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2022 Gill D-Zero Open at Grafham Water SC

Mixed conditions for the Gill D-Zero Open Meeting at Grafham Water Sailing Club 14/15th May 2022

16th May 2022

Report by Colin Glover

Glorious sunshine but very little wind welcomed the 14 D-Zeros for the first day of the Gill D-Zero open at Grafham Water SC. The event was being shared with both the RS600s and the Streakers for their respective Inland championships. 

Following the mid-morning briefing delivered by Principal Race Officer Peter Curtis, the fleets promptly left the shore to (slowly) make their way to the racetrack at the western end of the lake. Following a short wait for the shifty average wind direction to be calculated the race team got the event underway. 

Photo Copyright Paul Sanwell/OPP

On the first beat David Valentine and Neil Washington went right and very quickly generated a good lead on the rest of the fleet. Neil decided to not ‘bang the corner’ and tacked to cover the rest of the fleet. David held his nerve and continued to go right and rounded the windward mark with a significant lead followed by Neil and Colin Glover in third. The first reach was light and the front boats from the D-Zero fleet caught up with Streakers (despite a 4 minute time advantage). Unfortunately for David he approached the second mark of the trapezoid course amongst the Streakers and suffered the consequences losing a significant portion of his lead. Down the first run Tom Southwell went low and also took a significant chunk back. Gordon Stewart also picked up a puff of wind and reeled in the front few boats. At the start of the second lap Neil had taken the lead followed by Colin, Gordon & Tom.  This remained the order for the final lap with Neil pulling out a commanding lead on the next three boats. Unfortunately, the rest of the fleet got stuck in a hole at the second mark of the second lap with Ben Stevens eventually leading in the second pack of boats. With the wind dying, race officer Peter consulted with the fleet reps and quickly made the decision to abandon the rest of the days sailing. 

Photo Copyright Paul Sanwell/OPP

Day 2 dawned with a much more favourable easterly wind forecast of 10 knots with gusts into the late teens. Once again the fleets headed out to the western end of the lake where the race team were waiting. The plan was to make up for previous days lack of wind by running four races. The race team promptly started the sequence and got the racing underway. John Aston from the home club sailed excellently, leading from the first mark, and back on-form following his uncharacteristic result in the previous days race. John was followed home by Colin and Gareth Farr from Stewartby Sailing Club,  who joined the event for the seconds days racing. 

Race 3 was once again started promptly and David Valentine cleared the windward mark in first place after John, Colin, Neil and Paul Murphy overstood the lay-line and ended up close reaching into the windward mark on port. To the amusement of those nearby Neil dropped his mainsheet on approach to the mark and fell out of his boat. He quickly clambered back on board and didn’t lose out too much. Gareth worked hard on the second reach of the first lap and took the lead from David. Tom Southwell had a fantastic final reach and Colin looked nervous as a significant chunk of distance was taken back.  Final results were Gareth followed by David, Colin and Tom.

Photo Copyright Paul Sanwell/OPP

Race 4 was delayed while the race team amended the course to address a 20’ wind shift. Most participants welcomed this delay and the rest after the 18 knot gusts contended with in race 3. Race 4 got underway and Colin approached, and hit, the windward mark first and immediately did his penalty allowing Gareth and John to pass. At the beginning of the second beat John was leading but slightly misjudged a port starboard incident with Gareth and John conceded his penalty. Unfortunately John didn’t recover from this error and Colin, Neil and David took advantage. The final race of the weekend got underway and was initially led once again by John. However, at the start of the second lap John and Colin tacked immediately after rounding the leeward mark whilst Gareth, David and Tom went further wide, and benefited from a huge lift. Entering the final downwind leg of the event Gareth was leading followed by John and David. Neil and Tom displayed their usual rapid downwind speed and overtook David. Colin went hard right down the run, gybed and reached into the penultimate mark just beating the others.  Final positions for race 5 were Gareth followed by John, Colin & Neil. A tired fleet sailed the final beat back to shore where the generous prize giving sponsored by Gill was held. 

Overall results were Gareth Farr from Stewartby sailing club in first place followed by local Grafham Water SC sailors Colin Glover, Neil Washington and John Aston in second, third and fourth respectively. 

Photo Copyright Paul Sanwell/OPP

Overall results

Sailed: 5, Discards: 1, To count: 4, Entries: 14, Scoring system: Appendix A

1stD-Zero18Gareth FarrStewartby Sailing Club (15.0 DNC)
2ndD-Zero351Colin GloverGrafham Water Sailing Club 2.02.0(3.0)
3rdD-Zero71Neil WashingtonGrafham Water Sailing Club 1.04.0(5.0)
4thD-Zero3John AstonGrafham Water Sailing Club (11.0)
5thD-Zero66David ValentineEmsworth Slipper Sailing Club 6.0(9.0)
6thD-Zero328Thomas SouthwellLee on the Solent
7thD-Zero7Richard MajorGrafham Water Sailing Club
8thD-Zero181Gordon StewartNHEBSC 3.0(11.0)
9thD-Zero144James Williams-MitchellNA 9.08.0(10.0)
10thD-Zero218Paul MurphyGrafham Water Sailing Club DNC)15.0 DNC50.035.0
11thD-Zero152Colin ClasperStewartby Sailing Club (15.0 DNC)
12thD-Zero8Joe ConstableGrafham Water Sailing Club DNC)15.0 DNC63.048.0
13thD-Zero203Chris EverittYorkshire Dales SC DNC)63.048.0
14thD-Zero247Ben StevensGrafham Water Sailing Club 5.0(15.0 DNC)15.0 DNC15.0 DNC15.0 DNC65.050.0

The D-Zero fleet would like to thank Grafham Water SC and the race team led by Peter Curtis for a fantastic weekend of D-Zeroing and to Gill for the generous sponsorship. 

