Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June Speed Session

Had a good sailing week, two sessions stand out.

Last Saturday I wave sailed Perelle, Perelle is a wave break behind a small island on the west coast of Guernsey. Very intimidating, you sail about a kilometer from your launch spot out into deep water. The break can be big, up to 16' before it closes out. The other problem is that if you wipe out you end up on the rocks, a bit like Hookipa rocks but bigger. That's the bad news, the good news is you can get four great big bottom turns in on glassy waves.

I sailed there for a couple of hours on a very high tide, not as good as I have sailed it but good fun. Came in de-rigged and went down the coast to Vazon Bay for an hour of small waves and some jumps.

Today was speed time. South West wind, forecast at 22 knots. I went out at Pembroke bay with my Hot Sail GPS 7.3m, Starboard Isonic 90 with Black Project R35. What a combo. The wind was too cross shore for great speeds but great for testing the kit. It's the first time I have been out on the Isonic 90 and it didn't disappoint.

Again Guernsey doesn't have a speed strip long enough for good average speeds, you get a max speed and it's time to slow down before the rocks. Top speed 38.76 knots no spin out, sail was light in the hands and as stable as can be. Choppy water again but very pleased with the top speed.

My 2011 equipment is just so good together. It's taken 3 years but I finally feel everything has come together.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sweden 2011

Photos by Lennart Bernfort

The Meteox forecst had been spot on since I arrived in Sweden and Sunday was no exception. The day started with no wind but by 6pm the wind was starting to pick up from the East. Game on, first possible start 6.30 with 50 minute heats, ten minute rest then another two heats.

The rules are that 20% of the fleet have to achieve a run over 28 knots for the leg to count. It was obvious that the first leg wasn't going to count as most times were around 26 knots but a gusty ten minutes that could all change and during round two that is what happened.

Everybody was sailing big kit. The Simmer boys on 8.6m, Maui Sails 8.4m and North Sails 8.6m. I was on my Hot Sails GPS 8.8, Starboard Isonic 127 and 45cm Black Project Fin. Being the heaviest sailor in the pack and sailing around about the same size sail meant I had to use a lot bigger board than the other sailors.

It's difficult to judge how fast you have been sailing compared to the rest of the fleet when being timed on gps. Everyone tells a different story when you ask their speeds, some are telling you max speed, some 10 sec average.

The third leg got started but by that time the wind had died and the leg got cancelled.

Thats the latest I have sailed, by the time I had packed up and got back to the hotel it was past 10pm, quick bite to eat shower and bed. The forecast was a lot better for the next day. No results till the morning so an anxious sleep.

Next morning and I am looking down the Swedish results list and can't find my name, what has happened, has my gps not recorded! Then I realise there is a Swedish ranking and a ranking for the European Tour Swedish speed event. I look down but not too far because I am in 5th place, thank God for that. Although confident you just don't know till the results go up. 5th place in such light conditions is great.

Last day of competition and the wind had been blowing up 25 knots but by the time the course was set up it was back to 12-16 knots. Four rounds were held but in the end only two of them counted. I was on the same kit as the day before although I changed down board size to my Isonic 107 for the last round.

Final results for the three counting rounds were dominated by the Swedish men led by Marcus Richardson. I was the fastest non Swede with a 5th, 4th and 5th place making me 5th overall.

1st Marcus Richardson SWE 30 0.70 2.00 2.00 4.70 4.70 31.589 30.435 30.557
2nd Daniel Borgelind SWE 38 3.00 0.70 3.00 6.70 6.70 31.273 30.654 30.513
3rd Markus Emanuelsson SWE 55 4.00 3.00 0.70 7.70 7.70 30.343 29.712 31.717
4th Anders Björkqvist SWE 877 2.00 6.00 4.00 12.00 12.00 31.317 29.278 30.498
5th MARTYN OGIER K 68 5.00 4.00 5.00 14.00 14.00 29.298 29.615 29.686
6th Torsten Mallon GER 818 6.00 8.00 6.00 20.00 20.00 28.565 27.909 29.650
7th Patrick Van Hoof B 52 8.00 5.00 7.00 20.00 20.00 28.355 29.424 29.335
8th Johan Gelander SWE 51 7.00 7.00 8.00 22.00 22.00 28.530 28.454 29.118

The jump from 2010 gps to 2011 is as extreme as fro 2009 to 2010, really impressive. Chinnook booms and extentions have made a big difference with stiffness and weight savings. We have sails that are now as fast as anything on the market. The Starbaord Isonics boards are fast and really easy to ride and my Black Project Fins are the perfect complement to rig and board.
Altogether it is a great start to the year, the best.
Bring on the next event.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Planes trains and automobiles

Living on Guernsey has its benefits but when you want to get off the island then your troubles begin.

The title should have been planes, trains, automobiles, ferry and more automobiles.

My destination is the European Speed Contest in Sweden. To get there with all my kit in the quickest way possible means shipping my van to England without me so that when I fly out on the Tue morning at 7 am and land at 7.45 I can jump straight into my van and get driving.

The only port in France that has a ferry from Guernsey is St Malo which is great when you’re travelling South but when going North would put another 8 hours drive on my journey.

7.45 Tue and I am in the van and driving towards the channel tunnel. 2.5 hours later I am at the tunnel 10 minutes too late for my train so have to wait an hour for the next available one. 35 minutes later and I am driving off in Calais.

Only 14 hours of driving and a hour ferry crossing to go.

Klagsham Sweden is the destination. On the Baltic sea Klagsham has a nice club house overlooking the bay. It is a shallow bay stretching for miles. It doesn't matter what direction the wind comes from the sea remains relatively flat. South to North Westly winds tends to have a thermal effect increasing the strength. South to East and they say the wind comes through "the trumpet" which accelerates the wind.

The forecast before I left was for wind the day before the contest and the day after. Spot on up to now, beautifully sunny though. The event started on Thursday 2nd June and runs to the 6th. On Friday we were informed at the skippers meeting that the contest was going to move 40 km up the coast were they thought there was a good chance of a Northly thermal wind developing. It was a good call and almost worked out; we got out on the water with big kit however the winds never increased enough to hold a counting round.

Today we have had no wind but 25 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The forecast for tomorrow is Eastly wind at 12 knots; the locals are saying that could increase due to "the trumpet" to 18 knots, game on. Mondays forecast is 18-20 knots South Eastly as with tomorrow that could increase to 25 knots, plenty to have a counting round.

I'll update when I get more news.