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Zippy Zero makes land at the Menai Strait Regattas

by Zippy Zero 15 Aug 2022 12:09 PDT 24-26 June 2022
Zippy Zero - Menai Straits Regatta 2022 © Paul Hargreaves Photography

Hello all from Zippy the D-Zero, reporting from Beaumaris, on the Island of Anglesey, North Wales.

It's been the Menai Straits fortnight; a series of regattas run by local clubs catering for everything from dinghies to cruisers. I joined the fun mid-way through at Port Dinorwic - a top dinghy club, located half-way along the Straits. The Saturday dawned with warm sunshine and moderate winds. 14 dinghies and 20 tidal class boats entered.

A fellow D-Zero arrived, helmed by Owner's mate Mick Green from Rossendale SC. We set off in our race, fairly oblivious to the other fast handicap dinghies and played "up-the-shore, nose-to-transom" tacking duels, to see how close we could get to the beach without getting a parking ticket. There were plenty of opportunities for going aground during the three laps and I'm sure we were even on landings at the end of the race.

However, Mick's boat finished ahead in seventh place overall, with me close behind in eighth.

The race was won by Steve Owen in an ILCA6 called "Dim Cliw", though I suspect he wasn't that clueless really and just watched us D-Zeros to see where we'd gone aground.

At the end of the day, some boats were sailed back to Beaumaris through the Swellies, whilst others were packed on trailers and the local ones were covered and put back to bed in the boatpark. We lounged around in the heat and late sunshine, ogling at the stunning sunset and enjoying the kind hospitality of Port Dinorwic Sailing Club. Thank you all - I can see why you won RYA Club of the Year last year!

On Sunday, Owner packed me up and found the thinnest, highest bridge to take me over to Anglesey on. I swear my trolley wheels were free spinning over the edges with vertigo.

There are two of these colossal height bridges and they form an iconic passing point through the Straits on Day 3 of the Regattas.

This race happens during the first week and I heard tales of terror from other boats about big waves, strong winds, broken masts and the Welsh firing cannonballs off the Caernarfon castle walls at fast little boats like me. Fortunately, Owner was doing other things last week, so I live another year.

We arrived at Beaumaris Green, which was to be my home for the next week. I was rigged and left on the grass with some Falcons and seagulls for company, whilst Owner promptly disappeared on the Wayfarer of Mark and Phil Finch, who came up with a better offer of a pint and picnic at the Gazelle Inn on the bank near Menai Bridge.

I was up for a pint and some playtime, but Owner labelled me as too delicate to park on the beach. We'll see, I thought. I know a thing or two about parking...

Monday was the turn of Menai Bridge Regatta and it turned out to be a low tide race amongst the sandbanks. Our course was set with a shallow sand spit between two of the downwind marks, so it became a game of chicken to see how early we could cross the spit and cut a corner off the course.

As I arrived there first, I opted for a seagull's anklesdepth of water, which Owner had unfortunately not adequately catered for with my rudder.

I made some crunchy rudder sounds to let her know it was time to get her fat backside out of my cockpit, but instead, she shot forward and moved the blubber to my nose. We skimmed the bank in this undignified fashion and then had another three (or four, according to some in the know) attempts to land it during the following laps. Each time the seagulls had more of their toes visible and we passed by them with massively raised daggerboard and rudder, no steerage and a wide-eyed sweaty Owner perched on my nose.

We did win by a huge margin and there were Welsh people with canons on the banks here too. They missed.

Next day was Beaumaris Town's day to run the racing and it was the epic around Puffin Island race.

I was looking forward to my next beaching and playing with the seals that live there, but Owner was having none of it. We did well in the early part of the race, only to watch the spinnaker boats burn away on the long run home against the tide.

The race was won by the Hornet, sailed by Jo Powell from Port Dinorwic SC

Runner up was Julian Bridges in his Flying Dutchman, also from PDSC.

Mark and Phil Finch sailed a great race in their Wayfarer to finish third ahead of me in fourth.

Wednesday dawned hot and sunny once more and it was the turn of my home club, West Kirby SC, to run the racing. The RO's looked very smart in their dark blazers and white trousers, and I was hoping that they would be firing canons at the Welsh competitors instead. It was another perfect Zippy wind, and I took an early lead to put some big miles between me and the other dinghies to finish in first place.

Thursday was another day in paradise, with clear blue skies and a building sea breeze. The seagulls had been busy overnight, and my cover was adorned with small sandy claw prints and white splatters. Thanks Guys.