More photographs of the event can be viewed at the Grafham Water SC Photo Gallery

Gill Grafham Water SC D-Zero Open Meeting 14th/15th May

On the 14th and 15th May Grafham Water SC will be host to the Gill DZero Open Meeting.

Entry is now open please click here, Meal bookings for Saturday night please click here. Camping and Campervan Booking, please click here.

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

dzero.co.uk UK D-Zero Inland Championships – Entry Update and Late Entries

With just over 24 hours to go until the online entry deadline passes the D-Zero class association are delighted to see that there are currently 21 confirmed entries for the event this coming weekend at Grafham Water SC.

We have also been advised by Grafham that it was an error to say entries will not be accepted on the day. In line with the Notice of Race it may be possible to enter on the day subject to there still being space. There is a £5 surcharge for entering on the day. Entry for the event is capped at 30 boats, this is a hard upper limit that cannot be extended.

So with the forecast currently looking good the only way to guarantee your place on the start line is to pre-enter by clicking here.

dzero.co.uk to sponsor the 2020 Inland Championships

The D-Zero class association are delighted to announce that the UK distributor for the D-Zero, dzero.co.uk, have stepped up to sponsor the 2020 Inland Championships at Grafham Water on the 5th and 6th September.

David Valentine from dzero.co.uk says:

dzero.co.uk are pleased to announce their sponsorship of the Devoti D-Zero Inland Championships to be held at Grafham on 5 & 6 September. With the current climate of on/off events, and RSK & Tunnocks kindly offering to extend their National Championships sponsorship through to 2021, dzero.co.uk as UK & Ireland exclusive distributor for Devoti Sailing D-Zero and Optimist want to ensure some worthy prizes for the main Class event in 2020. David Valentine looks forward to competing against another 29 D-Zero’s (limited for Covid safety), and despite the lack of quality Northern and Scottish sailors available, looks forward to some close racing over the weekend and well-humoured socially distanced post-race chat.

Paul Jefferies , Chair of the UK D-Zero Class Associaiton says:

We are delighted that dzero.co.uk have stepped in to sponsor what will be our main event this year. In these unprecedented times we appreciate the trading environment has been very difficult so for them to find the resources to sponsor us is amazing. We know that most of our sailors are just keen to get out and get some racing in next weekend but having some prizes on the table adds an extra attraction.

As a reminder event entry is online only via the Grafham Water website, click here for the entry page. Entries are capped at 30 so make sure you get your entry in early to avoid disappointment. Entries close Thursday 3rd September, Grafham have told us that late entry and entry on the day will not be possible.

2020 Inland Championships Entry now open

Current Winter Series champion Tom Southwell showing how not to line up for the start.

The D-Zero class are delighted to announce that entry to the 2020 Inland Championships at Grafham Water are now Open.

Entry is online only and must be made by 3rd September 2020 in order for Grafham to ensure they have the necessary resources in place. Grafham have confirmed that they will not be able to accommodate any late entries or entries on the day.

You can enter online by clicking here.

Lining up for the start at Grafham Photo Copyright Nikky Evans

In terms of local accommodation there are plenty of local hotels in easy reach or you can camp or campervan on site. If wanting to stay on site you must pre-book this also.

Please note there is limited access to the clubhouse meaning that there are no shower or changing facilities available. Please either come ready to sail or change on site as required.

D-Zero Inland Championship 2020 – Show of hands

In order to aid event planning Grafham Water SC have asked if we can give them an idea of numbers. If you are planning to attend the inlands please either indicate on the event on the class Facebook group. For those who do not use Facebook please comment on this article or fill in the D-Zero Chairperson contact form located here.

As we are sure you can appreciate the event format is not yet fixed due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation. Grafham are hoping to have a 2 day format as normal but this may drop to 1 day depending on the situation closer to the time.

With that in mind entry will only open on the 28th August on the Grafham Water Sailing Club website. You can view more details by clicking here.

We are intending to hold the class AGM on the Saturday evening of the event. If this is not possible then there will be an online AGM in the near future.

Covid-19 Update

As things are now slowly starting to return to a new normal we can reveal some updates with regards to events.

Regrettably most of the 2020 Open Meeting calendar has fallen victim to Covid-19 with the UK National Championships being postponed until 2021. As many of you will know we are keeping the same venue and weekend as this year and have managed to retain the sponsors we already had in place. Thanks to the team at Largs SC who have been working hard on this and doing all the background work,

Back to 2020 now. We have been in touch with Grafham Water SC who are our hosts for the 2020 Inland Championships. They are confident they can run us an event at the start of September as currently scheduled on the class calendar. We are therefore anticipating a good turnout as this will show the ‘best in class’ of 2020 in lieu of the 2020 National Championships not taking place.

We also have a 2 day event scheduled at Yorkshire Dales SC at the end of October. The host club are confident this event will take place and should allow us to go of the year of a high. I know many D-Zero sailors are already making plans for the trip to Yorkshire which has long been a favourite for class having twice hosted our Inland Championships.

The class is also hopeful that some of the other events that were cancelled can be rescheduled. The fleet are Hunts SC are actively seeking a date for an Open Meeting having had last years ‘weeded’ off and the early scheduled date postponed. So do keep an eye on the 2020 Events page and the class Facebook group for updates.

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