I have just got back from Weymouth International Speed Week, the oldest speed contest there is and the place where Fred Hayward first took a windsurf board over 30 knots. It's incredible to think we are now waiting for the 50 knot barrier to be broken by a windsurfer.
I jumped on the overnight ferry from Guernsey to Portsmouth on Friday arriving 6.30 Saturday morning and drove down to Weymouth. The forecast for the week is one of the worst I have ever seen. We may have some wind on the Sunday however the rest of the week shows no wind at all.
I arrived in Weymouth at 9.30 and made my way to Portland harbour where the speed strip is. Portland Harbour is the main sailing area for the 2012 Olympics and you can certainly see where all the Lottery funding is going. It is a fantastic set up for every type of sailor. The speed camp was in front of the main sailing academy in the car park / boat enclosure. We rigged on the brick car park and could launch down a carpeted slipway. No sand between the toes at this event and hot showers and restaurant when you come out of the water.
Sunday morning and we have approx 15knots on the course gusting a little more. Most sailors are sailing with sails in the range of 7.6 - 8.4. I rigged my biggest sail a 8m and borrowed an Isonic 122 with a standard Drake fin form the Starboard importer. I have never sailed the board before and it was strange to be on such a big board.
In the professional fleet we had Anders Brignal (already 2010 world champion) using a 8.4 then a 7.8 sail on a Mistral 110ltr board, Dan Ellis (back from a year of training in Maui) on a 7.6 Maui Sails and a Mistral 110, Patrick Van Hoof (world speed tour veteran) was on a Gaastra 7.6, Ant Baker (former world cup sailor and now coach) on a North 8m and Fanatic board and Dave White (former world champion and world record holder) using a 8m Neil Pryde sail. The new Hot GPS was a dream. All these guys are a lighter than me and got going on smaller boards. The Isonic I borrowed I had never sailed on before the heat and to push it as fast as the smaller boards was great. The sail gets on the plain early and when on it just goes. The course was tight and with so little wind I am gobsmacked how competitive I was.
I finished the day in 4th place just behind the world champion Anders Brignal 3rd, Dan Ellis 2nd and Patrick Van Hoof 1st. Ant Baker was fifth and Dave White in sixth.
The pro fleet was timed on GPS GT31 devices and gave a very accurate measurement of speed.
No fast world breaking speeds but a good contest all the same. There is no point being fast in just one specific condition, you have to be fast in all conditions.
Photos to follow.