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Zippy Zero reports from the Harken One Design Regatta 2023 at Largs Sailing Club

by Zippy Zero 26 May 2023 14:22 BST
Jon Bassett wins the D-Zero class in the Harken One Design Regatta at Largs © Zoe Linton

Hi there all! Here is the second part of my travelling adventures that I know you've all been waiting for. Just to recap, I'm Zippy the D-Zero reporting from the boat park back home at West Kirby Sailing Club after 11 days on tour of the North and Scotland. This part is about my adventures in Largs, where I had been entered in the Harken One Design Regatta.

I arrived in Largs a few days early, coming straight from the Northern Championships in Ullswater. The hospitality is always tops at Largs Sailing Club; home to the biggest D-Zero fleet in the country. I was invited to join in their club racing on Wednesday evening and a very pleasant night it turned out to be! Eight D-Zero's raced in a mixed handicap fleet.

A natty little start line set in front of the onshore race box and various hooters; lights; club buoys and a course which I just guessed at. It was like a teen disco - sweaty, heady, sometimes loud but all good fun.

The following Thursday morning was the big event prep day. It's no small feat running this multi-class event, with some 60 boats entered overall. I must give a special mention to Julia Gibson, the Queen and High Priestess of Largs SC, who not only does officey things in the clubhouse, but also comes out into the boat park to greet visitors like me and check that the security fencing is up to standard, keeping my fans and the press at bay.

She also built me my own personal shower area opposite my berth and then scuttled off to organise food, coffee and The Men. I'm considering moving her onto my permanent staff list.

The other helpers that morning were numerous and included D-Zeroists Billy and Janet Mc Carlie, Jon Bassett, Stu Moss and my Owner Liz Potter. They had a busy morning kitting out 8 RIBs, a committee boat and the finish vessel with chains, warps, anchors, flags, recording stuff and repairing and inflating the massive buoys that we find it so hard not to hit.

By Friday, it was my turn for a warm-up sail. The wind was very light and patchy and Owner announced in a "by the way" sort of way, that we were going to sail around the Isle of Cumbrae. She'd clearly been reading too much of Ken Fowler's adventures in his RS Aero "Yoda", who is just completing the circumnavigation of all 262 islands in England and Wales, raising £64,252 for cancer charities.

If you can, please visit his website www.yodare.co.uk and donate to this incredible cause and journey. It's been an epic in every way.

Back to my Owner and Cumbrae - there were a few notable differences between Ken's mission and ours;
(a) It was Me, a highly tuned racing athlete involved in this foolhardy venture.
(b) There was no onshore support.
(c) No intensive planning, other than a 500ml bottle of water and a mobile phone, probably with a low battery and poor signal.
(d) Nobody knew about it.

I had a word with the dolphins, who came to save the day and distracted Owner until the wind ran out and she turned for home.

By 4pm, the wind had returned, so we set off for another little sail and rounded Cumbrae in 1 hour and 50 minutes. She then tootled off all triumphant to the clubhouse to quaff wine with the arriving visitor D-Zero sailors, only remembering to put my cover on inside-out as darkness fell. On my to do list is; Call Boatline, the RNLI, the coastguard and Julia.

Saturday heralded the start of the Largs Harken One Design Regatta. After an hour of windless postponement, 14 D-Zeros went to sea in a light breeze. The wind was doing peculiar things and made some unexpected shifts. Willie Todd, Alistair (Storky) McLaughlin, Martin Latimer, and yours truly all went left, which was wrong if you wanted to get to the windward mark first.

Willie somehow went far, far wronger than everyone else, which made it right and he got to the front of the pack. Storky had super-speed and used it to catch up and sail to the original windward mark on the second beat, which was also wrong, because there were actually two windward marks to keep up us out of Skiff traffic. As he approached the correct windward mark, he caught Simon Limb's port tack D-Zero getting over friendly with Willie's Starboard tack boat and suggested that someone do some turns so that he could pass by. Please.

Meanwhile, Jon Bassett stayed out of trouble, sailed to the correct marks on each lap and won the race.

Race 2 saw a huge windshift that we were, once again, on the wrong side of. Storky took the lead and extended it to the horizon for a clear win. A closely packed fleet battled out the rest of the places, but the second beat changed to a fetch, making any place changes very tricky. Jon stayed ahead of the pack to finish second, followed by Ian Baillie and Richard Bryant.

By race 3, we had a minor onboard rebellion, as I was fed up with trailing at the back of the fleet. I took over as navigator, sail trimmer, flight controller and jellyfish liaison officer. We muddled our way up the first beat, rounding mid-fleet. The reach was fun and I really got into my element. By the run, I'd found some personal wind most humans would be embarrassed about.

With Martin Latimer chomping at my wake, I overtook a number of boats, rounding the bottom mark behind Storky, Jon, Ian and Simon. Another good lap had me rounding the wing mark behind The Stork, where I was eyeing up his transom for my next assault. As it turned out Storky was OCS, giving me the win as I crossed the finish line. Close behind was Simon, followed by Jon and Ian.

There finished the racing for the day as the wind faded to nothing.

As it turned out, that was the end of the event, as Sunday was windless and racing was abandoned by midday. This meant we had no discards, which was tough on the OCS threesome of Storky, Scott Munro and our new junior sailor Finley Briggs (who'd put in a speedy fifth in the second race).

The points showed that Jon Bassett was our clear winner, Followed by Ian Baillie in second and Simon Limb in third.

A great event enjoyed by all us boats and you Owners. Thank you to the Club, the race teams, rescue boats and sponsors.

D-Zero Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st306Jon BASSETTLargs SC1236
2nd336Ian BAILLIEDalgety Bay SC53412
3rd160Simon LIMBLargs SC48214
4thGBR22Alistair MCLAUGHLINLargs SC31OCS19
5th265Billy MCCARLIELargs SC69520
6th283Willie TODDLargs SC211821
7th189Richard BRYANTAnnandale SC94922
8thGBR57Martin LATIMERLargs SC87722
9th333Liz POTTERWest Kirby SC1112124
10th353Scott MUNROASYC76OCS28
11thGBR344Mick GREENRossendale Valley SC1210628
12th215Finley BRIGGSLargs SC105OCS30
13thGBR251Stuart MOSSLargs SC13131137
14th236Calum MCCRINDLELargs SC14141038

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