Tag: dzero.co.uk Page 1 of 3

D-Zero Nationals Report – wild and windy at Brixham

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.

A group of sailboats on the water

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Final scores: 

1st & 2022 National Champion – Nick Craig
2nd Tom Southwell
3rd Niel Ritchie
4th Jon Bassett
5th David Valentine

1st Lady: Liz Potter

Full results can be found by clicking here.

Georgie Althams photos can be found by clicking here.

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.

Photo Credits: photoboat.co.uk Georgie Altham

The UK D-Zero Class Association – 28 June 2022

Start of 2022 update

A very warm welcome to 2022 from the D-Zero Class Association. We know things have been very busy overt the festive period both on and off the water! Our friends over at Dzero.co.uk have been busy prepping and delivering the latest batch of boats as well as sending out lots of spares orders.

A number of boats have also changed hands so a warm welcome to those newcomers to the class.

2022 Nationals Update

The Class Committee have been working closely with the host venue, Brixham Yacht Club, to finalise the details so we can get the entry open as soon as we can. In the mean time do put the dates in your calendar, 24th-26th June 2022 and get your accommodation booked in. I know a number of people are already ahead of the game here, myself included!

Sponsorship update

The class committee are working hard to secure sponsors for a major events in 2022. Unfortunately many of the traditional lines of sponsorship are not forthcoming this year. We do have a few irons in the fire though so do watch this space! On a related note if you have any ideas of companies we could approach do get in touch by clicking here.

We have managed to secure a sponsor for the new National Travellers series in the form of Dzero.co.uk. More on that series as it develops. I am told there will be a fancy scoring system that rewards people who travel, especially outside of their normal areas. You can see the current Open and Supported events list by clicking here.

We are also delighted to announce that Noble Marine have renewed their class sponsorship for 2022 so do consider them when it is renewal time on your current policy.

David at Dzero.co.uk has also extended his Class Association members discount on spares. The new discount code will be emailed out to all current Class Association members shortly. If you need it before then get in touch with our membership secretary by clicking here.

Winter Series Update

The D-Zero Winter series is running at the moment. Unfortunately a couple of events have fallen foul of Covid. I am just awaiting a results update and we will then publish the current standings along with the updated criteria.

RYA DInghy and Watersports Show

The end of this month will see the RYA Dinghy Show in a new venue and with a new name. Moving to Farnborough Exhibition Centre and being renamed to the RYA Dinghy and Watersports Show gives a new twist on the annual showcase exhibition event for our sport.

Dzero.co.uk will be there with the D-Zero taking pride of place on the stand and representing the class. I am planning to attend the show on the Saturday and various D-Zero committee members will be at the event over the weekend. So if you are planning to go do drop by and say hello at stand E20.

2021 RSK DZero National Championships – Notice Of Race

It has been one heck of a wait since we all went to Weymouth but the 2021 National Championships in Largs are well and truly on the horizon.

Sponsored by RSK and Tunnocks and anticipating a record turnout this championship looks set to be the biggest and best yet. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish west coast, Arran, the Isle of Bute and the Kintyre Peninsula this promises to be a championship to remember.

Hosted by Largs Sailing Club the Notice of Race can now be downloaded from the event page (click here) together with more information on the venue, the surrounding area and places to stay. Racing will be over 3 days Friday to Sunday 20-22 August , with an informal warm-up race on Thursday 19 August – our very own Round The Island, of Cumbrae.

Enter now and secure your place and accommodation for the event and a Scottish summer holiday.

On The Origin Of The D-Zero

We all know it is a fantastic boat giving us great fun racing and that ear to ear smile but it was time to find out a little more about the origins of the D-Zero from designer and current national champion, Dan Holman.

Dan, you designed the D-Zero, the boat we all enjoy sailing so much. Thank you! This is famously based on your Punk design. Can we get a potted history of how the boat came about?

Thank you guys – the passionate owners and sailors are a great reward to me.

As for the Punk, I’d spent most of my teens and early 20s laser sailing, owned something like 10 lasers, raced at the highest level against some legends of the sport so I was really lucky in that regard. Probably the best and worst moments of my life were in those days’ of laser sailing.

