Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer waves

Nice couple of days in small surf at Pembroke Bay Guernsey. on-shore winds and 3' surf

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I recently got asked to answer some questions on fin design. Hope it helps.

Apart from the obvious objective of ‘speed’, what tributes make a good speed fin?
Grip, you will never achieve fast speeds unless you have confindence that your fin won't spin out. Even more important then a fast fin.
Asymmetric or symmetrical - which is best?
Depends how many directions you want to sail.
You have two ranges of speed fins within Black Project, why is this?  
Ultimate speed on one tack. Ultimate speed on both tacks in all sea conditions
Do different weights of riders need different styles of fin, or just a different sizes?
Style of sailor would depict what fin size he would use. I am 115kg and have used smaller fins that someone 95kg on the same day. Board choice / width would make a difference but again I have used bigger board smaller fin than lighter guys.
Do different styles of fin work better with different boards and rigs, or is a good fin, simply a good fin?
Most definitely board to fin, not so much sail size. A good design is a good design in a number of sizes.
We were using 22cm fins quite comfortably with 6.4m sails for speed course use, what would be the ideal fin size for 5.5m record breaking conditions?
Board size will make the difference. In Luderitz I will use the same size fin for my 5.4, 5.8 and 6.4 if using the same board. The board is still going over the same water conditions. (6" chop in Luderitz. It's not flat water like everyone thinks)
Is fin flex important?  And if so, should we be looking for soft or stiff?
Stiff stiff stiff, in fast conditions a flexible fin is seriously dangerous.
What are the fundamental differences between a speed fin and a slalom fin?
A slalom fin will always be better at getting you upwind and onto the plane quicker. Speed is for downwind
Carbon vs G10, which is best?
A good G10 fin is as good as Carbon 
The base of the speed fins are quite short compared to the length of the box, which gives you range for positioning (forward and back within the box when shaping)….how do you decide upon this or do you just mould the fin into the middle of the box and let the board designer worry about that?
The board designer will be placing the box for the centre of effort of the fin to be in the middle of the box

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weymouth NWF speed event

Challenging conditions at the NWF speed event. Stacked on 7m Evo and Patrik 110 yesterday in 3' chop. Then an explosion that ripped my sail in two. Big thanks to Moatt sails​ for repairing the sail within 1 hour of receiving it.

The rest of the day was on 7.8m Evo and Patrik 110, the wind had died a bit by the time I had got out on the course but quite happy with a 7th, a 100 ltr board would have been easier to handle through the chop.

Very close racing between the whole fleet. Today was 8.6 Evo and Patrik 135, should of taken the 9.6. Ended with a fourth today and 4th overall for the event. It has been my first time sailing on the Evo 7's and the first time on slalom and cambered sails since November. It took a bit of getting used to but very pleased with the way everything is working. Carrying a bit too much timber at the moment but as usual that's a work in progress.

Great event and what speed is all about. sometimes speed can come across as too elitist and that is not whites about. Speed has always been about all ages and abilities chasing their personal goals. Hats off to Alan Cross for seeing this and promoting speed.

The whole event has done what i wanted it to do for me, i have learnt a lot about the sails and fin / board combinations that i wouldn't have learnt free sailing in Guernsey. Now it's done to water time in Guernsey preparing for the next adventure.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Just finished numbering up the new race kit.

Only one side this year, almost every speed strip I can think of is Starboard tack.

Wave gear has been taken out of the van and now it is time to concentrate on speed.

Big slalom sessions planned up and down the coast for training and the odd speed session when conditions arise. (not that often in Guernsey)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Speed board volume

Interesting findings today when I measured the volume of my 43 and 41cm speed boards. Always wondered how big my custom Patrik Diethelm​ 41 was compared to the Patrik production 43.

The 41 is 233cm long compared to the 43 which is 228cm.

I haven't used the 41cm in Luderitz during the past two years because the wind hasn't been great and I have been on the "bigger" 43cm.

Bigger turns out not to be entirely true. I constructed a plywood box 2.445m x 60cm x 14cm, filled it up and then pushed my speed boards under the water. The amount of water they displaced then tells me their volume.

The 43cm, to my workings, displaced 54 litres of water and the 41 displaced 58 litres.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Knocked down

Can't believe I have an ear infection. Started Friday and was painful all weekend, now it just feels blocked.

Training was really going well, every day up to a couple of hours in the pool or gym. Starting to get ready for the NWF speed contest in Weymouth.

Can't wait, should be a lot of fun.

Lots of new kit to tweak before then though. Hope it warms up a bit and I can get out on the new slalom sails. Waves are going to have to take a back seat.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Grande Cru Classe

I have now been sailing for 36 years.

The first picture is from 1989, I had already been sailing for 11 years. I had been Guernsey Wave sailing champion and Slalom champion. Speed hadn't come into the picture yet. The second form 2013, same bay, same wave.

The third picture is from 1994 ish in St Marie de la Mer, my fourth year of speed and already an equal 4th place finish in the 1992 overall standings. The fourth is from Luderitz 2014, by this time I have had a second place in the 2010 overall standings and sailed over 50 knots.

I might be blowing my own trumpet here but I think I'm getting better at windsurfing !!

Bjorn recently stated that to be competitive in PWA wave sailing 35 is the maximum age. I would agree with that, you don't see many over 35 year olds double looping. 

Bjorn has just retired from Slalom at the age of 46, that has got to be the limit. 

What about speed? In the overall 5 x 10 sec GPS standings 9 out of the top 15 are over 40, most closer to 50 or above. Personally I think you can be competitive at speed records up until 55. Speed contest I think you are going to struggle past 50. 

All good news for us oldies!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sail size / board size / fin size

Got asked yesterday what equipment setups do I use. It differs from training, competition training and competition.

I use Patrik Diethelm boards, Neil Pryde Evo 7 sails and Black Project Fins


Board                            Sails                              Fins
PD 135                     9.5 & 8.6                           R45
PD 110                       8.6, 7.8, 7.0                      R35
PD SPEED 52         7.8, 7.0, 6.4, 5.8           RS28,  RS26, S29 & S26.5
PD SPEED 43            6.4, 5.8, 5.4                   X50, X55
PD SPEED 41              5.8, 5.4                           X55


PD 135                      9.5 & 8.6                 R45 & R47.5
PD 110                        8.6, 7.8, 7.0                   R37 & R35
PD FSW 102                   6.4                                 RS30
PD SPEED 52          7.8, 7.0, 6.4, 5.8            RS28,  RS26, S29 & S26.5
PD SPEED 43              6.4, 5.8, 5.4                   X40, X45

I try and get away with the smallest fin I can. Instead of changing fin as the wind picks up I would probably change board and fin. Once I have found the right fin for the board it rarely changes with the exception of the PD 52 which has the most options with fin type.

The sails cross over a lot and I have always options.

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Waves

Waves in Guernsey have been pumping and it looks like we have a hell of week ahead