Skip to content

Thoughts from a Spectator at the DF95 Globals

As the MYA racing officer, I felt it was my duty to attend an international event on my doorstep to gain first-hand experience. Remember I have only been racing radio boats for 2.5 years. From the time I walked onto the site at 8.45am on race day, I was blown away by the Fleetwood organisation, the relaxed attitude of the competitors, their interaction and finally the support of the DF suppliers.

As I arrived at the lake side, the thing that hit me most was the relaxed atmosphere of the competitors and organisers alike. It was as if all were competing in some Sunday afternoon club racing. No visible tension and everyone out to help anyone if needed. It seemed a little surreal.

Fleetwood is one of the best radio and free sailing waters in the UK with an absence of weed all year round and a super clubhouse. The lake is 800 feet long and I suspect some of the competitors wished it was shorter as their fitness was challenged, running after their boats on the windier downwind legs. Even with the wind slightly across the length of the lake, a course could be set to challenge the best.

The race organisation was superb, ably led by Derek Priestley and PRO Peter Baldwin. Their team (start line, finish line, heat board, scorers, judges etc) worked hard as they drove the 24 boat heats through the day. It takes a lot of effort to set the right course, manage the starts, record the finishing where several boats could cross the finish line at the same time and keep the concentration going through the day. The Rules judges had their work cut out. Initially they ran with 3 observers but on day 2 when boats were flying downwind, it was hard for the observers to keep up, so they increased their number to 4, positioned across the length of the course.

What you never see at an event of this nature is the preparation in the months beforehand. There was a huge amount done by many and that effort transpired into a smooth running event. Well done Fleetwood team.

Inside the club, there was a team providing sustenance for all and there was plenty of it. On the first racing afternoon there was a tea party exclusively for the ladies attending and as I walked past the window all looked to be enjoying the affair. There was an international feast following the opening ceremony, a fish and chip supper and all sorts of events on offer. Fleetwood town has a long history in the fishing industry described in displays on the sea front and I understand some of their fish and chip shops are the best in the business.

The DF 95 is a one design, and it was great to see the main UK supplier provide a spares and repairs service for the competitors tucked inside the clubhouse.

As to the racing, it was fast and furious. There was a lot of enthusiasm on the start lines resulting in several general recalls, many incidents monitored by the observers and rules judges but most important no annoying shouting on the shoreline by competitors, just a shout of protest or turn done. Sometimes when several boats approached a leeward mark at the same time with several contacts, it was impossible to work out who was right and wrong and even harder for observer to remember what happened with so many contacts. Through it all, the leaders emerged with a battle developing between John Tushingham and Craig Richards. I will watch the developing results with interest.

The DF 95 boat is an interesting one. It is not the prettiest in my eyes but it sails extremely well and provides excellent one design racing. They are rocket ships downwind in a breeze. Many open class sailors have got involved and the class price point is attracting new sailors. Maybe the class will inspire the younger generation The tradition radio sailor may scoff at the design, but I have to say, I love the concept. How else could you get a radio-controlled yacht in a box with all the gear and a couple of rigs for less than £500. The fact that tens of thousands of DF95 and 65 yachts have sold worldwide is tantamount to their success. There is a solid race program across the year and a lot of traditional radio sailors have invested in a boat.

Before I left for the journey home, I looked down over the lake to see all the competitors huddled in relatively small area. What a brilliant way for the DF community to spend a week together with fabulous well organised racing in a glorious location in sunshine albeit a bit chilly. I was jealous.

Fleetwood – Thank you for letting me in to experience a great event and I look forward to be there at the end of August.

Best regards
Nigel Barrow
MYA Racing Officer

Back To Top