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Zippy at the RSK D-Zero Nationals

I’m Zippy Zero, the wee McBoatie, who has just returned from the D-Zero Nationals in Largs. It was an epic event, which we have all been looking forward to.

The day we had all been waiting for finally arrived. The 2021 D-Zero Nationals at long last. 54 boats lined up in the Largs car park and a piper playing his bagpipes to send us out to sea.

I left my berth first and was fitted with a cool and kinky nose stud, which was the race tracker, and mooched off to the slipway to watch the crazy offshore wind doing gusty off-hill bombs at Force 5. I was quite alarmed at the prospect of getting through them to get to the start area, especially with half-baked foils not quite ready to go. As it was just me and Owner and only one of us gets to freak out at a time (and let’s face it, it’s never her turn), I managed to throw in a capsize on leaving the shore just to check if she had all her marbles on board. Thankfully she kept calm and we were back up before too many boats noticed. After a lengthy postponement waiting for the course to be set and re-set, we got away cleanly on the trapezoidal course. It was tricky and gusty, but Dan Holman got an early lead to win from Nick Craig and Gavin Fleming.

In the second race, I was determined not to lose Dan, my man (and superhero) so easily, so I snuggled into a tidy gap that I knew he’d left for me. It all got a little cozy in there with moments to go, but a gaggle of boats were over the line and we had a general recall. The naughty boat flag went up and we had another go. This time, Dan got away to win from Joel Walker and Nick.

No wind was forecast for Day 2, but luckily it was wrong and we had a pleasant breeze to take us to the start line. The pleasant breeze became a strong breeze with heavy showers, creating some dense D-Zero mayhem at the windward mark. I stayed clear of most of the trouble, collecting some flotsam from the others en-route, including a water bottle and Martin Latimer’s hawk, which landed in my cockpit for a change of scenery and better food. Dan won, followed by Nick, Jono Shelley in Storky’s boat and Niel Ritchie. 

After a number of recalls, Race 4 got away in a dropping breeze. It was another win for Dan, with Jono, Arran Holman and Nick in the chasing pack.

Race 5 was postponed with seconds to spare on the start line. We all drifted around in the dying breeze, waiting for a steady wind which never came. I hung around at the homeward side of the course, anticipating a scram for the slipway, but the race was well and truly won by Paul Jefferies, who showed a speed not to be seen again on the Largs racecourse.

The rain arrived in time for the fleet beach clean activity and increased throughout the evening and Championship Dinner. Dan had used up all his luck for the weekend by then and the Gods of Scottish Precipitation evened up the scoreboard by filling his tent by the bucketload, even adding a little spider as garnish in the middle of one puddle.

The wind was sadly not to return, so the following day we crowned Dan the defending champion of 2021, with Nick runner up. Jono Shelley had a great couple of days sailing a D-Zero for the first time and finished a creditable 3rd.

In 4th was Arran and 5th Joel Walker. A few special prizes were awarded; our young person was Jamie Briggs in 26th and our first not-so-young person was Billy McCarlie having a stellar Championship and finishing 11th. My Owner Liz Potter was first lady in 30th and a special mention goes to Mike Forbes, who in 49th place, took the coveted Lanterne Rouge, by being the last boat to complete every race – magnificent, given his also not-so-young status and this being his first dinghy event after 50 years!

Stacey Bray (28th) also deserves a mention for travelling all the way from Porthpean to Largs for one day of racing, due to his daughter getting Covid. Another Covid interruption came via Nick’s wife, resulting in an early departure for him from the Championships.  I asked my Owner about this Covid thing and she tried to explain about this often debilitating illness which starts with a cough. I looked up some of these new words in my Healthy Boat Compendium and found the closest word to debilitating was delaminating; that’s not good news people. Also, I read that a cough is the expelling of air from an internal cavity. In my world, that’s a leak. Also not good news. So, for all those people who have had to stop racing because of Human Delaminating Leaky Disease, I wish you well.

On Sunday, the double gun signalled the end of the Nationals. Next came the moment to pack up the circus and say farewell to all our friends and fiends. Loading up his triple stacker, David Valentine forgot to allow clearance for the recently added low car park barrier. Luckily there were enough Owners around to stop him, record the moment and offer words of advice, plus a silly hat to remind him to drive carefully.

