Tag: D-Zero Northern Tour Page 1 of 3

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

D-Zero Scottish Championships

On the 25th and 26th September the Scottish and Northern D-Zero fleets will convene at Prestwick SC for the Scottish Championships.

Entry to the event is available online and can be done by clicking here.

Prestwick have advised that the early entry discount has been extended until Wednesday of this week. With nearly 20 boats already entered it is sure to be another great event north of the border.

Zippy goes to Aberdeen and Stonehaven

Photo Copyright Liz Potter

Hello all from Zippy the D-Zero, writing to you from a little harbour on the East coast of Scotland. This weekend was the meeting of our D-Zero Owners and us boaties at the Aberdeen and Stonehaven Yacht Club Regatta, incorporating our open meeting and Northern Travellers event, sponsored by DZero.co.uk.

Another far visitor was Mick Green from Rossendale. He failed to bring appropriate clothing for the cooler Scottish climate, so was seen fashioning a collection of ladylike knitwear borrowed from his missus.

Photo Copyright Bob Yeamans

The first day saw us set off from the little harbour to tackle four races in an offshore gusty force 4.

The Race Officer set up a quadrilateral course and we set off from the start line in a blustery first race. The fleet leaders managed to get clear on the first round and finished in the order of Nick Craig, Ian Baillie and Niel Richie. Jon Bassett finished fourth.

Race 2 had me eyeing up the pin for my start, but above me, Nick was bearing down into my starting space as he was too early. There was a crunch on my hull and I picked up my first scratches. Nick was over and had to re-round, whilst I was pushed onto the pin. Not a great start.

Jon got away cleanly and led for the first lap, followed by Niel. I caught up on the second leg, picking up a nice windstream, which was enough to give me water on the rest of the fleet and scooted me into third.

Unfortunately Niel’s boat’s transom went around the mark too slowly, so I gave it a little nudge to help it along. Owner was not too pleased and we had to perform some pirouette dance moves in penalty, which put me at the very back of the fleet once more.

On the final lap, I had worked hard to get up to seventh and had Basil Brush firmly in my sights, when who should show up but my friends the dolphins. My owner hailed Basil Brush, who busied himself scanning the horizon (look out behind you!) so I sneaked past him to windward to take another place.

Sadly, the karma of fair sailing got me back as Basil got a decent puff on the finish approach to accelerate him past me. Rats!

Photo Copyright Bob Yeamans

Race 3 had us starting mid-line and steaming ahead to round the first mark just behind Nick. There we stayed until the penultimate lap, when Ian and Jon passed us upwind. Billie McCarlie and Niel also got through on a lucky windshift on the final leg, leaving us in sixth.

There followed a delay, as the wind shifted round further and the course was re-laid. Nick was fast off the line and led the race for a comfortable win, followed by Ian and Niel. I was chased by Billie’s boat, after having sent the dolphin squad to go and engage him in diversional activities. Billie’s boat responded by slapping one of them with its daggerboard, so there was a purposeful mission in my stealthy covering that lasted for the remainder of the race.

So ended day 1, after over four hours of sailing in strong gusty winds. The tired little boats trooped into the harbour to be met by the shore crew with our trollies and cakes!

On day 2, we awoke to a drizzly sky and a flat calm, windless sea. The Race Officer put up a postponement until 12, when a decision would be made about cancelling the days racing. Contrary to the weather forecast, a pleasant onshore breeze enticed us out and continued to build to 10-15 knots as the day went on.

Race 5 was won by Nick, after a clean start, closely chased by Ian and Jon. The trio maintained their finishing order for races 6 and 7.

Race 6 was the chance for Largs’ sailor Stuart Moss to shine. His boat had a great race in the top five, with owner Stu jubilantly fist pumping the air halfway up the last beat, with energy worthy of a deep-fried Tunnock’s Teacake. His moment of glory was short-lived as he was caught out by lighter wind on one side of the course towards the end of the race.

Photo Copyright Bob Yeamans

By the final race 8, the fleet tiredness was beginning to show and there were a number of bumps and infringements going on, followed by boat twirling. We passed series leader Nick as he was twirling, although he worked his way back up the fleet to take the win, adding to his seven other first places.

Jon battled with Ian on the final leg, gaining an advantage that allowed him to tack for the finish line inside Ian. Unfortunately, this left no room for Ian on the finish line and he was sailed the wrong side of the committee boat. There were strong words yelled by Ian to his boat, who then refused to co-operate in the forthcoming tack and sat head-to-wind until an apology was offered.

