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Fri 14 April - Beadnell Speed Records - Ross Ketteridge

What a fantastic day.


All-day sunshine, F5 wind, a high tide at Beadnell and lots of fast, fast sailing.


I had the Flow 95 out with a 5.5m sail and clocked 29.8mph on my first run.  A bit later I cracked the 30 barrier, an surprisingly easy 30.1mph.  Ray likewise was screaming across the bay and got 30.5mph on the GPS.


All of this rather paled into insignificance a few minutes later, when Andy logged a 40.1mph run.  Yes, forty point one miles per hour!!  Absolutely amazing.  The secret was the flat water at the south end of the bay.  If you approached it in the right direction you could bear away off it and be heading very broad on perfectly flat water, just a few metres from the beach.  Talk about raising the bar!


Some fin damage was sustained by Andy and Ray.  As Boydy pointed out, we were taking a risk early on as we launched at about 11am into a bay with quite a low tide, so some breath-holding moments were had whilst crossing the reef as the tide came in.  The sea was super-clear so the rocks were flashing underfoot alarmingly much of the time.


The rest of the morning went in similar vein, the wind staying strong although getting gustier as time wore on.  Having said that, it was not a really gusty westerly compared to normal.  Alistair was there too as were a couple of familiar local faces the names of whom evade my memory.  Carl came along in late morning.  Peter turned up just when the wind had decreased, launching at about 2pm with a 7.5m sail.  It’d taken him nearly 2 hours to get through the holiday traffic!  By then, Beadnell was a beautiful sight, with a fully flooded spring high tide at 3pm and still glorious sunshine.


What a great start to the Bank Holiday weekend.  I’m just amazed that there were not more people sailing.

Sun 09 April: D-Bay - Ross Ketteridge

On the face of it it was a great day for sailing: sunny and windy with nice waves in D-Bay.  But, boy was it cold, plus a few other challenges.

The wind direction was NW so we started at Amble, but the swell was building and the tide was coming in which would have meant a wind shadow a bit later just where you don't need one.  So we decamped to D-Bay.

We settled eventually on the boardwalk end.

First the Van Show.  Ian B arrived from Scotland in his lovely new shiney red VW T5.  Terry was there with his slightly older T5.  And the trio was completed by my new T5's second windsurfing outing.  Not a bad tally out of five guys!

The others were Boydy and Alistair.  Martin H was with us at the start but opted for Ladyburn (I think.  How did you get on, Martin?).

Ian made the most of the conditions, on a surprisingly large board (103) and a 5.7m sail.  It was a challenge to say the least.  The tide was high and although it was a neap, the rip was very strong and the undertow powerful.  Even dropping your sail in waist high water caused it to be pulled to the bottom with amazing force.

Of course the rip was in the same direction as the wind (why is this always so?) and combined with an increasingly large swell, getting out through the shore break was a big task.  Especially as the wind became lighter and lighter as the tide came in.

Once on the outside the northerly (must have been NNW by now I reckon) was clean and strong and the big swell a real roller coaster ride.  Ian was making great use of these with some great jumping, one of which popped a footstrap screw clean out of the deck!  Once mended, the jumpfest commenced.

As the session wore on, the wind lightened a bit more and most of us called it a day.

For me, it was a short and sweet session on an old friend, my Flow 95, which was great.  I forgot how lovely it is to gybe, as long as you allow a nice wide arc.  Despite a few runs to the outside, I came a cropper in the shore break a couple of times, pogo'ing the rig in the mast on one occasion, and getting washed down with the rip.  So, mixed with the fact that my hands were bitterly cold (it was 6 degrees less wind chill) and I was finding it hard to hang on, I figured that the effort was becoming more than the returns.  Watching Alistair and Terry, it seemed I was not the only one making such a decision.

Still, it was a day out and the sun shone throughout.   

Addendum - Martin H

By the sound of it it was a good choice for me to go to Ladyburn. I was in two minds to go home, sat in my car, the solitary prospective sailor on what looked a gusty murky lake. With birds of every description settled on the foreshore Avion Flu was at the front of my mind and the cheeky, non fee paying, hoards of bird feeders had almost made my mind up untill Mike Stewart arrived and another guy who only started windsurfing late last year, sorry I didn't catch your name. We started with 5.5's and 5.8 but in the lulls we came to a standstill. Mike put up 7m but still looked to be floundering at times so lacking a 7.5 I opted for 8.4, was this wise? yes and no! As the wind filled in there was plenty of powered up reaches back and forth across the lake, some overpowered! A fourth sailor joined us, a regular from Drewent also to be seen at QEII.
A good afternoon on the lake in sunshine, not too cold and a few non sailors called in to say hello, Ally and Nico.   

Fri 07 April - D-Bay -

Ross Ketteridge

[Report compiled from reports by Andy and Steve]

Another Friday Flyer for Andy, Bob, Boydy and Terry.

Bob and Terry were on 4.0 and 4.5, Boydy and Andy rigged 5.3m, although the latter were overpowered at times on these.