By 2004 I came 3rd in the Olympic trials and was pretty stale and burned out not to mention broke so decided to quit the full time campaigning that I’d been doing for the previous 18 months and join the real world. I had 2 lasers at the time and sold both. I was doing a bit of windsurfing at the time for light relief. I got a job and started working but decided that I still missed having a boat and sailing. I didn’t want another laser as I had been there, done that and also I felt that as a product it was pretty flawed and well overpriced for what it was, and even back then one certainly got the impression that the massive margin wasn’t being ploughed back into the class or the sport.

I loved the “art” of unstayed narrow singlehanded hiking boat sailing and felt that I wasn’t catered for in the market. Nobody wanted to do something modern because it was not going to sell 3000 boats a year, but of course you didn’t need to sell 3000 boats to be economically viable. So I decided to have a go at one myself – I was a qualified Naval Architect, how hard could it be? I’d always wanted to design boats but it seemed that a career in yacht design was difficult to get established in, so I pooled in my laser money, and scraped together various other savings and got to work.

The approach I took was completely artistic insofar as I wasn’t aiming to do it commercially and sell boats, but to get the no compromise effect that I wanted, it meant a making full set of female moulds and loads of custom parts. So for three of the best years of my twenties I spent every evening and weekend day working on designing and building some aspect of the boat. I was very lucky insofar as my father had some workshop space in Cornwall, as well as an understanding of many of the processes, not to mention the all-important sympathy to my cause, so I abused that privilege heavily, and saw an awful lot of the M5 and A38 between Cornwall and Bristol where I was living.

I designed and had at least some part in building every part of the boat apart from the blocks and ropes so it was a very long winded but rewarding process. I had the moulds done by early 2008, found a builder to help do the actual lamination (Jamie Stewart, who was at the time building a lot of the RS dinghies under subcontract) and after a lot of commissioning and assembly etc I launched the boat in the Autumn of 2008, had a big party and couldn’t have been prouder of the outcome.

How much change occurred between your Punk design and the Devoti boat we are now sailing?

Quite a lot changed. Probably the biggest single change was the move to a bailed cockpit which made it much deeper and nicer ergonomically. I’d already moved away from the wishbone boom for a number of reasons, I had made a log of over 100 minor or major changes that I had made to the Punk Boat, and speculatively designing V2 before the Devoti introduction happened.

The D-Zero is a bit fuller in the ends to make it easier to sail or more forgiving. Then there were a load of features to accept some of the Devoti parts and components. The laminate / construction method is a little bit different between Punk and D-Zero. I’d worked with North and Selden on a v2 Punk rig which still works to this day, but Devoti had a relationship with Compotech, so the North sail that you see now was built around that mast and spar set. We used foils that Devoti had invested in for the D One. The under-floor sheeting was parked – it was cool but higher cost and higher friction.

Were there any features on the Punk you would have liked to have seen on the D-Zero and what ruled them out?

Devoti gave me pretty much carte blanche on the hull design itself and that was pretty much where I wanted although if more prototyping had been allowed who knows where we would have ended up!

There are a few things on the Punk that are a bit custom and a bit special that make it that bit crisper and sweeter, that I would have liked to have retained, relating to construction and rig, but I accept that this would have resulted in higher cost so all of this sort of thing is a bit of a compromise and there will always be value engineering.

In working with Selden on other dinghy design projects, and seeing the RS Aero, I really love working on the product design of custom parts with Selden as having that sort of “Jewellery” can really set the boat off as a product, so it would have been nice to have been partnered with them in that regard. Essentially, with a project like this, whilst it was my “baby” and I had poured a lot of sweat equity into it, Devoti were making an actual financial investment, taking the risk, so there is always some back and forth there.

On the whole it went well and was pretty frictionless.

We have all recently seen your work in the International 14 and congratulations on getting 2nd place in the worlds in Perth.  What other dinghies are you working on?

Thanks very much. Perth feels like a long time ago already! I hadn’t done much designing since the 2016 Fusion dinghy with Glen Truswell, which I was very proud of and continues to sell well. Designing, building repairing and modifying the i14 has taken most of my time in the intervening period. That said I’m always keen to keep my crayons sharpish so this year I have a largely mature 30ft IRC race boat that has sadly been parked for coronavirus reasons, I have drawn a version 2 of my “Cuckoo’s Nest” i14 pulling in all the lessons from the first one, and I’m getting close to halfway through a new rotormoulded dinghy. So I guess its been a busy time in the vacuum left by a reduction in sailing.

