Tag: Chichester Harbour Gin

The Adventures of Zippy Zero – Zippy goes Doooune to the Wattter in Scortland

Greetings from McZippy, the Zero after a happy weekend away tootling about with 17 of my DZero buddies in Largs at the Scottish Championships.

Zippy sporting a rather fetching Kilt

It was a long way to go, but not as far as for our long-suffering Class distributor, David Valentine from Emsworth SC and Tom Ballingham from Warsash, who picked up the long distance award! Still, it was well worth the long drive; spectacular scenery, impressive club, superbly slick and organised race organising team and very friendly hosts, although I was the only boat wearing a kilt.

Saturday’s wind was light but steady. We were set a triangle course, with a wee leg off it to take us past the committee boat each lap. I had a good start, but was sailing rather slowly upwind. Owner had moved my mainsheet inboard on the traveller, as is the Done Thing in light airs, but it was definitely stalling my sail out upwind. It meant a lot of downwind catching up had to be done, but that’s what Zippy excels at and I set off snuffling out those little puffs and waves that help me on my way. I worked my way up to 7th place in that race, after nipping a couple of places from Tom McWhitehead and Billie McCarlie on the last reach. The next three races were all good starts and I went the right way, but just struggled with my upwind boat speed. Owner twitched and fiddled with my sail controls, but my face was wrinkled with frown lines.

When we came ashore, God Valentine spotted my despair and came over to look at my setup. He stroked a long beard that I imagined he could have had and looked long and hard at my creased sail. He poked, prodded and wobbled my battens and he said he thought they might be broken. I dropped my sail for him and he took a look inside. Then all was revealed – my lower 3 battens were in the wrong way and I’d been sailing with a floppy leech for the past 3 years!

The following day, I shot off upwind in hot pursuit of the series leader, Alistair McLaughlin and finished a respectable 3rd behind Jon McBassett. The next race involved a gaggle of over-enthusiastic boats jumping the gun at the start line and a number of the non-returners were disqualified at the end of the race. The guilty Owners were Tom Overtheliningham, David Valent-over the-line and Jon Bassitontheline-and-then-go-early.

I zipped off to bag another 3rd behind McLaughlin and Niel McRitchie.

Take your marks……

For the last race, Owner got us on the wrong side of a shift and we were back to playing catch up. There were some tricky moments at the leeward mark when the other classes at the event – Musto Skiffs and RS200’s needed to round our mark. Owner bravely persevered with getting on the inside of these pressure sucking beasts of dubious morality. The unfortunate Zero of Jonathan McBriggs was not so lucky and was badly violated by two ladies (of possibly ill-repute) in an RS200 who barged in with no water rights and caused him to ram me up the behind as we rounded the mark. Watching him do his turns, I felt sorry for him for a brief moment, but reasoned that if he hadn’t lost so much ground luffing me on the last reach, letting God V through in the process and accepted I’m too Zippy for him downwind, he wouldn’t have been there. Meanwhile his young son, Jamie McBriggs, was having an ace of a weekend in the demo boat, bagging a few 2nd places and making it look easy; clean off the start line, probably opening a bottle of pop, chewing on some Haribos and watching the latest vids on youtube on his mobile.

That race was to be the last and it put me in 7th place overall. The bronze medal went to Jon McBassett, silver to Ian McBaillie and the Championship was won by Alistair McLaughlin – though I cannot understand why somebody nicknamed Stalker should fail to follow anyone, particularly me, which would be nice. I will have words with him before the Nationals.

For those who like to see the full result of the tussles I had with my friends you can find them by clicking here.

Zippy Zero 187

DZero.co.uk/Chichester Harbour Gin D-Zero Scottish Championships

With a continuously expanding Scottish fleet and with the D-Zero Nationals in Scotland in 2020 the fourth Largs SC D-Zero Open was designated as the “Scottish Championships” and as a result attracted 17 boats – 12 Scottish boats and five from south of the border.

Alistair McLaughlin (2nd at the Nationals), Ian Baillie (renowned RS300 and Laser Sailor), Niel Ritchie and Jon Bassett (both D-Zero hot shots) were all potential podium finishers while David Valentine (Tin Man) has shown really good speed when the wind is up and was not to be underestimated. Racing was bound to be close.