Thankyou to all who helped run the event, to the amazing Sir Boyd Tunnock who fed our Owners Tunnocks and RSK who also gave us sponsorship. Great photos by Tim Olin and cool snout gear Simon Lovesey! 

Lastly a huge thank you for all my fellow Zeros for entering and making this Nationals the biggest one yet! You’re a great bunch. See you soon!

Zippy Zero 333

RSK D-Zero UK National Championships Report

Designer Dan – “At 54 boats, the 2021 RSK D-Zero Nationals – Largs SC – fleet was the largest collection of D-Zeros seen at our Nationals to date, and it is a testament to the energy of the class organisation and individuals in the Largs fleet that this years event was 30% up on entries. Further testament to the strength of the Scottish fleets was that approximately 75% of all Zeros delivered north of the border were in attendance” 

The size of the entry was swelled by some real talent including Nick Craig (multiple world, European and National title holder), Steve Bolland (Past D-zero and multi- RS300 Champ), Gavin Fleming (inland champ), Ian Baillie (RS300 past champ), Jon Shelley (Musto Skiff hot shot), Arran Holman (470 British Sailing Team Helm, 29er and Laser 4.7 hot shot) and the usual array of experienced and very fast D-Zero regulars. Rumour has it the Mr Craig had even been out practising with Tom Southwell, so his claim of being a bit rusty was probably rather exaggerated! 

Photo Copyright Tim Olin

Friday’s forecast was not looking too great on any weather app, with light airs from the east off the hills but the PRO, David Kent, held his nerve watching the wind swing from 90 degrees to 180 only to swing back to an oscillating 100 degrees with windspeeds varying from 8-18kts. A sign of the keen racing to come was set by class chair Paul Jefferies showing his excitement by being well over the line (right in front of the race teams eagle eyes!). At the front of the fleet a pattern was already evolving with Dan dictating the pace and Nick Craig hot on his heels with Gavin Fleming (Hunts SC)  showing good speed to come3rd. Race two was another breezy affair ….  the conditions were holding and the fleet was excited, too excited, as the majority were over line and line on the first attempt. David Kent, never one to get ruffled and recognising the good humour and manners of the fleet restarted without a black flag …. The fleet responded with a clean start and proceeded up a shifty and gusty beat into some building waves and onto a great reach and tactical run. Dan led again but this time Joel Walker, GWSC, took an excellent second, with Nick Craig in third place. Gavin Fleming booked his discard with a 6th. After racing few beers were enjoyed ashore before the barbeque  and yet more beers (for many) wich fuelled the stories of hard working beats, telling shifts, a few spills and many fast reaches … the fleet loves a blast on its favoured quadrilateral courses.

Photo Copyright Tim Olin

An early start on Saturday saw not too many hangovers and some encouraging breeze, we’ll not mention the liquid sunshine!. It was to be another two surprisingly breezy and exciting races being run just off the club – much to the surprise of the fleet who had seen forecasts for depressingly light winds. Race three and the fleet was keen, even more keen than on Friday and the fleet was finally away on the 3rd attempt with a prompt, under a U flag, from the PRO that it was time to behave as he wanted to get three races in before the wind died. The right side was looking good, but in truth stars were born across the whole course. Showing that the D-Zero can carry all weights in varying wind strengths lightweight Dan led at the finish with lofty Nick coming second and lofty & heavier local man Jon Shelley coming through to 3rd and showing he can hike as well as the best of them, – even if he’s normally inclined to hanging from a wire in a corset! It was tight racing throughout the bulk of the fleet. Race four was started in a little less breeze, and with a tide pushing the fleet towards the line caution was the order of the day. The lighter wind was a warning of what was to come. Dan again controlled the race but Jono Shelley was pushing hard and the lighter Arran Holman was showing some great form. Nick Craig wasn’t getting it all his own way and finished 4th . Finishing order was 1st – Dan Holman, 2nd Jono Shelley and 3rd  Arran Holman. With an even lighter forecast for Sunday the PRO was keen to get a third race in for the day, but it wasn’t to be as the wind died to less than two knots – racing over for the day. In true D-Zero tradition race three turned into a race for the shore and a few beers at the bar – amazing how fast the mid-fleet and after-guard can be when the bar summons! The beach master and his team did a great job of getting all the boats and their thirsty helms ashore quickly …. Thanks guys.

