly becoming more sinister, more than a third of the film cast departed the set to avoid the difficult sailing conditions and risk of another decapitation.

Rhodri Thomas went on to win the race from Tom and Niel.

Race 2 saw Will return with a replacement sail. The wind continued to howl and shift wildly. Owner and I had a few swims to keep us from overheating, amongst a few others. Niel went on to win from Tom and Will in the brutal sailing conditions, with Rhodri, Jon Bassett and Gordon Stewart following closely behind.

Race 3 saw Will and Ian make a clean break from the fleet soon after the start. On the first upwind cross, Ian ducked beneath Will, only to be hit with a huge gusty lift which capsized him. Further in the race, just ahead of us at the gybe mark, more capsizing was going on. This time, a raft of 3 boats were upturned. Cue Francis the Destroyer (muhahaha) looking for more heads to chop off. He located Andy Spencer and fired his underwater missile. Once again, the Director called “cut” and the boat obeyed, slicing the sail on impact.

This was becoming a horror movie of epic proportions and I can only blame David Valentine for not being there to edit the script. Instead, he had sent his flunky and poster boy, Tom to star in one of the leading roles.

Unfortunately, that race’s 4th left Tom just short behind Will, Niel and Rhodri, but still in the Oscar nominations at the end of the days’ racing.

A tired and drenched collection of boats and humans came ashore that evening and they enjoyed a hearty supper provided by YDSC superb new caterer Karen Laxton. The sailors spent the night snuggled up with wet sails and damp gear in tents and vans, listening to the 30 knot winds outside.

The next morning, I found myself all packed up and ready to go home, in anticipation of the heavy rain and even stronger gales.

However, the wind had calmed down a bit and Mick Green, who was racing his brand new DZero (both on and under the water) persuaded my Owner to put on some bigger (is that possible?) and braver pants, man-up and get out there. Well said Mick. She, in turn, passed that message of camaraderie onto Jon Bassett, who was also thinking of leaving the set for a new movie. Such is the DZero fleet enthusiasm and support for eachother, that I’m thinking the title of our Hollywood production should be “One Zero is never enough”.

The fourth race was started in much more manageable winds, although they were even shiftier. The race was led and won by Ian, with Andy Spencer sailing a superb race with a replacement sail, coming in 2nd. In third was Tom, but more significantly, the series discard had now kicked in, putting Will in first place overall. Interestingly, Will’s sail number is Triple 07 (307). Perhaps our movie’s Bond character had revealed himself at last. He went on to win both of the last races, to become the DZero Superhero Northern Champion.

The competition before the final race was so tight that only 4 points separated the top 5 boats, with Tom, Niel, Rhodri and Ian all possible winners, but finishing in that order overall. Jon put in his best races of the weekend, including a 3rd and 4th, finishing 6th overall, justifying going out for that second day.

Despite the increasing wind in the final race, we also had a better day, finishing 7th overall, just behind Jon.

Mick secured the Lanterne Rouge of the weekend by being the last boat to complete every race.

So, the curtains came down upon our final event of the year, The plot had it all; heroes, villains, unbelievable storylines. We had a great Director (thanks, Richard and race team), superb Producer (Richard Paynter – our local DZero rep and event organiser, with assistant Lee Carter) fabulous location and set (YDSC), excellent canteen (Thanks Karen), film crew (Thanks Paul Hargraves and Alice Carter) and terrific cast (fellow DZeros afloat and onshore – Abby, Ed, Paul).

See you all at the Red Carpet Premiere next Spring!

Zippy Zero 333

2021 D-Zero Northern Championships – 23rd/24th October

The 2021 D-Zero Northern Championships will take place at Yorkshire Dales SC on the 3rd and 24th October 2021. With good numbers of D-Zero already indicating they are going to make the trip, not just from the north, it should be a great event to round out the traditional sailing season.

Yorkshire Dales SC is a favourite with the D-Zero class and hosts a named event for us most years. This year we have the lake to ourselves so make the most of it. There will be food at the club Friday and Saturday evening (details to follow).

You find out more and enter online by clicking here.

Further information from Yorkshire Dales SC with regards to catering arrangements:

We are currently sorting out the details for the forthcoming Yorkshire Dales D-Zero Open, and will be offering a meal on Friday evening (+ bar) as well as a meal Saturday evening and breakfasts Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The menus from our caterer are below.

Please could you let me know if you are intending to have a meal in the club Friday and Saturday evenings so we can get a feel for numbers. Thanks!

