DF Travellers Trophy R1 & R2 – Southport

Saturday DF95’s

Saturday dawned dull and cold for the first event of the 2017 DF Travellers Trophy (TT) Series held at the West Lancs Yacht Club on Southport Marine Lake. 23 DF95’s made it to the startline on and were rewarded with 16 races in prime A rig conditions.


DF95 Results

John Tushingham scored 9 bullets today and deserved the win, we just can’t compete with that level of consistency. The now infamous darkside 95 was skippered into an excellent 2nd place by Peter Spence with John Brierley rounding out the podium in 3rd place.


DF65’s Sunday

17 brave DF65 skippers took to the water on Sunday. The northerly wind was brutally cold and only 8 races were completed over the course of the day with the DF65 fleet alternating with the laser fleet which were also enjoying the bitter winds! This turned out to be a great move as it allowed us to have a 20min race in the freezing cold and a 20 min warm up in the wonderfully warm clubhouse at West Lancs!


DF65 Results

Ken Binks was on fire today in the 65’s pushing John Tushingham till the last race, almost had him, almost!


Weekend Wrap Up

  • So, John Tushingham continues to lead the way in both the DF65 & DF95 Fleets but looking at the results from Sunday we almost got him drunk enough on Saturday night! 😉
  • Derek Priestley, Ken Binks and John Brierley sailed consistently well throughout the weekend to post good results on both days. They’ve certainly laid down a marker for the rest of the TT series.
  • We must again thank the West Lancs Yacht Club for putting on such a well organised event, thanks to the lads doing the scoring and the rescue boat duties and thanks as always to Alan Tickle. Top man!
  • Liz Tushingham knocked it out of the park with home baked cookies on Saturday and devilishly good chocolate cake on the Sunday which was consumed, in short order, by the entire fleet, in honour of John Tushingham 60th Birthday!
  • Thanks to Sue Brown for the pictures and Tony for his video’s and report on Yachts & Yachting
  • So that was the first event, lots more to come, see you on the water 🙂


DF95 National Championships 2016 @ Lincoln MYC

Come to a lake in Lincoln that doesn’t even show up on google maps they said, in November they said, it will be freezing cold & blow a gale they said, it’ll rain, you’ll get muddy and parts of your body will go numb they said. Well they weren’t wrong but I’m still happy I went to the inaugural DF95 Nationals at Lincoln Model Yacht Club.

Friday Practice

The fleet gathered on Friday afternoon at Scotland Farm for a final shakedown and the customary chat about your journey, the upcoming weekend and an in depth analysis about the one thing we can’t control… ‘the wind’


Turns out we shouldn’t have bothered as Friday afternoons gentle zephyrs were nothing like the solid wall of wind we would face on Saturday and Sunday! With the sun falling from the sky about 4pm everyone dispersed to sort out their digs and being sailors we soon re-grouped at the pub and by 6pm were on the ales. Now you know you’re in a proper pub when they’re advertising a ‘Meat Raffle’ behind the bar and we weren’t disappointed.


We soon took advantage of a decent meal in the restaurant, took full advantage of the wine list and re-filled our bellies for the weekend to come. It wasn’t all plain sailing however… like the famous scene in Withnail and I, Derek Priestley requested the finest Cheese and biscuits known to humanity and was bitterly disappointed when presented with a bowl of grated cheese for his cheek!

And then the strange gathering in the bar, an all male karaoke disco of some kind, a man playing a keyboard that didn’t appear to be plugged in, a laptop and a lot of steroids. Suddenly the ‘meat raffle’ took on a new more worrying aspect and I wondered if the top prize was sausage based or whether it was just the gin making me think these terrible thoughts?! Regardless I didn’t stick around for the prize giving!

Saturday Racing

34 boats made it to the start line on Saturday morning which made for 2 decent sized fleets, with 6 up, 6 down giving everyone a chance to get plenty of racing done over the course of the weekend and taste life at the top and the bottom. Principal Race Officer Darin Ballington set the tone for the weekend, clearly explaining the format and reminding us to enjoy ourselves and respect each other on the water and on the bank. An ethos which held throughout the 2 days.


The seeding races kicked off at 10am, the majority of the fleet were in B rigs and revealing in the fast open water conditions. The wind built steadily throughout the day and it soon became obvious there is big overlap between the DF95 rigs. B & C rigs were racing neck a neck at times, with the C rigs gaining in the bullets and the B rigs sliding away in the lulls. By the end of the day the entire fleet had made the change down to C rigs with the wind gusting 25kts+ and considering these wild conditions the boats survived remarkably well, no major damage to report, no blown winches and just one rudder servo that gave up the waggle on Tim Longs boat.