As a result, Billy slipped through – into third place, his best result in the series – as did Niel and fellow ASYC member Scott Munro. By the time Ian and his boat had made up again, they clocked a sixth place, which would become their second discard.

The top three performers were Nick, Ian and Jon – with Niel finishing fourth.

And so ended a great weekend both on and off the water. Thank you to the club for hosting us and to my fellow boaties for the company and laughs. Thank you to their Owners for entertaining us, as always.

See you all at Largs!

Photo Copyright Liz Potter

Overall Results:

1Nick Craig6
2Ian Ballie12
3Jon Bassett17
4Niel Richie20
5Billy McCarlie28
6Scott Munro32
7Gordon Stewart39
8Liz Potter42
9Mick Green52
10Stuart Moss57

Zippy and Friends at West Kirby and Dee Regattas

Another week, another D-Zero event and more watery stories to tell you, as 8 visiting D-Zeros joined our 3 local boats at the West Kirby and Dee Sailing Clubs Regatta Weekend! The event was also part of the Northern DZero Travellers Circuit and the visiting D-Zero’s travelled a combined 1919 miles each way to be with us. Top traveller was Niel Ritchie from Aberdeen and Stonehaven (347 miles), followed by Billy McCarlie, Martin Latimer, Alistair “Storky” Mclaughlin and Jon Bassett (257 miles). Gordon Stewart clocked 198 miles from North Herts & East Beds and Ed Deacon travelled 190 miles from Hunts SC. We’re not competitive really. Really.

The Regatta event started on Friday with West Kirby SC’s annual Round Hilbre Island Race. As the visitors were still busy working and driving, the race was excluded from the Travellers Event, so it was left to me and Mick Green to sort out the D-Zero honours (he won our last Island contest!).

The race began with a light airs downwind start, which is always a bit of a laugh for us boats! I tootled along the line, measuring the perfect space between me and the Committee boat to reach and run off into when the time came. Then with ten seconds to go, who should appear approaching my precious space and barging into my closing slot but Owner’s husband in his A Class Cat “Zippy Eater”. It growled at me to get out of the way or there’d be three Zippies, so I bore off to avoid a bad accident, not to mention a lot of marital grief. Both of us were OCS, having to re-round the start boat and try again. “Zippy Eater” was so annoyed that it stopped to take a major mouthful of the start boat anchor line. Ooops. I was out of there as quick as possible. The rest of the fleet hadn’t got too far, as it was a slow plodding run against the tide in a sloppy sea. We set off towards the shore side of the course, leaving Mick and the majority of the 40 boat fleet to wallow above the sandbank mid-channel. With me was a Finn, a Laser, a couple of Falcons and the Grumpy A Class.

After an hour, a very black, wet and low cloud appeared from my side of the shore and with it came a pleasing Force 3-4, which rapidly increased to a more worrying force 4-5. This propelled me on towards the mouth of the estuary and 8-foot standing waves. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet sat in a windless stupor on their sandbank, waiting for their turn. By the time we rounded the windward mark, my cockpit was a snakepit of tangled mainsheet, kicker and other stuff from the continuously dumping waves. After a quick sort-out, I set off downwind, surfing like a loon towards the shallower waters inside the island. As I was first dinghy, I had to be pathfinder for the fleet and closed my eyes tightly, hoping there was no sand at the troughs of each wave. On we reached for half an hour until the Committee boat loomed into sight. We finished 2nd overall, with Mick taking 9th place. At the prizegiving, I collected 3 bottles of Trapper’s Hat beer from our sponsors, Brimstage Brewery. They happen to be Owner’s husband’s favourite and I hope they were shared out to soothe his pain in coming last on handicap.

The following day, my friends had all arrived and we lined up on the seaward fence to swap news and admire the vast expanse of no water, which is the Dee estuary. The sailors were promised that when the tide arrives it comes in fast, so be ready! All of the wind had been used up the day previously – mostly by me on that last reach – and we set off for a light airs afternoon of racing under the flag of Dee Sailing Club’s Regatta.

