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D-Zeros at Largs Regatta Festival 2019

by Liz Potter 29 Aug 18:32 BST 24-25 August 2019
Largs Regatta Festival 2019 © Marc Turner / www.pfmpictures.co.uk

Greetings from Zippy Zero, DZero 187, traveller and adventurer. I've just got back from a long weekend in Largs, Scotland. It was their Regatta Festival and 95 boats entered the event!

We travelled North from West Kirby on Friday morning and I was launched by late afternoon for a perfect breezy practice before the racing started on Saturday. There were very few boats out, but I did clock a very damp Billy McCarlie coming ashore after an intensive session of DZ capsize practice. These Scots take things too seriously you know.

By evening, the locals came over to enjoy the party sponsored by the fabulous Saturn Sails at their loft and my fellow Zeros and I shared a few tins of WD40 which were on special offer. Slippy Zippy, yum yum.

The next morning dawned warm and sunny. The first race started on time, despite the lack of wind. By the first mark, the wind had made a radical shift and the race was unexpectedly abandoned, because of a foreseeable breach in time limit. What a shame, as we were second around that mark behind Jon Bassett. We sailed back to the start boat well inside the time limit to make a point.

The race was then re-started, most bizarrely, on a fetch to the windward mark, which had been moved closer to us. It was quite an exciting mark rounding. We came away in third place behind Alistair Storky McLaughlin and Jon but lost out to Glenn Andrews and Martin Latimer on the second lap, when the wind had shifted again and they both put the extra tack in early.

The second race started with a 90-degree shift on the line. We were stuck at the start boat end, unable to cross the line on starboard and then got caught up in some very slow traffic. Storky had no such problems and romped away with a win once again, with Jon in 2nd, Glen in 3rd and Ken Hathaway in 4th place.

The final race was light and shifty (did you spot the theme?). We managed a third, behind Storky and Jon, with Stuart Moss finishing as 4th DZero behind me.

Apart from our top two DZ's, the results looked a little different once the rest of the alpha dinghy fleet were factored in, with the light conditions sometimes favouring Laser, Solo and Laser EPS. Still, it was a good turnout for me and my fellow classmates; 40% of the fleet were DZero's! By the end of the first day, Storky was a clear leader with three 1st places on handicap!

We left the racecourse in a dying breeze, with the late summer sun shimmering over Great Cumbrae - our circumnavigational challenge for the next day. I had done my research about this mystical Island and a few things were worrying me. It started off most re-assuringly; Apparently Saint Mirren had been here many many years before and rid the Island of snakes. All good so far. More interesting snippets followed:

  1. Cumbrae can experience gale force winds from the Atlantic at any time of year. These can be severe and destructive.

  2. Just South of the ferry slipway lies a WW2 wreck, the Catalina flying boat.

  3. Cumbrae lies close to two nuclear power stations. The waters are host to the UK's nuclear deterrent Vanguard class submarines carrying trident missiles.

  4. Local marine life includes seals, dolphins, basking sharks and porbeagle sharks.

So far, that's a lot of stuff for me to bump into on my 11-mile race around the Island. Anything else? Then I read about the 4.5-billion-year-old crocodile, who had its face painted by a Mr. McBrown, allegedly after a lunchtime toddy some 100 years ago. It is widely photographed, mostly with brave humans standing on it, whilst feeding small children into its gaping jaws.

My dreams that night developed into terrifying images of a Zippy-chomping beast lurking in the shallows to snag me on the rocks.

The next morning we set off in very light airs, leaving Great Cumbrae to port. The start was a little confusing because the postponement was put up after the start gun. Several boats including me, went back to re-start. Glen Andrews made a slow drifting bid for the Island, crossing the main channel and braving the adverse tide. Storky, Martin and Billy drifted up the Largs shoreline hoping for wind and Stuart and My Owner just bobbed around near the start line trying to get away anywhere.

