2019 Harken D-Zero UK National and Open Championships – Report and Results

The D-Zero class held their 2019 UK National and Open Championships at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy on the long weekend of 21st to 23rd June 2019. This was a milestone event for that class as we celebrated not only our 5th anniversary but we also had the largest ever entry of 46, getting tantalisingly close to the coveted ’50’ club. Unfortunately a few had to withdraw due to injury meaning 43 boats took to the water over the weekend. With an enthusiastic Class Association, a lot of new faces and boat sales increasing the only way is up!

Most of the entrants had arrived on Thursday a few people went out to sample the waters of the harbour and there was an impromptu social organised at The Boat that Rocks just a short walk up from the academy. A great evening was had by all and the banter started (this was set to be a theme over the entire weekend).

Weymouth serves up Champagne on Day 1

The class was also looking to go green and reduce the use of single use plastics, especially drinks bottles. To help with this My Pinnacle Nutrition, a sports nutrition company part owned by a member of the fleet, stepped up and sponsored a bio-plastic based drinks bottle for every competitor. Thank you to them for stepping in and supporting the class in this initiative.

Day 2 and some bucks fizz to chase down the champers from day 1

2018 National Champion Steve Bolland (GBR11) takes up the story:

43 competitors, 8 races, 3 days of racing, 1 winner. 1 very clear winner.

‘It’s like going on holiday with 42 of your best mates’. Perfect weather, for 2 of the 3 days at least, and all wonderfully hosted by the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy from 21-23 June made for a wonderful event atmosphere.

Day 1 and the conditions were absolutely perfect – cloudless skies and 18-20 knots from the SW. If there’s one reason for going to Weymouth it’s for the waves out in the Bay and we had those in abundance. There were only two dangers to the almost unlimited enjoyment opportunities on offer, a race officer keen on brandishing flag U and the large number of jellyfish lurking just below the surface that could ruin your whole day if you hit one at speed. I imagine the jellyfish weren’t enthralled either.

The most high-profile transgressor of flag U in race 1 was pre-tournament favourite Dan Holman (Netley SC). He did, however, redeem himself with two bullets in the next two races, using his downwind pace to maximum effect. But there was no redemption for Gavin Fleming (Hunts SC). UFDd in race 2 he went on to capsize in front of the majority of the fleet at the first windward mark in race 3. I stand corrected, there were three dangers to the almost unlimited enjoyment opportunities.

At the end of day 1 and three super enjoyable races the overall leader was Niel Ritchie, making the epic journey down from Aberdeen & Stonehaven worthwhile, with a 1, 2, 3 scoreline, a little way ahead of Tom Southwell (Netley) and Ian Horlock (Exe). However, all this was forgotten as the fleet decamped en masse to the Cove Inn and subsequently the curry house. And back to the Cove again if you happened to be sharing a table with Christian Smart, gang leader of the Welsh contingent.

Conditions had moderated somewhat for day 2, the wind having swung to the SE and dropped to 11-12 knots, but still with a backdrop of wall-to-wall sunshine. Although Steve Bolland (Bristol Corinthian) briefly led Holman in race 3 it was an exclusive Holman benefit after this as he posted three more race wins. By this time the fleet had concluded that he was quite useful and it was looking increasingly likely that the mortals in the fleet would be fighting for the minor placings. To whit, Bolland celebrated his two 2nd places as races wins as he moved into 2nd place overall ahead of a gaggle of boats separated by only 3 points – Iain Horlock, Stacey Bray (Porthpean), Ritchie and Southwell. All to play for on the final day…

Which dawned bright and breezy if you’d managed to sidestep Smart’s offer of a taxi ride to the bright lights of Weymouth following the BBQ, AGM and general frivolity of the previous evening.

