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|Sat 04 Aug - Seaton Point - Ross
I thought I’d probably missed my chance. Gavin texted me at 11.00 to say a few were meeting at D-Bay at 11.30. At the time I got the text, despite the windy early morning conditions, I was sitting at the café on Tynemouth beach, watching someone fly a kite in marginal conditions (even for a kite). Then it started to drizzle.
By lunchtime it had started to pick up, the opposite of the forecast, and I got a call from Dan in the Borders to say that it was blowing a hoolie up there and did I fancy a sail. Based on that I changed my plans and headed for Seaton Point where we found a low tide and wind right to the shore.
I launched on 6.2 and 120lt and was nicely powered to the extent that after the first run I needed to flatten off the sail. This coincided with the wind suddenly turning more westerly for a while, causing a big wind shadow, with 5.5m weather outside the wind line but a big windless gap to cross to get there. At this point Gavin, who had had iffy wind at D-Bay earlier, had seen enough and set off for home.
The wind God realised this sacrifice half an hour later as the wind switched back to SW and increased in strength. This it did, gradually, for the next hour and despite switching to my 95lt board I was way overpowered at the end, my 6.2 being far too big. In all though, it was a nice couple of hours of sailing, especially as it was unexpected.
Dan, one of my new buddies from the Borders, joined in the fun and sailed really well despite rusty technique and previous-era kit. After a short waterstarting tutorial, he cracked it – on both tacks! Well done mate, if everyone was as determined as you we’d all be planing out of duck gybes by now!
Peter was the only other person sailing, having a good time on his 6.6 for the most part. It was at the end of the session that he had something to gloat about though – a five-minute drive back home to his new cottage in Lesbury. And very nice it is too.
|Sat 07 July - Derwent - Ross
Derwent Reservoir is like a can of Ronseal varnish. It does what it says on the tin. It’s all very well saying that it has no waves and it’s not the sea and so forth, but in a westerly, when the east coast is gusty and the tides are wrong for Budle, Derwent serves up no-nonsense solid high wind every time a westerly is forecast.
There were five things that made Saturday special for me.
- There was a huge buzz about the place as there were up to maybe eighty boards on the water at one time, with the UKWA racing events that were taking place on the day. The formula guys were blasting so close to the wind and so far off the wind that you felt that boards were coming from all directions. It demanded an unusual level of concentration when gybing or even just blasting. I’d hate to sail in such busy conditions every day but the novelty value was great especially as you could almost taste the collective adrenaline in the air.
- The sun was shining and it was windy! After the longest period ever recorded of wet, windless summer days, it was a great relief to have wind again. When the wind blows and the sun shines at Derwent, it really is a lovely place to be.
- The wind was steady. As with all inland waters, Derwent can get gusty, but Saturday was about as steady as it gets. Particularly in the afternoon, once the wind had kicked in, it was rock solid and meant that you could just settle down to some good gybing practice. At the far side of the lake the water was super flat which, combined with the wind being stronger over that side, meant long, sweeping, fully powered gybing was possible. Throughout my session I was fully powered to overpowered on my 5.5m. Amazing that the formula guys were sailing on 11m+ sails at the same time!
- I was sailing well – for a change. I don’t know about you, but it’s a great feeling when you feel after a session that you’ve actually improved, even if it’s just by a tiny amount.
- The water level was as high as it’s been for years, adding at least 50 metres to the length of each reach.
It was great to be sailing again with some of the Drewent regulars like Nick, Terry, Martin, Ian and Dave. There was an equally good turn out of NWC guys: Nico, Boydy, Gavin, Ray, Ally, Andy and Matt B to name a few.
I did the “one more run” thing so many times that on the last one I was so knackered I was almost unable to hold on so I eventually quit, after some three and a half hours, with a massive smile on my face and some impressive sun burn. It took me a few days to recover but every ache was worth it!
|Ullswater 23 June 2021 - Peter Amos
My day started early as I had to meet a man at Scotch Corner at 8.00am to collect a board bought on ebay. Transaction successfully concluded I set off along the A66 to Penrith. It had been raining up to now but as I crossed to the West the sky cleared and the sun came out. There was to be no rain all day, it was warm and most of the time sunny better yet we actually got some wind.
I arrived around 10 to find Reiner and Trudy encamped having gone over on Friday. Toad and Harvey shortly followed, but that was it from the Club.
We rigged up and I set up my newly acquired JP Freeride 144 and rigged 7.5 and 9.3. The 7.5 after one run was discarded for the 9.3 which became the sail of choice for the rest of the day.
It was really F3 most of the time with occasional planning runs for us all.
We interspersed the sailing with refreshments on shore until last runs around 3.30 when the wind properly got up to F4 and permitted some proper hooked in both feet in the straps blast across the lake from side to side.
Sailing was finished off with a visit to the excellent free showers, massive pressure and lovely and hot followed by a Bar B Q'd burger on the club gas Bar B Q rescued from Toad's attic.
