2a.gif (2046 bytes) 2a.gif (1840 bytes) News from May 2002
Sunday 26th May Budle Bay Unsailed (PA)

Having opened the proposal to sail at Budle, despite the Hurdles and the poor weather forecast I duly arrived at 12.45pm to find traffic bollards at the top of the bank, very limited parking and no one else. I parked beside the road and walked down the bank to the gate that was of course locked. The track past the gate is deeply rutted and very muddy, the hedges on either side not cut back, in fact I would have hesitated to drive a car down the track unless it had 4-wheel drive. The Bay itself was not yet flooded and there was little if no wind. So I reported in, by telephone, to Ross, whom it seemed like all those keen windsurfers with good judgement had exhausted himself and used up all free time having a great week ‘s sailing while I was stuck at work or helping my dad clean out his pond, ARGGG!

I headed off for Beadnell via Bamburgh to check out access to Budle from that side. No go, but found Gavin’s suggested car park at Bamburgh and agree that it would make a great sailing venue on a nice sunny day with fantastic photo opportunities, a visit must be arranged.  At Bamburgh I met up with Martin who had also checked out Budle and together we drove the scenic route to Beadnell, arriving at 2.00pm to find a weak (F2) onshore breeze and gentle swell. No good, so rather hopelessly we decided that if there was any wind Ladyburn would be the only chance of a sail. Our hopes were dashed on arrival to find little wind and a drizzling rain. So home we went. After 112 miles and 2 hours 37minutes driving time the only consolation was I had avoided an afternoon of decorating unfortunately in my absence the fairies didn’t do it so it still awaits me.

It was however good to see Budle again with no signs to indicate that sailing is restricted in the Bay and it is clear that the track is a public bridleway but unfortunately without vehicular access. I believe that we must find some alternative means of access to this unique venue on our North East Coast.

Sat 25 May: Overpowered on 5.5 Metres at Beadnell! (RK)

From midday to 4 pm, the wind blew cross shore from right to left (SW?) from initially 4.5 metre strength, later decreasing to 6.5 metre.  THe sun shone, but the temperature was chilly, at about 12.  Those that were lucky enough to be there (Steve C, Tony C, Ally, Ray, Alec, Dave R) were blasting on 5.5 most of the time.  Alec showed how high altitude chop hopping should be done, but we all got plenty of air time, deliberate or otherwise.  Sailing at the North end of the bay nearly turned out to be a choice regretted by both myself and Alec, for two different reasons.  Early on in the afternoon, as the wind and chop were at their peak, I got into difficulties trying to waterstart.  As well as trying to get to grips with my first ever session on a real short board (my lovely new Mistral Flow 95 - why should I have found that it required a slightly different waterstarting technique, I wonder?), I managed to get the elastic from the uphaul rope snagged tightly around one of the footstraps, preventing me from getting the board pointing correctly.  The problem was that I was fast drifting towards the rapidly approaching rocks and harbour wall, against which the sea was violently smashing.  On the last possible waterstarting opportunity I managed to do it, thus, with great relief, avoiding a guaranteed display of how to smash up 1300 worth of equipment and look like a complete idiot.  It was a sobering experience for me, and on reflection I will definitely, in similar conditions in future, take the long walk to the middle or South end of the bay and launch from there to allow a better safety cushion.  Other novices please note.  Alec had a similar problem later on but his was perhaps less dramatic as his particular (successful) challenge was to avoid the same rocks by some remarkable upwind non-planing sailing on a 90lt board and 5.5 metres of sail.  A superb day, from my own viewpoint in particular, due to my introduction to "proper" shortboard sailing.  The acceleration and general feeling of lightness and manoeuvrability compared to the Technos is remarkable!  For all, a great day.

Sun 19 May:  Another Good Cross Shore at Hadston (RK)

A quick report, partly due to limited time, partly due to the fact that half those that turned out (Full roll call: Paul B, Paul G, Ally, Ray, Jean, Martin, Carl, Peter, Richard) missed the first 2 hours of solid planing on mainly flat sea in the stiff F4 SSE and sunny 16 degrees, so I want to avoid accusations of gloating. God, you should have been there, man, we were really blasting, it was fantastic!!  Oops, sorry, I told myself I wouldn't gloat, oh well, never mind.  From 3pm it drizzled and the wind died, along with our short-lived euphoria. 

