The Swiss D-One fleet hosted this championship in the hamlet of Wingreis in the far west of the country, on a grassy meadow by the stunning lake with a view across vineyards to the snow-covered Alps. The Swiss watch-making capital of Biel, three miles up the road, provided enough hotels, bars, restaurants and expensive watches for anyone.
The event started with a break from tradition - no T shirt! Instead we were given a D-One Swiss (not army) multi knife. No complaints there.
As expected The Swiss were great hosts : Barbecued sausages each lunchtime, wine tasting, historic tour and two great evening meals with plenty of boxer old beer and strangely addictive local milk protein soft drink Rivella -all first class.
Yacht Club Bielersee have a lovely little club and an amazingly helpful group of volunteers in a great setting but also, as feared, a slight absence of wind.
We did manage to get out for some practice racing before the main event, so a chance to check we had all rigged our boats correctly.
On Friday we gathered at the club and..no wind. OK a postponement, no problem the sun is shining more boat fine tuning. I made a nice uv cover for the pole with recycled water bottles and duct tape and made some small adjustments hoping to get s little more power in the expected light breeze. Just when we thought there would be no racing for the day enough breeze appeared to get us out for one light airs race. Sadly my tuning efforts resulted in no pointing and no speed. Glad we just had one race.
South Shields Sailing Club, 9th – 11th August
Supported by Rooster & Diamond Drilling Ltd
Prologue: Before any major D-One event there is always something that sets the tone for the weekend, bizarrely it appears to always come from the same person. The tone for this event soon became apparent on the training day (8th August). The post goes out “the camper has failed (again)”.
Many offers of support were provided by the ever friendly D-One sailors and with the poorly camper safely ensconced in a nearby garage the wayward sailor once again began his journey with the knowledge that alternative accommodation had kindly been provided by local lad Ken Ward.
Several hours later and whilst the normal greetings were being had there was an almighty shriek I’ve got no clothes”! Answers on a postcard please stating where you think they were…. you may win a camper! A quick trip to a local store and several t-shirt purchases (albeit a little snug in great colours) later, a must have trip to the curry mile was much needed and appreciated by those that chose to partake. As you can imagine the training session was not high on the agenda.
Since the D-One was launched 10 years ago, it has been sailed in a huge variety of conditions, from calm alpine lakes to full-on sea sailing, and by all shapes and sizes of competitor. We are fortunate to have a very wide base of friendly international sailors.
The boat has always had a fairly crude form of weight equalisation, whereby sailors below 86kg are allowed slightly wider wings. As with all classes, there has been occasional discussion as to whether this is adequate. We were fortunate at the Gold Cup this year to have very clearly defined windy and light days, and a full international fleet weighed in for the event. This gave a perfect opportunity to crunch the numbers, as shown in the graph, which reads from first to last place left to right.
The D-One fleet were treated to a Gallic Regatta for the 2019 Champagne Gold Cup organized by Emmanuel Abord and Etienne Lobert and hosted by Ligue de l’Enseignement Giffaucourt at Lac du Der 7 to 10 June 2019.
The rest of the French fleet, Marie Benoit, Thierry D'Allance and David Bremond did a fantastic job assisting with all the background tasks that made such a great regatta. A big thank you from all the competitors, especially the Czech-Italians who were politely allowed to beat the French in the international boules contest. Or so the hosts said.
As sailors and support teams arrived from 7 nations on the Thursday everyone was enjoying the sunshine and light winds. Unfortunately the weather was not going to last. Friday dawned with a forecast of 23-30 kts with a storm with a name moving across Europe. The intrepid race management team set off ready to start at 1500. Launching in to the shelter of the club house seemed OK but a short sail later it was clear the fleet were in for a wild ride. A couple of keen racers headed up wind to check out the windward leg, but even the best did not make it back downwind without a swim.
Some of the D1 fleet arrived bright and early at Oxford Sailing Club to find a good breeze blowing from behind the club, luring us all into a false sense of security, while two had made the mammoth effort to travel down from South Shields (hosts of this year's nationals) other more local were on family duties, some chasing Wizards. It was good to see some newcomers to the fleet, welcome Paul & Liam.
Sharing the event with the Contenders and K6's and starting third it gave the fleet a chance to get their heads around the local conditions. Well that was the theory. Tyler Harmsworth made the best of it and rounded first closely followed by Giles Chpperfield and local Terry Brookes, after this it all became a bit of a blur as we all hooked into the large gusts travelled down the bottom of the lake. Positions remained the same for the first lap, then Giles made his way passed on the next downwind, the fleet was starting to separate as one by one they tested the water, Giles and Tyler stretched away form the others until the third leeward mark, whilst dealing with dropping kites, a large gust and avoiding the back end of the Contender fleet left them both upside down and locked together, much to the amusement of the committee boat stationed 40 yards away. By the time these two had separated and got upright the majority of the fleet had done another lap, having two boats hove too below the finish area caused even more confusion as first Terry Brookes blasted across the line with his kite still up, to be told he had another lap, capsizing on the drop. Two others also thought it was over and stopped, leaving Howard Fairbrother to take the win, Terry recovered for 2nd and Ken Ward one of our North East contingent to take third.
What a great 2018!
The D-One has had a great year, with the biggest Gold Cup ever in Austria, a rejuvenated Italian fleet among the 9 nations at the Europeans in Liguria, and international travelling D-One sailors made very welcome at events in Czech Republic, Great Britain, Switzerland and France.
It was wonderful to join such a friendly circuit in such great places, and thank you again to those who put the events together.
...so here is the Calendar for 2019!
The same great people - and some new ones - have put together a set of events for 2019. We have tried to make sure they do not clash dates, and, obviously, are in fantastic sailing locations.
The D-One class continued its tour of the glamour locations of Europe with a trip to the elegant resort of Santa Margherita on the Italian Riviera, where we sailed from the bars and restaurants of the inner harbour to a windward mark among the sterns of the superyachts moored off Portofino.
The circuit has been arranged to make it accessible to our remarkably international travelling membership, and included a weekend Italian Nationals, followed by a pause for proper holiday (or proper work, if you really had to), before the 4-day Europeans starting on Thursday.
The 2018 D One Gold Cup hosted by Union Yacht Club, Wolfgangsee, saw a record entry of 43 boats from 9 nations.
Based in the picturesque Austrian town of St Gilgen the championship saw challenging conditions and a competitive fleet including Nick Craig, champion in multiple classes and a 3 times Gold Cup winner; Viktor Teply, Czech 2- time Olympian in the Laser class, Ondrej Teply, a previous winner of the Finn Junior Worlds and 5-time Olympian / 6 time winner of the Finn World Masters Championships, Michael Maier.
Day one saw tricky conditions with the first race which was led by Tim Garvin being abandoned due to a thunder storm warning. The experience of the race team showed as they quickly re-set the course and managed to run 2 races. Viktor scored 2 bullets with Nick 2nd and Giles Chipperfield showing good form with a 3rd and a 6th.