Those that were camping settled in with some beers for the evening whilst I had a very pleasant drive home over by Alston with stunning views in the evening sunshine before retuning to a wet North East Coast. 1Hr 45 min drive £10 launch fee not a bad way to spend the day.
We may not have had blasting conditions all day but at times just sitting on the board floating in the middle of Ullswater with the beautiful scenery of hills and cloudscapes all around make the trip special. I'm only sorry so many of you chose not to take the opportunity of a battery recharge that will last me well into the week with a smile on my face.
Day 2 - Ian Rienewerf
There was a wedding on Saturday of one of the daughters at the farm where the campsite is and they had a reception in the barn next to the site. On saturday we were warned it would be noisy and sure enough we had night time fire works, fire jugglers & acrobats, and listened to live music with disco from the Wedding Party in the barn (it went on until daybreak at 6am - the dirty stop out's)
A little over night rain had cleared by the morning - but no wind was ever looking likley to show.
Showers threatened by 11am, so Reiner packed the tent - I went off on the scooter to do some leaflet drops for work, and Harvey stayed on to enjoy the scenery before heading off at midday. Steve and Sarah headed off home early. They had a decent walk out on Satuday as the forecast meant they had arrived without any sailing gear. The final NWSC headcount was 6 of us staying on until Sunday morning.
Ullswater is still a magical place to stay, with or without the wind.
For once the weather forcast was wrong about the lack of breeze, and the dry(ish)weekend weather means next year will be pencilled into my 2008 diary.
Some photos in Gallery
|Sun 27 May - Blyth - Ross
In the unusual NE wind direction that we got today, Blyth was going to be as good as anywhere further north and we weren't disappointed.
Brian on 5.2, me on 5.5 and Alistair and Nico on 5.8, we were well powered in the steady cross (slightly on) shore breeze.
The shorebreak needed power to get through it, which we didn't always have (splash, etc) but once on the outside the entertainment was in bucketfuls. The swell on the outside was quite massive at times. Delphine got a photo of Nico and Brian in the troughs where their sails were visible only above their logos.
It was a short session for me but some of the best sailing I've had since El Medano, and quite reminiscent of it too, with port tack and big swell. Except this time I managed to do some nice outside gybes off the faces!
Short but sweet, and back in time for tea, 10 minutes along the road!
|Sundy 20 May - Kielder Water - Ross
It was a fitting end to a very windy weekend.
If Friday was the warm up and Saturday was the climax, Sunday was the chill-out session.
The roll call of sailors at Kielder today reads like this: Ally, Martin, Reiner, Mike, Peter, Terry D, Andy B, John P, Gavin and Mark. The latter four are our friends from over the river, if you didn’t know. Ian and Colin of KWSC were also windsurfing, as was a visitor from down south (forgive me, I forgot your name). Carl and Tony L were there too. I know Tony didn’t sail (recovering from the lurgy) but I’m not sure if Carl did or not?
So, an incredible 14 windsurfers on the water. Incredible partly because we didn’t really expect wind, and partly because lately we’ve become accustomed to organising events that few people attend. So a massive thank you to those who made the effort to come, despite a poor forecast, and let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. Ullswater is next on the calendar – hint, hint!
A few of us, including me, had brought our bikes expecting to have a windless ride, so it was with some surprise that on my arrival at 10.20am there was plenty of wind on the water, with whitecaps in the arm of the lake to the left of the sailing club, where the so’westerly was being squeezed before emptying into the main body of the lake. It was there that I aimed to sail and armed with 6.2 and 120lt board, in my role as wind monkey, I tacked up to the windy zone and faired well at first, planing consistently, but the wind soon moderated to the bottom of a F4 which Andy, the next on the water, demonstrated was perfect for powered-up 7m sailing.
Re-equipped with 7.5m sail, my sailing resumed and I enjoyed some great long reaches to the far side of the lake, at one point planing right through the middle of a dinghy race that was in progress at the time. Apologies to them for that, but we managed to avoid any real disruption, I think.
The morning session was followed by an excellent lunch from the KWSC galley and we all sat around chatting in the sunshine generally feeling at one with the world.
For me it was also a great day to catch up with old faces from the sailing club, where I had started my sailing a few years ago on my Laser before the windsurfing disease struck me.
The glow on my face tonight is not just due to the sun and the wind of this weekend. Today may not have been a roller coaster like yesterday or Friday but it was a soul session nonetheless.
|Sat 19 May - Budle Bay - Ross
From midday, for three hours or so I'd stood and watched the hard core crew battling F8 gusting F10 at D-Bay north end but decided against a survival session in favour of some proper sailing which I got at the end of the day after I trekked up to Budle to meet with Peter.
The first part of the session was on a 4.7 on my 77lt waveboard. The incoming tide against the strong wind made for some steep chop - it was like trying to sail up a flight of stairs!
A rain front spelt the end of the ballistic wind that had raged since the middle of the previous night, and it settled down to "proper 4.7m weather". I switched to my 95lt board, adjusted some more power into the sail and had a nice session on the now flattening water.