I want to build a sports car as well, so I’m sketching and making models for that a lot at the moment as well.

So not much going on then! If the car turns out to have any of the quality and flair of the D-Zero, I’m getting one! Anything else interesting that we can quote you on?!

I think that most of my quotable thoughts would not be “woke” enough for 2021. Having said that, I think that looking at the cradle to grave cost and environmental impact of electric cars, they are not an improvement on internal combustion, or at least they only reach a tipping point when a substantial majority of the electricity that powers them is supplied from renewable sources. We should punitively tax all new vehicles above around 1500kg.

 A few second hand ones that I always liked:

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Einstein

“I was just wondering whether there will ever be a boy born who can swim faster than a shark.” Gareth Keenan  – for George Cousins

Thanks for you time Dan, and thanks for the D-Zero.

8, 12, 16, 24 or 32?

Kicker purchase ratios seems to have been the hot topic of the 2021 non-season in the DZero fleet. But what is all the fuss about and what does it all mean?

Steve Bolland: 2018 DZero National Champion & RS300 supremo (32:1)

You started this whole kicking strap purchase debate – explain yourself!

Haha, you had to bring that up! OK, I’ll do my best to explain. So, my upwind sailing style is to adjust the kicker for each gust. In the Lark my crew used to look upwind and pull the kicker on when a gust hit and eased it as it passed, leaving me to concentrate on the telltales and the waves. When I sailed a borrowed boat in 2016 I had real trouble adjusting the kicker upwind, mostly because the control line is led down the centre of the boat which requires tricep muscle power when the bicep is the dominant arm muscle. After I bought my own boat I found that a 32:1 kicker was what I needed to play the kicker upwind easily. In most classes a 16:1 is sufficient but then the control lines are led to the sides of the boat and you can use your biceps. Also, at the 2016 champs I noticed that the shape of Ian Morgan’s sail was different to everyone else’s and it seemed he was using more kicker than most. Am I cleared? 

Regardless of the purchase they all do the same job. Does it all just boil down to strength and personal choice?

​So you’re saying I have weak arms! OK I admit it! I do prefer a lot of kicker upwind in a breeze but if you’re strong enough you can still get the desired tension with less purchase. I favour a powerful kicker set-up purely for ease of use rather than because I use more kicker tension. 

George Cousins: 2017 DZero National Champion, professional dinghy coach and sailmaker (8:1)

The debate about kicking straps and purchase which started when Steve Bolland unveiled his 32:1 kicker, coming into the class from the RS300: what are your thoughts on this?

I used 8:1. I like the idea of less string in the boat and the ergonomics of being able to crank on kicker in one big pull. That being said if with more purchase you feel more then that would work too.

Regardless of the purchase they all do the same job. Does it all just boil down to strength and personal choice?


Dan Holman: DZero designer, 2015 & 2019 DZero National Champion, 2nd at 2020 Int14 Worlds (8:1)

It is fair to say you know a bit about how the DZero works… In Weymouth you were using the class demo boat with the original 8:1 ratio. What are your thoughts on the kicker ratios out there with some people using up to 32:1?

My formative years were in the laser with only rope loops for purchase and 8:1 was ok then for me – its more a matter of technique to get enough on. I think 8:1 in the Zero with cushy ball bearing blocks is plenty and that these days everyone is soft and spoiled and have come to expect everything to be convenient and easy! But in all seriousness, as a designer I’m of the school of thought that for simplicity, elegance and cost, a design is not done when you’ve finished adding stuff to it, but when you’ve finished taking stuff away. By the same token I also have to recognise that the customer is always right and that the rest of the world has moved on since 1993 and that many punters may like to have more purhcase and more string washing around their cockpits. I think that there could be an issue with some boats with massive purchases (8:1 is self limiting!) but I haven’t heard of issues in the zero in this regard, and you always have to be able to duck the boom!

Well I think that sorts out that debate, maybe….

George Cousins Coaching – https://www.facebook.com/Georgecousinscoaching/

The World According to David

DZero.co.uk main man and official UK dealer gives us an update on the class, the boat and fashion

David, thanks for taking the time to update us, how is the UK DZero market given the Coronavirus restrictions?