After a tricky start, which involved most of the fleet being swept down tide of the line at the 5-minute gun and failing to reach the start in time, the sneakier DZeros of Alistair Storky Mclaughlin and Niel Ritchie made a clean getaway. Niel held the lead until the ultimate leg, but, when pushed to the limit by Storky’s continuous beaking and pecking, capitulated into 2nd at the finish. I was one of the late starters but managed to weasel my way into 3rd place by the end. The second race was led from the start by Storky, who pulled out his lead magnificently on the third lap, when his boat got challenged by the late arrival of an RS300. As Storky is RS300 National Champion, he was having none of that and raced boat for boat to the finish, leaving the rest of us D-Zeros dragging in his wake like debris behind Haley’s Comet. The leader of this debris was Jon Bassett, followed by yours truly and Niel Ritchie, meaning that Mr Storky had won the Dee Regatta, with myself and Niel battling for second place on equal points, which Niel won on countback.

After us boats had been showered and lovingly dressed in our pyjamas, the Owners went off to Dee SC to enjoy a magical evening in the sunshine on the lawn. The beers were downed, the band played and our owners feasted on Hog roast, some dressed in their Hawaiian shirts and flower garlands, to embrace the D-Zero event’s tropical theme.

The next day was the turn of West Kirby’s regatta. One of the local Solo sailors, Martin Hartley, outed his guilty secret of wanting a D-Zero, but we boats are as rare as gold dust to buy at the moment. One of the club’s newest Owners, Paul Holmes, who was unable to make the event, kindly loaned him a boat and he went on to score a creditable 9th and 6th that day. We look forward to welcoming him into our home fleet soon!

The wind had increased a little that day, but was blowing offshore, making for a tricky shifty race in significant tides. Storky revelled in these conditions and had no problem securing another distanced win from Niel and Jon. I was happily bobbing along behind Billy McCarlie in 5th place, having overtaken Martin Latimer on the previous reach. I rounded the leeward mark and tacked off to avoid the filthy air spewing out behind a gaggle of Albacores ahead of me and zoned in on the lay line for the finish. As I tacked back, an even filthier air-spewing Martin Latimer came trucking over the horizon to beat both myself and Billy at the finish. My book on “101 ways to overtake Martin Latimer” has changed its status from Mothballed to Work in Progress.

In the final race, it was another clear win from Storky, whose boat went faster than a seal on Viagra with a broom up its unmentionables. In second was Niel and third was Jon, with Gordon Stewart closing in behind them in fourth place. This outstanding performance gave Storky the series which he had won before his discard. The rest of us boats all squabbled over his first place discard rather enviously, but the overall second and third places went to Niel and Jon, with me (and Owner Liz) coming fourth.

The outdoor prizegiving was a happy affair, with a whole table of prizes just for us D-Zeros, sponsored by David Valentine and DZero.co.uk. Owner put up a painting for the winner, signed by all the competitors. It’s called “D-Zeros coming ashore in light winds with no-one to collect their trollies.”

Luckily, we boats had plenty of help on the slipway (thankyou fans and volunteers); also in the boat park (thankyou Nathan Sandall for our boatie air bnb). Thankyou also to the Flag Officers at both Dee and West Kirby sailing clubs and to the army of workers behind the scenes. Once again, thanks to the Round Hilbre sponsors “Brimstage Breweries”

Well done Mr. Storky!

It was a truly magnificent weekend!

Zippy Zero 333

D-Zero Northern Tour 2018 Roundup and Results

For 2018 the increasingly active D-Zero northern contingent decided to organise a 4 round Northern travellers series culminating with a Northern Chanmpionships event towards the end of the season.

the event kicked off at the end of April with an open meeting a Rossendale Valley SC with 5 boats showing up at the picturesque club (including 1 boat from a long way south in the form of Gordon Stewart. Local sailor Dave Woods took the event from Jon Bassett from Largs and Gorden from Grafham Water SC.

The series then moved on the Largs SC for a 2 day event in May which was preceded by a demo day with the UK Dealer in attendance. 13 boats took part in this event (along with several demo riders who came out play). Niel Ritchie from Aberdeen and Stonhaven YC took the event win followed by David Valentine all the way from Emsworth Slipper SC and the ever present Dave Woods in 3rd.

After a break of a couple of months to get the UK National Championships in the Northerner reconvened at Scammonden SC for round 3. Local sailors James Holdaway and Jeremy Child show the fleet the way round and were followed home by Geoff Norman from Notts County.

After Scammonden came the D-Zero Northern Championships at Yorkshire Dales SC in early October. The series was still wide open with no one having stamped their authority on it. In the end Niel Ritchie took the event and the title of D-Zero Northern Champion 2018 and was followed home by Tom Whitehead from Prestwick with Dave Valentine again making the long journey north to come home 3rd.