As sunset drew nearer the wind started to subside but with some satisfaction I managed to plane right round my last gybe of the day.
As we derigged it kicked back in again but we'd had a decent evening session so went home well pleased. Budle Bay is such a lovely place on a sunny day, with its crystal clear water and fantastic scenery.
It was good to sail with Mike (from Edinburgh) and Ben (from Leeds) who were camping there over the weekend.
|Friday 18 May - D-Bay - Ross
This is an interim report which will hopefully be bolstered by other contributors, but for the record there were 12 sailing in sunshine and 4.7m wind at D-Bay boat ramp. I got the last two hours of the session on 4.7/95 and had a thoroughly excellent sail.
|Wed 25 Apr: Seaburn - Ross
The text came in from Mal at just after midday. “20 deg. 6m cross shore. Bring it on!”
When I arrived at Seaburn beach half an hour later, I realised that he was wrong. It was not 6m wind but solid 5.5m weather. Once on the water I recalculated this, through gritted teeth, down to about 5m wind strength.
The first two hours were the best, with the wind locked into a SSW position from which it blew as steady as a wind gets on the east coast. Whitecaps mixed with big chop on the outside and proper swell even further out, giving challenging and entertaining sailing terrain. As the tide was already well out, the wind blew strongly right to the shore line, making for great non-stop powered up sailing.
In the latter hour the wind started to turn a little more to a SW direction, providing more of a challenge as the wind bent round the point and over the pier, shifting in direction with each surge. With the tide now well out, it was still fully powered sailing conditions right to the shore for me on my 5.5/95 combo, but getting a little gusty.
Mal and Andy and I were joined after the first hour by Russ and Dave, each rigging 5.2m. Mal held down his 6.2 thoughout like a true Geordie, but I was happy to be on smaller which was a handful at times anyway.
The temperature was high, the sun shone and we all grinned like madmen throughout the excellent afternoon of sailing. It was great to windsurf with the Shields bunch on a good day again and to be reomnded what a great location Seaburn can be when the conditions are right. Sailing in the sunshine with Andy felt like being in El Medano all over again, apart from the slightly colder water!
Considering that all forecasts were promising no more than a F4, to get a full afternoon of F5/6 was a wonderful surprise.
|Mon 23 April - Blyth - Ross
Well, the Wind God works in mysterious ways, that's all I can say.
Yesterday's sacrifice of me was for a reason. He was keeping me fresh for this evening.
I didn't get home until 5.30 and I was disappointed that I hadn't got out at South Shields after work. The wind had been threatening to blow all afternoon but the rain had kept it away. As I drove home, however, it seemed to be kicking in.
I had a look down at Whitley Bay and it was certainly starting to blow, in a SSW direction. A bit gusty though, so I headed to Blyth. I called Alistair and roped him in although he had to run an errand first. When we met at South Beach the wind looked marginal 7m strength, maybe I could get away with 6.2 in the gusts.
Long story short, I rigged 6.2, hit the water at 6.15 and got precisely one hour of the steadiest wind I've sailed in for a long time, on the east coast, which built from just planing for the first fifteen minutes (mostly on the plane though), through a solid half hour of being perfectly powered, long reaches out past the harbour entrance, to the last fifteen minutes when it built to full 5m weather. I hung onto the 6.2m, way overpowered, and extremely glad I hadn't rigged the 7.5m.
The light was amazing, the last of the sun forcing its way through the grey cluds that were whizzing past overhead, reflecting on the steely grey sea. As each low cloud passed, the air was squeezed beneath it, giving it a five-knot boost. Amazingly steady though, it was, until the tide came in and it started to become much more patchy and gusty, some of them being full sustained F6 squalls. Entertaining, for sure, but I'd had my fill and went home well satisfied.
In all, a great little ocean grooving session was had, over flat water and chop, capped off by a twenty metre walk to the van, a ten minute drive home and my dinner on the table when I arrived! Wonderful!
Alistair, Martin and Mike joined me for the latter part and got another half hour in while I derigged and packed up, so we all got a good hour of quite unexpected high wind blasting.
|Sun 22 April - D Bay - Gavin
Luckily we got a good little session today, admittedly on big kit, but beggers can't be choosers, it's a game of two halves, you make your own luck in this game ... etc. etc ad nauseum.
It all started badly though with his wind monkyness (me) busting the nose nearly off my board on a pot line on the first run out. A little bodge stick dinging later, which actually coincided with a wind lull saw me back on the water whilst the rest of the crew sand danced, spat out dummies and threw in their towels left right and centre. Ross, Peter and Martin skulked off to sandwich heaven I think, which left John MC and his crew of landlords, flatmates and Wearsiders (sorry chaps, I'll remember names next time) nicely positioned to benefit from a sudden spate of wind. What followed was a well powered up 1.5 hour blasting session with a few ramps thrown for good measure. If we all could have been arsed (it was a springs low tide afterall) we would have changed down to 6's and smaller boards, but as they say, if it's not bust no need to fix it.
Nice to see see some new faces, and the invite to Majuba will be taken.