New D-Zero’s have continued to sell, albeit at a significantly slower pace than 2019, not surprisingly due to various lockdowns, clubs being closed etc etc. However used D-Zero’s have been going great guns and several have been sold via brokerage, and higher than 2019, so work that out… What is good to see is that as many sailors as possible are using their D-Zero’s and getting this word out to all is key for us all to promote the Class, not just for the few but for the many…

Is this consistent with what you are seeing in other classes, Devoti boats and the market in general?

From what I hear and see via various industry forums and news, it’s been a very challenging year for the marine industry. Some haven’t survived already (two major builders this year alone), and sadly I’m sure it won’t be the last. Many boat businesses are run as hobbies, which is great for sailors, but not good for business. Margins are tiny compared to everything but software markets, and as some of you may see, every time a small business gets a sale, they do a little jig. If we can get through the winter and Q1’21, then it should all be good, however we all have Corporation Tax and PAYE to pay early next year so that could be a crunch time for many. Sadly it may not be just the high street that suffers…

The factory have been broadening their horizons to ensure stability also, so hopefully 2021 could be a good year! As I write, more discussion and news on vaccines, so lets get out sailing, show the D-Zero off to all, and I cannot wait till Largs 2021!

During the Olympic class selection trials we saw some potential changes to the boat design: deck extenders, new sail shape… Are any of these still being considered? Why?

The trials were a good time to gain feedback from elite level sailors, so some new ideas were tried out to see if there were any benefits – hiking extenders, which seemed to be more of a pain to build into the boat than the benefit gained (though you never know till you try), sail materials were tested as the grey and blue materials are brilliant for longevity, several times over a dacron sail, and value is a major point of discussion. Seems price is better in some eyes than value – strange world !? There were some other ideas tried; feedback and development was useful.

Devoti always are keen to look at ideas as to how a boat can be improved – look what they did with the Finn through the years and ended up with the Finn Fantastica – a class leading boat that 99% of elite sailors demanded; however for now, the D-Zero was so well designed in the first place, things work when you pull them, though development ideas will never cease – just look at the Pimps & Bimbles page.

What was amazing were the comments about mainsheets going out the back of the boat (as it’s sternless), having to reach in to get to the controls – and yet the majority sailed Lasers or Finns where you have to lean in. I believe our friends at RS were equally frustrated on some feedback, and they had a great proposition as did Devoti.

Are there any new developments planned?

We are looking at sail materials as above, check cover materials for wear and UV (that sun is such a pain !), and we’ve looked at gelcoat colours (standardising on white and grey, though also mindful of UV when needing to repair), though nothing else currently.

What do you see as being the realistic future of the DZero in crowded single-handed market?

I believe sailors will know the best single-hander, and it’s good to have competition; I am sure more will come from those who want to fly. However, whether you can use it in all weathers and conditions is the key point.

It’s down to us all to market the D-Zero and show why it’s great, whether it’s in waves, or flat water (let’s get those pictures out there !), the fun ole’ bunch we are, we can get Tunnocks (and Gin companies) to sponsor us, the boat just works, its built well (yes we have some issues, as does every builder, but it’s how you deal with it in customer service), and let’s make noise and disrupt the media so everyone knows what stupid grins we get ! You can see those owners that really work at it, as they build their fleets, get out sailing in groups – it’s not easy, doesn’t always last, but let’s tell people why !

How big is the DZero fleet in the UK and internationally?

Germany and Netherlands are growing fast, and there are many users across Eastern Europe, Italy, Belgium are building all the time, and we have more owners in the US. Classes in some countries have other challenges as clubs and countries have to adopt the Class, so its not just down to the sailor thinking I want that boat. What is great to see is the way the UK Class Assoc have led the way and many of our non-UK friends look in to see what’s happening, so this will build as we progress. 6 years is very short in sailing terms…

The class has a single builder which ensures uniformity, but that builder has recently been awarded an ILCA build contract. Given Devoti’s pedigree in building boats if their ILCA becomes as popular with the Olympic elite as their Finns will this ‘high end client’ demand effect the supply of the DZero?  

Devoti are unlike many other builders, they support and continue to support all their classes they build, and have stated they will keep supplying the D-Zero builds, and will work closely with me and the other European dealers.  The benefit is that if the ILCA does provide more numbers, this makes the builder stronger financially, and therefore will have better and bigger facilities than it already has, as well as keeping their quality employees to ensure high level boat quality – no robots used at Devoti. Devoti have also worked with some of the key suppliers used on the D-Zero to supply ILCA parts, so its strengthening the whole supply chain.