ASYC regatta 2018

Overall in the series Jon Bassett took the title of D-Zero Northern Traveller for 2018 scoring 2-4-4 for the 3 events he attended with James Holdaway coming second and the ever present Mick Green (who attended all 4 events) completing the podium. Niel and Dave will have been left ruing what might have been had they done 3 events with them counting 1-1 and 3-2 respectively.

Since the Northern Tour completed there has been an explosion of growth north of the border and great things are planned for 2019 with an extended Northern Tour. That combined with the D-Zero 2019 Inland Championships returning to Yorkshire Dales and the 2020 UK Nationals being hosted by Largs SC this is definitely the class to be in up north.

Full results for the 2018 Northern Travellers can be found by clicking here.


D-Zero Northern Championships at Yorkshire Dales SC

6/7th October 2018

DAY ONE – Hi-Performer and “dunce of the day” – Alistair ‘Storky’ McLaughlin looked threatening!

Fourteen D-Zeros from Aberdeen to Emsworth plus the demo boat turned out for the eternally popular Yorkshire Dales Northern Open joined by nine Contenders and six Catapults in expectation of some wet and blustery sailing. The ever growing and much travelled Scottish Fleet turned out one boat from Aberdeen and Stonehaven SC, four boats from Prestwick SC and four boats from Largs SC showing how quickly the fleet is growing north of boarder.


Niel Ritchie in his brand new boat enjoying the warmth Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

Day one varied from seven to fifteen knots from the North with great shifts and gave some of the lighter guys a good chance at the front with John Bassett (Largs SC) placing 3rd with a harmonious 3,4,5, Tom Whitehead (PSC) scoring a very respectable 1,6,2 and Alistair (Storky) McLaughlin scoring what was looking like 1,1,1 – but weather it was age, a rush of victorious blood to the “heed” or higher oxygen levels in the southern atmosphere he decided to round a mark the wrong way round and ended up retiring from race 1.

Overnight leaders were Tom Whitehead (128) , Niel Ritchie (in his new on the day boat (305) and Jon Bassett (128). Other star performers were heavy weight “poster boy and dealer” David Valentine with a second in race 1 and Alan Henderson with a 2nd in race two after only finishing rigging his D-Zero 233 before the start of race 1. There was an indication of bigger winds on Sunday and the lardy-ones were looking forward to winds up to 25kts on Sunday……… Curry and great hospitality at the club and off to the pub for extra calories.

DAY TWO – Southerly 15 to 25kts …. bring on the BIG BOYS!

-2°C and no wind greeted the early risers at Yorkshire Dales and coffee, tweaking and defrosting were the order of the day – maybe it would be “Storky’s” chance to shine again or maybe Big Niel and Poster Boy Valentine were the favoured heavies?

Some great racing enjoyed  at  the D-Zero Northern Championships Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

A slight delay saw the wind come in as forecast from the south with Race one being started in relatively benign conditions. A line tight to the shore and with some serious wannabee front runners getting stuck-in early, the starts were hard fought. Sailing fast and hiking hard was the name of the game all day with several capsizes as the wind increased. Billy McCarlie hit on a great idea … capsize at 3 minutes to go in race two and get the swimming out the way pre-start (he was wrong on both counts). Martin Latimer (author and seriously grumpy dwarf on day two) enjoyed his battle with Tom Whitehead so much he tried to gain entry into Tom’s boat rather than missing the stern – no collision, but a windward capsize, followed by kissing masts and a lost Windex made old grumpy dwarf even grumpier. His later fishing expedition where he caught a fish counter boy and capsized again) didn’t help!
There was now absolute side to play and the races went down to good sailing, tactics and handling (and staying upright).

Race 4 went to Storky, who excelled in the medium winds rounding all the buoys the right way, followed closely by local man Keith Escritt in the demo boat and Big Niel 3rd.

Race 5 and the wind was getting up, the start was just as hot, and the first beat was full on with the fast guys going into the shore. Some fantastic down-wind planning saw some really great sailing, but it stayed very close.

Alastair ‘Storky’ McLaughlin navigating his way round the course. Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

The wind continued to build to gusts of 25kts plus and thrills and spills continued. The racing remained close with the fleet closer together with a lot of place changing. Neil Ritchie ultimately built a big lead to take the race but Tom (one of the lighter guys in the fleet) put in a fantastic 2nd with “Dealer Dave” storming in at 3rd.

