DF95/DF65 Championship 2021

DF95 20 December 2021

Arriving at the lake this morning the wind was from the NE which gave us an ideal wind to sail near the Barn and gave us a taster for the new year when the piling makes sailing off the point impossible for a few weeks. 

Bob, as OOD, decided he wanted to set out the course and laid a rectangular course with a start line in the middle. For once the wind stayed reasonably stable and we started racing at 1030 with 7 boats on the water (2 more arrived late). The early pace setters were the usual people and it was great to see Barry out in front early on. Simon showed good speed throughout the day and was rarely out of the top 3 and with several wins was pushing Barry hard. Bob’s boat was showing better results today and on the long downwind runs was catching boats around him. 

Terry, one of the latecomers, overcame much of the early deficit and showed how good a sailor he has become. Richard, another latecomer, showed very good starting but struggled with distance perception at the bottom of the course and gave away the lead at least twice. 

In the end the day was highly enjoyable and with some close racing. Seeing 4 boats all abreast rounding the bottom mark without any boat to boat contact shows how far this group has come in just a few months.

We now have a short break, useful for some minor boat repairs, before we resume on 4 Jan (It’s a Tuesday so don’t be caught out) and then the following week revert to our usual Monday slot. Hopefully Christmas will see some lucky people with extra sails, replacement sails and maybe a new sail winch or two.

DF95 Series week 9

Hot, Hot, Hot. The lake was like a mirror when we arrived this morning. Not a breath of wind. Experience suggested that the wind would fill in around 11am and although light and NE to start with it did fill in enough for a very short course. Guy, as OOD did a sterling job and set a course, 3 in fact, off the northern side of the point. Six boats on the water in very light conditions set off from a startline near the shore and drifted off to a windward mark and then downwind to the finish. This pattern continued for the the whole day with a couple of variations as the wind swung back through north to end the day as a NW 5-7 knot breeze. Some very very close races saw 5 people share the line honours at some time or other. Weed was a problem for most people at some time or another and drifting weed is now becoming a problem. With many thermals drifting through the lake we had many situations where spotting the wind shifts gave skippers the edge and getting a good start proved vital. 

Guy has found his feet in this class and is invariably fighting for the lead and apart from a couple of weed affected races might well have won the day. Richard F made a welcome appearance and his experience in the IOM fleet has sharpened his skills and he’s one to watch for the future. Terry, still sailing 576 while Brian recovers, was very consistent throughout the day but struggled a little in the windless conditions. Richard T started off slowly and had a battery issue in the first few races but once sorted showed his sailing credentials and was very often mixing it in the first gaggle of boats. 

What is becoming very clear is that the DF95 provides perfectly matched boats that put the emphasis on skipper skill rather than boat design and it’s refreshing to race what are effectively ‘one design boats’. 

It was fascinating to see Hannah, a club member, take 660, for one race and, despite no experience of RC sailing, finish 4th in her first race. This poses some interesting questions and there are clearly some opportunities for using RC sailing to hone and develop race skills. What we need to see now is a few RC sailors get into dinghy’s and see if the reverse skills work as well.

DF95 Week 8

The day after the football final might have given some people an excuse to be late or not turn up. However, we had 5 skippers on the water racing at 1045 and with light NE winds we sailed an ‘admiralty standard’ ZigZag course with a downwind finish. Paul, as OOD, kept us sailing with a coffee break at 1130 and lunch at 1230. The winds after lunch carried on in the same vein with thermals drifting through causing all sorts of odd wind directions and shifts that swung 180 degrees and then back. Bob arrived slightly late, Simon and Kevin had to go early but with 7 boats on the water we had some great racing especially when Barry arrived over lunch.

Terry, still sailing Brian’s boat, had an uncharacteristically off form day and he’s admitted he doesn’t like light airs. He’s ordered his own boat now and should be on form next week. Guy managed to avoid the weed this week and put in some very consistent and fast races and came out second overall. Bob is one of the best starters I know and he is frequently at the first mark first. Kevin, as a newcomer and novice, is learning fast and his best result today was a 3rd – well done. Simon, with his blue boat, has great speed and had he been able to stay longer would have been challenging for the top spot.

We wound up racing at around 2pm and Guy has volunteered to be OOD next week. Don’t forget we have the Midland District MYA visiting us on Friday. They will be with us around 1030am and are looking to help us and see how we fit into the wider Midland District.

