Tuesday, November 23, 2010



Event: Speed Classic
Location: Port St. Louis, France
Dates: 16th – 21st November 2010

Tue 16th Nov: Day one of the competition.

Arriving at the event site, we are greeted with Mistral winds gusting 60 knots dead offshore / slightly biased starboard tack for the course.The organisers decided to postpone opening the course after concerns were voiced over whether the guard boats could rescue sailors if they got into trouble. When the course opened we had steady 30 knots. Bjorn Dunkerbeck showed the way riding his new Starboard Isonic Speed 54 with 32cm fin (later to change to 30cm) and 5.6m sail. I opted for my new Isonic Speed 58 with 32cm Black Project fin and 6.0m Hot Sails GPS. The course was like a boiling saucepan - chop and 3' waves breaking.

I went out without boots thinking that I might have to change down to my smaller kit (5.5m sail on my Isonic 49) which I can’t sail in boots. I don't know if it was the cold numb feet or just not being used to sailing without boots but I was all over the place. There was then a technical problem which closed the course for 15 minutes and gave me time to go in and put my boots on. When the course re-opened it was like sailing in slippers, I quickly put in two good runs and my ranking shot up finishing 14th. As with most speed competitions there is always an “if only” and that was mine.

My speed history has always shown that tight courses aren't the best for me but with the problems I had to come back from, 14th was great. It put me in a fantastic position to finish the year in contention for the world championship.

Wed 17th - Friday 19th Nov: No wind.

Sat 20th Nov

The wind was back but blowing in the opposite direction to Tuesday: 18 to 20 knots of dead onshore wind and 6’ surf breaking all over the place - it was to be an absolute disaster for me. There wasn’t any type of consistent swell breaking it was all confused surf. I went out on the 8m and 107 litre board. It was the right equipment to get out through the surf however I pushed too hard during the first 30 minutes cumulating in a few wipe-outs and ripping the sail panel below the boom. Another 30 minutes of getting back to shore and changing sail to the 7.3 and I managed one under powered run before the wind dropped and I couldn’t get back out through the surf. It was the most frustrating time but I couldn’t do anything about it. The legs are 1.5 hours long and if something breaks it's game over.

My strength has always been being competitive in all winds strengths and that has enabled me to climb the years end ranking. It's very difficult in a one leg comp to hit the jackpot straight away. In Weymouth if they had had two legs on the windy day I would have been higher. Germany I was lucky to come out with what I had because you need weed fins which I didn’t know about. It’s all part of the learning process which I will put to good use next year.

With the points I gained in Port St Louis my year end ranking has risen up to at least 3rd position. It all depends on how many male competitors registered for Port St Louis, I am trying to get confirmation before I publish official results. I believe that there were 40 competitors and if so then my ranking will be up to second place and therefore:


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