Despite the wind dropping, going left, dropping some more, then going right it didn’t prevent Holman wrapping up the regatta with another two race wins, this time inside Portland Harbour. But not before David Valentine (Emsworth Slipper) had surprised the fleet as much as himself, by leading to the windward mark in the penultimate race. Holman was soon past though, aided by Valentine looking around to ensure his moment of fame had been captured by the video boat. Also going well in the lighter winds were Tim Weeden (Emsworth Slipper) in race 7 and Christian Smart (Pembrokeshire YC) in race 8, showing excellent recovery skills from the previous night’s entertainment. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was it for another year. Sponsored by Harken, the 5th anniversary D-Zero Nationals included the largest fleet ever assembled in the short history of the class. Dan Holman was the clear winner with Steve Bolland and Iain Horlock completing the podium. Next year we’re in Largs and we’ll all need to learn how to sail downwind if we’re going to challenge Dan.

Day 3, in the harbour on a grey day with light, shifty winds

In addition to the on the water action the class organised beach clean on Chesil Beach just over the road from the centre. This was supported by Surfers Against Sewage and the Dorset initiative Litter Free Coast and Sea. The pickers collected an impressive amount of waste which was duly disposed of by Dorset Waste Partnership. As a thank you to all who took park the UK D-Zero dealer, dzero.co.uk, bought everyone a drink upon our return to the centre.

What a load of rubbish….

At prize giving thanks were extended to the Race Officer, his team and all the staff at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy who ran a superb event with results posted by the time we came ashore along with the event sponsors Harken and Devoti Sailing. Sally Reynoldson from WPNSA thanked the class for choosing them as our host venue. The class is keen to return and plans have been pencilled in for the 10 year anniversary event already. Dan was crowned D-Zero National Champion for the second time having taken the inaugural Championship back in 2015 with Steve Bolland taking second and Iain Horlock coming 3rd. Liz Potter was the first lady and the other lady in the fleet, Emily Britton took home the youth prize as well as the coveted Lanterne Rouge. Richard Le Mare and Mike Corney were crowned Best Buddies (an ironic prize as it turned out they had not realised they were buddies). 2 special prizes were awarded to those D-Zero sailors who did something inexplicably silly over the weekend. The first went to Gavin Fleming for his superb capsize in race 3 making the windward mark much larger than it should have been. The second to Paul Murphy who thought the change of course signal in Race 7 was the end of the race so stopped, relaxed and had a drink before realising that everyone else was still going.

Steve also announced the results of a D-Zero fantasy league. With most people choosing Dan after his UFD in race one it was which 2 other sailors would make the difference. Gary Tompkins got it right and was a clear winner and took home the cash pot.

Full results can be found by clicking here and we know the class are eagerly awaiting the next blog from Zippy Zero (also known as Slippy Zippy).

Harken D-Zero UK Open and National Championships – SIs and Arrival Instructions

Only a couple of days to go now. The wind has been ordered (and a little sunshine too). All we need are the sailors to appear. We currently have a record number of entries and a few more expected. Plus with entries being accepted on the Friday if you are still undecided then there really is nothing stopping you.

One thing you will need to know are the Sailing Instructions. You can peruse these at your leisure by clicking here.

An email has also been sent to all paid up entrants with the arrival instructions and details of how to access the site and where to store your boat and park your car. WPNSA have asked us to keep these details to competitors to ensure security at the site is not compromised so please do not put them in a public forum. Do check your junk folders in case they have gone there. if you definitely have not got them please contact the class chair by clicking here.

We look forward to seeing you at the event.

Harken D-Zero UK Open and National Championships Preview Part 2

2018 National Champion Steve Bolland Photo Copyright VRSport.tv

Last week we brought you what has been planned for off-the-water activities at the forthcoming Harken D-Zero National Championships at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (21-23 June). While we like to stress the importance of everyone having fun there’s also the small matter of who will be crowned National Champion come next Sunday.

While there’s always an unfancied dark horse lurking somewhere, ready to bolt out of the stables to put in a great run, on paper at least, the following are likely to be the main contenders.

