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D-Zeros at the Oxford Blue 2017

Nigel Austin dealing with the traffic. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

On the 18th February the D-Zero fleet gathered at Oxford SC for round 8 of their 2016/2017 winter series. The event was also the final round of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series 2016/2017. With the top 2 steps of the podium in the overall standings already secured all eyes were on the 3 way battle for 3rd place overall. The wind forecast looked promising initially but conditions on the day were best described as ‘up and down’.

With the large B fleet and all the boats in that fleet being broadly similar in PY it was clear that traffic management was going to be key as getting out in front and keeping clear wind was never going to be much of an option unless you got lucky at the start.

Tom Southwell being chased by Rob Campbell. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

In Race 1 Tom Southwell did the best job in managing the traffic to be the first D-Zero but at a lowly 47th overall. He was followed by series leader Ian Morgan and the late charging (in the series) Mandy Sweet. There was some question as to whether 2 or 3 laps were completed. Luckily Sailracer were doing their GPS tracking and checked the tracks and confirmed (possibly to some disappointment) that only 2 laps were completed. One D-Zero was heard to lament that they thought they only did the 1 lap they were so slow….

Race 2 was a different affair with Mandy and Ian doing the best job in the traffic and Mandy posting a 10th, Ian a 13th and Tom a 19th. This meant there was all to play for in the final race of the day with any one of these 3 able to take class honours.

Race 3 and Ian finally decided he should show the rest of the class that he could get out in front and lead them home as he had done in previous events. Coming home in 32nd overall he was the first D-Zero followed by Tom and then Mandy.

Ian Morgan at the oxford Blue. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

Overall this meant Ian took class honours in the event coming home 32nd overall, Tom 2nd in 38th and Mandy 3rd in 44th. The question was what had happened to Nigel Austin, had he done enough to hold of Tom in the overall D-Zero winter series standings? Despite being 84th overall he managed 4th in class which meant he took the final podium spot in the Winter Series from Tom by virtue of his first place at the Brass Monkey.

From here the class moves on to Alexandra Palace for the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show on the 4th and 5th March. We are on stand F12 in the West Hall and have a great team of people on hand to tell you everything you might want to know about the D-Zero. The the first class Open Meeting at South Cerney a week later on the 11th and 12th March.

D-Zero class summary:

1st Ian Morgan (32nd)
2nd Tom Southwell (38th)
3rd Mandy Sweet (44th)
4th Nigel Austin (84th)
5th Graham Cooper (89th)
6th Rob Campbell (110th)

Full Oxford Blue result can be found by clicking here.

Full D-Zero Winter Series results can be found by clicking here.

Full GJW Direct Sailjuice winter series overall and class standings will be available shortly.

D-Zeros at the Tiger Trophy 2017

Nigel Austin in the light conditions at the 2017 Tiger Trophy. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

On the 4th and 5th February 2017 the D-Zero class travelled to Rutland SC for the 2017 Tiger Trophy in aid of the John Merricks Sailing Trust. Various online weather forecasts had predicted winds ranging from no wind, through the nice scale right up to apocalyptic. (Un)Fortunately the forecast storm did not really materialise leaving the wind towards the bottom end of the scale.

Nigel Austin GBR191 takes up the story:

I now longer believe in online weather forecasts that are anything longer than 24 hours in advance!!

Full of Promise was the Tiger Trophy but on the Saturday morning on the way to Rutland, Tom Southwell and I were looking for any sign of air moving!. Unfortunately it was, from the tailor tyre and relatively quickly the shredded remnants were strewn along Phoenix Parkway, Corby – 10 miles from our destination. By pure co-incidence, a chap I had gone to Primary school over half a century ago, was working in a tyre shop half a mile away and within 45 minutes of despair we were on our way with a borrowed tyre from him!!

We needn’t have worried because the start, despite being about 2 miles away was postponed whilst the race committee wondered where the wind was coming from, so we met up with Rob Lennox and Rob Campbell and weaved in and out of the 119 boats – except we avoided the 18ft skiff!

The fast fleet disappeared in a Force 1-2 and we all wondered which way to go up the beat – i decided left and just kept going for about 10 minutes until i hit the layline and then realised no-one was with me – i found out later that Rob L had been duffed up by a Laser on the line and the other two had gone right. Anyway it paid off and I squeezed ahead of Tom. The lead changed hands several times until the rounding of the last bouy when i forgot to cover tack Mr Southwell (by this stage!) and he shafted me. Rob L and Rob C didn’t manage to claw through the RS200’s to catch us, so we were quite chuffed!.