The Royal Mersey Yacht Club were running the day and our course was a beat to Friars bay. I rounded the big green channel marker just behind the Phantom of Mike Taylor from RMYC and quietly passed him downwind with a few "excuse me"s and the odd "Chavinawar", in case the boat came from Aberdeen.

It was a long race, but I stayed in front of Mr Phantom and far enough ahead of the other boats to take another win.

On Friday, it was the turn of the Conway Yacht Club to run racing. There were a few unusual twists in that there was no dinghy course (I made one up. It involved landing at Puffin Island and playing with seals) and the race officer started 5 minutes early without telling anyone. The GP14 of Tim and Paul Scott-Wilson was the only boat to make the start and the Albacore of Andrew and Kathryn Willatt was not far behind.

The poor Wayfarer was sniffing the breeze out at sea, far off the line and Stan and Sheena's Laser 2000 was still on the beach being rigged.

We had just left the shore and it took us an hour to overtake the leading boats. The race finished early, giving us only 20 minutes to increase our lead, but we managed a second behind the GP14.

By Saturday I was beginning to feel the effects of ten days of heat and sailing. The salt and seagull decorations were accumulating on my deck and I was ready to go home. I dragged my weary hull to the start line for one last race, run by the host club, the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club. The tide was strong and punching against us as we started the upwind leg. The previous two classes had started over the bank and the wind was dropping all the time.

I took Owner off on a tack towards the edge of the channel, against her better judgement, but I could see the hole ahead of the other boats on the bank. I was alone, but could smell roses in the air.

Then, as luck would have it, the seabreeze filled in from my side and we shot off towards the first mark, leaving the rest of the fleets bobbing in their wind vacuum. The race lasted well over two and a half hours and we set up a huge lead which was never to be challenged.

Overall, it was a very good set of results for me, winning the second week overall with my Owner, Liz Potter.

The first week was won by the Finches in their Wayfarer and the overall event was won by the Scott-Wilsons in their GP14.

25 boats competed over the various races, with PDSC and the Puffin Island race attracting the most dinghy entries. A truly unique and incredible fortnight - next years event starts on 31st July 2023. Fun for all boats and all classes. Come along and join in! See you there!

Zippy Zero 333

Overall Results:

1stGP1413513Sea LordTim & Lynda Scott‑Wilson11301RET(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)25321222
2ndWayfarer7286Sunny Side UpMark Finch1102(RET)323(DNC)3323‑4423
3rdAlbacore346Lyra SilvertongueAndrew Willatt1040RETRET32(DNC)4‑114(DNC)3329
4thD‑Zero333Zippy ZeroLiz potter1029(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC814112144
5th20002527ShaheenStan van den Berg1114(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCRET85RET5587
6thGP1413113WUFJean‑Louis Simons1130(DNC)211(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC134
7thPhantom1335BarbarianMike Taylor1004(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC6DNC4DNCDNC166
8thFlying DutchmanGBR380Jac O RosesJulian Bridges879(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC10DNC2DNCDNCDNCDNC168
9thLaser Vago XD665Double HenderTom Brekkie1071(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC11DNC12DNCDNCDNCDNC179
10thHornet2115FloozieJo powell955(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC1DNCDNCDNCDNC183
11thILCA 6151132Dim CliwSteve Owen1147(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC1DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC183
12thGP1414063Evil EdnaNicholas John Hornsby1130(DNC)1(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC183
13thILCA 7164746Little WingRhys Griffiths1100(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC2DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC184
14thSolo4498Threefold BlowsJim Burnell1142(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC3DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC185
15thRS40014651465Tim Hall942(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC4DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC186
16thILCA 7201386PeakyJason Cahill1100(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC5DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC187
17thILCA 6149286149286Jack Bailey1147(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC6DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC188
18thNacra Inter 1796FreiaAlasdair Davidson751(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC7DNCDNCDNCDNC189
19thD‑Zero344344Mick Green1029(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC7DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC189
20th29er1490OrangutanJac Bailey903(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC9DNCDNCDNCDNC191
21stILCA 685226LaserAled Williams1147(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC9DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC191
22nd30003135 Keith Bailey1085(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC10DNCDNCDNCDNC192
23rdILCA 686Blue PrintMitchell Bradley Williams1147(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC12DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC194
24thContender2490Bad TidePaul Green969(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNC13DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC195
25thWayfarer1039610396Mark Dobson1102(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNFDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC197

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