Sunday morning awoke to a glassy sea and a lonely committee boat out sussing the chances of getting any racing started at all. There was brief excitement aboard the committee boat when the hi-tech on board instruments saw a gust of 1.5 knots – only for the team to realise it was caused by the rock of the boat as a few of the crew reached across the boat to get their mugs of tea! …… by 12.00 David Kent made an early call to abandon racing giving those who had travelled a good distance a chance to get home early. 

Photo Copyright Tim Olin

Congratulations go to Dan Holman for yet another well-deserved National Championship win, to Nick Craig for a not unexpected fight to gain 2nd place and to local man Jono Shelley who showed great form to take 3rd place by one point from Arran Holman both, as with Dan, in boats loaned by class members who could not attend the Nationals.

Thanks go to RSK Group Director, and none to shabby D-Zero sailor, John Bassett for arranging sponsorship and some great prizes and to Sir Boyd Tunnock for agreeing to sponsor the live tracking and for a huge pile tasty Tunnocks product – food of champions! The class stumped up the cash to hireTim Olin to capture some great shots 

The standout points of the event were how friendly the class can be, how the top guys share knowledge so easily with the lower placed sailors, how the boats carry wide range of weights (this year from 55kg to 110kg) and that the age of the boat does not affect performance (Dan was in a 7yr old boat).  Sailors attending ranged from as young as 16 right up to 60 somethings men and ladies. Thanks to the people who travelled from as all point of the UK – Aberdeen to Porthpean in the South-West

Photo Copyright Tim Olin

The question remains would Storky, who had a bit of a health scare just before the regatta, have pedalled his boat as fast as Jono – we think he might just have … the 2022 Nationals at Brixham will be he chance to shine .No doubt Storky was probably putting himself under just as much stress watching the fun, but we look forward to seeing Storky back fighting fit next year.   

So to we leave it to Champion Dan Holman to summarise the proceedings “we only got half of the scheduled races in but the overall sentiment was that we beat the forecast, and great racing was had throughout the fleet in all of the races. It was great to see the hot shots not having it all their own way, with several established D Zero sailors consistently getting right in amongst it at the sharp end of the fleet. The rain was tolerable and more than made up for by an abundance of Tunnocks Teacakes, porpoises (although I didn’t see any), and some pre-launch bagpiping (N.B. this is not a euphemism.) Bring on next year in Brixham in June, come and get involved”

Photo Copyright Tim Olin

Overall Results

Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Rating system: PY, Entries: 54, Scoring system: Appendix A

1stDan HOLMANGBR119Netley SC (1.0)
2ndNick CRAIGGBR310Burghfield SC/Lee on Solent SC
3rdJono SHELLEYGBR22Largs SC (5.0)
4thArran HOLMANGBR7Hollowell SC 4.04.0(7.0)
5thJoel WALKERGBR110Grafham Water SC (6.0)
6thGavin FLEMINGGBR183Hunts SC 3.0(6.0)
7thNiel RITCHIEGBR326Aberdeen and Stonehaven YC (11.0)
8thJon BASSETTGBR306Largs SC 8.010.0(27.0)
9thTom SOUTHWELLGBR328Lee on Solent SC 9.0(12.0)
10thDavid VALENTINEGBR66Emsworth Slipper SC (15.0)
11thBilly MCCARLIEGBR265Largs SC>6017.09.0(22.0)
12thJonathan BRIGGSGBR215Largs SC 7.0(17.0)
13thWil HITCHMANGBR307Ogston SC 18.0(33.0)
14thGavin HOMERGBR106Dalgety Bay SC 16.08.0(21.0)
15thSteve BOLLANDGBR11Bristol Corinthinan YC (21.0)
16thRhodri THOMASGBR148Dalgety Bay SC
17thJames JENKINSGBR151Emsworth SC 13.016.0(19.0)
18thPaul JEFFERIESGBR74Hunts SC (29.0)
19thTim WEEDENGBR312Emsworth Slipper SC>6019.019.016.0(23.0)77.054.0
20thKeith SHARPGBR283Largs SC>60(40.0)
21stRichard BRYANTGBR189Annandale SC 10.034.0(38.0)18.0100.062.0
22ndMartin LATIMERGBR57Largs SC>60(32.0)
23rdPeter JENKINSGBR173Emsworth SC 14.024.0(33.0)
24thAndrew SPENCERGBR150Blithfield SC 23.018.0(25.0)
25thGordon STEWARTGBR181North Herts and East Beds SC