Of course Rob L was just toying with us, like a cat with a mouse, and after about 3 minutes of the 2nd race he was out of sight. Tom and I continued the very close racing from the first race whilst Rob C was trying hard to overcome the light wind conditions. I had a heated altercation with a RS200 which broke the tranquillity of an otherwise uneventful race – i nearly had to challenge him to pistols at dawn instead of quoting Rule 69 as he was not at all sporting!.

Race 3 was starting to look a little like a one lapper with the sun going down rapidly and a gasping Force 1. Rob L and myself managed to get a big gap from the other two and as the wind became less the likelihood of the gap closing decreased. I was with Rob L for about 15 minutes and then he was gone!.

A 45 minute crawl and pump back to the clubhouse (why don’t they ever finish on a beat at the windward mark ???) meant the food and drink was better appreciated I suppose. The best part of the day was yet to come, as I made my way from the changing room to the bar to be greeted by people who usually walk straight past, congratulating me rather bemusingly – on winning the first Race (out of all 119 boats! Including Olympic double silver medallist Ian Walker). Of course it was Tom Southwell who badgered me to “Fess up” to the Race Officer but I didn’t for 20 minutes while I basked in the “fake news” notoriety.

The amended results were still kind to me as despite losing to Mr Southwell in 2 races, I had a big enough gap in the last race to creep above him. Rob L obviously took the honours on Day 1 and Rob C showed great patience on a frustrating day (again in light winds – all winter!!!).

Ian Walker was the guest Speaker at the Tiger Dinner – good entertainment and top nosh !!.

Then the Sunday!!!! Everyone was ready and we all looked at the Moths and Skiff countless times, got changed – but the Fog just wouldn’t move!! Eventually after 2 hours it was abandoned for the day – I think Rob C had the best idea, stayed in bed!.

Thats sailing or not as the case was. Well done to all who took part it was not D Zero weather but one day it will be…………………….

See you at Oxford hopefully – let it blow please!!

Overall results for the class were as follows:

42nd – Rob Lennox – GBR195
58th – Nigel Austin – GBR191
63rd – Tom Southwell – GBR217
100th – Rob Campbell – GBR190

The Tiger Trophy was also Round 7 of the D-Zero Winter Series 2016/2017, you can find a short series update and the latest standings by clicking here.

D-Zero Winter Series 2017 update after round 7

Last weekend saw the 2 day Tiger Trophy contested. 4 D-Zeros travelled and their placings have had en effect on the standings. Rob Lennos has secured 2nd in the series with Ian already crowned as champion.

3rd place is still very much open for grabs though. Nigel managed to get the ‘Southwell Beater’ back in action and relegated Tom to 3rd place. This ties them on points in the standings with Nigel moving back in to 3rd on count back having travelled to Yorkshire Dales for the Brass Monkey.

Just 1 event is left in this years series, the Oxford Blue on the 18th February. With 8 entries at present and all the contenders going it looks like the final podium spot battle will do down to the wire. Can Nigel hold Tom off? Can Mandy complete her late run with a good result and spoil the party for Nigel and Tom?

For full series standings please click here.

Brass Monkey 2016 – Report

A lone D-Zero made the journey to Yorkshire Dales for the 2016 Brass Monkey. With others left ruing leaving their entry too late.

Nigel Austin made the most of his day up north and did a great job of staying away from Tim Olin. He reports as follows:

A 3.5hr drive early on the morning of an event is perhaps not the best preparation, and when the fog descended at the briefing it looked like the 100 odd boats that had entered might have an equally long time waiting for the start. However no sooner than everyone had rigged than the pea souper lifted and a consistent (ish) Force 2 (occasionally 3) filled in. Unfortunately I was in the B fleet together with the RS200’s, Enterprises and GPs whilst the A Fleet had the Aeros and other single handlers and so whilst it’s no excuse, I never seemed to be able to pull away enough up wind before the long downwind legs when the spinnaker bellowing boats blotted out what little wind was out there. I soon came to the conclusion that I wasn’t doing that bad but neither was I doing that good, and in fact after the 2 races I did end up as halfway through the fleet at 52 out of 102 entries. It is a strange thing racing on your own in a large handicap fleet, but I had had some practice in the Comet at Bloody Mary a few times. I still have a lot to learn in terms of getting the most out of the DZero but losing a stone and a half might help in 2017!.

