Ian Morgan raises his hat to to camera boat. Photo Copyright Bradley Field

On the 23rd and 24th July the D-Zero fleet gather at the National champions home club for some training followed by an open meeting the following day. Ian Morgan hosted the training and the focus was on wave technique which Ian had used to great effect at the 2016 National Championships at Highcliffe a few weeks earlier.

Mandy Sweet shows that being a lightweight is no problem with the larger Grey rig. Photo Copyright Bradley Field

Dave Valentine GBR 66 reports:

After a delay to wait for the tide (not the wind!), 14 intrepid D-Zeros launched and got away to play in the waves and suss the good F4 maybe F5 wind and tidal drift out – going East first, then West. The Race Officers were obviously also trying to suss it out and lay the marks, so after a little delay, Race 1 got underway. I was a little slow to the line having got there too quickly too early, though then managed to watch the Ian Morgan masterclass in starting, and although I seemed higher and had what seemed similar sail settings and flattish boat, Ian pulled away, and kept doing so. Struggling with keeping the boat in touch with the water, others seemed to be quiet while I was bashing my way and using lots of energy to shove the boat through the water – washing machine comes to mind. The short chop mixed with some rollers was interesting. At the first mark after a couple of long beats, Ian and a couple of others were away. Pleased with a mid-fleet position, the reach down to mark 2 was fantastic and gave a real buzz – the boat seems to revel in these conditions, and the helm seemed to as well catching up a little with Gordon and Mandy just before a long run and some downwind action. Holding off others, the 3rd mark forced a few to make some decisions go right or tack. Going right seemed to work well though seemed an even longer beat back to mark 2. Another run, boo no reaching, and some more downwind practice, zig zag the waves or hold on and try and stop crashing into the back of the next wave. Then a quick gybe and reach to the finish playing with a couple of Lasers who tried to send me high though the D-Z’s speed was superior and just pulled away from them to finish, phew needed a rest ! Ian, Rob and then David 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and I held an 8th – I’ll happily live with that in the conditions.

Race 2 started after the slow Lasers got round a shorter course – some were watching the D-Z’s with interest as we shot past. Though the waves and wind seemed to have built, a better timing to the start, and all seemed good, though looking underneath, Ian and Rob were pulling away again. More work at trying to keep the hull in contact, less wave piercing needed ! Tide seemed to have less effect and after what seemed incredibly long beats, the 1st mark came up, and  a similar order with the Top 4 rounded, though I didn’t seem that far away and came round in about 7th/8th having seen a couple stop or have challenges on the way up the beat. Onto a great reach again – struggling to see through the spray and my huge grin, managed to squeeze past one and saw another behind checking the bottom of his boat, round the next and back down the run to an even further away downwind mark – polite request, longer reaches less runs please next time so those wave boys don’t get too much of an advantage. Back up the beat and the tide was coming into effect flowing West. Overstood the layline though managed to have a bit of a reach in the last few hundred metres to make the mark and round before a couple of others. Held onto the position though had Nigel gaining fast coming in on the right. I managed to squeeze in rounding the mark, though Nigel had more speed and managed to reach underneath me and sneak into 5th. Very pleased with my 6th after 40mins or so of hard work both up and downhill, and then looking round to see where the rest were, was wondering if my result was right as couldn’t see many. Seemed Race 2 was a bit of attrition body and kit wise.

Race 3 and only 9 left to play with as time was pushing on and a couple had left for early showers and to head home – Northampton’s a long way compared to my 40min jaunt down the road – well done for coming down though! The wind had dropped a couple of knots along with the wave height, and a good timing to the start, and with tired legs, got away nicely though watched the leaders pull away again. Keeping the hull in contact, really working the tiller and mainsheet is the way forward. Tide was pushing hard, and the beat going South was working well, then tacking West was a lot easier going round and over the wave set, though I (and others) seemed to overstand the mark closing the gaps up – well apart from one who had disappeared ! Think 1 has to start with the Lasers and play catchup, as he was in a different race ?? As I got to the 1st Mark, Ian was going down the run after mark 2. Another good reach with Mandy and Gordon close behind – weight (or lack of) not seeming to be a factor. Hanging on was!!

Round into the run, Mandy and Gordon went to the right, I stayed left and went for the mark hoping they would be punching the tide a bit more. Getting the hang of going down waves zigzagging now, though Mandy was going wide. I held on though it was close, and back up the beat. Mandy did well and got the beat right, I overstood so it was very close coming in to the top mark and off for the run. Mandy and Gordon again went wide, I stayed on course as the tide was still pushing us left. Mandy had good speed and came into the mark just ahead. Gordon was grinning just behind and knowing he went well in the reaches, we had a good close battle to the finish, just managing to hold him off and taking a 7th.

Fortunately only a short sail to the beach, though there the challenges started – some going for a pontoon and dropping the sails, and then drifting back to the slipway. David was in the water swimming as it was very deep inches to the side of the slip. I dropped my sail and thought I’d be blown back though with a short rudder couldn’t get a turn in. However, the dagger makes a great paddle so spun it round and drifted in, leaping into 6ft of water right by the slip, though nicely assisted by the Hill Head team and others, and my trolley from the Emsworth Slipper sailors. Now for a rest, and the all-important chat and banter of who did what, where, when etc etc!

Great day, some good practice in the waves and challenging conditions, and a good (from my perspective) result. Thanks to Hill Head for their hospitality and for holding the event.


Tim Weeden enjoying the waves. Photo Copyright Bradley Field

So congratulations to Ian Morgan who has continued his success after the nationals.

From here the D-Zero Open Meeting calendar goes a little quiet until the Inland Championships at Grafham Water on the 10th and 11th September . There are still some D-Zeros out there flying the flag though with a few at Abersoch Dinghy Week, a couple heading to Lyme Regis for their regatta and a reasonable turnout expected for Chichester Harbour Week.

Full results are below:

Rank SailNo HelmName Club R1 R2 R3 Nett
1st 156 Ian Morgan Hill Head SC (1.0) 1.0 1.0 2.0
2nd 195 Rob Lennox Barnt Green 2.0 2.0 (3.0) 4.0
3rd 192 David Summerville Grafham Water SC (3.0) 3.0 2.0 5.0
4th 179 Mike Corney Queen Mary SC 4.0 4.0 (5.0) 8.0
5th 178 Thomas Southwell Hill Head SC 5.0 (15.0 DNS) 4.0 9.0
6th 135 Mandy Sweet Grafham Water SC 7.0 (15.0 DNS) 6.0 13.0
7th 66 Dave Valentine Emsworth Slipper SC (8.0) 6.0 7.0 13.0
8th 181 Gordon Stewart North Herts & East Beds SC 6.0 (8.0) 8.0 14.0
9th 191 Nigel Austin Cransley SC 10.0 5.0 (15.0 DNS) 15.0
10th 174 Graham Cooper South Cerney SC 9.0 7.0 (15.0 DNS) 16.0
11th 177 Alistair Hill Grafham Water (12.0) 9.0 9.0 18.0
12th 121 Scott Derham Emsworth Slipper SC 11.0 (15.0 DNF) 15.0 DNS 26.0
13th 186 Tim Weeden Emsworth Slipper SC 13.0 (15.0 DNS) 15.0 DNS 28.0
14th 105 Steven Sherwood Hill Head SC 14.0 (15.0 DNS) 15.0 DNS 29.0