Full Results at – http://www.largssc.co.uk/sites/default/files/Sailwave%20results%20for%20RSK%20D-Zero%20National%20Championships%202021%20at%20Largs%20Sailing%20Club%202021_0.html

Other Links

Photos by Tim Olin


Live Tracking 


RSK D-Zero Nationals-Day one top 3

After 2 races in a gusty easterly breeze Dan Holman leads the 54 strong D-Zero Nationals at Largs. Nick Craig is hot on his heels with Joel Walker in 3rd

Follow the Live action with Sailracer Tracking by clicking here.

Photos from Tim Olin can be seen here.

Lighter winds and an early start await the fleet tomorrow.

RSK D-Zero Nationals – SIs published

The sailing instructions form the 2021 RSK D-Zero Nationals are now available on the Largs SC website: https://www.largssc.co.uk/node/637

RSK D-Zero Nationals – Runners and Riders

The D-Zero RSK Nationals is nearly here and a big thanks to the RSK Group for stepping up as title sponsor, Tunnocks for sponsoring the live tracking provided by Sail Racer, to the class for prizes and photography by Tim Olin and of course for the phenomenal amount of work already carried out by the volunteers of Largs Sailing Club to prepare for the 2021 RSK D-Zero Nationals.

A picture containing sky, outdoor, watercraft, transport

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Photo by Howard Smallwood LSC – Jon Bassett (306) of RSK and Dave Valentine (66) D-Zero Dealer are in with a good chance of a top ten finish.

We’re now at 56 confirmed entries , 30% up on the last Nationals at Weymouth and no doubt partly due to David Valentines, our erstwhile dealer’s ability to charm large amounts of cash out of unsuspecting sailors banks accounts! All of are enjoying racing D-zeros and undoubtedly another reason for the record entry. Now with all these entries you might be thinking about topping the charts, but as a past Champion, Steve Bolland, says “it’s never looked more difficult to get a top ten result!” As usual there’ll be great racing through the fleet, here’s a few pointers as to why the route to winning this years Nationals will be a tough one:

In prime Spot – Dan Holman, oor designer chap, who, at Weymouth, showed us all how to sail really downwind fast whilst hardly ever pointing at the next mark, until of course he went round it in first place many times! Two times D-Zero National Champ, renowned I14 helm and known to have been none to shabby in a laser Dan has to be the guy with the largest target on his back. Will he be 3rd time national champ, well not if some of the other hot-shots have their way?

Next ….. well this guy needs no introduction … a certain Mr Nick Craig has decided to honour us with his presence …. Never heard of him? … well you clearly never read Yachts and Yachting, you’ve never sailed an OK (past World Champ +), RS400, D-One, B14 etc. He is an Endeavour Trophy 4 time winner and has numerous pots in other classes. He has shown top sailors the way to go and how to hike “really” flat all too often!
Sail Racer says – Nick Craig is one of Britain’s most successful sailors, and arguably the country’s most successful amateur dinghy sailor …. Mmmm might be hard to beat?

Steve Bolland ……. A multiple time RS300 National Champion and 2018 D-Zero National Champ with a 2nd in the 2019 nationals, this bloke is now also a super athlete and super fit after some serious distance running over the last 18 months. Steve is probably even more than capable of taking top spot ……. “Hope having a target on you back doesn’t make you nervous”, Steve, and please stay away from the Stella and the wild night spots of Largs if you plan to unseat Dan! Steve’ll say he’s out of practice, but don’t believe a word of it.