Yorkshire Dales SC is so well organised and welcoming and the civilised one race then a choice of 5 top lunches then another race with a glass of mulled wine when pulling the boat out of the water is difficult to surpass. I am sure I will be back to tame the brown waters!

Of to Grafham where up against 21 DZeros will be completely different!!

From here we move on to Grafham for the Grand Prix on the 2nd January where a great turnout of 21 D-Zeros (20 grey and 1 blue) will see the fleet be the largest class based on pre-entries of the 184 strong contingent.

Upcoming Events January 2017

With entry for the Brass Monkey at Yorkshire Dales on the 27th December now full and a long entrant making the journey north attention is shifting to the January winter series events.

On the 2nd January we have the 4th Event of our Winter Series, the Grafham Grand Prix which already has entries in to double figures and promises of more to come from the large home fleet and other locals.

From there we move quickly on to the Bloody Mary on the 7th January for round 5 followed by the Steve Nicholson Trophy at Northampton on the 28th January. there are currently 6 bats entered for each of these events. With entry to the Steve Nicholson Trophy capped at 120 and entries starting to come in thick and fast it is important that you get signed up if you want to go. Online entry links for all events are posted below.

2nd January 2017 – Grafham GP – Enter Here

7th January 2017 – Bloody Mary – Enter Here

28th January 2017 – Steve Nicholson Trophy – Enter Here

D-Zero Winter Series 2016-2017 Round 2 update

Ian Morgan leads after 2 round of the D-Zero Winter Series. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

After round 2 there is very little change at the top of the leaderboard with Ian Morgan taking class honours followed by Rob Lennox and Tom Southwell.

From here the series moves on to Yorkshire Dales for the Brass Monkey on the 27th December and then just under a week later to Grafham for the Grand Prix on the 2nd January 2017 where a large entry of D-Zeros is expected boosted by the big home fleet there.

Current D-Zero Winter Series standings can be found by clicking here.

D-Zero winter Series 2016/2017 Round 2 Preview

Ian Morgan leads the series after the 2016 Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash

This coming weekend sees the resumption of the D-Zero Winter Series 2016/2017 after a short interlude for the re-scheduled Burghfield D-Zero Sprint Open.

At the time of writing we have 7 pre-entries which is down on last year but some of the regular protagonists have had house moves and holidays thrust upon them. Can Ian Morgan keep his winning ways going in 2016 and extend his lead or will his clubmate and arch rival Tom Southwell remember how to sail. Will Rob Lennox turn up and sail off into the distance or will the dark horse that is Nigel Austin in his newly christened ‘Southwell Beater’ spring a surprise on everyone?

To find out first hand and join in the fun this coming weekend and take part on the D-Zero winter series simply head on over the the event website by clicking here and getting your entry in.

D-Zero Winter Series 2017 Round 1 – Draycote Dash

Ian Morgan leads the D-Zero fleet at the 2016 Fernhurst Books Draycote Dash. Photo Copyright Tim Olin

On the 19th and 20th November 2017 6 hardy D-Zero sailors gathered at Draycote Water SC for the Draycote Dash. This event is round 1 of the D-Zero Winter Series and round 1 of the GJW Direct Sailjuice Winter Series 2017.

Some were a little apprehensive give the forecast with Storm Angus due to give some big winds on the Sunday. Angus departed over breakfast Sunday and we are told that Mssrs Lennox and Southwell definitely did not sample the waters during the course of the event.

Roving reporter Nigel Austin takes up the story:

Draycote’s parking can divide fleets and so it was when we arrived on a frosty morning on 19th November. Rob Lennox, Gordon Stewart and myself in the northerly camp and Ian Morgan, Tom Southwell and Rob Campbell in the southerly one. The winds were a Force 2-3 and with the 103 assorted boats assembled on time the 4 back to back races started. Ian disappeared off like he does, with Rob L in pursuit, followed by The B-Team!. yours truly managed to grind out a 3rd with some scrapping between the remaining 3, but with Gordon finishing ahead of Rob C and Tom. A massive windshifts happened after the first race and Rob L took advantage and beat Ian, myself stayed the same but with Tom finally awakening to take 4th ahead of Rob C and Gordon.

