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RSK D-Zero National Championship 2021 at Largs Sailing Club - Overall

by Dan Holman & Martin Latimer 27 Aug 2021 08:51 BST 20-22 August 2021

At 54 boats, the 2021 RSK D-Zero Nationals 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!

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 speeds 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 come third.

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 sixth. After racing few beers were enjoyed ashore before the BBQ and yet more beers (for many) which 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.

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 were finally away on the third 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 and heavier local man Jon Shelley coming through to third and showing he can hike as well as the best of them - even if he's normally inclined to hang 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 fourth. Finishing order was first Dan Holman, second Jono Shelley and third 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; it's 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 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 to get their mugs of tea!

By midday David Kent made an early call to abandon racing, giving those who had travelled a good distance a chance to get home early.

Congratulations go to Dan Holman for yet another well-deserved National Championship win, to Nick Craig for a not-unexpected fight to gain second place, and to local man Jono Shelley who showed great form to take third 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-too-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 of tasty Tunnock's product - food of champions! The class stumped up the cash to hire Tim 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 a 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 7 year old boat). Sailors attending ranged from as young as 16 right up to 60-something men and ladies. Thanks to the people who travelled from as all point of the UK: Aberdeen to Porthpean in the South-West.

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 his chance to shine. No doubt Storky was probably putting himself under just as much stress watching the fun, but we look forward to seeing him 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 Tunnock's 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.

See more photos by Tim Olin.

Replay the Live Tracking.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stGBR119Dan HOLMANNetley SC‑11113
2ndGBR310Nick CRAIGBurghfield SC/Lee on Solent SC232‑47
3rdGBR22Jono SHELLEYLargs SC‑553210
4thGBR7Arran HOLMANHollowell SC44‑7311
5thGBR110Joel WALKERGrafham Water SC‑626513
6thGBR183Gavin FLEMINGHunts SC3‑65614
7thGBR326Niel RITCHIEAberdeen and Stonehaven YC‑1174718
8thGBR306Jon BASSETTLargs SC810‑271028
9thGBR328Tom SOUTHWELLLee on Solent SC9‑1211929
10thGBR66David VALENTINEEmsworth Slipper SC‑1513121237
11thGBR265Billy MCCARLIELargs SC179‑221339
12thGBR215Jonathan BRIGGSLargs SC7‑17171741
13thGBR307Wil HITCHMANOgston SC18‑33101543
14thGBR106Gavin HOMERDalgety Bay SC168‑212044
15thGBR11Steve BOLLANDBristol Corinthinan YC‑211592145
16thGBR148Rhodri THOMASDalgety Bay SC122014‑2446
17thGBR151James JENKINSEmsworth SC1316‑191948
18thGBR74Paul JEFFERIESHunts SC‑2922151653
19thGBR312Tim WEEDENEmsworth Slipper SC191916‑2354
20thGBR283Keith SHARPLargs SC‑4031181160
21stGBR189Richard BRYANTAnnandale SC1034‑381862
22ndGBR57Martin LATIMERLargs SC‑3211232862
23rdGBR173Peter JENKINSEmsworth SC1424‑332563
24thGBR150Andrew SPENCERBlithfield SC2318‑252263
25thGBR181Gordon STEWARTNorth Herts and East Beds SC222920‑3071
26thGBR300Jamie BRIGGSLargs SC202724(UFD)71
27thGBR160Simon LIMBLargs SC3326(UFD)1473
28thGBR260Stacey BRAYPorthpean SC(DNC)DNC13876
29thGBR313Ian LLOYD WILLIAMSBala SC252332‑4380
30thGBR333Liz POTTERWest Kirby SC2725‑363284
31stGBR311Simon BOYLINEmsworth Slipper SC26‑40292984
32ndGBR191Nigel AUSTINCransley SC282828‑4184
33rdGBR188David MCCLAYPrestwick SC3721‑393391
34thGBR42Jon COWPERHunts SC3432‑422692
35thGBR128Tom WHITEHEADPrestwick SC2414(UFD)UFD93
36thGBR182Mick GREENRossendale Valley SC353030‑3795
37thGBR111Sam SLOSSLargs SC3138‑4131100
38thGBR122Ed DEACONHunts SC‑44373136104
39thGBR341Karl BIRDNottingham SC3635‑4035106
40thGBR141Stuart KHALIQLargs SC(DNC)DNC2627108
41stGBR281Mike GRANTLargs SC30‑484338111
42ndGBR251Stuart MOSSLargs SC413634‑42111
43rdGBR337Glenn ANDREWSLargs SC39‑423539113
44thGBR195Stuart PYBUSCransley SC38‑463740115
45thGBR336Ian BAILLIEDalgety Bay SC(DNC)DNC8UFD118
46thGBR158Gary TOMPKINSHunts SC4541(DNF)34120
47thGBR103Lee CARTERYorkshire Dales SC4339‑4544126
48thGBR314John PICKETTLeigh and Lowton SC‑47434447134
49thGBR228Mike FORBESHelensburgh SC‑46444645135
50thGBR242Eamonn RANKINPrestwick SC(DNF)454746138
51stGBR8Joe CONSTABLEGrafham Water SC4247(DNC)DNC144
52ndGBR231Lucie HOPKINSLargs SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC165
52ndGBR115Abby FREELEYHunts SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC165
52ndGBR339Andrew MACINTYRELoch Tummel SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC165

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