Storky McLaughlin …. Flies, downwind in any conditions and upwind in the light, has a nose for wind and shifts and just when you think you’ve caught him up, he finds second gear and flies away … a difficult and canny old bird, when not on the water he can be spotted quietly munching on McDonalds, the breakfast of champions, or stealing a sly late night Chinese! He is the current RS 300 champion, having won in 2019, and is no slouch in any boat.

Stacey Bray …. Generally fast, this big guy makes no fuss and is always there to be reckoned with. He could quietly sneak in to the top places with a run of consistent results. All round nice guy and deserves a good position. He could well qualify for furthest travelled, but that’s probably not on his target list for the event.

Niel Ritchie ….Another quiet giant, always there or there abouts and if recent form is anything to go by, a win at Largs one design regatta and second at West kirby, he’s rounded off his game to be competitive in light and heavy weather. A very likely top ten contender.

Several sailboats on the water

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Photo of the recent class win for  D-Zero 305 – Niel Ritchie –  at the 2021 Largs One Design Regatta. Photo by Hilary Connelly LSC

Tom Southwell …. The Fleets “Poster Boy” … or used to be anyway … Tom has a great turn of speed and has been known to mix it up in the front of the fleet …. Don’t discount this guy.

David “tin man” Valentine …. Well he should be fast, as dealer he gets his choice of equipment and boats and get to “fix” any contender’s boats at the point of supply …. Naaa not really! … Dave has been increasingly gaining in speed and consistency and given some decent wind could be up near the top. If you’re in front of him on the nationals results tables at Largs don’t let him fix your boat in the dingy park …..

John Bassett …. Had a slight dip in form early this year but is back up to speed, he just made the top ten at the 2019 Nationals and could figure well in medium conditions. Be polite to John on the start-line and mark roundings as he’s the Director of RSK Group that got us our sponsorship.

Ian Baillie ….. a new man on the D-Zero runners and riders list, he’s the professor of our fleet, and fully understands how to make a boat go fast. He’s another fast RS300 hundred sailor, 5 times Scottish Champion, and one time RS300 National Champion he can fly in all conditions and when its tricky he’ll always find the right way to go … definitely one to watch.

Gavin Fleming … our current Inland Champion has a good turn of speed up his sleeve and could turn in some strong results, a bit of a dark horse in the fleet and let’s see is he can shine at this years Nationals?

So having picked some of the likely top ten finishers I have to say that there’s been a serious lift in performance throughout a large part of the fleet and certainly in Scotland there’s some new guys who are yet to show their true form at open meetings or nationals; be prepared for some surprises from the lesser known faces. Racing is going to be hot at Largs this year, so lets keep our fingers crossed for great sailing weather, great socials are a given of course.

Roll of Honour – D-Zero National Champions
Dan Holman – 2015
Ian Morgan – 2016
George Cousins- 2017
Steve Bolland – 2018
Dan Holman- 2019
No Event – 2020

RSK D-Zero Nationals – Round Great Cumbrae Race

On Thursday before the Nationals at Largs we hope to offer an “informal” race around Great Cumbrae . This is approximately 11 miles would take 2-3 hrs . It would only happen if weather is suitable and an alternative race may be around fixed marks in Largs channel.  

There will be a short briefing at 13:00 and the start will be at 1330 hrs. This is intended as a bit of fun and to familiarise people with the local waters prior to the Nationals Officially starting on Friday. There is only 1 mark of the course and that is the South Cardinal at the south west tip of Great Cumbrae.

It would be good if you can email secretary@largssc.co.uk  if you think you can make this “race“. An idea of numbers would help us plan for RIB support, there will be a nominal entry fee of £5 to cover the cost of RIB fuel.

RSK D-Zero Nationals – Discounted entry expires tomorrow!

A final reminder that discounted entry to the RSK D-Zero Nationals expires tomorrow. Entries are possible after that but the price goes up to £99!

If you need any more incentive then what could be better than sailing against over 50 (yes you saw that, 50) other D-Zeros! The pre-entry is currently standing at 52 with a few more expected still.

So don’t delay get your entry in before midnight on the 6th August to ensure you take advantage of the discount.