RURAL RECIPES @ Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

Hi D-Zeros,
We have prepared a menu for you to peruse, we hope you would like to eat at the YDSC as we would love to cater for you.If you would like to dine with us please could you order at the galley on arrival so we can prepare your evening dinner. Also if anyone has any dietary needs or doesn’t like what’s on the menu please come and have a chat and see what we can do to help.We will also have a full Bar serving drinks and we again hope you will use our facilities. The Bar will be open until 9/9.30pm. Hope all this reads well and we look forward to hearing from you

Best Wishes

Karen/ Catering 07794087154
David / Bar 07708313120

1 course £7.25, 2 courses £9.25

Friday Supper & Bar

Tender Chicken Breast Thai Green Curry, Coriander & Ginger sideSalad with Basmati Rice

Spinach, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Curry Coriander & Ginger sideSalad with Basmati Rice

Hot Chicken Jalfrezi with Rice, Pickles, Popadom & Naan Bread

Fish Pie, Haddock, Salmon & Prawn in a Cream White Wine Sauce served with Garden Peas


Hot Chocolate Fudge with Ice Cream or Cream

Deep Filled Apple Pie with Custard or Cream

Carrot Cake with Cream

Cheese Board with Grapes Homemade Chutney & Biscuits Includes Nibbles Before Dinner

Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate or Soft Cordial Drink

Please send your name & Order to Karen 07794087154 by TEXT

Saturday Evening Dinner Menu

Tender Medium Spiced Lamb Tagine with Sweet Pepper CousCous,Mint & Cucumber Yoghurt Dip & a Hot Flat Bread

Slow Cooked Mediterranean Vegetable Tagine with Sweet PepperCousCous, Mint Yoghurt Dip & a Hot Flat Bread

Creamy Chicken & Ham Hock Flaky Pastry Top Pie Served with Mash Potatoes & Seasonal Veg

Slow Cooked Beef & Local Ale Shortcrust Pastry Top Pie Served with Mash Potatoes & Seasonal Veg & Beef Ale Gravy


Hot Chocolate Fudge with Ice Cream or Cream

Deep Filled Apple Pie with Custard or Cream

Carrot Cake with Cream

Cheese Board with Grapes Homemade Chutney & Biscuits

Includes Nibbles Before Dinner

Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate or Soft Cordial Drink

Please Order at The Galley on arrival or Early afternoon

Northern Championships at Yorkshire Dales SC – Cancelled

The class association has been advised by Yorkshire Dales SC that they have taken the difficult decision to cancel all their remaining open meetings for 2020.

This is due to the local outbreak in the area. The club feels that encouraging people to travel to and stay in the area is not appropriate at this time.

They look forward to welcoming us back in 2021.

The Adventures of Zippy Zero – Zippy goes to the tropics for the Northern Championships

Hi Folks, it’s Zippy the D-Zero reporting back after a visit to Prestwick in Scotland. Why the tropics I hear you ask? 24 degrees in Scotland at the end of September is as good as tropical, as far as my Northern Tundra cousins are concerned. My Owner nearly made the big mistake of not going, as the long-range forecast was showing gusts of 30 knots for the weekend. I shuddered to think of what might happened if we hadn’t gone…

As we English boats well know, the Scottish D-Zero fleet are descendants of an ancient group of Scottish warriors. From my research, it is unclear whether these are the Picti, who went into battle naked to show off their tattoos, or the Gallowglass, who were mercenaries that went into battle “pycked and scelected men of great and mightie bodies, crewell without compassion.” Yeah, that sounds like our guys.

The mercenaries sent word by Apple that my absence would be dealt with in the harshest manner. The nightmares about the Cumbrae crocodile came back to haunt me and I got hold of Owner’s Apple to confirm our entry. We travelled the next morning, Friday, and arrived in time for a little practice sail in a pleasant breeze. Once ashore, a few more boats arrived, and the Owners sat on the balcony quaffing cold ale and chewing on roasted body parts of absconding English competitors. My mates and I lay beneath the balcony ogling at the 3D sunset over the Isle of Arran on the Big Screen out to sea. Spectacular!

The next morning, more boats arrived until we totalled 16! The locals had maximised their numbers as much as possible by loaning out unused boats, which would otherwise have had to sit it out, watching from under the balcony. These happy, fulfilled D-Zeros were now busy trying to recruit new Owners! In fact, one sailor went on to buy one after the weekend! With racing starting at 1pm, there was plenty of time for Owners to do surgical rounds; poking and prodding at us all to see who had the coolest gear. My Owner got Doc Martin (Latimer) to fit a new traveller on me – an operation he completed with skill and sensitivity that defied his manly stance and compact toolbox. Thanks Man! Owner owes you a beer!