Between race 5 and 6 the wind blew up further and with fatigue, overdoses of adrenalin and wanting get home in one piece being on some competitors minds the fleet dropped to 7 boats. For the start the final race, Race 6, the wind moderated slightly with all the boats sticking closely together for most of the race. Again, hard hiking, and fast sailing were the order of the day, as was playing the regular shifts. First went to Graham Topley in the demo boat, 2nd to Niel and 3rd to Dave.

Overall results can be found by clicking here. Congratulations to Niel for putting in great performance to win by 4 points from Tom who beat Dealer Dave into third on count back. No one had it their own way it own way with Tom, Dave, off-course Storky, Jon Bassett all showing that next year’s Scottish and Northern events will not be a push over. Next year’s event will be earlier in the year but is likely to be even better attended. A big thanks to Yorkshire Dales SC, the race team and the volunteers.

YDSC resident photographer Paul Hargreaves was in attendance and his work can be seen by clicking here.

D-Zeros at Scammonden Water SC 15th July 2018

Better late than never, below is a short report of the D-Zero open meeting held at Scammonden Water SC on the 15th July:

Starting in a Force 2 SW breeze six D Zeros took part in the Scammonden Open race meeting comprising of 4 home club racers and two visitors, Mick Green of Rossendale SC and Geoffrey Norman of Notts County SC.

In the first race (four laps), two boats had problems at the start and were delayed in getting off the line.  Ben Ratcliffe gradually opened up a lead over the chasing boats with the real battle at this stage being between Jeremy Child and Jamie Holdaway in second and third places respectively.  In the third lap Jamie pulled away to challenge Ben for the lead. Over the course of lap 4 in a strengthening wind the two leaders swapped places culminating in a beating race for the finish line which was won by a boat length by Jamie.  The rest followed in order Ben, Jeremy, Mick, Geoffrey and Neville Senior of the home club.

Race two (three laps) saw all of the boats getting away well with Jamie taking a flier on port tack through the fleet and holding his lead to the windward mark, followed by Jeremy and Ben.  By the leeward mark Ben had passed Jeremy and was challenging Jamie until the gybe mark in lap two, where Jamie held his position and gradually pulled away lengthening his lead ahead of the fleet.  In a falling wind in lap three Ben retired as the fleet slowed down with Jamie taking the finish followed by Jeremy and then Geoffrey.

Race three (three laps) was sailed back to back after race two.  At the start Jeremy was OCS and recalled for a restart. Jamie again took an early lead in a much closer race during which the wind increased substantially for a while creating very enjoyable sailing for the fleet.  Jamie crossed the finish line first for three wins on the day, followed by Jeremy and then Mick.

Overall positions were 1st Jamie Holdaway, 2nd Jeremy Child, 3rd Geoffrey Norman, followed by Mick, Ben and Neville.

Largs SC – D-Zero Northern Tour Report and Results

David Valentine, GBR66  and D-Zero UK Dealer reports:

And I would (drive) 500 miles…

After a successful D-Zero demonstration to 5 local sailors in F2 and sunny conditions on the Friday afternoon and evening, some early travellers met in the bar for a welcome curry/chilli and a beer (or two) and chatted on the expected conditions for the weekend. The start of the hospitality and friendly banter began…

Saturday morning awoke to sun and blue skies, hold on, am I sure this is Scotland? And a light breeze was building over the next hour or so.
8 of the 9 Scottish D-Zero sailors were joined by another 5 travellers including Gordon Stewart from Herts and your raving reporter Slipper Dave from D-Zero HQ near Portsmouth, plus several potential D-Zero sailors were looking to sail the D-Zero demo for a race each, so 14 were lined up on the slipway as the wind had built a little more and the sun/blue skies hung on !

Plenty of banter as to who was going to lead, Dave Woods already jumping the line in his blue boat and that was just on the slipway as photos were taken and the paparazzi accumulated.

A short reach out to the start line, with a triangle/sausage course planned, and as many laps as 40ish minutes would allow. First start beckoned and we were away clean, having been warned of Flag Uniform (look it up for the uninitiated as we had to !!) if we misbehaved, though Niel got over-excited within 3 seconds of the gun going and let go of his main sheet pulling the D-Zero to windwards, pirouetting a neat 360, narrowly missing said raving reporter who was obviously higher n faster above (my report, my words). Taking a spill, Niel had to chase us from the back of the pack. The comfortable F3 mallowed the D-Zero to scorch up the course, through some light waves. Rossendale Dave (not to be confused with Slipper Dave) and Prestwick Tom were challenging for the lead, with me chasing hard just behind, close racing. As I rounded the leeward mark for our last sausage in 3rd, I picked the left hand side of the course whilst Rossendale Dave and Tom went right, and apparently the right always works except when its left (with even the local boys being caught out), and found myself at the windward mark in the lead, rounded cleanly against a strong tide and held my own down to leeward, round the mark and a short sprint to the finish. So, where do I go from here, having taken the bullet ??