Wave boards were the order of the day

The wind was cross offshore and although a bit gusty provided solid planing for the whole afternoon.

East - v - West / April 1st 2006 - S.Boyd / R.Ketteridge


The west gave me (Boydy) a F4-5 SW to start with in sunshine and little broken cloud. after about 1 hour on the F2 with 5.8m the wind increased for the next hour and i hung onto 5.8m on the jp with a few good ramps appearing for jumping. It was a bit marginal the first hour(incoming spring tide not helping)  but second was really good and I strung atleast a dozen runs together in the consistent wind that blew for the last part. It eased at high tide and i packed in. Ian from edinburgh turned up for the outgoing tide session just as the wind returned.

Report to follow: ( R.Ketteridge) 5.5m cross shore at the north end of D-Bay.   A good blast if not a classic.

Beadnell Screamer - 29 March 06 - Andy F

Twas awesome at Beadnell.... Ally mad, TDOG and I were there from 13:00 onwards and I sailed till i could sail no more.

A full blown SW screamer that had me wishing I had took the small sails. You would think I would know to take everything by now.

Sunny, I have a touch of the red nose and cheekbones, windy and not too cold 12 degrees on the car thermometer.

High spring tide and a super steady wind meant this one will have me remembering it with rose tinte glasses for a good while.

Allonby Top Trump - 26th March 06 - Steve Boyd

Allonby came up trumps yet again. Arrived to be greeted by 13 degrees, sunny with odd cloud, and not the forecasted diminising F5 detoriating to nothing, just a solid F6-7 S-SSW cross to cross onshore. only one local out at first on 4.0m, as the tide dropped off the high tide shelf to reveal a lovely sandy beach with no rocks or stones and the waves starting lift off the shallow shelf. i rigged 4.7m (as i forgot my 4.2m-doh!) and held on, but it was fine. Played for two hours with good fully powered runs out at some nice ramps for good jumping, blasting, a bit of backside and a bit of frontside riding when the wind went more southerly. A good little session to blow the rusty cobwebs of winter off. Dont dither- just do it!

Spring Haven Feast - Boulmer 24.3.06 -

Martin H

All our regular beaches looked unsailable untill we (Steve C, Alistair and I) chanced upon Boulmer Haven at 11 o'clock. F4-F5 blowing due East on a high Neap tide meant that the waves were crashing on the reef some 5-600 meters from the shore leaving a relatively flat lagoon. We hastily rigged 4.7's and a 4.5 for me, the first hour saw Steve C blasting to and fro and even venturing out beyond the reef to play in the waves, Alistair and I had some trouble getting upwind being underpowered but were rewarded with a few planning runs each. After a short break to warm up we went out again to find the falling tide leaving the lagoon even calmer, as suprisingly the wind picked up. Steve returned to the reef and was even seen getting some air in the 'gentle' waves, Alistair and I had better luck the second hour, planning fully powered up almost the full length of the chest deep lagoon

A great early spring session, if a tad cold, and an excellent first sail in the safety of Boulmer Haven for me and Alistair.

Tue 07 Feb: Beadnell - Ross Ketteridge

If I said it was a classic I’d be telling lies, but it’s true to say that we had a good small-sail high-wind blast today which well and truly blew away the non-sailing cobwebs that have accumulated over recent weeks.


Like yesterday, we were in the right place at the right time, hitting the window of good wind that presented itself this afternoon.  Unfortunately for Tdog, he came to the water just as the window was closing.


Andy and I were joined by a couple of guys from South Shields, just after lunch, on a dropping tide and a WSW wind.  It was fortunate that the wind direction gradually turned more to the SW as the reef was getting worryingly exposed and the shift in direction allowed us to sail to the left of it, not over it!


The first run was what Andy would describe as “fruity”.  Even on my flattened and fully downhauled 4.7m plugged into my 85lt board, I was maxed out, so how Andy managed to hold on to his 5.4 is beyond me.  And him too, possibly.  As the hour passed, the wind settled down and we had some blistering runs and even some nice gybes, if you timed it in a steady patch rather than a big gust or lull.


These later became more frequent and we eventually spent periods waiting for cloud edges to pass before resuming for act II and finally act III.  Fortunately everyone kept their “one last blast” reaches to a safe distance so nobody was caught out in the middle in the final long-term lull that spelt the end of the session.    


For me it was great to be blasting again on a small sail/board combo.  The highlight was when the sun came out for a wee while, which welcomingly made the 8 degrees seem a little warmer.  The fact that the wind was gusty (hey, what do you expect in an offshore wind?) did little to spoil what was a short but sweet winter session.   


Thanks to our new French buddy Alex who took lots of pics, some of which I hope will be published in our gallery soon.  I suspect if he had had his windsurfing kit with him he'd have taught us how it should be done!

Mon 06 Feb: D-Bay - Ross Ketteridge
A very short report on what was a decent one hour big-sail blast.

