Dan Holman comes 3rd at the Oxford Blue. Photo Credit: Sailracer
With early forecast promising Big Breeze 10 Dedicated D-zero sailors decided to dust off their hikers following the Christmas break. The Oxford Blue is the third open in the D-Zero winter traveller series and makes up part of the greater GJW Global warm up. This saw 150 others wintery sailing conditions as they pip their wits against fellow sailors in other classes.
Sadly as the event drew closer, what is now known as the Russ Hopkins effect came to play. The forecast switched from a fruity 15-20knts to an eye watering 2knt gusting 7. Sailors were greeted by a true to forecast cold and damp morning with little or no wind. With the promise of the wind returning from a fresh direction around Lunch.
Russ Hopkins the current series leader was feeling confident; he had trimmed his beard in anticipation of another strong result. Sadly Dan Holman had decided to borrow a boat and teach Hopkins a lesson…..
Jon Cowper, Dave Woods and an unidentifed D-Zero enjoy close some close racing Photo Credit: Sailracer
Race 1 started in very little wind. Holman started well and led from start to finish. Hopkins started woefully (There is a pattern emerging here) and was last D-Zero around the windward mark. Both Stuart Bailey and Graham Cooper made good progress as the two lighter sailors in the fleet. James Brace started well and sailed the right way up the beat to find himself in a good position to attack the light weights in the first reach. Good work by James who had not sailed or raced a dinghy for nearly a year. Proof that fat lads and normal people can compete on a level in this fantastic new dinghy. Sadly James’ attention level was waning and he decided enough was enough and returned to shore. Deciding to practice what he was really good at…Consuming Bacon and drinking coffee. This left the rest of the fleet to compete with each other as well as the other classes. Russ Hopkins ‘Worked’ the boat well and managed to slip up to 2nd place on the final beat. Stuart Bailey held his third position well ahead of Dave Woods and Jon Cowper. Holman however really showed his class finishing well in front.
Race 2 – After what seemed like an eternity (but more likely 40 minutes) the wind had settled into a more constant direction and had built to a nice 7-15knt. Most of the fleet were feeling the cold by now. Dan Holman however was rubbing salt into wounds by doing press ups in the boat cockpit to keep warm. Whilst James had built up the meat sweats as he devoured his third pork based roll.
Straight from the Start again Holman was properly on it! He led all D-Zero’s from start to finish almost a horizon style job! This left the rest of the fleet to compete amongst themselves. Some really close racing took place. Jon Cowper and Graham Cooper tussled with each other, both showing great boat speed. Closely followed by Toby Peacock. Russ Hopkins then followed having won a hard fought battle with Dave Woods.
Stuart Bailey and Toby Peacock battle for position Photo Credit: Sailracer
Race 3 – The Final race of the day saw a clean start once again Holman ruled the roost, he was not seen again until later in the dinghy park. Such was his commanding skills. Again the fleet saw some fantastically close racing all tussling it out for that important 2nd place spot. Hopkins, Woods and Cowper were constantly cross tacking each other up the beats. Little mistakes were punished by losing a position; such was the close nature of the racing. Luckily for Hopkins he managed to call the beat right and seemed to have the legs on Woods down wind. This left the results after discard as follows:
1st Daniel Holman (Very Impressive 3rd Overall)
2nd Russ Hopkins (Not so impressive 50th Overall)
3rd Jon Cowper (60th Overall)
4th Dave Woods (66th Overall)
5th Graham Cooper (69th Overall)
6th Stuart Bailey (74th Overall)
7th Toby Peacock (79th Overall)
9th Jeremy Carry & James Brace (RTD)
Whilst Holman had taught Hopkins somewhat a lesson in sailing prowess, it was agreed by the fleet that Hopkins had won the class Christmas Beard Growing contest. As such Hopkins was the real winner. Holman walked away dejected, promising to shave. Proof that Press-ups in between races don’t make you a real man.
The next round of the D-Zero winter series is the Bloody Mary 10th January. The forecast currently looks pretty full on. Please don’t let that put you off. The Hopkins effect will no doubt turn this into a 3knt air rowing contest.
Full Results can be found here: Oxford Blue Results
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