Race 1 was held in light to moderate winds increasing to the end of the day. Sailing was close and the first race went to the Flying Stork (old man McLaughlin) who was pushed hard by the Tin Man (apparently tin foil outer wear is the in thing doon soof according the Mr Valentine) followed by Ian Baillie – it was clear that experience was going to count …… or so the top boys thought? In Race 2 a local 14 year old lad with no experience in the D-Zero showed the old guard how it should be done pushing Ian Baillie hard and beating the Wounded Stork (pride that is!). Close racing was to be had throughout the fleet with Grumpy Latimer being pipped over the line, inches apart, by the Flying Doctor (wee Billy McCarlie). In Race 3 the wind started to pick up a little and continued to for the rest of the race, but still not much more than a force 3. Normal service was resumed in race 3 with Storky leading, Ian Baillie 2nd and a battling Niel Ritchie and Jon Bassett 3rd and 4th. They could relax as Jamie Briggs was taking time out to let others use the demo boat. Race 4 was sailed in good but reducing winds and Ian Baillie kept the pressure on Storky by taking a storming lead with Jon Bassett keeping McLaughlin honest. Four great races, with hot starting and reading the first beat being the rules for the day.

End of Day 1 – Alistair Mclaughlin counting 4 points, Ian Baillie 4pts and Jon Bassett 11pts.

After a burger and pint whilst watching the football, resembling the Massacre of Glencoe, 6-0 to Man City, the D-Zeroists joined with the Musto Skiffs, Vortex and RS200 crews for some excellent curry, and great food organised by Largs SC who also provided more than a few nips of Glenfiddich 12yr old “free gratis” – (yes the Scots are incredibly generous). After a great social, some exaggerated sailing chat, a wee bit o’ sarcasm and a few more pints the “honed” D-Zeroists headed for home.

Day 2 dawned with a bit of an overcast sky and zero wind and the race officer sensibly postponed for and hour or so. Much to everyone’s surprise the postponement flag was taken down when no wind was on the horizon, catching out many who had not even changed for sailing, but Tin Man was “oot thar” reflecting great optimism, if absolutely no taste in sailing attire. Racers from the forty plus race fleet pumped and sailed out to the start, when lo and behold the wind filled in – the race officer is a Genius!

Race 5 was fired off in a steadying F1/2 and the Stork was to show that there’s life in the old bird yet, but things were not too great for Ian Baillie who posted an 8th whilst Jon Bassett was on fire posting a 2nd and wee Jamie was up to his usual tricks by coming 3rd (potential in that lad we think!). McZippy Zero, 187, had given her helm (Liz Potter) a severe talking to the night before and ticked her off for having the bottom three battens in back to front, Liz says they were always like that! – anyway reversing the battens worked and reversed Liz’s bad fortunes to give her a flying 4th place. Race 6 showed how keen all the fleet were to beat the Stork with five boats being OCS, and only two going back. Jon Bassett was convinced Niel Ritchie had bribed the race team as he was sure Niel was ahead of him on the line – the only time Jon would be happy to say that- but he had to post an OCS nevertheless! The racing was as hot as ever and McLaughlin did it again with a win and Ian Baillie was further frustrated to post a 7th, 2nd place went to Jamie Briggs (really annoying those Topper Nippers aren’t they!) and in 3rd place was his dad, Jamie Briggs (who clearly taught Jamie all he new and a bit more besides). Race 7 was to be the last race of the day as failing winds and the earlier postponement meant the time limits would come into play. Another solid race from Storky Mclaughlin saw him finish 1st but Jamie was still hot on his heals in 2nd with a recovering Ian Baillie in 3rd (I don’t think Ian is going to be easy to beat as he gets more familiar with the D-Zero). Billy McCarlie (FYC) pipped Jon Bassett and Niel Ritchie to the line in 4th.

All in all a fantastic regatta with Alistair McLaughlin taking the title of D-Zero Scottish Champion and the rights to carry an “S” on his sail for the coming year – nothing like being set up as a target. Jamie Briggs retired as he was in the demo boat and didn’t sail all the races, but he got Top Yoof award and Tom Ballingham, Warsash SC, got the award for furthest travelled.

