On the 22nd October 8 D-Zeros gathered at Hunts SC in Cambridgeshire for the penultimate meeting in the travellers series. 6 locals were joined by 2 visitors from Stewartby and Grafham. The day dawned bright and with the promise of a good breeze.
PRO David Cronk set a course that used the majority of the lake giving 2 good beats, a mix of reaching angle and a long run.
Race one saw locals Paul Jefferies and Jon Cowper show the fleet a clean pair of heels up the first beat with Colin Clasper rounding in 3rd. The gap between the top 2 fluctuated a bit but Paul extended away slowly to have a good lead by the finish with Jon coming home second and Colin keeping his nose clean for 3rd.
After a break for lunch and chat in the sunshine it was back out for 2 more races back to back. The wind was holding up nicely but a few holes were appearing to catch out the unwary. At the front it was business as usual with Paul and Jon leading round the windward mark with a gaggle of boats a short distance behind. The slightly lighter winds seemed to favour Jon and he was fighting hard for the lead for the first lap and a half until Paul slipped away to hold a handy lead by the gun with another local Ed Deacon completing the podium.
Having sealed the meeting Paul could have taken an early shower but decided to stay out for the 3rd race to enjoy the fun. With the wind starting to drop as forecast it was a chance for others to challenge at the front. The start was keenly contested with Paul being the furthest down the line but hitting the line at speed soon had him moving ahead. The race settled into a familiar pattern with Jon and Paul escaping off the front leaving a 4 way scrap behind between Colin, Ed, Gary Tompkins and Joe Constable for 3rd. Whoever out of Colin and Ed took 3rd would take the final podium spot at the meeting. Colin sailed a great final beat to just sneak over the line in front of Ed handing him 3rd place overall.
In the final race Rachael Clubb (1st Lady overall), sailing her new boat, was in touching distance of the fleet and seems to be getting up to speed nicely with Kath Gerighty not too far behind in her first outing in a borrowed boat, the usual D-Zero grin was clearly in evidence!
At prize giving Paul thanked all the volunteers who made the event possible and the D-Zero sailors for supporting the event.
The next event is this coming weekend at Ogston and is the final event on the calendar for the class with the Sailjuice Winter Series starting in a few weeks.
The penultimate event of the 2022 D-Zero Travellers series is almost upon us.
On the 22ns October at Hunts SC in Cambridgeshire who now boast a home fleet of 13. This venue has always been a great leveller! Former Inland and National champions often find themselves back in the fleet with local knowledge and a good dose of luck often the key to doing well!
Basic detail are:
First Race 11:00 Break for lunch (we are very civilised) 2 more races back to back Best 2 scores to count £10 entry fee
The full NoR can be found here: https://huntssc.org.uk/index.php/sailing/open-meetings
An annual race week, previously known as Fed Week, and changed to reflect a more focused sailing week aimed at sailors from RS Elite to D-Zero to Optimist, and attracts sailors from all over the world and around 400 boats of varying classes.
In recent years the original drag-race between RS Aero 9 and the Devoti D-Zero has been widened (no pun intended) to include the Hadron H2 which further challenges all the sailors, and provides some interesting tactics and boat differentials and adds numbers to the fleet.
Winds are usually good, and the race area is within Chichester Harbour between Hayling and Thorney Islands and Itchenor / Witterings (except for the Elites who sail in the Bay), and managed under 4 different race starts, though it’s very busy – tides, wind management, tactics, strategy etc aswell as avoiding multiple classes – which provides very challenging for all sailors.
Day one, with 14 boats registered, the wind was building nicely to a good F2 with potentials to increase further as usual. Valentine/D-Zero got off to a good start from a Itchenor end startline, driving hard for East Head, with others chasing hard. Thinking there was wind over on the infamous Winner Bank, he unusually tacked away instead of trusting usual form of flying up the beach and through the waves. Southwell/D-Zero followed thinking Valentine knew something. Others flew up the beach and benefited, and after a couple of laps and a few miles, Millett/Hadron H2 took the bullet chased by a few D-Zero’s of Weeden and James Jenkins, then split by another Hadron 2, then more D-Zero’s. The Aero 9 had obviously got scared with the competition and downsized to a 7 rig changing fleets. Plenty of discussion in the bar afterwards, and all enjoying the social side of the week, with plenty of stick for all.