Race 2 underway in similar conditions, allowing the D-Zero to be perfectly powered up, keeping it flat for speed (ignore the photos, must have been camera angle for some). Niel ahead on the start and I was a little wary to be honest, though as the gun went Rossendale Dave crossing the fleet from port by a nose – a slight bias, and Niel tacked away leaving me a clear channel up the left hand side – it worked last time so I hung on. Clean tacking and flat trim/balance were working well. Niel, Rossendale Dave and Scammonden James were still on the right, and then James came across to the left. The wind was building a little, though the small chop was building as well.

Dave was ahead at the leeward mark and expecting a reach to the finish, when the RO decided we needed another round, and I charged after him. Everyone else went right again and by the windward I was 100m ahead of James who had taken the higher pressure though stronger tide right option.
Just the downwind to survive then, and James was catching quickly – post race look at mast chocks and his rig was slightly more upright than mine, though I had enough to get me to the finish again taking the bullet. James, Niel and Dave followed having taken a chunk out of my lead.
Race 3 after a slight delay as the wind had swung and built, as had the waves, so the course was rejigged.

The wind had built to a good F4 maybe 5 and the chop had changed to a confused sea up to 1m wave. Behaving well on the starts, we were away cleanly, and I chased my left hand favourite, though the higher pressure on the right was working well it seemed, though others had followed me left this time, as we battled through the triangle course, changing places as we tacked, and Largs Jon joining the front runners. I was running in a close 123 formation with Niel and Dave ahead of me just, though with an upwind leg to go so I had chances, when looking at my controls and not out of the boat I stuffed the nose into a wave and binned it to windward. Thinking I had some gap behind me, I tried to right as it continued sailing down the leg, though as I dived in, there must of been a huge gust (not the extra pie on board) and it went in again, quick swim and back up, chasing hard from now 14th. I’m sure I heard laughs as they all went past … (As if I would have done that !?)

Working the boat hard back up the beat, I came round mid fleet, and managed to sneak past a couple to end 7th (that’ll be my discard thought I !!)
Niel had worked hard and took the bullet, chased down by Rossendale Dave, Jon and Tom.

Race 4 and we hung for a bit whilst some of the skiffs cooled down in the water as the wind and sea had built even more. Pushing hard up the beats, trying to work the triangular chop out – there was no set pattern (oh yes there was – argues local Largs Martin), no roll over the waves though plenty of slam and snorkelling.

Largs Martin came into his own and relished in the obviously usual conditions and pushed Niel and Rossendale Dave. I was fighting the conditions and had to contend with Rossendale Mick, Largs Glen who were joining the party at the front and lots of changes throughout the course. Niel hung on with a shortened course of triangle sausage taking the win with Dave and Martin following in. I followed in 6th.

Returning to the slipway in steeper waves, places were up for “Muppet of the Day” as some jumped out due to the abandonment of Musto Skiffs and Vortex (or is it Vorti maybe ?) And upon jumping found it was deeper than thought and very slippy in the kelp. Some tried to write off their D-Z’s by heading for the rocks, others tried to ram the patrol boats easily done when you’re not in the boat. However some good tired-leg swimming and all was recovered. The fun continued…

The demo boat racers had done well in their first time out in the D-Zero, believe it was 7th, 12th, 1st (we’ll ignore Cool Hand Hugh as that result must have been a fluke, especially as he rolled a ciggie waiting for us to finish) and another mid fleet result. Just shows the D-Zero works, its all about the sailor! Anyway I digress…

Overnight, Niel had 2 wins, a 3rd and an 11th to discard. Rossendale Dave had 3 solid 2nd places and a 4th to discard, whilst Slipper Dave (raving reporter) ran in 3rd with 2 wins and a 6th, discarding my 7th (which could have been worse). All to play for on day 2.

Muppet of the day was yet to be confirmed although Ballerina Niel had put in a great effort with an on-line capsize in race 1 – could anyone beat it! My capsize whilst up the front was a consideration…

Largs hospitality followed the shower, warmup and rigging/technical chat in the boatpark. GJW Direct had kindly sponsored the whole event which enabled some welcome liquid refreshments and a hot pie and beans (or those funny peas in a mush if you really wanted) – so remember the good those insurers do when you’re next renewing!