Final results were:
1st – 7pts – Alistair (Storky) McLaughlin – Prestwick SC
2nd – 15pts – Ian Baillie – Dalgety Bay SC
3rd – 20pts – Jon Bassett – Largs SC
7th – 43pts – Top Lady Helm and Correct Top Batten!
Full results at can be found by clicking here.

Thanks go to the sponsors, Rob Brown (RO), Howard Smallwood (Race Sec), the race team and Bosuns Table for a fantastic event. All looks good for the 2020 D-Zero Nationals at Largs.

Six Scottish D-Zeros head to their Nationals in Weymouth at the end of the month and the Scottish Fleet can look forward to more hot racing in Scotland at Aberdeen (ASYC) and the Largs Regatta in August, the Northern Travellers at Prestwick SC in September and the Largs Winter Series.

Photos courtesy of Marc Turner (Pfm Pictures), Gordon Cochrane and Martin Latimer (LSC)

The Adventures of Zippy Zero – Zippy, Hannah and the Great Yorkshire Tea Monster

It’s Zippy, the Zero, checking in after another exciting weekend away, this time at the D-Zero Inland Championships at Yorkshire Dales. Despite the extreme wind weather forecasts depicting Storm Hannah’s track across the country for Saturday, 22 D-Zeros turned up from as far as Aberdeen, Glasgow, Devonshire, Sussex and Cambridge.

Ready to launch and fight with Hannah Photo copyright Paul Hargreaves

We set off on a wet Friday afternoon, with the hope of getting a practice sail in. After 4 hours of diverting off motorways, we approached the reservoir on it’s long scenic road, which Owner fondly refers to as the “Top Gear Run”; still the same as she remembered it last September, complete with speed trap grills and exotic birds lined up on the fences to admire my attractive rear end flying behind her vehicle.

The heavy rain was accompanied by low temperatures, so I got ditched alongside my fellow travellers, all in the same state of full waterproofs and total bedraglement. I noticed that some Zeros were wearing their underpants on top of their overcovers. These were obviously a Super Hero breed and I made a silent note to try out their cool fashion when no-one was looking. The Owners all disappeared to the clubhouse in search of warm drinks and a weather app which did not depict 35 knots of wind for the next day.

Carving through the tea Photo copyright Paul Hargreaves

Saturday dawned cold and wet, though not too windy. That was yet to come. A quick call home on my secret mobile informed me that West Kirby boat park had already seen gusts in excess of 50 knots and there were some boats that were lying down to evade the worst of it. Back at the Dales, us boats were rigged and ready to go afloat by 1pm. The first freaky Hannah gusts had begun and Owner had to sit on my nose for a while to stop me taking off before launching. The Race Officer started the race sequence on time and we set off minus half of the ​fleet. I shot off the pin end and tried to weather the huge gusts, rounding the first mark around 7th. I could see the leading boats ahead of me reaching to the first gybe mark and then a huge gust hit them and all I could see were plumes of spray the colour of cold tea, from the ochreous waters of Grimwith Reservoir. They fell over like sticks as they attempted to gybe, and there was so much debris by the time we got there with my cockpit full of the finest Yorkshire tea, that Owner did a carving gybe worthy of a Top Gear chicane and we shot off to the next gybe mark to manoeuvre through the next group of upturned hulls. By the second lap, some of the boats behind had caught up on the shift up the beat. We survived upright to finish 9th, with Aberdeen’s Neil Ritchie winning from National Champion Steve Bolland and Dalgety Bay’s Ian Baille in 3rd .

The wind continued to increase over the next race and the boat corpses continued to pile up at the gybe marks. The tea flew liberally and, on the tighter reach, Owner resigned herself to sailing by braille, occasionally filling her ears to avoid the biggest waves. By the last gybe mark of the day, we were still upright, but the Great Yorkshire Tea Monster had crept onboard and untied my mainsheet end and it was now being sucked out of the open transom by the denizen of the deep. Owner fought back bravely, retrieving great wodges of it and trying to re-tie a bowline, whilst screeching downwind, clinging to my tiller and performing strange windscreen wiper actions to remove the tea jets out of her eyes.