RSK D-Zero National Championships – Food choice

The caterers and Largs SC have asked that we make our food choices as soon as possible. Please complete the form below:

RSK D-Zero Nationals – Discounted Entry deadline

It may seem hard to believe with everything that has happened worldwide over the last 18 months but we are finally getting close to our National Championships.

With the generous sponsorship packages from RSK as our title sponsor and Tunnocks as our Tracking Sponsor this promises to be the best nationals yet! We also have a VIP scheduled in for prize giving day. On top of the sponsorship the Class Association are paying well known sailing photographer Tim Olin to come for all 3 days of the event. I am sure we will improvement in hiking and boats flatter when his RIB is close by…..

With entries currently standing at 44 confirmed and another 5 promised we are VERY close to breaking the 50 barrier for the first time in our history. So if you are still wondering about coming then don’t think too long. The discounted entry deadline is on the 5th August 2021, so save yourself a few quid and get you entry in before then.

You can enter by following this link: https://www.d-zerosailing.org/rsk-d-zero-national-championships-2021-entry-form/

We look forward to seeing everyone in Largs!

RSK UK National Championships 2021 – Entry List

Current entry list, if you have entered but are not in the list contact the class chair to let him know!

TallyNameSail NoClub
1Paul JefferiesGBR74Hunts SC
2David ValentineGBR66Emsworth Slipper SC
3Martin LatimerGBR57Largs SC
4Ian Lloyd WilliamsGBR313Bala SC
5Tim WeedenGBR312Emsworth Slipper SC
6Joe ConstableGBR8Grafham Water SC
7Gordon StewartGBR181North Herts and East Beds SC
8Kevin MollGBR193Hunts SC
9Liz PotterGBR333West Kirby SC
10StorkyGBR22Prestwick SC
11Ian BaillieGBR336Dalgety Bay SC
12Jon BassettGBR306Largs SC
13Mick GreenGBR182Rossendale Valley SC
14Kevin SandoverGBR117Bala SC
15Billy McCarlieGBR265Largs SC
16Stuart KhaliqGBR141Largs SC
17Nigel AustinGBR191Cransley SC
18Abby FreeleyGBR115Hunts SC
19Stacey BrayGBR260Porthpean SC
20Simon LimbGBR160Largs SC
21Richard BryantGBR189Annandale SC
22Mike GrantGBR281Largs SC
23Keith SharpGBR283Largs SC
24Niel RitchieGBR305Aberdeen and Stonehaven YC
25Tom WhiteheadGBR128Prestwick SC
26Jonathan BriggsGBR215Largs SC
27Jamie BriggsGBR300Largs SC
28Glenn AndrewsGBR337Largs SC
29Lucie HopkinsGBR231Largs SC
30Gary TompkinsGBR158Hunts SC
31Ed DeaconGBR122Hunts SC
32James JenkinsGBR151Emsworth SC
33Sam SlossGBR111Largs SC
34Peter JenkinsGBR173Emsworth SC
35Andrew MacintyreGBR339Loch Tummel SC
36Joel WalkerGBR110Grafham Water SC
37Mike ForbesGBR228Helensburgh SC
38Steve BollandGBR11Bristol Corinthinan YC
39Nick CraigGBR321Burghfield SC/Lee on Solent SC
40Stuart MossGBR251Largs SC
41Gavin HomerGBR106Dalgety Bay SC
42David McClayGBR188Prestwick SC
43Lee CarterGBR103Yorkshire Dales SC
44Gavin FlemingGBR183Hunts SC
45Rhodri ThomasGBR148Dalgety Bay SC
46Karl BirdGBR341Nottingham SC
47Stuart PybusGBR195Cransley SC
48*Andrew SpencerGBR150Blithfield SC
49John PickettGBR314Leigh and Lowton SC
50Jon CowperGBR42Hunts SC
51*Dan HolmanGBRTBCNetley SC
52Tom SouthwellGBR328Lee on Solent SC
53*Arran HolmanGBR107Hollowell SC
54Eamonn RankinGBR242Prestwick SC
55*Wil HitchmanGBR307Ogston SC
56*Simon BoylinGBR311Emsworth Slipper SC

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