A break whilst those staying organised their beds and maybe a sneaky kip, and then back for some Bitter n Twisted (an appropriately named beer) and a even more welcome two types of curry or Cajun chicken. There was no hold up on the banter, and a great evening was had amongst plenty of yawns, though one thing for certain the welcome at Largs was great.

Early nights for some, the whiskies held for another time (maybe ?) And thoughts of the next day where the forecast was heavier winds and a swing to the east maybe which produced all sorts of predictions.

Breakfast in the clubhouse, and Avril took charge of my nutrition plans advising my previous days healthy choccie milk, banana, porridge, sultanas and honey was not how they do it in Scotland, so bacon (no fried Mars Bar in the Healthy Option!), eggs and a tattie scone (the description was vastly different to the taste and was well worth the try) were the order of the day ! Very tasty and did the job masking the few beers from the previous night, though sneaked in my choccie milk though!

The racing was planned for a 1030 start, and the D-Zeroísts were reminded that they had their start in 20 minutes and we were all still chatting on the slipway. Fortunately a large slipway enabled many to get away quickly with help from the trolley volunteers. In the good F5+, we scorched across to the race course in minutes, and set ourselves to get ready.

The RO had asked whether all was ok and a 45degree wing mark was requested to enjoy those great D-Zero reaches, and maybe just the traingle sausage would suffice today please

Race 5 kicked off with a more easterly course punching the wind hard. Herts Gordon fancied some of the front runner action, working well in the breeze and chop – think it was also the new 45 deg reach that made it, and was rounding in 4th place, with Niel and Tom leading me round in 3rd. Gordon had given us all the “oh my bad back” excuse the night before, though it didnt seem to be bothering him in the boat. Excuse No.1 from GS remembered !! However back on the course, Jon was not far behind though some were finding it tough in the breeze – it was a big cunningham day. The sausage wasnt really looked forward to however at least the races would be sub 30 mins. Niel took the win with Tom in 2nd and me following in 3rd, with a smiling Gordon still chasing in 4th.

Race 6 and the wind strengthened, Niel took some irony after purchasing a new kicker strop the night before and guess what as it was still in his tool box so he whittled a new sort of strop whilst we readied ourselves and the Mustos pulled themselves up from a swim. Already the Vortex had decided to not use their kites, what ? I hear you say, chuck the kite over the side then if its not being used. Apparently the bows dig in when you go forward to drop. The D-Zero just relishes the conditions and even with some snorkelling the bow pops up easily and with a rush of water you’re back on your way. There had been some attrition during Races 5 and 6 it seemed as only a few lined up/finished. Jamie lost his chocs (Not sure if it was a Mars or ??), Tom lost his Halyard, Martin injured his arm and missed his best weather and Largs Glen found common sense. No big issues but it really was full on – though such fun! The 45 degree reach was just fantastic as the D-Zero just ripped away and big grins could be seen across the fleet as we shot down the 2 legs.
Niel had got away (as well as laughing) after I touched the windward mark and had to do some turns (fortunately only one as had been agreed by the skiffs on the Saturday – thanks guys) nearly letting Jon through as well. Though I held on and took 2nd following Niel with Jon and Rossendale Dave following in 3rd and 4th respectively.

Race 7 and the RO advised it would be the last race, so all was still to play for. Niel had a good lead with 4 wins, though the next few places were up for grabs. The right hand side was working well today it seemed despite more tide, the wind was certainly there, though the left still played well avoiding some waves and getting plenty of drive.

Niel had spent a few minutes playing with his lashed up kicker and was doubtful of his inclusion in the last race – think he was just ribbing us ??
With only 7 on the course (next training sesh in big winds – paid dividends with one we did with George National Champ), we roared off the line, splitting the fleet at first then all going left. Largs Jon had got the bit between his teeth and was pushing Niel hard.
Places swapped about mid fleet, with Niel leading nicely. Those thinking we were just to do a traingle sausage were mistaken including me, as we were sent for at least another triangle however with pain comes reward and at least we had 2 more legs of fast reaching – so not all bad. A last push up the beats and use up your leg energy – I only had 500 miles to drive home so might as well be properly tired. A great blast down the reach, super fast gybes, and another grin making run to the finish. Niel took the gun, followed by Jon, then me and Dave back in the frame.

Thanks to our sponsors GJW Direct, Hawk Wind Indicators, North Sails, Liros and DZero.