NOt an epic session, but in light of having not sailed since 23 December it was a lot better than nothing, and good to be on the water again. I was on 120lt/7.1m. Gavin, Andy and Martin H were on similar rigs.

Air temp was 8 degrees but it felt colder. The sea was as flat as a lake after weeks of no wind. The water was very cold. The sky was grey. The WSW F4 stayed for an only an hour. We were in the right place at the right time, as on either side of that hour there was virtually no wind.   

Nuclear DBay - 20 Jan 06 - Ross
I just got back from D-Bay, disappointed.

I'm fortunate that the postings above have been made, as they somewhat vindicate my wimping-out of sailing this afternoon. I see that the wind at Boulmer is gusting to 52mph on XC just now.

I left Steve and Alistair battling in the chop and spray after deciding against it. Even getting to the water's edge looked like a very cold and energy-sapping chore, as I looked on from the comfort of my warm car.

There were a few thoughts of "if. . then" going through my mind. If it had been 5 degrees warmer then I'd have gone out. If I'd have brought smaller gear than 94/4.7m (hopelessly too big) then I may have gone out, etc.

True, Boydy offered me the loan of a small board and sail, but the 6 to 7 degrees temperature and the gusting wind made me decide against it. It's never the same sailing on borrowed gear at the best of times, never mind in survival conditions.

Terry watched with me and made the same decision.

The sand was blowing down the beach in a full layer of high speed white mist. The sea was covered in white caps.

Steve and Alistair were each on 4.7m and 87lt (I think). Alistair looked to be extremely overpowered, going more sideways than forwards on the first few runs. Boydy manfully blasted out and back, making dry gybes all the way until I left just a few minutes after they had launched.

Bring on the pisstaking.

Steve Boyd's report ~ Sunny D-bay 20th january- "The days of Supermen and mice"

Time for the true report. I of course give a true and accurate account of sailing conditions and in no way will lower myself to do any pisstaking as it is not my style of operation, but the circumstances deserved the real story as Alistair will confirmin in a court of humour.

I arranged to meet ross(as he was going away for the weekend and was desperate to sail, i say DESPERATE TO SAIL!) and alistair. Upon arrival it was quite obvious it was howling and Terry Mcgill had turned up.

Myself and Terry walked down to the waters edge as ross did not want to get sand on his workclothes......................................mouse no.1?! Upon arrival at the waters edge the wind was blowing SW-WSW about F7-F9(approx 1pm) with quite a severe wind chill and gusts. Terry said "4.0m for me but as its cold and i have to pick my wife up at 3pm i dont think i will bother." Yes, indeed....... At this point i was thinking i would be really hanging off my 4.2m myself. perfect!

Alistair was mad keen to get out on his little jp wave board and his new 4.7m sail. During this time the wind eased and we decided(thats me and alistair, not ross and terry (who could have still got an hour in, mouse no.2?)) to go for it with 4.7m as it had steadied out a lot more.

At this point i will say ross decided it was to cold(it was 7.5degrees and sunny) and as he only had 4.7m & 94litres and not 4.1m & 85litres (i reckon he did but had thrown his coat over them in the back of his car!), so not to see him left standing suffering from the comfort of his nice warm car, i offered him my 4.2m and my 87litre wave board and i would use my 4.7m on my 90litre wave slalom.

At this point let it also known for the record i tried my utmost to persuade him but could not, so left him to ponder his own "mbon-ness".

Ray robson turned up but was on baby sitting duites-understandably he can be excused(now that is what i call an excuse!). The wind had dropped quite nicely into a steady F6-F7 and my first runs were surprisingly quite easy, with lots of power and the gusts were not as bad as they looked. As alistair joined he strugggled a bit at first till we got his kit set up right and then he was blasting right out into the bay with me. I kept waving to ross to come and join the fun but i dont think he could see me for the red mist.

This continued for about 1 hour then the wind started to swing more westerly and off shore and perdictably that combined with the tide comiing in made the gusts suddenly quite severe and the lulls massive. before this as the wind had been more cross the gusts were quite predictable and in the lulls there was enough power to still keep planing quite comfortably. at this point i was starting to get tired as i had just come off night shift and i suggested we quit while we were ahead. This we did and probably just so as it swung offshore and dropped a little.

Epilogue: Alistair remarked qoite rightly how much easier it was on smaller kit in strong winds and it was not really that cold as when you are having a blast like this you keep quite warm. i managed to coincide with my last run with an ankle biting wave let and get a little bit of frontside riding- perfect to finish the day off. The conditons were not as bad as it first looked when we got there. I have heard and read a lot of excuses from a lot of experienced sailors who would have really enjoyed a welcome "winter blast" such as this one. Question:just powered on 6.2m and 100litres or fully powered on 4.7m on 85litres? the answer my friends is blowing in the wind- and there is plenty of hot wind going around here at the moment! do not forget to check your kit and and always take everything!.

I remeber just before ross left his blue VW was glowing bright red and made a loud wailing sound (was it the turbo or ross?)before leaving at very high speed.

D-bay was not really nuclear. just atomic.

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