Day 2, Valentine and Southwell were out for revenge. Southwell led off the start in a little more breeze than Monday, chased hard by Jenkins and Valentine. The start this time was the Thorney/Hayling end towards the Emsworth Channel. Jones and Valentine from the pin end went hard left out of the tide and maybe a little eddy off Thorney and soon had a strong lead. Not looking back Valentine continued to build on the long beat, and despite some long downwinds and at the higher end of sailor weight (Ed: unusually polite ?! ) he managed to hold off the others over the 2 and a ½ laps of sausage / triangle, and was pleased to take the bullet. Southwell and Jenkins followed home, then Weeden and Millett losing some of their form from the day before. More discussions whilst the steel band played on the verandah.
Valentine nailing the finish (left) and Jones/Valentine just seen on right of the left hand shot at the pin. Photo Credit: Ollie Blake (apologies for poor quality as downloaded from a video)
Day 3 and plenty of nerves, Valentine just had to repeat yesterday twice more to wrap it up, no pressure then, Southwell wanted to repeat last year’s fortunes and beat Valentine, the Hadrons wanted to show their worth, and only one small error is punished quickly which is good for all sailors, keeping everyone on their toes. The wind was light so we were held ashore for a while, giving the chance for us to discuss Hadrons and D-Zero in all their detail. Finally, the PRO thought we had a chance so we left heading South off the Winner, with an interesting start on full flood and heading North. Flag Z was up, though holding off the start was fun. At the gun, Jenkins got away, Valentine tried a pin end port flyer, which nearly worked, tacking onto starboard into the flood. Word was to stay in the flood till the weed line and then tack onto port, however no weed line appeared and several were caught in the eddy just off HISC, letting the Hadrons sneak into contention. Others had headed right out of the tide though aiming to shoot to Pilsey Sands and then starboard tack to the flood down to the mark. Looking right, there was a dark wind patch coming in fast as we got 100m from the windward, though also some heavy rain cloud. As there were a few Hadrons and D-Zero’s ahead of me, all I was thinking was I’ll catch them on the next beat. However, as James Jenkins was 20m from the windward mark, with Jones, Millett and Weeden slightly to windward, a rib appeared with an abandonment flag flying. Head back to the start area, and then see. A beautiful wind-filled reach whipped us over the tide and back to the start boat where AP over A was flying. That was the end of Day 3 and Jenkins with a good potential of a win.
James Jenkins showing flat is fast ! Photo Credit: Neil Shawcross
Day 4, and some Westerly wind already when Valentine arrived on the course, though several sailors had started early with a good HISC breakfast – food of champions obviously. Southwell had disappeared
Back to the usual Itchenor end start line, and a little closer to shore. James Jenkins and Valentine had spotted the Fireballs firing off at the pin end, and James rocketed off the line heading for East Head and low, with Valentine a little further up the line and in the tide. Jones went for the Pilsey Sands trick to try and get the eddy/slower tide effect, though quickly tacked back onto starboard. Holden in his Hadron was driving hard, and was consistently a threat. First roundings and it was still Jenkins from Valentine, and then another Hadron challenging. Jenkins then pulled away on the sausage downwind, and despite Valentine beating fast to the finish, another 50m was needed to take James. Three Hadrons took the next 3 places, all improving their form across the course, then Weeden, Jones and Boylin completing. Some had taken a rest day.
Day 5 and all to play for, as several places were separated by one point only. A slightly more North westerly wind and in good form was present, so pressure on ! Southwell was back and keen to show his worth, though Valentine had gained 2nds and 3rd plates before and was after the kill. James Jenkins was keen to gain a hard earned win, and the Hadrons and D-Zeros were keen to keep us all honest – Millett, Weeden and Jones weren’t finished just yet. A good start from Southwell, with Valentine and Jones pushing on, though James Jenkins had a nightmare start and was chasing from the back, with the more mature (Ed: polite and diplomatic) Peter Jenkins ahead of him after his rest day. More triangle / sausages with long beats and downhills, ensuring the sailors worked the tides, wind and waves. At the last mark, Southwell was ahead of Valentine and slightly higher, with Williams / Hadron on Valentines transom, and Jones only a boat length away, and yet Millett and Weeden hanging on in for contention. Southwell tacked away and then back for the layline, though Valentine thought he’d use the earlier start time and flooding tide to his benefit and stayed on course. As pressure built, Williams came over the top of Valentine and held to the finish. Valentine doing a quick look back and count to see if he’d snatched victory from Jenkins. On landing, and sorting trollies, Jenkins confirmed he was some way back, though a good fun week was had by all with no sailor taking more than one win !