Sending the tea flying Photo copyright Paul Hargreaves

The Race Officer had somehow failed to hoist the shortened course flag, and was shouting at the race leaders Ian Baille and Neil because they had sailed to the wrong mark, so we all had to go another round with Hannah. The race was won by Steve Bolland, with Jon Bassett from Largs 2nd and his truly, God Almighty, Zero maker, overtaker with mast raker, David Valentine in 3rd place. By the end of the day, we were lying in 6th place overall, thanks to the swimmers, the absconders and my blistering downwind boatspeed. My Owner was a mere passenger.​

Once ashore, the action was far from over, as a small tornado passed down the reservoir, uprooting a new Zero from its trolley and decimating the tent of Jon Cowper on the shoreline. I am told that it’s not the first time he’s been troubled by passing wind and he joined the cold and homeless in the back of somebody’s car that night.

By Day 2, the winds had thankfully abated and changed direction, so we were given a fabulous reaching course, where I bagged a 5th place, behind the winner Steve Bolland, Prestwick’s Alistair McLaughlin, our Zero Assoc Chairman Paul Jefferies and Jon Bassett. For the next two races, the wind swung around and played havoc with us poor boats. The windward mark was pushed up into a far corner under a hill and the technique was to sneak up on it without the wind noticing. Two unsuccessful sneakers were Neil Ritchie, who got tacked by a large wind shift before he noticed and then let go of his mainsheet, capsizing with much oooooo noooooooo’s on top of Alistair Glen’s boat. Neil’s boat tried to insert it’s mast inside Alistair’s boom sleeve and it was all getting a little steamy as I zipped past, whilst the Owners were trying to disentangle them.

Owner looking happy Photo copyright Paul Hargreaves

I wasn’t very good at the silly wind game game and finished up with a mid-fleet discard. Ian Baille and Paul Jefferies took the first two dodgy wind race places, followed by Gavin Flemming from Hunts SC.

By the final race, the wind was behaving very badly. This made the mark roundings potentially hazardous. Luckily, the DZ Owners are a friendly lot and seemed to enjoy a lot of jovial banter with each other. I usually struggle to understand what they are saying, particularly if they are Scottish, but the exchanges which are most often passed are “Room”, which must be an offer to stay the night, “Starboard” (oh look, our booms are touching), “Up” (can I help you over the start line?). I even heard “Can I go?” called to every boat by a Scotsman on Port tack, even though he’d only arrived the night before and on outward appearances, seemed to be having fun. It was to be the last race, as the wind dwindled away and the time ran out. Tom Southwell ​was the last race winner, with Paul Jefferies enjoying the sneaky conditions and bagging a second, with Gordon Stewart in 3rd .

We were packed up in pleasant sunshine and the new Inland Champion Steve Bolland was crowned, with Paul Jefferies taking the runner up prize, followed by Tom Southwell. The prizes were sponsored by David Valentine of dzero.co.uk and Chichester Harbour Gin.

I came 11th overall, tying for points with Mr God Valentine, maker, heartbreaker and taker of 10th place on some obscure factor known only to the Genie inside the Sailwave programme.

It was a truly wonderful weekend, supported by a professional, warm and welcoming club, with great volunteers, fabulous food and underfloor heating. It was a weekend of winning and losing, give and take. I gained a brand new kicker, after seeing Mick Green’s explode in the windy race and I lost a trolley tyre on the Skipton roundabout on the way home. Owner lost critical places on the final short beat of the last race, but gained a whole load of new friends and some happy memories.

Next up is Largs in a month, so I have around 30 days to learn a new language. Until then;

“Awa’, an bile yer heid”
Zippy Zero 187

Dzero.co.uk Chichester Harbour Gin D-Zero Inland Championship 2019 – Report and Results

The last weekend in April saw the D-Zero fleet gather at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club for their 2019 Inland Championships which were sponsored by the UK D-Zero dealer dzero.co.uk and Chichester Harbour Gin.