The price differential between a DZero and ILC is only £103 in the UK (according to your website!) so what assurances can Devoti and DZero.co.uk offer to us as a class that they will continue to supply and support us?

Both Devoti, myself and other dealers have worked hard through this year to ensure both of our financial status, diversifying and being prudent where possible. Just shows that the D-Zero is extremely good value, for the technology you gain, and the build quality. The ILCA is a different market and enables diversification to support the factory and dealerships around the world. Devoti are very keen to support the D-Zero, and have supported in many ways, whether that is getting parts to me extremely quickly to keep you sailing, ensuring full stocks of parts at my yard, the factory and at their suppliers.

Look at the ILCA as a supporter of the D-Zero and not a challenger.

Feedback we get from club members is that the boat is expensive. How can we get around this as a fleet? You can pick up an old Laser for under £500 and get club racing but we don’t have that age legacy of boats.  

Hmm, I have to think about this, as I do get people playing the “it’s expensive card”, and I answer honestly, “yes, you can always get older, cheaper boats, however let’s compare accurately”. At Shows and at Events, or talking when sailors have demo’d the D-Zero and then I run them around the D-Zero – high quality vinylester foam sandwich build, high quality carbon spars throughout with less than 1% breakages, North Sails Kevlar laminate sail lasting years on a competitive basis, Harken blocks and cleats throughout – quality, just quality. Then let’s discuss the feel good factor, ask any sailor who’s sailed it (except some of the Olympic trailers, hahahaha).

Then you get onto the depreciation – D-Zero’s keep 90% of their value after a year, and still have nearly 60% of their value after 6 years. Compare that to other boats ? I hate to compare with other boats as I don’t think you can do a straight comparison, however looking at the market, several other single-handers are more expensive than the D-Zero @ £6950, so I don’t fully understand – maybe I need to put the prices up !!.

Let’s run through some prices as I’m not sure where it’s expensive, especially when you say about the ILCA (that was designed in 1970, so our prices will be interesting in 50 years ??), however here we go, all taken as Dec 2020 prices from builders website –

RS Aero £7,860 (start at £7330 plus a 9m2 sail, Harken parts, side cleats, carbon tiller); Hadron H2 £10,295; Solo £6,595; Phantom £9,750; Waszp £10,243; OK £8,350; Solution £6,700; VX Evo £13,995 and a Musto Skiff £12,580 (lots of boat but still £12k+) shall I go on…

I’m happy with the pricing, would love it to be higher, though think its about right.

As a dealer you are personally very active on the racing circuit and a fan of the boat. What would you say to anyone trying to decide between a DZero and the other boats on the market?

Just go sail it! I’ve sailed hundreds of boats up to 70ft, and over 50 years, yes I’m that old, and nothing has given me the buzz I get from the D-Zero.

The DZero tends to have quite a devoted following with few people leaving the class. The smile factor when people come off the water is universal. What makes it such an appealing boat?

It’s easy to sail, quite fast, accelerates well, doesn’t seem to have an ideal sailor weight (thank goodness for those larger boned !), its rewarding – you tell it to do something and it does, its relatively stable (I’ve capsized the D-Zero less times in 6 years less than my previous single-hander in a season), and I try hard on capsizing sailing regularly in 25-30knots, its simple to use and learn with, and we’re a great similarly minded fun load of sailors, that I really enjoy sailing with !

What can DZero.co.uk offer to CA members?

Continued support, we’re financially stable, always parts in stock ready to ship, sound advice from someone who sails the D-Zero, plus 10% discount. You just have to put up with my sense of humour and competitiveness…

Chrome rubber clothing was your fashion tip for 2019. What can we expect to see you sporting in 2021?

The chrome was fantastic – I use the excuse I nearly became an ice cube at Rossendale and then the chrome rubber warmed me at the Dales, though I’m just checking out the colour trends and styles currently (covid lockdown ideas are just emerging in Vogue Runway), it’s hard being a D-Zero fashion icon (and obviously a god to Zippy), though watch this space, though I think back on what Rihanna told me – “They can beat me, but they cannot beat my outfit”  

I think it’s best if we end there.