Valentine rewarded with a bottle of Chichester Harbour Gin and a 1st plate, Jenkins in 2nd separated by a point, and Southwell in 3rd.
Next year’s week is 14th -18th August 2023, well worth an entry in your diary – lots of water action for all types of dinghy, great socials every night, a sandy beach for family or relaxing before/after, accommodation on site, super-easy entry online, with even easier sign-on/off by sailevent on your mobile, great prizes from Marine Superstore, Chichester Harbour Gin and Optimum Time, and fun though challenging racing every day.
On the 3rd and 4th of September Stewartby sailing club hosted their first D-Zero regatta, on entering the site we were welcomed by a fantastic water sports loch [Ed: translation for suvverners – lake/reservoir etc] with generous grounds and club house.
The event entry was refreshingly relaxed with a simple sign on sheet and had attracted 10 intrepid sailors with 7 of them visiting boats, some had even travelled almost 500 miles to sail a new venue! Not much wonder with a complimentary bacon roll on Saturday morning, a great BBQ after racing and another complimentary full English breakfast to fuel everyone through Sundays racing.
Saturday’s weather gave us some light airs and warm weather, the winds were shifty which are apparently the norm at this location. The light shifty winds made for some close racing and it became clear it was a venue where you can never give up as many places could be exchanged on a single beat, some sailors seemed to be missing the swell and salt of the sea while others were obviously feeling the heat and decided to roll the boat on the run to get a quick refreshing swim “Paul Jefferies”. Apparently, a certain big man from the Norf was attacked on the start line by a relative newcomer [Ed: cant have known the D-Zero etiquette] not once but twice though put the offender right with “I’ve told you on the last start not to do that”. All good humour and passionate racing. The winners for day one were Race # 1 Colin Glover, Race # 2 Gareth Farr, Race # 3 Gareth Farr, leaving the top 3 after day 1 being # 1 Gareth Farr, # 2 Gavin Fleming, # 3 Colin Glover.
Sunday brought more wind and a bit of cloud cover, again some nice tight close racing was seen with multiple boats coming into marks all at the same time leading to some on the water rule schooling for all. David Valentine wins the award for best save on the run, guess he wasn’t feeling as hot as Paul was during Saturdays sailing! Also, apparently there were a few interactions at the windward and leeward marks, with the word Protest used, though it went no further with some shaky hands once ashore [Ed: who would get involved in such a thing ! unbelievable]. The winners for day two were Race # 1 Gareth Farr, Race # 2 Gareth Farr, Race # 3 David Valentine. This left the top three of the weekend being # 1 Gareth Farr, # 2 David Valentine and # 3 Niel Ritchie.
Overall we had a fantastic weekend with good competitive sailing and great company, here’s to next years event. The Race Officer stated it was a pleasure [to be the PRO] for such a well mannered fleet !
Shoreham Sailing Club are delighted to welcome the D-Zero and Wayfarer fleets to compete at their Southern Championships on 16 – 17 July 2022.
Come and experience the best sea sailing in the UK, with easy sheltered launching in the harbour and a short sail out to sea, Shoreham is renowned for its wonderful clear waters, fantastic waves and regular sea breeze.
Event merchandise is also available, t-shirts are £15, Polos are £19 and hoodies are £25. Order before the 8th July ideally by email to email@example.com, remember to mention you want the D-Zero southern champs merch.
I had a whopping good time at the Nationals in Brixham last week. It was the ultimate D-Zero heavy weather event, with winds clocked as gusting over 40 knots on the second day.
The Owners planned to do some racing against eachother, but we boats knew that it was really the 2022 International D-Zero Freestyle Championships, with special awards for the fastest capsize, deepest nosedive, highest jump and wettest spraychute. We had even hired photographer Georgie Altham as our judge and she produced some excellent photos of our athletic efforts.
The first day saw the race team put on two races on a huge quadrilateral course. Most of us boats played nicely at first, although the wind was already over 20 knots in the first race. Big Niel Ritchie took an early swim on the downwind leg, chasing leader Nick Craig. His capsize scored too low in points, so he sped past us whilst we were in 5th place, to try some other tricks.
