Wednesday, December 21, 2016

____________________________ 'SLIPSTREAM' __________________________

There she was peeping out from the bottom of the boat rack at the Worser Bay Boating Club in Wellington. She is the Zephyr Class sailing dinghy 'Slipstream' which I have just purchased; thus finally settling the choice of a bigger sailing dinghy which has been occupying my thoughts for some time.

The round bilge Zephyr Class is the big sister of my current hard chine Starling sailing dinghy. Both were designed by the talented New Zealand yacht designer Des Townson. There are fleets of Zephyrs all over New Zealand providing plenty of competition. The Zephyr class has become a very popular choice for older sailors, being big enough to provide challenging and exciting sailing, but not so big that older sailors find them exhausting.

The 2018 NZ Zephyr nationals will be held at Worser Bay Boating Club which is a great venue for sailing - I will definitely be a starter. 

'Slipstream' has the Zephyr class emblem painted on her bows. 

'Slipstream' is a basic no frills example and will require quite a bit of work to get her up to the standard I would like. I will sail and race her this summer and do the required restoration work over winter.

It was a nice trip south to pick up the boat, being one of those journeys where everything goes right. I managed to drive an uneventful 12 hours non stop to Wellington and stayed with friends in the Stokes Valley just out of Wellington city. The weather was sunny and agreeable and the road dry and safe. I did the drive back to Whangarei over a two day period, completing a round trip of 1600km.

The seller of 'Slipstream' was an affable and engaging semi retired airline pilot. After we had loaded the boat onto my road trailer we did the business over lunch at his house five minutes from the yacht club. With the wheels off the beach trolley everything fitted and tied down well. A slight shortening of the beach trolley wheel base will see the whole outfit fitting well.

I thought the name 'Slipstream' with its aero and hydrodynamic connotations was an appropriately named yacht for an airline pilot and I myself have a nice coincidence with my new boat. 'Slipstreams' sail number is 195. This is the same sail number as my little 'P' Class yacht 'Elusive' that I raced in the National 'P' Class Championships in Wellington in 1968. When I do the Zephyr Nationals in Wellington in 2018 it will be a span of 50 years!

Zephyr 195 - 'Slipstream'

P Class 195 - 'Elusive' 


Ben said...

Great to see the result of your decision.
Is it a fibreglass hull or the sandwiched wood hull?
Looking at the owners association website, your weight is perfect to achieve top 10 ;-)
195 good number!

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Fair winds!

..and while I'm here - a Happy Christmas and New Year...

Alden Smith said...

Ben, if you go here:

..... there is a good blog post about the New Zealand Zephyr, and a good photograph showing the diagonal wooden construction. My new wooden boat is an early (cira 1950s/60s)example of the Zephyr. This means it would have been built by the designer Des Townson who made his living as a boat builder and designer.

The new fiberglass Zephyrs are very expensive. A glass hull only, with deck beams fitted and ready for completion and rigging costs NZ$6000 which is more than I paid for 'Slipstream'. Perhaps Santa will give me a brand spanking new Zephyr some time in the future if I behave myself.

Alden Smith said...

Thanks Steve, and a very merry Christmas and a fruitful new year to you and yours for 2017.

Dan Gurney said...

What a great choice, Alden. You're gonna love Slipstream. You're lucky to live in NZ where fleets of such boats exist.

Enjoy the journey.

Alden Smith said...

Dan, thanks for your affirming comment. Apart from anything else, Zephyrs are pretty, good looking yachts. I am very much looking forward to having my first sail in 'Slipstream'.

Christmas greetings to you and yours at this time of year - have a great 2017.

Don said...

Alden, a nice choice after your Starling also designed by Des Townson.
Enjoy sailing the Zephyr.
Should be a lot of fun for you.

Alden Smith said...

Hi Don, all things considered I think the Zephyr is the best choice for me.

Thanks for commenting on my blog - seasons greetings.

Bursledon Blogger said...

Looks like a fun boat.

Have a good Christmas


Alden Smith said...

Thanks Max. I am within the recommended weight range for the Zephyr, so no more excuses for crap racing results.

Seasons greetings to you and yours.


Dan Gurney said...

Just saw the Youtube video and the Earwigoagin blog post on the Zephyr. What a great boat! Older, and better than the Laser. I love the low aspect ratio fully battened rig—so advanced way back in the day! It looks like a design for fun in heavy air.

I noticed that the competition is among the silver-haired skippers. You'll have a blast. Congratulations, Alden.

Alden Smith said...

Thanks Dan. The fully battened mains'l will, I think, make for quieter sailing - they don't seem to flog noisily in strong winds when going about or when lying with the mains'l head to wind.

The camaraderie and competition of my peer group - other silver-haired skippers as you so diplomatically put it LOL, was a consideration in choosing a Zephyr, as was the size and sail area related to the slightly diminishing robustness that comes with my age.

But in the final analysis it was the pretty, shapely looks of the boat that finally swayed things. I say this knowing that for me an OK Dinghy is more aesthetically appealing but realistically too much of a handful for me in big winds - so the irony of the Zephyrs good looks and my old age finally won the day.

Paul Mullings said...

Good choice that man... I owned #36 back in the early 80's and sailed out of French Bay on the Manukau.. definitely one of my favourite boats😊 All the best for Christmas and a New Year that brings fair winds

Alden Smith said...

Thanks Paul, all things considered I agree it's a good choice.

I bet #36 is still alive and going strong, perhaps I shall come across her in my coming Zephyr racing days.

Have a great Christmas and properous New Year Paul. (Perhaps you should track down your old boat and take up Zephyr sailing again! LOL).