Welcome back all, to the high-flying racing life of Zippy the D-Zero.
I gather that times are hard and you folk need a touch of cheering up, so here is the story of the action on the Dee estuary this past weekend.
The racing was part of an 8-race series, run jointly by the two estuary based clubs; Dee and West Kirby. The first four races set in February had been wiped out by a number of storms, named by the Met Office. Us boats designated our own names, starting with Anxiety, Bellend and Christalmightyhowmuchwind,
I’ve been sitting it out in Owner’s garden tied to a tree and collecting snails, leaves and some interesting fungus on my transom. Talk of garden fever.
Finally Saturday arrived and I was joined by 25 boats for a flighty trip around Commodore Jean-Louis’ quadrilateral course.
The Dart 18 Catamarans from Dee SC were first start; beating across a strong incoming tide to their very own windward mark, placed mid-estuary. The lead boat, sailed by James and Alison Douglas was obviously self-isolating as it moved a healthy distance away from the rest of the fleet to win the first race, ahead of Glyn and Rosie Hughes and in third was singlehander Jon Hayley, who coped admirably in the gusty strong winds.
Next start was ours; the fast handicap fleet, with an eclectic mix of customers, including 2 fireflies; 2 falcons; 3 lasers, a wayfarer and yours truly the wonderful, fast, charismatic and beloved boatanality, Zippy the Dee Zero!
The race was a close tussle at the front, between Ian McLean’s Albacore “Essex Girl” and Jonathan Aitkinson’s Falcon “Nighthawk”. How the Essex Girl would fare under the steely gaze of the Nighthawker was anybody’s guess, but a crewing senior moment in the Falcon resulted in a fumbled slow pole job, which, as every Essex Girl knows, can be a disaster, particularly when trying to get to the finish line.
Meanwhile, the Zippy was in full power overtaking mode; nose well down underwater and waves breaking over the gooseneck, with Owner trying to slither transomwards mumbling something that sounded like Ship Ship Ship.
I did arrive at the fourth mark ahead of the fleet, but failed to cross the finish line, which was cunningly disguised as a rib carrying a dan buoy which had broken its anchor. This also caught out the Essex Lady, who had to perform some interesting manoevers to complete the course. My Owner was oblivious to much at that stage and decided to head home after far too much excitement for one day.
The race was won on handicap by the extremely well-sailed Laser Radial of Ioannis Kousokeras, followed by the full rigged Laser of Stu Dawson and in third was Jon Atkinson’s Falcon.
The third start was the slow handicap, which had a fine turnout of 9 Oppies and a Miracle sailed by Mike and Ann de St. Paer.
George Creasy sailed a fast race to take first place, followed by Patrick Bromilow in second and Holly Wright in third. Olivia Creasy had an unfortunate capsize and showed true grit and tough spirit by completing the race, particularly as she wasn’t wearing a drysuit!
Another star Oppie lady was the youngest competitor, Isobel Sandon, age 9. After a poor start, she soon pulled into 3rd place behind Patrick Bromilow on the first leg. A promising performance indeed for a gutsy young lady in her maiden voyage in her new boat.
The wind piped up between races and then became rather erratic as it swung more Southerly during the next race. I was back ashore, having checked out with the hugely helpful beach crew of Mark Creasy and Steve Ferrington and gave them both salutary Zippy Corona Elbow Bumps as I mooched onto my trolley.
With two more races to go to complete the series, the final scores will be decided in a fortnight. All three classes are still open for a winner, with up to one point separating the top three in fast and slow handicap and close racing with a clear leader in the Cat class.
As for me, I’m off to meet up with the Wayfarer called Maggie from Dee SC. She’s famous to us boats in the boatpark, as her Owner Steve Kirk and crew Dave Heron sailed her from the North Wirral to Anglesey last year. They finished Saturday’s racing with huge grins and a bottle of beer apiece. Now, that’s what I call sailing.
Keep well my friends – and keep at least a metre behind me at all times.
Until next time,