Poster Boy Tom Southwell had his boat too tightly under control to do any dump moves, which gave him a second place in the Owner’s Race, but null points on the whacky freestyle scoreboard.
My Owner failed to release my kicker on the final reach, so I put in a boom- end-wave-drag, which, with a nice Owner archback, can score quite highly, especially if the Owner can then be ejected into the water on the cockpit side, allowing plenty of time for a decent turtle. I did this full trick, opting for some extra points by retracting my daggerboard for a streamline look. Her Ownership spoilt the finish by hauling out over my transom like a drunken seal and kneeling over my near-empty dagger slot, shouting “hello” down it. Null points.
The day’s capsize category was won by Billy McCarlie, who scored a 15th and 9th in the Human Race and a gold medal in the aforementioned archback capsize, with extra points awarded for the long drawn out sequence and terrific facial expressions plus token extra weight hand overboard to assist possible recovery.
The overnight leader, Nick Craig, scored two straight wins and did not allow his boat to compete in the freestyle event.
Overnight runner-up was Jon Bassett from Largs, whose boat practiced hard in the Submarine category; qualifying for the finals in this popular underwater event which would be hotly contested the next day. Billy McCarlie’s boat also performed well in this category.
The following day, the wind had freshened. It was a long squally run to the start area and a much reduced fleet gathered at the start boat.
With less than a minute to go, Owner ground on my downhaul, only to see my mainsail slide a foot down the track. After several failed frantic attempts at re-hoisting and locking it off, she tied the halyard tail off on my mast track and set off in pursuit of the departed fleet with my peculiar reef in place.
My boom was low, we were last boat on the course and faced a perilous run in big seas with no kicker. Owner was gibbering a lot of rubbish about not gybing in case her head came off, so I withdrew from the freestyle head splattering category, which was won by Gordon Stewart with a meaty forehead cut and black eye on the sail home.
Elsewhere, Jon’s Bassett’s boat was still trying to win the Submarine category and in a wonderfully opportune moment, its tiller extension departed company downwind. Jon’s boat performed a magnificent pitchpole, in which it dislodged all of its mast chocks (extra points) before capsizing.
The daring boat won double gold for highest jump and best free-dive and was captured on film by Georgie. Remarkably, cool Jon recovered his chocks, righted the boat, sorted out the mess and went on to finish 5th in that race.
At the other end of the fleet and after 3 laps of low-sail mode cruising in a gale, the RIB kindly whisky-flagged me, meaning I could count my last place and relax to watch the leading boats of Nick, Tom, Niel and Darren Williams come in to the finish line.
Meanwhile, Owner was trying to balance on my tiny foredeck in her own personal freestyle competition. She attempted to jury rig my sail by strapping the useless halyard onto the boom. This was quite challenging in the large seas and fierce winds, wedging the tiller over with a foot and working over a raised daggerboard. The end result was a sail raised to 4” below the masthead, with half kicker but no downhaul available. Thus we raced for the rest of the day.
The following two races were dominated by Nick, Tom and Niel. David Valentine refused to let his boat heel, so he came third in the spray category, second in the submarine group and finished 5th overall in the Owner’s Race, with a consistent set of results and very wet and rusty tin sailing gear.
In 6th at his first DZero Nationals was Willie Todd from Largs, finishing with an impressive 4th place in the final race.
Another worthy mention must go to Martin Walker of Shoreham SC, who won the Lanterne Rouge, showing great endeavour in completing all the races. His boat also performed well in the archback capsize category.
So ended our feisty Nationals. No boats broken and everyone got out alive. Owner and I managed our best Nationals result in tenth place, so I’ll keep her for another year.
Congratulations Nick Craig, for a well-deserved win and well done to everyone who went out and to those that didn’t. You all made it a great Nationals. Also thank you to our sponsors, Barracuda Bay.
Lastly, thank you Brixham Yacht Club – you were superb!
The 2022 D-Zero Nationals at Brixham Yacht Club, kindly supported by Barracuda Bay beachwear, kicked off on Thursday evening with everyone searching for a forecast they liked but one thing was for sure, it was going to blow!
Several early-birds got there in plenty of time, and some sailors were out Wednesday & Thursday practicing in the bay, with the hope of getting ahead of the pack, though winds were light and very few waves. Others sampled the local foods and refreshments.