Finally, I was ready for the big launch. I was pushed off my comfy trolley onto the sand, whilst Owner dealt with my wheels. Left rigged and unattended with some of my naughtier buddies, I did some super-twirlies and filled my cockpit with sand via my open transom. Upon return, Owner had plot loss with me and the state I’d got myself into. I continued playing, accidently swiping at her head with my boom and flicking sand in her hair. One look at her face said it all. OMG MUM!!!!

No sense of humour has my Owner. She immediately banned me from writing the sailing report. Ooops – over to Her Toityness.

Sorry people. Owner Liz here. I’ve had to pick up the pen, as my boat was having an adolescent moment on Saturday and was temporarily banned from writing until it had an attitude re-adjustment.

I will take up the tale from here. The Saturday wind was offshore, and we set off on a gentle run which increased as we approached the start boat. After that, there were some huge gusts requiring full concentration to avoid an accidental capsize. I tried to land some water on Zippy’s deck to remove some of the cockpit sand dunes which had collected there during Zippy’s pratting around session on the beach. By the first start, the weather theme was set; shifty, gusty and very unpredictable. Above us and a boat length ahead, I could see Alistair McLaughlin’s boat, with it’s charismatic “S” on the sail, for Scottish Champion. Also “S” for Storky, his fleet name and, on this occasion “S” for Slightly Over the Line, resulting in an OCS. The boat carried on oblivious; a loose runner in the Grand National of tricky wind shifts, showing the way for followers Martin Latimer, who arrived first at the windward mark, Jon Bassett (who performed the first capsize of the day) and Niel Ritchie. Latimer lost a magnificent 7 places on the next beat, in an evil shift which favoured boats on either side of him, leaving him floundering in his own vacuous channel.

The second race started in a dwindling wind, which was now battling 180 degrees against a sea breeze which was trying to fill in under the tropical conditions. Before long, the Stork had flown and was already on the second leg of the course, whilst the chasing pack of Ritchie, Bailey and Alan Henderson were approaching the windward mark in different wind on a run. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet were still battling upwind in the gradient breeze.

The race became a jumble of shifting boat numbers, as the battle of the breezes continued to wreak havoc, favouring one boat and then another. Storky took the early break from the pack and went on to win by a large margin.

The wind continued to oscillate and drop, until to the relief of most, the RO postponed the final race and we headed back to the club for a well earnt beer and curry. In the twilight hours of another rosy sunset over Arran, with a cold beer in my hand, I forgave my boat for being a twat and re-instated its editorial privileges. Over to you, Zippy the Zero.

On Sunday morning, the fine weather had broken. The Easterly wind had a touch of South in it and, with that, the promise of a more consistent breeze, though lighter.

The four races were dominated by the home club’s Stork, who went on to take the series, hot on the success of his RS300 National Championship victory a few weeks earlier. The slippery little fella couldn’t be touched for speed or wiliness, even though he was sailing someone else’s boat!

Ian Baille from Dalgety Bay managed to take a couple of wins to finish as a well-deserved runner-up, followed by John Basset from neighbouring club Largs, with a consistent collection of 2nd and 3rds.

Niel Ritchie from Aberdeen and Stonehaven came 4th overall, after a strong start on day one, but fell victim to a few dodgy shifts towards the end of the series. I did see him pop a little turtle practice in between races and can confirm that he moves surprisingly well for a Gallowglass Scottish Warrior.

Owner’s fellow Englishman, Mick Green, who had travelled over 180 miles from Rossendale Valley SC was the first Englishman in a creditable 7th place, and, as such, made a quick retreat South of the border to avoid being offered up as bar snacks at the next Scottish meeting.

We finished a tactical mid-fleet in 8th place, to avoid the wrath of the fierce warriors and naked tattoo flashers and set off to complete the 568 mile round trip home.

Thank you to a very hospitable club and to their kind members who gave the visiting Owners somewhere to stay, so they didn’t have to sleep with me and my mates under the balcony.

Thank you to a very slick and efficient race team who knew that when the fun stops STOP. That doesn’t apply to my Owner, who should lighten up a bit.

The full results can be found by clicking here.

Until next time, toodles,


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