DF Series week 6

Today’s OOD was Paul Barton and buoys were put out by Brian and retrieved by Guy. The day was already warm at 9.30 am and the forecast winds from the West went around to the North West as the day went on as forecast and the winds generally behaved as predicted. A start line off the point with a long beat to the windward mark tested many of the fleet today with rounding the quite distant first mark even catching out the more experienced skippers. A short reach to a spreading mark followed by a long downwind leg to the gate or finish line depending on whether it was 1 or 2 or 3 laps.

The wind across the course was 8-10 knots unless a drifting thermal threw everything out, often leaving large calm patches with virtually no wind. This effect saw the leaders often under pressure from behind with winds filling in from the NW as the thermals passed through. Notable performances by Bob, Guy and the 2 Richards show how much everyone has improved. Bob had several very fast starts and frequently got to the windward mark first. Guy was beset by weed for the first few races but got into his stride as the day went on and had some very consistent performances just holding off Bob in the results by 2 points and had the last 3 lap race well sewn up by the first lap.

Interestingly Bob, Richard and Guy all won 2 races apiece and they are continuing to improve. We had a few on-water incidents that prompted a quick teach-in on rounding marks 2 or even 3 abreast and we will do more of that as the weeks go by. Brian had to come off the water due to eye strain and we will endeavour to set courses closer to shore, weed and wind permitting.

We concluded around 2pm and the few boats remaining on the water, including a very welcome long term returnee Edward, Garry and Barry, getting to grips with his new Nottingham J48.

DF95/DF65 Series week 5

This week saw the day warm and with light SW winds that eventually became more WSW as the day progressed. Terry, as OOD, set a great course with a long windward leg with a wide spreading mark which initially provided a broad reach before a long downwind leg and a good beat back to the windward mark. With 5 boats on the water in good time we started races at around 1030am and straight out of the blocks Richard made the very best of the start and lead all the way round. The second and 3rd races were won by Bob who is now showing his true speed. The next race was won by Guy who took advantage of a windshift everyone else missed and lead around the course by some margin. The final race of the day went to Richard and we effectively ended racing at lunchtime. A few stayed into the afternoon joined by Barry and Garry for some good practice.

If we look back at the first couple of weeks of this series we had a very predictable set of results based on experience. As the series has progressed we’re seeing novices from 5 weeks ago winning multiple races and frequently we see the lead changing often and boats often all in the same patch of water. Starts are getting better and with very few rule infringements this ‘one design class’ is showing that it can create the closest of races and some great sailing. we anticipate the number racing weekly to grow steadily and we know of at ;east 3 new boats that will be joining us in the next few weeks.

If you ever wondered why this class of boat is getting so popular just have a look at what is going on in the USA with major yacht clubs joining every week. Among the elite of world sailing DF95 skippers now include Paul Cayard, Ed Baird, Bruce Farr, Taylor Canfield and Ken Read. “When most of the 11th Hour Racing team crew—in town training on their IMOCA 60 (ex Hugo Boss)—got in on the fun, it went up another notch.”

DF95 Series Results 2021 week 5
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DF95/DF65 Series week 4

Today started out looking like it might be quite windy but in fact it was A rig all day with some very quiet patches where boats briefly drifted but we managed 11 races, all but one 2 laps, punctuated by short sharp showers. The course set by the OOD, Paul Barton, was very familiar with a long beat up to a windward mark near the powerboats followed by a short reach to the spreader mark followed by a long downwind leg followed by an equally long beat back to the first mark.

Starts are getting better every week and with 9 boats on the water getting clear air off the line paid dividends. Interestingly in periods of lighter winds the DF65 were often holding their own and first at the windward mark but playing the frequent shifts was vital. Brian has seemingly solved his inconsistent sheeting problem and that showed with a very good turn of speed and consistency, never being out the the first 3 boats. Guy, with 2 outright wins, is also showing great boat speed and in the end lost out to Brian by just 2 points. Terry, sailing 660, also had 2 outright wins, but lost out on a couple of inconsistent mark roundings. Richard, having missed the first 2 races then showed some great form and with one win to his score laid down a marker that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Bob is getting steadily better and with a 2nd and a 3rd is showing just how competitive this growing fleet is. Simon showed his outright speed at the start with a straight win in race 1 but then had setup problems which spoiled a potentially thrilling day’s sailing. This fleet is projected to grow and seeing 10 boats racing weekly is quite possible and as skill levels increase we are in for a real treat.