As the weekend approached a fair bit of attention was paid to the forecast with the late announcement that Storm Hannah would be venting her fury across the country on Saturday.

Charge! Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

The early arrivals on Friday all canned the idea of going for a friendly sail in the afternoon as the rain fell giving the surrounding countryside a good wash. Thoughts soon turned to the evening entertainment and a good contingent of the early arrivals decamped to The Forresters in nearby Grassington for an evening meal and the usual D-Zero class banter to start. With the following day in mind though most of the fleet opted for an early night.

Saturday dawned and it was clear the Hannah was wreaking havoc with the sailing calendar with events to the south being cancelled or postponed. Not so for us. Dodging the rain and the showers boats were prepared ready for battle. Following a hearty lunch and briefing boats wee moved down to the shore ready to launch. At this point Hannah decided that a squall was just what we needed. Dave Valentine seemed to pay no attention and luanch anyway soon followed by Niel Ritchie who went of for a bit of a blast. Dave soon realised the rest of us were waiting and came back to cower on shore whilst the squall went through.

Gavin Fleming battles the breeze Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

Race 1

Race 1 got underway in a good breeze. After a clean start, relative newcomer to the fleet Gavin Fleming showed everyone how to master the conditions and led us round the windward mark. From there he held on in the increasing wind and looked set for the bullet until the last beat to the line where he decided that getting stuck in irons would be a fun game to play and slipped down the order eventually crossing in 8th. For most people it was survival conditions but the big boys were having a ball with Niel Ritchie taking the bullet ahead of current National Chamopion Steve Bolland in second and Ian Ballie completing the podium.

Not so keen on this cold Yorkshire Tea! Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

Race 2

Race 2 was back to back with race 1 and Hannah decided that there simply wasnt enough wind across the course so ramped it up another notch. What happened for most of the race your roving reporter cannot say but there were people hanging on for grim death and cpasized boats littering the race course.

The only event of note was that the race leaders seemed to have a navigational issue and headed off to the wrong mark. This left your roving reporter in a nett 3rd place only needing to bring it home. unfortunately this proved to be impossible and after a long swim I have the pleasure of being the only boat towed ashore.

Niel and Ian gracefully retired having realised their error. this left Steve to take the bullet followed home by relative lightweight Jon Basset and Dave Valentine completing the podium. Steve was heard to utter his phrase of ‘weapons grade wind’ to which everyone agreed.

So overnight Steve led from Dave and Tom. With many people counting at least 1 DNF/DNS Sunday could see everything change.

As the fleet relaxed in the clubhouse waiting for dinner it seemed that Hannah had one final trick up her sleeve. As we watched on a huge squall came down the lake, ripping spray off the surface, blowing 1 boat of its trolley (with only minor damage thankfully) and shredding Jon Cowpers tent and giving his bedding a shower.

After the excitement of the squall (too exciting for some including D-Zero poster boy Tom Southwell who took a nap on the sofa) Yorkshire Dales excelled themselves providing an excellent meal for the assembled competitors. Tom seemed to be energised after his nap and managed to consume the extra puddings, a total of 4 (perhaps he was hoping for more wind on Sunday). After plenty of banter some aching bodies retired to their accommodation whilst other once again made their way to The Forresters for more beer and banter.

Sunday dawned dry and bright with a gentle breeze blowing from the north, a complete contrast to Saturday. With an earlier start posted in the hopes of completing 4 races the fleet launched early and full contingent made their way over the start.

2019 Inland Champion Steve Bolland Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

Race 3

on a crowded and slightly starboard biased line it was clear that getting off the line would be key. The fleet were a little too keen and combined with a shift the RO decided we should all come back and try again.

At the second time of asking, and under black flag, we got away cleanly. This time Steve and your roving report (and class chair) led the fleet up to the first mark. Not everyone was as successful with someone electing to take a dip right after tacking (apparently the mainsheet was dropped as they hiked out). Cue some encouragement from their fellow competitors At the windward mark Steve led closely followed by myself with Alistair ‘Storky’ McLaughlin in hot pursuit. By the next mark Storky had managed to sneak past me and set off in pursuit of Steve. It was not to be though and Steve took the bullet from Storky with me completing the podium. Notably Liz Potter in Zippy Zero (the resident class blogging boat) came home 4th seemingly finding the lighter conditions very much to her liking (also notable that Liz and Zippy were one of the few boats that didn’t take a dip the previous day).