Racing started on Friday with the long run out from the shelter of the harbour into the full force of the wind and building waves. The brave and foolhardy made it to the racecourse with gusts into the mid 30knts pushing the limits on the gybes. The leading pack was quickly established, lead convincingly by supremo Nick Craig with Tom Southwell, Niel Ritchie, Jon Bassett and David Valentine troubling his transom.
The trapezoid course allowed close competition on the uphill, some awesome reaching to a wild bearaway and downhill playing in the waves, rewarded by another fun reach to complete a lap, and with at least 3 laps to challenge everyone and allow close racing.
The second race brought even more wind and the D-Zero showed just how well it could cope with the confused waves and sea. Most of the fleet went left and was surprised by those coming in from the right with Jon Bassett leading Nick Craig for the first lap until order was restored and Nick Craig powered away. Two races of around an hour were enough and the fleet enjoyed the long beat back against the waves so that stories of battles fought could begin in the bar.
One thing for certain was the sailors were, despite their tiredness, still managing to have a happy grin on their faces, and pleased to have the Brixham team helping recovery on the slipway, led by the Commodore in his wetsuit greeting everyone in the water.
Boats were checked over, with a few ropes being replaced, though otherwise only tired limbs were apparent.
After an excellent fish n chips at the club and sticky toffee pud or ice cream sundaes, day two arrived with sunshine, a little more breeze and three races scheduled. Another long run to the race area and the fleet was starting to master the conditions. Race 3 saw Jon Bassett leading round the windward mark but getting to know the wet stuff when he remembered the lack of tape on the tiller extension. Tom Southwell, Niel Ritchie and Darren Williams pushed Nick Craig all the way round the course and started to make it all look easy. A tight fleet and true one design class made mistakes costly and gave close racing for everyone.
Race 4 and there was no let up in the wind with gusts of 42knts recorded across the course. Liz Potter put in a stunning performance after a poorly rigged halyard slipped in race 3 she sailed the rest of the day with no downhaul, still claiming and 8th and 11th in race 5. David Valentine had a great last leg battle with Darren Williams and Willie Todd, though managed to hang out further and pip them at the line after a very fast reach with seconds between them at the gun.
Very few capsizes even in some super gusts, with the D-Zero helping the sailors to keep sunny side up, and creating some fantastic shots for Georgie Altham @ Photoboat as everyone scorched round the course.
Race 5 and Nick Craig was a clear winner with Tom Southwell and Niel Ritchie fighting for silver and Jon Bassett and David Valentine scrapping for 4th. Willie Todd after a good series made his presence felt with 4th and the ever-present Darren Williams was again in the mix. Three races and we were done. The upwind beat home in the rain and disappearing coastline pushed sailors to the end, though again the fun and chat as we crossed each other was superb and cheerful, and clearly everyone was having a great weekend.
It has been interesting to see a variety of sailors over the weekend dealing with the conditions, and again, no ultimate height or weight was recorded with the Top 10 sailors ranging between 5ft 6in and 6ft 4, male and female, and 65kg to 100kg; though all had the same grin when they came back in…
Day 3 and the wind had built again. The Race Officer made the call to abandon racing on a wise safety reasoning though probably to everyone’s relief (apart from Nick Craig who was keen to go “I just love sailing”) and that was the Championships.
After 5 punishing and challenging races the D-Zero had once again shown what a fantastic, fast and well-built boat it was with no breakages in the entire fleet. Fastest sailor was Gordon Stewart who was clocked at just under 17 knots carving through the chop, though was also a snorkel diver at one point as he charged through the waves not being able to see where he was going through the spray.
Special mention for Simon Boylin, whom after deciding enough was enough, took the yacht he was staying aboard out to the course with a number of other sailors to watch the action, along with crab sandwiches and beers.
1st & 2022 National Champion – Nick Craig 2nd Tom Southwell 3rd Niel Ritchie 4th Jon Bassett 5th David Valentine
Lantern Rouge (most points without a DNS/RTD etc.): Martin Walker
Thanks go to the sponsors Barracuda Bay, Principal Race Officer Peter Lytton, Commodore Richard Spreckley leading his team all over the weekend and for being in the water to assist recovery on the narrow slip, plus everyone at Brixham Yacht Club, and our UK dealer dzero.co.uk who supported with splicing and spares as necessary.
At last years AGM we agreed to survey the membership with regards to the length of the Nationals as some people has indicated a longer event might be popular. We have created a survey here, please complete it: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ATFG2A/