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GJW Direct 2024 Dinghy

Sailing Chandlery D-Zero Europeans and UK Nationals at the WPNSA - Runners & Riders

by Martin Latimer, aka Grumpy 21 Jun 10:13 BST 27-30 June 2024
Sailing Chandlery D-Zero Nationals 2023 at Llandudno © Georgie Altham /

The Sailing Chandlery D-Zero championships takes place over four days from 27th- 30th June at WPNSA, Weymouth. This is the 10th anniversary of the D-Zero UK Nationals and the inaugural European Championships which will take place biennially at locations around Europe. This year over 40 boats have entered the Sailing Chandlery, North Sails, Harken & Phoenix Marine supported event.

Always a keen and competitive fleet, with great racing, last year's nationals were won by Scotland's Ian Baillie (a past RS300 Champion) who was hotly pursued by Jon Bassett also from Scotland with Will Hitchman in third, so who will be in the running at Weymouth this year and will Baillie, Bassett complete a repeat of their Llandudno performances and Scottish domination?

Well, they are going to have to work hard as the talent pool's even stronger this year, with many D-Zeroists upping their game and some strong players having entered the fray. Here are the hottest ten prospects according to your correspondence... but what does he know, he's never close enough to the front to see the action, so there's bound to be surprises...

Ian Baillie, the Prof, will be his usual fit, analytical self with a boat that is prepared and bimbled to the highest level. He's never slow and rarely misses the chance of a good start and hitting the first shift... But shift he'll have to do! We're all in for a lesson if the prof is on form!

Jon "Bertie" Bassett, has proven speed and has had a good build up both at Largs SC and on the circuit, taking the Scottish title early in the season. 2nd at last years nationals he has a target on his back and will be under all sorts of pressure to go one better this year.

Jon Emmett - renowned Olympic Coach, 2023 ILCA Masters Champ and a man who can not only talk the talk but can show many a hot sailor the way to go (in his numerous, videos, YouTube chats and books). Jon took delivery of a new D-Zero last week, but being a Weymouth local, his lack of time of time in the boat will be more than compensated by his wealth of local knowledge. One to watch if you want to know which way to go up the beat and the way to the podium.

Ben Flower - 2023 Solo and Aero 9 champion and a very fast laser sailor, Ben is bloomin fast in big fleets. This is not his first time in a D-Zero (and he won last time he was out). Watch as he weeds out the weaklings and puts in a bunch of top results.

Roo Purves - A quiet young man, from Scotland, with bundles of talent and a bucket load of speed, he is Waszp Scottish champ and has a good record of being fast in an ILCA. He has a pouch full of good results in numerous boats! Quite capable of punching above his weight!

Ellie Craig - one quick lady who has sailed very effectively at a previous D-Zero Nationals, very quick in an Aero and certainly one to watch in the lighter winds, or if equipped with a reduced black rig. Recently won the Aero open at Yorkshire Dales SC.

Adam Cockerill - a relatively recent addition to the highly competitive Emsworth fleet Adam recently won the Emsworth Slipper D-Zero Open and is considered a one likely to hatch a good set of results.

"Noisy" Niel Ritchie - back from a year out with injury the Aberdonian "big man" has been quick in the past in most conditions and especially so in hiking-fest conditions. If you don't see him entertaining us on the front rank of the start-line, you'll certainly hear him!

Scott Munro - not all Aberdeen based sailors are noisy and Scott was in mean form at Llandudno last year, taking 4th place. Fast in a blow and loves BIG waves, he is by no means an outsider and could quietly sneak into the top results.

"Tin Man" David Valentine - these days he's fully oiled and fighting fit and has the heart to fight it out at the front. Can be quick at times, especially in big winds. Only age is against him!

There's no one with Zero talent in the fleet and if the conditions are kind a number of regular D-Zeroists could land some surprises, but buckets of talent are required to win in this competitive fleet and the dealer has often failed to deliver these in time for the event. Watch out for the regular updates during the event and maybe even some interesting updates from the ever-on-line Jon Emmett.

What is a sure bet is that the biggest winners in Weymouth next week will be the bars as this fleet plays hard, on and off the water.

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