Thanks also to the Race team, patrol crews, hospitality team, Martin for getting everyone cajoled and interested from the outset, and the general Scot hospitality throughout the weekend. So, a Nationals here in 2020 ?? I’ll leave that for you to decide but I would (drive) 500 miles so…

The Largs D-Zero event is already confirmed for next year as 18th/ 19th May 2019

Overall results were as follows:

1st Niel Ritchie
2nd David Valentine
3rd Dave Woods
4th Jon Bassett
5th Tom Whitehead

Full results can be found by clicking here.

Other prizes were awarded as follows:
Muppet of the Day – a prize of a Wind In”dic”ator – went to Niel Ritchie, despite many other events, the start capsize pirouette sequence couldn’t be beaten !
Most improved sailor – a rare DZero shirt – went to Gordon Stewart
Furthest traveller – a beautiful bottle of Glenlivet – went to David Valentine, well worth the 1000 miles !

Roll on next year ! I’ll be there …

Morgan Sails/Zhik Southern Circuit – Queen Mary SC

Ready for action at a sunny Queen Mary

Arriving nice and early in full sun and blue sky, one other D-Zero was being uncovered, and soon a couple more arrived. The wind was hanging back however …

After a briefing at 1030, we hung for another hour having changed as the wind was swinging and filling in soon. Some J70’s played in the East side of the reservoir, and were moving at least, so the forecast seemed plausible.
The wind did swing, and albeit under a postpone flag, the fleet of 6 intrepid sailors decided that we were getting hot enough in our wetsuits on land and decided to launch and set the boats / have a play. Within minutes the AP was down, and the racing was on. Wind was picking up although still light, the roving reporter struggles in such light conditions as tends to oversheet and trim properly. Downwind seems to work well – training needed on light n airy upwind !! Always something to learn…

Race 1 began, a 3 lap affair, triangle, sausage, triangle which everyone thought was a little optimistic, however the wind played ball and we got off to a good start. Said reporter had a good start and kept up with the pack on round 1, though round 2 beat found a couple of holes and slowed whilst some, Tom Southwell in particular, managed to gain a lead from Ian Morgan and round nicely ahead of the fleet and lead from start to finish. Seb took 3rd.
The wind had dropped by the time they had finished and the sniff of wind left meant drifting across the line a couple of minutes behind. Ian gave encouragement as 66 crept to the line !

Then the wind dropped right out and we sat for an hour contemplating life, and how Tom had sneaked into the lead etc. – serious stuff you know ! After a few cyclonic tours of the start area, pushed round by the wind and maybe a little rudder moves and tacks, the wind gods followed the forecast and the wind swung again and raised to a nice level to be able to hike and getting some good speed.

After some swift mark movements, Race 2 was underway with a 4 lap plan, and obviously the wait made us all a little keen and a general recall was made. Lots of good class banter as to who was over the line…

All holding back this time, a clear start was made and nicely hiking way up the first beat, though a starboard call prevented his rounding in 4th, though held with the pack for the downwind. The wind started to drop, the rain came in (who said rain !!) and some more laying down in the D-Z up the beat, which reduced the speed (or did in my case), though by then Ian Morgan had pulled out a significant lead. The wind didn’t play ball and dropped out totally, though Ian managed to sneak round the top mark and drift down towards the Committee boat. Others followed some way off, word was there were some sneaky rudder movements and balance/trim adjustments by one to catch up with others (no names, no role call), although I knew I was actually moving as my movement was noted by the drift pass of some detritus/algae every now and then. With an hour on the clock, the race was abandoned and more wind didn’t look promising.

The fastest everyone went all day was with the powerboat tow back to the clubhouse – that’s weather for you, despite what the forecasters say and were saying, nothing was apparent on the reservoir. Plenty of discussion as to how to get the D-Zero moving in sniffs of wind, and chat around the park as sails were dropped – what a friendly class.

So, 1st Southern Series sponsored by Morgan Sails was won by Tom Southwell, Ian Morgan in 2nd and Seb Prowse in 3rd, full results can be found by clicking here.

Brandy glasses were awarded by Queen Mary, and thanks were made by the furthest traveller for the Race Org, Officers, patrol teams and the club in general. Great location, though we’ll try and book some more wind next time.

Next stop Rossendale Valley on the 29th April for the start of the Northern circuit and Emsworth Slipper on the 3rd June for the next Southern Circuit, with Hunts SC on the 5th May and Largs SC on the 19th/20th May in between – see you all there !

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