Sun 12 May: Hadston in Marginal Wind (RK)
For any non-windsurfers, balloon pilots, radio controlled aircraft people, or any normal, sane person, it's been a lovely weekend.  Blue sky, sunshine.  Not a breath of wind. In other words, the weather has been atrocious.  Until lunchtime today, after which, at about 2.30 Steve, Paul and myself got planing on big sails in the direct onshore easterly that came out of nowhere and promised to build (so we thought, according to the forecast) into a full F6 throughout the early evening.  In anticipation of this, Ray and Steve (Sunsail - sorry Steve, what's your surname?) rigged up, as did (new members!!) Paul (mad Navy bloke) and Martin.  It was 3.30 now and the wind decided to have a rest, so that it could laugh at us all, wallowing in semi- to non-planing swell and chop until we gave up after 6pm.  I got a call from Ally who had evidently been at Hadston at about midday and, believing that no one was sailing, retreated to Ladyburn Lake, where he claimed to have been planing on an 8.5 all afternoon.  Do we have proof of this?  Can the swans be trusted to verify this claim?  Reiner and Trudy were there too, but on bikes not boards.  Tomorrow is Monday so, of course, I see that the isobar map looks like a swiss roll again and the BBC white arrows are extremely thick and plentiful.  I wonder if my employer might move the weekend to a Sunday/Monday?   
Mon 06 May: Surf's up at Hadston (RK)

Steve and I made an early (10.20) start to the cool (10 deg), grey Bank Holiday, as the Windmap website showed the top end of a F4 from 7.30am, and the Inshore Waters forecast said it may die off in the afternoon.  Sure enough we were well propelled by the perfect cross shore Northerly and although the shore break was a bit of a challenge, the swell and chop were fairly mild.  Later, came Gavin, Richard, Peter, Dave R and Jean.  Once clear of the wind shadow of the North end of Druridge Bay, there were some superb reaches straight out to sea and even more entertaining return blasts with the waves and surf.  As predicted, it did start to die off a bit, but good sailing was had until after 2pm.  Steve won the optimist of the day award when at around midday, when the breeze was decent, he decided it was (80lt) wave board conditions.  Needless to say, it wasn't, in actual fact, and when the wind dropped a few moments later, while we were WELL on the outside, he made a very impressive wobbly knee-deep gybe and somehow managed to avoid the need to attempt a waterstart, which would surely have failed, on only 6.5m.  He had mentally noted the fact, in mid-gybe, that it was a very, very long swim to the shore, adding somewhat to the motivation to succeed!  He waddled back and swapped back to some decent litreage.  Ray and Martin arrived a little too late for the real wind so took the sensible, dry, option, and Paul made the effort to come even though he wasn't sailing.  He'd injured his leg yesterday at Beadnell.  Gavin christened his new Tush T Bird and gave it a big thumbs-up especially for water starting since it was a huge improvement over his previous cammed sails that no doubt hold a few gallons more in the luff sleeve.  I took my old Techo 283 out and, having not sailed it for a few months, resolved to not sell it after all, as it was just ideal for the (8m) conditions today.  Richard sailed for only a few minutes as he'd been doing windsurf instructor training all weekend followed by a party last night 'til 2am this morning - he did look well-knackered, and so I almost believed him when he claimed he was "falling asleep at the boom"!!   Ten out of ten for effort, though.  In all, a good weekend, especially compared to expectations.

Sunday 05 May: A Swell Time At Beadnell (RK)
The Inshore Met Offfice forecast had it spot on.  F4 NNE, cloudless sky, 11 degrees. Steve, Paul, Carl, Peter, Martin and myself were joined by assorted other water users including (non-NWC!) windsurfers, canoeists, jetski yobs, dinghy sailors, scuba divers, motor boaters and seals.  The cross/cross-off on a falling tide meant that there were significant and patchy wind-shadows in the bay and big swell once out of the bay, from where you could really fly.  The problem was falling off the plane (and falling off) in the big-swell-no-wind zone, where waterstarting was impossible and uphauling was like uphauling and rodeo riding combined.  You may guess that I spent large parts of the afternoon in this bit - I wonder if waist harnesses are easier for unhooking, I might get one. . .  The falling tide also caught some of us out in respect of hidden rocks.  The fact that we were all on big sails and hence long fins resulted in some minor reshaping of our fin ends, so my 42 is now 41.5, or it will be when I've finished filing off its serrated edge tonight.

Many thanks for the hospitality of the Amos clan, who were there in strength, and in particular the barbeque (again) which included Peter's delicious homemade Amosburgers.  Yum yum (burp).

So the general conclusion is that a Northerly doesn't work all that well at Beadnell, but despite this fact we had a good day out and, most importantly, got our planing fix.

April 2002
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