Hello all from Zippy the D-Zero, writing to you from a little harbour on the East coast of Scotland. This weekend was the meeting of our D-Zero Owners and us boaties at the Aberdeen and Stonehaven Yacht Club Regatta, incorporating our open meeting and Northern Travellers event, sponsored by DZero.co.uk.
Another far visitor was Mick Green from Rossendale. He failed to bring appropriate clothing for the cooler Scottish climate, so was seen fashioning a collection of ladylike knitwear borrowed from his missus.
The first day saw us set off from the little harbour to tackle four races in an offshore gusty force 4.
The Race Officer set up a quadrilateral course and we set off from the start line in a blustery first race. The fleet leaders managed to get clear on the first round and finished in the order of Nick Craig, Ian Baillie and Niel Richie. Jon Bassett finished fourth.
Race 2 had me eyeing up the pin for my start, but above me, Nick was bearing down into my starting space as he was too early. There was a crunch on my hull and I picked up my first scratches. Nick was over and had to re-round, whilst I was pushed onto the pin. Not a great start.
Jon got away cleanly and led for the first lap, followed by Niel. I caught up on the second leg, picking up a nice windstream, which was enough to give me water on the rest of the fleet and scooted me into third.
Unfortunately Niel’s boat’s transom went around the mark too slowly, so I gave it a little nudge to help it along. Owner was not too pleased and we had to perform some pirouette dance moves in penalty, which put me at the very back of the fleet once more.
On the final lap, I had worked hard to get up to seventh and had Basil Brush firmly in my sights, when who should show up but my friends the dolphins. My owner hailed Basil Brush, who busied himself scanning the horizon (look out behind you!) so I sneaked past him to windward to take another place.
Sadly, the karma of fair sailing got me back as Basil got a decent puff on the finish approach to accelerate him past me. Rats!
Race 3 had us starting mid-line and steaming ahead to round the first mark just behind Nick. There we stayed until the penultimate lap, when Ian and Jon passed us upwind. Billie McCarlie and Niel also got through on a lucky windshift on the final leg, leaving us in sixth.
There followed a delay, as the wind shifted round further and the course was re-laid. Nick was fast off the line and led the race for a comfortable win, followed by Ian and Niel. I was chased by Billie’s boat, after having sent the dolphin squad to go and engage him in diversional activities. Billie’s boat responded by slapping one of them with its daggerboard, so there was a purposeful mission in my stealthy covering that lasted for the remainder of the race.
So ended day 1, after over four hours of sailing in strong gusty winds. The tired little boats trooped into the harbour to be met by the shore crew with our trollies and cakes!
On day 2, we awoke to a drizzly sky and a flat calm, windless sea. The Race Officer put up a postponement until 12, when a decision would be made about cancelling the days racing. Contrary to the weather forecast, a pleasant onshore breeze enticed us out and continued to build to 10-15 knots as the day went on.
Race 5 was won by Nick, after a clean start, closely chased by Ian and Jon. The trio maintained their finishing order for races 6 and 7.
Race 6 was the chance for Largs’ sailor Stuart Moss to shine. His boat had a great race in the top five, with owner Stu jubilantly fist pumping the air halfway up the last beat, with energy worthy of a deep-fried Tunnock’s Teacake. His moment of glory was short-lived as he was caught out by lighter wind on one side of the course towards the end of the race.
By the final race 8, the fleet tiredness was beginning to show and there were a number of bumps and infringements going on, followed by boat twirling. We passed series leader Nick as he was twirling, although he worked his way back up the fleet to take the win, adding to his seven other first places.
Jon battled with Ian on the final leg, gaining an advantage that allowed him to tack for the finish line inside Ian. Unfortunately, this left no room for Ian on the finish line and he was sailed the wrong side of the committee boat. There were strong words yelled by Ian to his boat, who then refused to co-operate in the forthcoming tack and sat head-to-wind until an apology was offered.
As a result, Billy slipped through – into third place, his best result in the series – as did Niel and fellow ASYC member Scott Munro. By the time Ian and his boat had made up again, they clocked a sixth place, which would become their second discard.
The top three performers were Nick, Ian and Jon – with Niel finishing fourth.
And so ended a great weekend both on and off the water. Thank you to the club for hosting us and to my fellow boaties for the company and laughs. Thank you to their Owners for entertaining us, as always.
See you all at Largs!