In terms of the racing it was tight at the top, with the 3 senior amigo’s Derek Priestley, John Tushingham and Ken Binks leading the way. For us middle packers it was hard work sailing consistently enough to stick in A fleet with everyone dropping down at some point and counting some big scores.

Saturday Evening

We again gathered at the Railway Inn for the evening meal and it was great to see all of the competitors out enjoying themselves. By the last count there was over 40 of us in attendance, completely swamping the restaurant with the overspill eating in the bar. And what an outstanding meal it was, Steak Pie or Curry with crumble and custard for afters, outstanding value for £10 all in. The wine flowed, the speeches followed and this time Derek got his cheese and crackers and all was well with the world.

Sunday Racing

The day dawned cold, with frost on the windows and more of that bitter wind from the North. The racing continued from 10am with Darin driving the fleets hard from the outset to push through as many races as possible. Conditions were a little grimmer today, driving rain & strong winds saw a few taking an early bath and I can’t say I blame them.


Again there was much chopping and changing of rigs, we started the day in C rigs and slowly worked our way up to the A’s. There was a big shift in the breeze late in the afternoon which necessitated a course change and the shifty fading breeze that followed really separated the men from the boys in the last 4 races. Many of us suffering a couple of brain bubbles before the racing finished at 3:45 with a return of the sun helping to dry out our weary bones and gear before the journey home.


Results and Prize Giving

Throughout the weekend the one design nature of the DF95 really shone through. The key to doing well was knowing when to change rigs, setting up and tuning the rig you chose (often with seconds to spare!), tactics on the course, spotting the wind shifts and keeping yourself out of trouble. All these skills need to be perfected to win and every place on the scoreboard was hard fought and well earned it’s just that John Tushingham, Derek Priestley and Ken Binks are a little bit better than the rest of us. For now at least they are the top 3 but there is a big fleet building behind them ready to take away their crown. See you next year boys, we’re coming for you!


Once the top 3 were dispatched with their prizes the now traditional off beat prize giving/raffle commenced. Lincoln MYC eager to out do the winning tickets being drawn out of the mystical teapot at Fleetwood utilised the magical mayonnaise tub of wondrous prizes. Bottles of wine, unmarked black boxes of mystery and boat socks were distributed throughout the fleet in a somewhat haphazard manner… Mick Chamberlain making up the rules as he went along, kissing the girls and shaking hands with the blokes. We know your game 😉 Finally Eric Reid scored the top prize of a brand new transmitter/receiver which was kindly donated by Mike Weston of RC Yachts.

Special Mentions and Thankyou’s

Thanks to Darin for being the race officer and giving up other sailing commitments to run our event on the bank. Thanks to to all the observers, line judges and Fiona for the scoring. And to our most travelled competitors, the Dutch crew of Tjakko Keizer & Tuen Peit Vanes… Thanks for coming chaps, see you again soon.

And in no particular order thanks to the following people for putting on the event, sorting the lake out, running the kitchen and ensuring we all had a cracking weekend. Liz Bacon, Roger Bacon, Jen Hand, Mick Cooper, Jan Cooper, Beth Stevenson, PJ Ballington, Emily Ballington, Alan Newman, Sue Brown, Jo Preistley, Peter Cogill, Francis Tomlinson, Norman Fish, Bert Whitehead, Chris Corrin, Alan Edgar and Graham Keighthley.

And Finally

This post will be updated when more of Sue Browns images become available and anyone else who took photographs, please email me your best shots and I’ll add them to the report.

Keighley pop up DF95 Open

Like junkies searching in vain for their next fix the drive over was spent scanning the horizon for the merest hints of wind. Windmills not turning, quivering leaves on the trees not quivering, smoke rising straight up… oh oh, is that, is that a bit of ripple on that pond? Ah **** it, there’s naff all, who we kidding, shall we just go home?

But luckily we pushed through those cold turkey wind sweats and scored just enough of the good stuff for 13 races and to play out the tale of the 2 Shauns..

Shaun Priestley sailed the infamous Darkside in to first place in his first event in the class and then Shaun Holbeche, who built his boat this week, plopped it in the water on Sunday and took a 1st, 2nd, 1st in the first 3 races and scored a second overall! Well done both those men!

Here are the final results and there was a bit of a miscalculation with the discards when the results were announced in shed, which means Derek Priestley pipped John Tushingham for 3rd.