Race 3 saw a closer race although Ian and Rob L eventually rose to the top, however not before the National Champion was overtaken on a dead run by DZero 191, (highlight of the year for the helm!). Unfortunately the sudden rush of blood to the head saw him (me) drop back to 5th. Race 4 saw an early bit of excitement for the safety boats as Rob Lennox tacked and just kept on rolling – brrrrrrr!

With the remaining pack keen to capitalise on this they held Barnt Greens’ best at bay until the last lap when he capitalised on the “go left” Secret Draycote nugget (that he revealed at breakfast the following day!).

So Day one ended with Ian ahead of Rob with 3 first and a second and Rob L second with 3 seconds and a first. Myself and Tom Southwell were joined at the hip in third equal and Gordon and Rob C were the wingmen of the group.

Sunday saw Storm Angus still blowing when all arrived, however with it scheduled to drop the breakfasts were of medium quantity although Tom did stock up a little more than others. A frenetic start saw Gordon push Rob L towards the line and so with a need to accelerate along the line Rob made a flying start and that was the last most of us saw of him. Catching up folk or being caught up in a pursuit race with 100 boats is nerve racking but a very complex course of 2 large beats and what felt like 10 reaches and fetches, with endless “calls for water” and loss of wind as larger boats sail over you, also keeps you on your toes. Ian fought his way back to close the gap on Rob, and clinch a creditable 7th overall.

Both Ian and Rob received prizes for their efforts, amusingly books on asymmetric sailing!

Top sailing and a good amount of close racing – just a shame that more from the Midlands didn’t make it

So after 1 event Ian takes an early lead from Rob and his clubmate Tom. The current standings after 1 event are:

1st Ian Morgan
2nd Rob Lennox
3rd Tom Southwell
4th Nigel Austin
5th Gordon Stewart
6th Rob Campbell

Full results for the Draycote Dash can be found by clicking here.

From here the D-Zero class moves on to Burghfield SC on the 3rd December for a re-scheduled Open Meeting and then on to round 2 of the Winter Series, the Datchet Flyer, on the 10th and 11th December 2017.

Upcoming events November and December 2016

With another successful summer season of sailing behind us all eye are turning towards the start of the popular D-Zero Winter Series.

With 5 D-Zeros already pre-entered for the first event on the 19th and 20th November at Draycote Water and entry closing on the 13th November with no entries allowed after that date be sure to get your entry in before the deadline to avoid missing out!

From there the class moves on to the re-scheduled Burghfield Open Meeting on the 3rd December which was postponed from the original date due to a very poor wind forecast. This is followed by events 2 and 3 of the D-Zero Winter Series later on in the month.

19th – 20th November 2016 – Draycote Dash – Enter Here

3rd December 2016 – D-Zero Open – Burghfield SC

10th-11th December 2016 – Datchet Flyer – Enter Here

27th December 2016 – Brass Monkey – Enter Here

D-Zero Winter Series 2016-2017

2016 National Champion Ian Morgan in action during last years Winter Series. Photo Copyright Jeremy Carey

As with the previous 2 years the D-Zero Class Association will be running the popular D-Zero Winter Series for the winter 2016 sailing season.

The series will comprise of the 7 GJW Direct SailJuice Winter Series events plus the Steve Nicholson Trophy making a total of 8 events. You will need to sail just 4 of these events to make up a series. The winner will have the kudos of being the D-Zero Winter Series Champion and be allowed to display the letter ‘W’ on their sail to signify their achievement.

The events that will comprise the D-Zero Winter Series 2016/2017 are:

Draycote Dash – 19th-20th November 2016
Datchet Flyer – 10th-11th December 2016
Brass Monkey – 27th December 2016
Grafham GP – 2nd January 2017
Bloody Mary – 14th January 2017
Steve Nicholson Trophy – 28th January 2017
Tiger Trophy – 4th-5th February 2017
Oxford Blue – 18th February 2017

Also, from the 2017 championships onwards, the National Champion and Inland Champion will be able to display a letter N or I on their sail respectively. If someone manages a clean sweep they could spell WIN.

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