I’m Zippy Zero, the wee McBoatie, who has just returned from the D-Zero Nationals in Largs. It was an epic event, which we have all been looking forward to.
The day we had all been waiting for finally arrived. The 2021 D-Zero Nationals at long last. 54 boats lined up in the Largs car park and a piper playing his bagpipes to send us out to sea.
I left my berth first and was fitted with a cool and kinky nose stud, which was the race tracker, and mooched off to the slipway to watch the crazy offshore wind doing gusty off-hill bombs at Force 5. I was quite alarmed at the prospect of getting through them to get to the start area, especially with half-baked foils not quite ready to go. As it was just me and Owner and only one of us gets to freak out at a time (and let’s face it, it’s never her turn), I managed to throw in a capsize on leaving the shore just to check if she had all her marbles on board. Thankfully she kept calm and we were back up before too many boats noticed. After a lengthy postponement waiting for the course to be set and re-set, we got away cleanly on the trapezoidal course. It was tricky and gusty, but Dan Holman got an early lead to win from Nick Craig and Gavin Fleming.
In the second race, I was determined not to lose Dan, my man (and superhero) so easily, so I snuggled into a tidy gap that I knew he’d left for me. It all got a little cozy in there with moments to go, but a gaggle of boats were over the line and we had a general recall. The naughty boat flag went up and we had another go. This time, Dan got away to win from Joel Walker and Nick.
No wind was forecast for Day 2, but luckily it was wrong and we had a pleasant breeze to take us to the start line. The pleasant breeze became a strong breeze with heavy showers, creating some dense D-Zero mayhem at the windward mark. I stayed clear of most of the trouble, collecting some flotsam from the others en-route, including a water bottle and Martin Latimer’s hawk, which landed in my cockpit for a change of scenery and better food. Dan won, followed by Nick, Jono Shelley in Storky’s boat and Niel Ritchie.
After a number of recalls, Race 4 got away in a dropping breeze. It was another win for Dan, with Jono, Arran Holman and Nick in the chasing pack.
Race 5 was postponed with seconds to spare on the start line. We all drifted around in the dying breeze, waiting for a steady wind which never came. I hung around at the homeward side of the course, anticipating a scram for the slipway, but the race was well and truly won by Paul Jefferies, who showed a speed not to be seen again on the Largs racecourse.
The rain arrived in time for the fleet beach clean activity and increased throughout the evening and Championship Dinner. Dan had used up all his luck for the weekend by then and the Gods of Scottish Precipitation evened up the scoreboard by filling his tent by the bucketload, even adding a little spider as garnish in the middle of one puddle.
The wind was sadly not to return, so the following day we crowned Dan the defending champion of 2021, with Nick runner up. Jono Shelley had a great couple of days sailing a D-Zero for the first time and finished a creditable 3rd.
In 4th was Arran and 5th Joel Walker. A few special prizes were awarded; our young person was Jamie Briggs in 26th and our first not-so-young person was Billy McCarlie having a stellar Championship and finishing 11th. My Owner Liz Potter was first lady in 30th and a special mention goes to Mike Forbes, who in 49th place, took the coveted Lanterne Rouge, by being the last boat to complete every race – magnificent, given his also not-so-young status and this being his first dinghy event after 50 years!
Stacey Bray (28th) also deserves a mention for travelling all the way from Porthpean to Largs for one day of racing, due to his daughter getting Covid. Another Covid interruption came via Nick’s wife, resulting in an early departure for him from the Championships. I asked my Owner about this Covid thing and she tried to explain about this often debilitating illness which starts with a cough. I looked up some of these new words in my Healthy Boat Compendium and found the closest word to debilitating was delaminating; that’s not good news people. Also, I read that a cough is the expelling of air from an internal cavity. In my world, that’s a leak. Also not good news. So, for all those people who have had to stop racing because of Human Delaminating Leaky Disease, I wish you well.
On Sunday, the double gun signalled the end of the Nationals. Next came the moment to pack up the circus and say farewell to all our friends and fiends. Loading up his triple stacker, David Valentine forgot to allow clearance for the recently added low car park barrier. Luckily there were enough Owners around to stop him, record the moment and offer words of advice, plus a silly hat to remind him to drive carefully.
Thankyou to all who helped run the event, to the amazing Sir Boyd Tunnock who fed our Owners Tunnocks and RSK who also gave us sponsorship. Great photos by Tim Olin and cool snout gear Simon Lovesey!
Lastly a huge thank you for all my fellow Zeros for entering and making this Nationals the biggest one yet! You’re a great bunch. See you soon!
Zippy Zero 333