Prestwick sailors getting out amongst the wildlife…

Prestwick sailors and their friends out on the high seas. Send us more of your outings and sails…

Zippys adventures in Wonderland – AKA Zippy goes to the dzero.co.uk Inland Championships

Welcome back to the tales of Zippy the Dzero; this time travelling to the DZero Inlands at Grafham Water Sailing Club. I’ve called this episode “Zippy’s Adventures in Wonderland” because it seems unreal to be on the traveller’s circuit again; off to meet up with my boatie mates across the country.

Traditionally, the sailing report for these type of events is written by the light-winged heroes, who see all from the vantage point at the front of the fleet. So, I’m sorry to disappoint you readers by admitting that this report comes from an under-achieving boat, who’s Owner sailed me like a heavy goods vehicle on the way to a test centre.

Having interviewed the main players, along with some of my other fans who stopped by Owner’s tent to welcome me back to the racing world, I have pieced together a story, which might be far from the facts. But it reads well and fits in with the final results, allowing for some personal vengeances, individual victories, figments of the imagination and too much time spent in isolation over the past six months.

As always, I like to set the scene before we get to the capsizing, breakages, penalty turns and tantrums.

After a sad summer of cancelled DZero events, Grafham Water SC bravely stood by the planned Inland Championships on the weekend of 5th/6th Sept. It attracted a total of 22 entries; 16 from ten visiting clubs, plus 6 local club boats. 

The wind was forecast as a fresh Westerly, gusting 20 knots. It did not disappoint and created some havoc for the first race.

Race Officers Nigel and Fiona Denchfield set up a trapezoidal course and the DZeros were away cleanly on the first start. David Valentine, the Dzero Dealer, led the fleet around the first mark in a brand new and unmodified boat that he was using as an experiment to see what happens with a standard 8:1 kicker and without any upgrades that us Zeros so enjoy. Well, “Plain Jane” was simply flying and David sailed a short distance after rounding the mark without using a rudder or controls as he was so busy fist pumping the air with both arms. He led the race for 2 laps, being overtaken by Gavin Flemming on the reach and followed by new Dzero sailor Harry Moffatt (age 22) in the boat borrowed from Paul Jefferies, who was having some appendix issues rather than sailing.

I was having some of my own appendix issues on the last run, as my mainsheet  

had flipped itself around the boom on the gybe and it got truly twangled, so it wouldn’t release. Owner did some dodgy circus manoeuvres on my transom trying to release it, whilst running by the lee, which didn’t help at all. In the end the whole boom had to come inboard to get sorted – all with gusts of 15-20 knots puffing in various directions. It was not quick.

The gust and shifts continued to make sailing hard work. On the second beat, a 90-degree shift caused four boats to capsize together. Think Synchronised Swimming. Seb Prowse, Andrew Spencer, Richard Major and Gavin all won gold for style and Gavin won double gold for rapidly making up the 150 metres he lost and was lying in 3rd on the last lap.

Local sailor, Neil Washington was close behind in 4th place and headed drastically inshore on the last run to look for the Convergence Zone.

May I butt in at this point and say that I was completely lost at this stage in the interview, as I usually go looking for waves or seals when I get bored of racing. It seems this Convergence thing really paid off for Neil, but even more so for Gavin, who looked behind him and decided he’d like one too. It propelled him past David Valentine and gave him a comfortable win, with Harry pipping David over the finish line to rob him out of second place. No fist pumping…of a happy kind anyway.

Race two saw David, once again, lead all the Zeros around the windward mark with Jane flying like a banshee and David fist pumping like an over-adrenalized teenager. Once again, it was to be Gavin who sailed a faultless race and took the gun from Tom and Steve Bolland.

Race three involved much place swapping between Steve, Tom, David and Neil, until Gavin got ahead on a shift on the second lap. Harry sailed a good final run, getting past David to rob him of a place once more at the finish.

So ended an exhausting first day of racing. We boats retired via our personal slipway and practiced a little social distancing in our self-made boat park on the grass by the camp site, just to see what it was all about. It didn’t last long as the Canada Geese came to snuggle up with us at bedtime.