Class Chair Paul Jefferies, apparently one to watch… Photo Copyright Paul Hargeeaves
  • Dan Holman. Where do we start with Dan? This will be his first time back in the boat he designed since winning the first National Championship in 2015. A former Laser National Champion he was 2nd in the recent 505 Nationals as well as 6th in the International 14 Worlds last year. If he can remember how to hike he’ll definitely be there or thereabouts.
  • Steve Bolland. Current National and Inland Champion and RS300 Champ. Nothing more than a one trick pony he has at least worked out how to make a single sail dinghy go fast. He’ll need to stay off the beer if he’s to emulate last year’s result.
  • Alistair ‘Storky’ Mclaughlin. If there’s any boat this man has never sailed, from International Moth to Flying Dutchman, I’ve yet to see it. Came a close 2nd at the 2018 Championship after only a week in the boat so he’s unlikely to be any slower this time round. Amazingly slippery in light airs he’s not too shabby when the breeze is up either.
  • Paul Jefferies. Class Chair, he pulled a rabbit out of the hat by coming 2nd at the recent Inlands, particularly excelling in the lighter airs on the second day. He’s taken delivery of a new boat since then so no pressure. One of the select band who’s competed in every Nationals so far.
  • Tom Southwell. A product of the youth academy, poster boy and another one who’s a perennial entrant, Tom won the winter series and has twice podiumed at the Inlands. Looking to make the breakthrough on the rough stuff and it’ll come as no surprise if he does.
  • Stacey Bray. A former top Tasar and Contender helm, 5th at last year’s Championship and looking to go even better this time round. If we sail out in the bay he’ll be one to watch especially.
  • John Aston. Another of the 100% club, John was a race winner at the Champs last year and was very quick in the medium breeze of the middle day. His green/azure/teal (delete as appropriate) hull is likely to be seen at the sharp end of the fleet.
  • If it’s windy then we know Gavin Fleming and Niel Ritchie can sail a bit. They were both swift in the strong winds at the Inlands and Gavin followed this up with a 4th at the Scottish Champs. Gavin won the Rossendale open in April (another windy one).
  • Dark horse. Could it be triple world champion Nigel Austin? Or one of the Cornish fleet who are rumoured to be considering a late entry. They are leaving it very late though. Or Tom Whitehead from the other end of the country who had some top results at the Scottish champs before calling it a day.
The (in)famous Zippy Zero. Photo Copyright Paul Hargeeave

Others to watch include UK Dealer, David Valentine, who’ll be resplendent in his bacofoil wetsuit if it’s a bit nippy, and probably even if it isn’t he loves it that much. Also watch out for Liz Potter, owner of ‘Zippy Zero’ who is going quicker all the time and the owner of a brand new mast. If you do anything remotely idiotic in her sight you know you’re going to be in the papers the following morning. https://www.d-zerosailing.org/category/zippy-zero-blog/

Harken D-Zero Nationals – Current entry list

At the time of writing the current entry list is as follows:

Paul Jefferies GBR74
David Valentine GBR66
Tim Weeden GBR312
Thomas Whitehead GBR128
Joe Constable GBR8
Martin Latimer GBR57
Mick Green GBR182
Simon Boylin GBR311
John Adams GBR104
John Aston GBR3
David Berbyshire GBR308
Gordon Stewart GBR181
Tom Ballingall GBR185
Christian Smart GBR175
Liz Potter GBR187
Kevin Moll GBR193
Mark Aldous GBR201
Tom Southwell GBR217
Sebastian Prowse GBR170
James Gerwat GBR283
Callum Aldous GBR115
Dan Holman GBR TBC
John Pickett GBR314
Mike Corney GBR179
Stuart Pybus GBR195
Nigel Austin GBR191
Emily Britton GBR190
Julian Burnham GBR129
Niel Ritchie GBR305
Neil Washington GBR71
Stacey Bray GBR260
Alistair Storky McLaughlin GBR22
Jon Cowper GBR42
Paul Murphy GBR218
Gavin Fleming GBR183
Steve Bolland GBR11
Colin Glover GBR227
Jamie Southwell GBR188
Gary Tompkins GBR158
Richard Le Mare GBRtbc*
Vanessa Weedon-Jones GBR122*
Dave Blagden GBR123*

NB An asterisk next to your name means we are just waiting for confirmation of your payment into the bank (or the Chair has not had time to check the updated transactions).

