Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Foot Straps

Just thought I would clarify the foot strap situation as you must think I am a bit of a chump not to check before I went.

The Starboard straps in 2009 / 2010 were too small for my feet, just could get them to expand. The 2011 starboard straps I got for my slalom boards and W54 were great, no problem making them big enough. I then got the 2011 W49 and presumed the straps would be the same, a bit tough the first time you get in to them but then they stretch and are ok. The straps looked identical but after I extended them they wouldn't expand to fit. Don't know why.

I have now fitted some Hot Sails Maui straps on, cosy slipper type comfort, ideal for the 50 knot barrier.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

West Kirby 7th Dec 2011

Where to begin, probably best at the beginning I suppose. As I am starting writing this I am already thinking what a moaning old git I am but you'll have to put up with me, I'll say it as it is. Flew up Tuesday night. I wanted to be fresh and ready for a long session on the water Wednesday and fly back Wed night. Booked into the Greasby Premier Inn at 8pm, scampi and chips, watched half of Transformers on tv then tried to get sleep ready for sailing. You would think that after all this time that falling a sleep would be easy but when your passionate about something the adrenaline/excitement gets going and all you can think about is bombing down that wall at over 40 knots. Woke up early, breakfast at 8am and straight off to the lake. Steve Thorp and Jacques Van de Haut are already back in the car park after a few runs, its freezing. The course is very broad, the start is flat but the word is as you progress down the course the chop get horrendous / unsailable. It's windy Jacques and Steve are on 5m sails, I rig my HotSails GPS 5.5m stick my new Black Project type x 40 in the Starboard Isonic 49. This is the first time I have sailed the board, sail or fin but it's blowing 41 knots steady gusting 53 and down the wall the chop is 30cm high. PERFECT! The type X's come in 35, 40 or 45 sizes, this isn't their actual size this corresponds to the speeds each is designed for. I opted for the 40 as I wanted a bit more grip when I got into the chop. In the car park it was cold but I was taken aback when I got into the water, freezing. Gloves, neoprene hood and boots all needed. I only had neoprene shoes and after one run could feel the base of my feet. Ant Baker lent me a pair of ripped booties which helped for another couple of runs. After my last run I only noticed that my heel was hanging out of the boot when I got back to the car park and looked down, I could feel them at all. Another time after a wipe out I was lying dazed in the water thinking it was weird that I could feel the pressure of the back foot strap but my feet were sinking to the bottom of the lake, how can that be when I have the board attached to me, I sat up in the water and realised the board wasn't there at all it was floating away. The other problem I had was I could get my foot straps big enough and ended up sailing down the course feeling like I could be ripped out of them at any stage. (that's the moaning out of the way) From the car park it was a reach up to the northern start of the wall, then open the throttle. Unbelievable acceleration, watching others bear away they had 7 seconds from the start to when they sheeted out and slowed down because of the chop, I'll post some picture or you can check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omZVNSkdH_Y All day sailors were putting in a run then coming back to the car park waiting for the wind to swing to the West and hope the water would flatten off. It never happened WNW is too broad for West Kirby, too much chop. I ended up completing six runs, all over 42 knots 10 second speeds except the last 2 and all over 44 knots max. One run did stand out however 49.43 Knots maximum 46 knots 10 sec on one gps and 49.62 knots / 46.52 10 sec on the other. I new it was fast because it hurt a lot when I crashed at the end of the run. Today I am back in Guernsey and taking ibuprofen. My left hip is really hurting. Summary- It's all about learning, board rig fin combo were perfect, I have to change foot straps and get a decent pair of booties. The wind angle was perfect for big speeds but West Kirby won't have flat water in that direction. As soon as you were hitting 49 knots the chop was 30 cm high, you couldn't slow down and I crashed after every run. I was pushing hard though. Great to get 49.5 knots max when averaging out my two gps's, one of the fastest speed ever reached on a windsurfer. Believe it or not sailing at 49 isn't as scary as you would think, it's all about being in control. You can be out of control at 36 knots and its as bad. The board rig and fin has been pushed to levels I dreamed about, it's all possible. This isn't what could be my fastest set up. With canal type flat water, 44 cm board, smaller fin I don't see why I can't go faster. I have a idea of the speed possible but won't publish it, I'd rather prove it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

West Kirby

West Kirby here we come. All booked up. Fly up Tue evening fly back Wed evening with a record in the bag, hopefully.

Forecast west force 7-9. If it comes throiugh that should do. Let you know Wed.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


December here already. I have spent the whole of November looking at forecasts for West Kirby, missed last weekends session but as it turned out it wasn't epic.

The problem is all the forecasts show epic conditions for 5-7 days time and then gradually back off.

This weekend looks ok but next Wednesday looks fantastic. Fingers crossed, I am desperate to get up there.

Here in Guernsey we have had wind and waves, onshore at Pembroke bay a week ago. Dead cross shore Monday with 3-5' surf at Vazon.

Today I had one of the best sails I have ever had at Perelle reef. Side shore out behind the island with some bombs coming through. The wind lasted about 20 minutes but the surf was the best I have sailed there. Two waves is all I caught and I stoked.

The first half to 3/4 mast, slightly aprehensive as it formed. Perelle surf is deadly, any mistake and your washed up on huge boulders at the back of a small island half a mile off Guernsey. Everything would be gone and a rip that would take you out to the English channel.

But when the waves are good they can live with anywhere on the planet. First wave aprehensive but the second, mast high and peeling. As soon as I took the drop all thoughts of damage went, four buttom to top down the line in the critical section turns and taht will do. Gybed out and the wind had gone, drifted out and back again.

I have never had such a short epic sail.

Went for a mile swim in the pool after and sailed that wave over and over again in my head.