Hello from Zippy Zero, the chatty DZero, with tales of my latest adventures on the South Coast; this time at Shoreham Sailing Club Open.
The club is one of the latest DZero breeding centres and 8 of the 9 home club boats were competing at this new DZero venue. Together with 10 visiting boats, the fleet set off from the sheltered harbour out to sea for a series of 6 races on an Olympic course over the 2 days.
We had travelled South from West Kirby the previous day in the heaviest downpours I’d seen in a month. Alright for Owner in her nice dry car – I had a full-on colonic irrigation experience on the M40 and I fear my underpants will never be the same. I digress. We arrived late that night to the YHA on top of a hill that was so high it was in a raincloud. Foggy, wet, eerie. No place for a boat, let alone the dirt track that I climbed up to get there. Brown underpants. Say no more.
Back at sea level the next morning, I was feeling much better. I’d forgiven Owner for her failings in my transportation and overnight accommodation and we tootled off to the start line in good spirits. She was quite alert given her age and the number of miles she’d driven that week and propelled me towards the start line at full speed as the gun went. Even better, there was a vacuous hole to leeward of me and I was feeling good! We rounded the top mark 4th behind Tyler Harmsworth, Thomas Southwell and Adam Thompson and I nipped, Zipped, dipped and whipped around the course until I could see the whites in Tyler’s eyes. The RO finished my Zippings with a firm gun, leaving me in 2nd place, ahead of Tom and Adam, but behind Tyler.
There followed a second hour-long race, but with a huge wind shift on the start line. Gareth Griffiths crossed the fleet on port tack whilst all of us boats tried to bite his transom as he squeezed by. But a good fly-by it was and he went on to finish 2nd behind Tom, who picked his way up the shifty first beat well. Local sailor Martin Walker kept the pressure on the leaders with good downwind boat speed to finish 3rd.
The wind spun once more and a new course was laid. Tyler made a clean break and led the race, with Andrew Spencer from Blithfield sailing his best race of the series and coming 2nd.
The end of the day saw Tom leading the series from Tyler and Martin and me (plus Owner Liz; yes she can have a mention) in 4th place.
So homewards we drifted, to the safety of the little harbour, until the rescue boat cut us off and stopped us in our tracks. This was to allow a shipping movement out of the harbour. When I saw the size of it, I nearly had a shipping movement of my own. I’ve often wondered, when does a boat become a ship? I now know that it’s when it can ride over Zippy and leave little behind. Me and my mates stayed well clear until the harbour was empty.
The next day I awoke to cool drizzle and grey skies. For a moment I thought we were in Scotland, but no, that was last weekend Zippy. The Race Team left early to set up the course, whilst us boats teetered on the slipway with our sails up looking for wind (and mischief). There was no wind and hence no opportunity for mischief. After an onshore delay, a zephyr arrived and we were beckoned out to sea.
After a poor start in Race 5, we picked our way to the pointy end of the fleet, where I set my sights on Gordon Stewart for overtaking purposes. I slid past stealthily on the reach and was dismayed to find him creeping back upwind of me like some sort of unwanted relative at Christmas. I felt the need to luff him and managed to wipe off my Klingon onto David Valentine, who was approaching on his finishing leg. I chose my moment to throw in an excellent double gybe and rounded the mark ahead of Gordon. Unfortunately, Owner hadn’t noticed the S flag (it was only 22 mins into the race after all!), so let Gordon tack off and lay the finish ahead of us. The three local sailors Martin, Gareth and Chris Handel took line honours, whilst David Valentine finished 6th, to give him a scoreline of 6,6,6. Beware fellow DZ’s.
By Race 5, we were joined by Shoreham Sailing Club’s Sunday handicap fleet and what a fine collection of boats came out to play – including some beautiful Merlin Rockets! We all had a long delay, whilst the wind swung around, courses were re-laid and the Commodore did some fishing off the RIB.
When we were all ready, Owner made another good start, tacking early to pick up the windshift. We arrived at the windward mark just behind Tyler and watched Martin overtake us both downwind on his slightly superior zephyr. He went on to win the race from Tyler, with me in 3rd. Ray Collins from Locks SC was not too far behind in 4th.
The wind was dying as well as swinging wildly by the last race. The RO got us away for a short race, which was led and won by Adam. Martin finished 2nd to take the series and in 3rd was Ian Patrick from Bough Beech SC, who had come for just the day. Another visitor, Noel West from Newhaven & Seaford SC clocked his best race result with a 6th.
Congratulations to the top 4; Martin, Tyler, Adam and Gareth all from Shoreham SC. Well done to Owner coming 5th and me as first visiting boat.
Congratulations to Shoreham SC for a very well run and enjoyable event. Also in their successful DZero breeding programme; there was another arrival as we watched on Sunday morning. Competitor Nigel Pybus sealed the deal on 324, taken on by Chris Handel for his son. Then there were ten.
Thank you to Steve Southall (280), finishing 11th, for co-ordinating the event and encouraging the visitors to come. We will be back I’m sure.
Next up is my home event at West Kirby and Dee Regattas, where I will continue to recruit competitors for our DZero Nationals in Largs this August.
It’s going to be a magical summer.
Zippy Zero 333
Photos are all copyright Warwick Baker / www.warwickpics.com