  • 1st Shaun Priestley 25pts
  • 2nd Shaun Holbeche 31pts
  • 3rd Derek Priestley 38pts
  • 4th John Tushingham 40pts
  • 5th Tim Long 53pts
  • 6th Tim Lanigan 54pts
  • 7th Chris More 61pts
  • 8th Mick Parkington 67pts
  • 9th Liz Tushingham 95pts
  • 10th Tommy Mills 95pts
  • 11th Graham Allen 125pts
  • 12th Eric Reid 127pts
  • 13th Sue Parkington 129pts
  • 14th Martin Hallums 138pts
  • 15th Ashley 166pts
  • 16th John Bellerby 174pts

Here’s the results sheet for forensic analysis:


And because we were all having too much fun sailing and not taking pictures of the boats, here is a picture of a cottage pie. It was lovely if you’re wondering.


See you all in Lincoln 🙂

Fleetwood Dragon Weekender 18th/19th Sept 2016

Saturday DF65’s

With cerulean blue skies greeting 22 of the finest DF65’s sailors in the land, 16 races, almost no weed and 1 magic kettle… it was one of those halcyon September days for the Last Orders DF65 event at Fleetwood.

The wind was a little unsure of its intentions at the start of proceeding but after a 120 degree wobble decided to blow half arsed from the vague direction of the West for the remainder of the day. Race officers Chris Chatfield & Tim Lanigan drove the fleet hard, throwing in a long distance ‘leg burner’ race mid afternoon and some shorter sprint races at the end to keep the fleet on their toes and their leg muscles weary.

I won’t give a blow by blow account of the racing, the usual suspects were up front and the chasing pack were chasing hard. And besides it’s hard to summarise a full day’s racing… looking at the results sheet is like trying to decode the matrix dipped in vaseline when you’ve had a couple of gins..

We tried to mix things up a bit at the prize giving to stop the familiar faces at the front of the fleet always going home with the wine. The idea was to deploy the ‘magic kettle raffle technique’ whereby winning competitors would draw a sail number out of the kettle and pass on the prize on to another competitor in the fleet… and so 3rd placed Mike Weston  dips his hand in the magic kettle, chortles (as only Mike Weston can) and draws out lucky number 69, his own bloody sail number! Then 2nd placed Buzz Coleman steps up and does the honourable thing, draws Mike Parkington’s sail number, the wine is exchanged and everyone’s happy. And then John “I don’t mind a glass of wine” Tushingham rocks up, swirls his hand in the mystical teapot and you guessed it, draws out his own sail number! As if we weren’t all tired enough of that number 100 after 14 races wins!!! Fix! Fix! God damnit!

And finally to wrap things up for Saturday (I’ve teased you long enough) here are the final scores…


Sunday DF95’s

As Sunday dawned bright and clear, the 65’s were replaced with the 95’s and once again that feckless wind appeared. It was on of those… Ima blow dis way, Ima a blow dat way, Ima lead you all astray kind of a wind.

Despite this aeolian puzzle Chris Chatfield did a wonderful job on Race Officer duties, setting us decent courses and cracking the whip sufficiently to get 14 races finished by 15:30. Cheers Chris.


The key (as always) was somehow buying a clear lane off the start line, avoiding the bunkers, tacking on all the right shifts while dodging weed, powerboats and the local ‘crabbers’. Sounds easy, except when it isn’t!

Thanks to Susan Sharman for the pics.

John Tushingham didn’t have it all his own way today, plenty of races were snatched off him but consistency won the day, no surprises there. Buzz Coleman was on good form for his second place, with less of those salad keels that scuppered his DF65 Nationals earlier in the year. And we discovered Tim Long seems to go much better without a hangover posting a set of solid results to round out the top 3.

The prize giving was again novel, with the top 3 having to shout out random finishing positions (but not their own this time!) and hand over their hard won booty. So at the end of the day Liz Tushingham, Sue Parkington and John Brooks went home with the booze. Well done them!


Some other observations about the DF95’s

There’s real and rapid learning going on across the fleet, we’re all dialling in the tuning and grappling with how to sail these new boats with their masthead rigs. The tweaking and the discussions are all happening in the open too which is super refreshing, with the best skippers tuning and twiddling between races and talking tactics. During the afternoon session there was plenty of ‘tranny swapping’ going on which is an activity normally reserved for that den of iniquity further down the coast but today saw lots of interested parties trying a DF95 for the first time. All in, the playing field is still wide open, the banter light hearted and with the new whacky prize giving scenarios everyone is in with a chance of bottle of plonk to go home with. Great Stuff.

Right I’m off to dunk my sunburnt face in beer and drink a couple more bottles of aftersun lotion 🙂 Cheers All