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