Although the clubhouse and facilities were closed, the café provided packed lunches and hot drinks for sailors in the daytime. As the evening approached, the sailors staying overnight gathered at The Valentine Bistro (David’s Van) for a takeaway supper, sponsored by dzero.co.uk and beers sponsored by JonCowpers Beach Bar. Music by The Canadas.

Day Two.

The wind had dropped off. In the words of my interviewed Weatherman Washington “The cloud formation to the West gave a sense of fore coming doom with signs of turbulent mixing aloft.” In Zippy speak this translates as, be prepared to rig up facing any direction. Not only that but be prepared to sail in any direction on any tack on the same leg. Simples.

Race Four

The first game-changing shift arrived on the second beat. Luckily, we were on the correct side of it for once and reached into the windward mark. Tom, Steve and Neil all got it right too and finished the race in that order. David had been lying in the top 5 that race and sailed into a huge hole (but no rabbit, seeing as this is a wonderland story). There he stayed until the entire fleet had passed him, so that he could finish in last place.

Race Five

The winds became lighter and shiftier. As the placings were repeatedly shuffled and re-drawn, there was a new race winner; local man Richard Major, who had obviously been studying the wind patterns at Grafham for a long time. Close behind was Nigel Pybus, followed by Tom and Steve. Gordon Stewart was the rabbitless hole man of the race, finishing like David in 21st place.

Race Six

The wind was still very unstable. No more so then when it drastically shifted to the South West at the start. Of course there was chaos, including Richard over the line. The boats at the pin end were unable to cross the line. Tom was able to tack off early, but Gavin was caught out at the pin and had to gybe around to re-start on port. Weatherman Washington saw the writing on the clouds before the gun went and bore off, gybed round and put a friendly little tack in on top of Tom. The Weather Gods were very sympathetic towards Tom. Tom is kind, Tom is a Poster Boy and Tom tacked just short of the windward mark. So the Weather Gods lifted him gently and kindly around it. Neil Weatherman did not receive this generous gift and finished in second place behind happy winner Tom.

The weekends’ racing was so close, that the overall winner had to be calculated  

on countback, with the top three sailors being on equal points. Gavin won the overall Inland Championship Trophy and the prizes were awarded all the way down the fleet, sponsored by dzero.co.uk.

A special mention must go to an opportunistic sailor, Nigel Austin from Cransley SC, who spotted a large silver yacht replica at a car boot sale roadside on the way to the club on Sunday morning. He stopped to make an impulse purchase and presented the trophy to the first Cransley Sailing Club DZero; Nigel Pybus (8th overall).

Thus ended the DZero outing of the season so far. Lovely to see some old friends and make some new ones (Abby Freeley – welcome back to the DZero Class!) A huge thank you to Grafham Water SC; the race teams and shore crew. And a massive thankyou to our wonderful and supportive Class Man, David Valentine.

Next job for me is to find the nearest HGV driver training centre.

Zippy Zero



1. Gavin Flemming; 1,1,1,4,9,(11) -16 pts
2. Tom Southwell; (10),2,9,1,3,1 -16 pts
3. Steve Bolland; 5,3,2,2,4,(7) – 16pts
4. Neil Washington; 4,5,3,3,(7),2 – 17pts
5. Harry Moffatt; 2,(8),4,6,6,3 – 21pts

Full results can be found by clicking here.

Photos below from the Committee Boat and are Copyright Nigel Denchfield

Gavin Fleming wins the dzero.co.uk 2020 Inland Championships

Photo copyright Karen McLeod

Congratulations to Gavin Fleming the 2020 dzero.co.uk D-Zero Inland Champion. Winning on count back from Tom Southwell and defending champion Steve Bolland.

The hard work was done yesterday with 3 bullets. Today was a game of snakes and ladders. More to follow.

Full results are here: https://www.grafham.org/wp-content/uploads/_results/Opens/2020/DZero.htm

Dzero.co.uk 2020 Inland Championships – Overnight results

After a day of champagne conditions at Grafham Water Sailing club Gavin Fleming from Hunts SC leads the DZero 2020 inlands overnight from Steve Bolland of Bristol Corinthian Sc and Neil Washington from Grafham Water SC.

With lighter conditions forecast for tomorrow things and 3 more races to go thing could change but with 3 bullets in the bag Gavin could be hard to catch.

Full results can be found here https://www.grafham.org/wp-content/uploads/_results/Opens/2020/DZero.htm

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