This result meant Steve had 1 hand on the trophy but with the wind being fickle at times and no one really having a consistent series everything could change.

The Mr Happy of the D-Zero fleet…. Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves

Race 4

Race 4 got away immediately after race 3 and the chances of getting all 6 races in were looking good.

This time your roving reporter shot off the start line to lead at the windward mark followed by Ian and Gavin just ahead of a large chunk of boats. Steve was buried in the fleet, could he pull it back?

Ian and Gavin both got past me on the next beat but the wind gods decided to throw a curve ball with the wind bec
Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves oming increasingly fickle at the start of the second lap. Gavin seemed to miss the wind filling in allowing me back past and I set off in pursuit of Ian. Catching him quickly down the reach I was thinking of glory as Gavin found himself slipping back towards the chasing pack. Again it was not to be with Ian extending out down the final reach to take the bullet followed by myself with Gavin completing the podium.

This threw a lifeline to Steves’ rivals, could they take advantage? Cue another curve ball from the wind gods who decided a shift was in order. After a couple of attempts to get us away that were abandoned due to shifts, the wind dropping away completely then filling in from a different direction it looked as though that might be it.

The RO decided we had not had enough though and got us away for a 5th race.

Paul Jefferies gets his ‘game face’ on Photo Copyright Paul Hargreaves 

Race 5

With the wind now coming in streaks from the north east corner it was clear that whoever got in to one would be home and free, could anyone do that? The answer was yes with Storky getting away and showing the fleet a clean transom. Behind him it was very much a game of snakes and ladders with those who were dead and buried one minute finding themselves back up at the front the next. On the second lap you roving reporter decided there was nothing to lose by following everyone high on the run and decided to gybe off after spotting what looked to be some wind coming off the eastern shore. This paid handsomely and, much to the chagrin of the entire fleet except Storky (who was long gone) and Tom (who managed to stay ahead), I popped out in 3rd place. Only 2 and a bit legs to go for another goo result. With the wind filling in a little it seemed Tom and I were destined to battle it our for second. Tom managed to hook into some new breeze by the next mark and extended away leaving me to try and hold off Steve for 3rd.

After a nervy leg where the wind filled in behind I rounded the final mark just ahead of Steve with Gordon Stewart closing rapidly on us. Steve tried some Jedi mind tricks to try and encourage me to tack before the filling breeze reached us. In the end he tacked away from underneath and we drag raced to the line, me taking it by a boat length. Unfortunately for Steve he was OCS.

But what had happened to Storky who had crossed the line to silence? Turns out he was a little too keen at the start and was over along with Steve. This promoted Tom to race winner, myself to another second and Gordon to 3rd.

At this point the RO had decided we had enough and sent us ashore as the wind dropped further and became even more shifty. Back on shore people were speculating on the result. It looked like Steve had done enough to add the Inlands title to his National Championship title but who was second and third?

None were more surprised than myself to discover I had come second overall with Tom completing the podium.

At prize giving the host club, sponsors and competitors were all thanked. Richard Paynter from the host club announced the winners with Dave Valentine from dzero.co.uk presenting the prizes. Everyone agreed it was a great event and, thanks to the generosity of the prizes from the event sponsors and Yorkshire Dales no one went away empty handed.

Paul Hargreaves was on site over the weekend, you can see his excellent photos by clicking here. The class would like to extend their thanks to Paul for allowing us to use his photos.


Full results can be found by clicking here. A summary of the prize winners is below:

1st Steve Bolland Bristol Corinthinan Yacht Club
2nd Paul Jefferies Hunts SC
3rd Tom Southwell Netley SC
1st Lady Liz Potter West Kirby SC
Furthest Traveller Niel Ritchie Aberdeen and Stonehaven SC

From here the D-Zero class moves on to Largs SC on the 18th/19th May for the dzero.co.uk Chichester Harbour Gin D-Zero Scottish Championships.

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