Hello all from Zippy the D-Zero.
It’s been a while since my last report because the weather has not been playing fairly. It’s either been too windy, or nothing at all. After a dull few weeks whiling away the hours on shore, my Owner arrived to pack me up for a magical mystery tour, which I understood to involve Whales. I was very excited of course, although also a little concerned about the rumours that she was about to dress me in Bojangles (the Contender)’s blue underpants. I recoiled in horror (a) for sanitary reasons and (b) in case they took off on the road with me in them as they are acres too big for me. Luckily, she had inverted my old top cover, which did the job for this trip and we set off on a spectacular journey involving sheep, mountains, moorland, more sheep, winding country lanes, tractors and even more sheep.
Eventually we rattled up at Lake Bala – the largest natural water body in Wales, which incidentally the River Dee runs through, before eventually reaching the shores of our home waters at West Kirby. The lake is 3.7 miles long by 0.5 miles wide and 138ft deep, so plenty of scope for capsizing.
There were no signs of any Whales, so I sat on the shore waiting for the wind to fill in on the glassy, calm water. Meanwhile, as Owner fussed around assembling my body parts and removing copious amounts of string and travel accessories, she filled me in on the plan for the day.
The event was the Bala Massacre Pursuit Race. The clue was in the title. I was to be released fairly early on in the proceedings and had to massacre all who had gone before me, whilst avoiding being rammed up the bottom by a Catamaran or kited Devil Boat. First one home gets to float another day. Sounded fairly straight forward.
As the breeze filled in, Owner decided we should go out early for some course orientation. I suspect it’s really because she’s still not sure if she’s rigged me correctly. She hadn’t, of course.
We soon came back for some rigging adjustments and noticed the other boats preparing to launch, so set off again fairly sharpish. The postponement flag came down and Owner noticed that a new course was now displayed. Very sneaky. With less than a minute to go before the Solo class start, we noticed that the whole fleet were cruising the start line like ladies of ill-repute. A quick dialogue with one of the Cats revealed that we were now in a handicap race on a mass start. Very sneaky.
Still mindful for my nether regions, I zephyred off the start line and stayed well to windward of the bottom biting giants around me, They tousled, grumbled and blew bad wind at each other. The leading Cat even punched the big orange mark as it went around. I was a stealth ninja and, after the Big Orange, set a course dead downwind with only my boom upright penetrating the ether, like a thin black antenna keeping tabs on the other boats. It was the longest downwind leg ever. The Cats whizzed back and forth, crossing in front of me, but never gaining much. I was still in touch as we rounded the bottom mark. The wind picked up a little until the A-Class Cats were trapezing and Owner was puffing, grunting and pulling on the kicker.
The views were spectacular – no whales and my bottom still intact; what more can a boat ask for? The race finished just short of 2 hours and I then heard that we had won it on handicap by 39 seconds, from the home club Solo (Miles Thomas) and the Flying Dutchman (Julian Bridges) from Port Dinorwic.
A fabulous day out and I was one very tired little Zero, snuggled up with my Winner’s tankard, bottle of vino and a snout full of chandlery vouchers. I’ll be dreaming of spending those on some non-blue, very own pair of perfectly fitting underpants sometime in the near future. If you happen to own a couture pair of Zero boxers that you no longer use, please speak to my Owner.
Zippy Zero 187
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