The DF65s were in good form today and the boats frequently were mixed in with the front runners in the DF95 fleet.

Please note that as next Monday 31 May is a bank holiday we will not be racing. Next race with DF95 Monday 7 June.

DF95/DF65 Series week 3

Guy took on the duty of OOD today and did a sterling job with Brian setting a cracking course with a long beat off the point and a trapezoidal course with a great downwind leg bringing boats very close to the point. The day promised a really nice WNW wind of 7 to 10 knots and going round to more NW direction later in the day and increasing slightly. The actual wind started off as forecast but as the day went on there were more and more dark clouds and squalls which tested everyone sailing. The improvement in sailing in just 3 weeks is truly remarkable. Skippers are getting to grips with their boats and learning to ‘read’ the wind-shifts. Starts are getting better and at times there were 6 boats within 10 boat lengths at the start of the second lap. If you want close competitive racing then this DF95 series offers something for everyone.

Today Terry took over boat 660 after a couple of races and he achieved several convincing wins and in no time he’ll be a real contender for the championship. We had a very welcome visitor, Errol, today from Chew Valley Sailing Club with his DF95 and right out the gate he showed great speed and took several well deserved wins and was rarely out of contention. Guy, Brian, Richard and Bob all took turns leading the races and Bob, in particular, is getting much better speed with a really improved setup and as his knowledge of the rules and tactics improve he’ll start showing his true potential. Barry sailed his dayglo DF65 exceptionally well today and was often competing for the ‘first around the windward mark’ honours several times but having only 2 DF65 racing was disappointing. Lunchtime was a forced event due to some very close lightning strikes and everyone came off the water during rain squalls and a hail storm. We resumed for a few more races but eventually a second lightning storm caused us to cease racing for safety.

DF95 series Week 2

Brian Tanner was OOD today and as well as running a great days racing also spent a bit of time
rescuing wayward boats. We knew it would be windy today and most people arrived at the lake
around 9.30am with boats rigged accordingly. DF95s were all on B rig to start with and in the early
races it proved to be the right choice with some impressive bursts of speed on the downwind legs.
The races, 6 in total, were over 2 laps with a windward leg heading SSW. The stbd rounding of the
top mark went reasonably well with the normal pecking order based on getting a good start. The
downwind leg, with a bit of a dog’s leg around the point, proved fast and eventful with more than a
few broaches and boats momentarily out of control. The second lap saw more of the same and this
week there are 2 notable skippers; Guy sailing more consistently, as experience grows, was in the
lead for several races only losing the lead when misjudging a wind shift. The second skipper was
Terry, sailing the lone DF65, who seemed to spend his time changing down from one sail to the next
ending up on the C rig for the class. As the wind came up the fleet saw a few boats with defects and
even one mast break for Brian. At the end of the day with winds well over 20 knots and gusts
significantly higher we decided to call it a day around 2pm. The lesson for the day is for all skippers
to get into the habit of doing a rudder check before putting the boats on the water. Doing this would
have avoided several long trips with the dinghy to effect rescues. The other lesson must be to have
the right sails for the wind conditions and to have tested them out on a more benign day’s sail.

DF95/DF65 Monday 26 April 2021

What started out as a cold 5 degree grey morning eventually turned out to be an exceptional sailing day. With an ENE wind of 10-15 knots it was ideal sunny sailing conditions. The OOD, Paul Barton, arrived with the DF Class Captain, Brian Tanner, at 9.30 am and proceeded to lay out a rectangular course off the left hand side of the point. A beat to the first mark, port rounding, proved tactically quite interesting with 30 degree windshifts to port in the gusts. Getting a good start proved crucial and staying in clear air paid handsomely. The fleet was made up of 7 DF95s and 5 DF65 but was reduced by gear failures in 2 cases.The results do not tell the real story because in the early DF95 races the leaders were often a full leg and more ahead at the finish but the 4 or 5 novices quickly improved and at the end of the day all finishers were on the same leg and some close battles on the final windward leg saw the lead and positions change several times before the finish. All told a great days sailing and everyone seemed to have fun.Next week Brian Tanner will be OOD and we look for some great racing.