A slight breeze filled in from the Cumbrae shore. Glenn took off and was looking very small by the time we got moving. The wind continued to build and, by the time we turned around the North side of the Island, we were flying along in a very pleasant breeze on a tight fetch looking out for submarines, sharks, wrecks and Crocodile Rocks. By the next turning mark, the wind had dropped again and we ran along the far side of the Island. After a while, a peculiar tidal rip appeared, which was not on my list of hazards. Some boats went wide of it and others ahead hugged the Island shoreline. We opted for the Island and found a great back eddy current which swept us the rest of the way along the Island to our next turning mark; the South Cardinal, which stood guard at the South end of the Island.

Here, the wind shifted once more before petering out mid channel. At the end of the wind supply lay a raft of floppy-sailed craft of various sizes and personalities. Amongst them, I could just make out a small grey triangle of sail belonging to Billy Mc Carlie.

A tiny breath of wind filled in from the South inshore, so we continued to hug the Island and rode the zephyr, closing in on the leading DZ of Storky, who was doing the same thing. I could by now clearly see the dual transoms of Martin Latimer and his boat who had chosen a route slightly further offshore. He was chasing the darker line of water up ahead, which signalled the return of the Northerly wind we had started in. But where would it fill in first? Storky's guess was correct and he ended up laying the finish line in one tack. Martin tacked off to find the inside of the wind bend, whilst Glenn and Billy both lost out, beating up the middle to the finish. Meanwhile, Stuart headed for the Largs shore; I heard his boat was hedging its bets and staying on the homeward side of the channel.

We completed the race after a hot and mostly windless epic in 3 hours 44 minutes, some 20 minutes behind the race winner Storky, giving him the overall first prize in the weekend's Regatta Series.

The wind shift favoured the leaders, as it dropped away after the first boats completed the race. The final finisher, a Laser Radial, completed just short of five hours to a loud hooting of guns and cheers from the race team.

A most enjoyable and well organised Regatta. Love the Scots. Great racing, great food, great socials.

We'll be back.

Zippy Zero 187

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClubPYR1R2R3R4Pts
1stDEVOTI D‑ZERO22Alistair McLaughlin PSC1029111‑33
2ndDEVOTI D‑ZERO306Jon Bassett LSC1029522(DNC)9
3rdSOLO5801Willie Todd LSC11432‑96210
4thLASER180764Gavin McGill LSC10993‑119113
5thDEVOTI D‑ZERO281Glenn Andrews LSC102973‑15414
6thLASER EPS199Angus Winchester CSSC10334‑154715
7thGP1414062Alan WatsonSue WatsonBassenthwaite11306‑85617
8thDEVOTI D‑ZERO57Martin Latimer LSC102985‑12518
9thDEVOTI D‑ZERO187Liz Potter WKSC10299‑173921
10thGP1413460Peter CollingsJohn HaslerCSSC1130‑13681024
11thDEVOTI D‑ZERO156Ken Hathaway PSC102910411(DNC)25
12thDEVOTI D‑ZERO265Billy McCarlie LSC1029‑11710825
13thDEVOTI D‑ZERO251Stuart Moss LSC1029‑121071229
14thLARK2487Kevin RobinsonGill RobinsonSwarkestone SC1073‑1912141339
15thGP1414056Arthur LoganIain HardyCSSC11301514‑171140
16thLASER178080Stuart Davidson StMLSC1099‑2213131440
17thEUROPE203Samuel Sloss LSC1141142019(RET)53
18thLASER RADIAL185702Stuart Khaliq LSC11452119(DNF)1555
19thHADRON H2105Chris Nichol LSC1034172216(RET)55
20thSUPERNOVA1108Mark Edwards LSC1077201818(DNC)56
21stSUPERNOVA1252Andy Bignal LSC10771816(DNS)DNC59
22nd42051989Findlay HerringtonTess CrooksPSC11111621(DNF)DNF62
23rd42020466Gordon MacDonaldJohn MacDonaldCSSC1111(DNC)DNCDNCRET75
23rdENTERPRISE4026Crawford JohnstoneLorna MacDonaldCSSC1119(DNC)DNCDNCRET75

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