The weekend saw a total of seven Devoti D Zeros assemble at Largs Sailing Club to sail in the inaugural Scottish D Zero open meeting and the second event of the Northern Travellers, the DZeros were joined by 4 Vortexes for one of their TT events. Boats came from various Northern Clubs and were joined by one boat from Isle of Man and three from Largs.
Saturday kicked off with a daunting 25kts and a threatening black sky, but by the time racing started this had moderated to 8 to 10kts from the south and a relatively flat sea. The 1/2mile beat which fed into a trapezoid course looked daunting to some of the pond sailors, but this didn’t stop some incredibly close racing with Mike Pridham (IOM SC) taking a first and two second places, with Ben Ratcliffe (the Northern D Zero Dealer) – 2,4 and Martin Latimer from Largs SC 1,3 snapping at Mike’s heels. Race three was a mixed affair Martin went right and Mike, Ben and the fleet went left, when they came back together Martin had a good lead. The weather played a cruel game and threw a torrential downpour, zero visibility, 17kt squall and a violent shift which had the boats planning into the windward mark. The rest of the race turned light and ultimately Martin’s lead was whittled away when Ben, Mike and Mick Green sailed straight past him in a different band of wind to take a 1,2,3. Mike held the overnight lead.
In the Vortex fleet Phil Whitehead took the first race ahead of Johnathan Carter, with Angus Winchester in third in what was a close contest. Race 2 jumbled the order a little with Angus in first place, Phil in second and Jonathan in third - keeping the scoring tight at the front of the fleet. It was during the start sequence of the third race for the vortexes that the downpour and accompanying windshift arrived which forced the Race Officer to postpone the start with only a few seconds to go, unfortunately the wind also died on the inner loop so a third race was not possible for this fleet. Phil held the overnight lead but was only a point ahead meaning all was to play for on Sunday.
On Sunday the crews awoke to a fantastic sunny day, 16 degrees and no wind! However after a short postponement the racing got underway in champagne conditions. Race 4 saw Ben Ratcliffe taking a clear lead and by the first run no one could catch him. Billy McCarlie from Largs took a 2nd , in the boat he bought from Ben on Saturday with 3rd going to Mike. Race two and it was right that paid on the first beat and left on the 2nd - Ben took another resounding win and this time Martin Latimer snuck in ahead of Mile Pridham. The third race was to be the last of the day as wind turned light and flukey but the local boats found their way around the course well with Martin Faulkner taking the win followed by Martin Latimer and Billy McCarlie. (on reflection the prize for the furthest travelled should have gone to Martin Faulkner who in race three sailed the Great Circle route around the Largs Channel, seeming to cover twice as much ground as the rest and still crossing the line with a big lead).
In the Vortex fleet Phil dominated the day scoring a second and two firsts ending up with a comfortable lead over Jonathan who took second place by just one point ahead of Angus Winchester. Nick Fleming was fourth and showed a massive improvement over the weekend considering it was his first time racing the boat, but he did not quite make it into the top three - another race or two and things might have been different, keep up the good work Nick!
Thanks go to Largs Sailing Club and the Scottish Sailing Institute for organizing a small, but fantastic travelers event. Thanks in particular to Dave Kent and his team of volunteers for great courses and superb racing with some very bold race management. We hope to see many more DZeros at the Largs event next year (Maybe even a Scottish Championship?)
The weekend was a resounding success and the Bottles of Glengoyne 12yr Old Single Malt went to Ben Ratcliffe 1st Overall and Mike Pridham (2nd) for furthest travelled.