We are going green… at the Harken UK Open and National Championships

Following on from the experience of current UK National Champion Steve Bolland at a recent event the Class Association Committee has decided to see what we can do as a class to be more environmentally friendly particularly with regards to single use plastics.

As part of that we have teamed up with My Pinnacle Nutrition who are a sports nutrition company manufacturing and delivering clean, natural products, using the best possible ingredients. Whether you are an endurance sports enthusiast, or a keen gym goer, their products are designed to give you everything you need, and nothing that you don’t.

They are also conscious of the environmental impact of sports drinks, in particular the amount of single use plastics that other sports nutrition suppliers use. To help redice that they have agreed to supply every competitor to the Harken D-Zero UK Open and National Championships with a bio-based drinks bottle (as pictured here). In addition to this they will offer every D-Zero sailor a 20% discount on any of their Sports Nutrition based products. When you take that in to account it works out at a comparable level per serving to the sports drinks you can obtain from most supermarkets and is a far superior product.

Beach clean (and beer) time?

We are also looking to follow the British Sailing Teams lead and organise a Beach Clean one day after sailing. Our plan is to clean up the dinghy park at WPNSA and Chesil Beach just over the road. All necessary equipment will be provided and the UK dealer, dzero.co.uk, has agreed to provide a thank you beet to everyone who takes part. More details of this will be announced closer to the event.

Any spare change guvn’r?

We will also be collecting for a local environmental cause/project. We are currently finalising the details for this and will be collecting any spare change or whatever you wish to give over the weekend.

Harken D-Zero UK Open and National Championships – Early Entry reminder, Friday Social and Dan Holman

Early entry reminder…

With the nationals now just over 6 weeks away (at the time of writing) it is time for a gentle reminder that entry fees do go up on the 1st June. So to save yourself a few quid simply click here and get your entry and payment in.

Friday evening social

Our very own Steve Bolland has booked the Balti island for Friday evening. If you want to come and join the fun you will need to let him know either by Facebook, email, messenger or by clicking here (we will ensure this is passed on to him). The is a limit of 46 for this as that is how many people can be seated. The venue will want to know number no later than a week beforehand so if we do no fill it they can at allow bookings for the remaining tables.

The evening will be a 2 part affair with us convening at The Cove pub first then moving down to the Balti Island in smaller groups so they are not overwhelmed with everyone ordering at once. The Cove is about 10-15 minutes walk from WPNSA and the Balti Island a couple more minutes on from there.


This year we are going to be running a buddy system. The winning ‘buddy’ team will be the proud owners of the above, matching trophies. After day 1 buddies will be assigned as follows:

Leader with mid-fleet boat
2nd with mid-fleet +1
and so on

The prize will not be awarded purely on results (or you and your buddy buying the class chair a beer). We are looking for people to help each other out, exchange ideas. This is very much an experiment this year and if you have any good ideas for awarding the prize then do drop me a line by clicking here.

Dan the man!

Yes the rumours are true. The designer of the D-Zero and the winner of the very first D-Zero UK National Championships is coming out to play this year. The class have secured him the use of the boat through the UK distributor dzero.co.uk. So if you want your chance to test your mettle against him you know what to do.

Dan has recently been seen in his International 14 where he gave a good account of himself at the worlds and was 2nd in the UK 5o5 UK Nationals. He was heard to complain that he can’t hike and will be borrowing some hikers… A sign of a weakness? Maybe not but time will tell…

We look forward to seeing him in Weymouth and a lot more of you for our 5th anniversary event.

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