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Sat 14 May - Ullswater - Ross Ketteridge
A great camping and walking weekend in the Lakes started with a visit to Pooley Bridge for an afternoon sail to get my weekend off to a good start. I arrived at 11am to a find the lake bathed in hot sunshine and a light breeze. From Waterside Farm campsite I could watch the non-planing windsurfers that had launched from the same spot. The wind, from the NE, was a perfect cross shore from the right, but just too light even for my biggest sail.

An hour later the picture began to change. Dinghies and cats started to keel over in the gusts that started to cover the water. Some of the bigger sailed windsurfers started to plane. I had already rigged my 9m and free formula board so was able to capitalise immediately. I was rewarded with 45 minutes of great flat water blasting and fully powered gybes, but right from the outset I was overpowered by the increasing breeze that on the far side of the lake had built to a full F4. I eventually admitted that I needed smaller gear.

By this time there were white caps appearing on the far side so I rigged a 6.2m, plugged it into my 120 and repeated the blasting and gibing bonanza but this time with something much more manageable in my hands and under my feet. All the while the sun shone gloriously so I had a whale of a time and got suntanned in the process!

This second session lasted about 45 minutes before the wind lulled gradually to the point that I was not quite planing, so I came in and rigged my 7.1m. Sail number three of the day! Thus equipped I was able to keep planing a while longer but the wind had by now blown all the energy it had for the day so my fun in this part of the session was short lived.

Yes, it was a bit of a bind rigging three sails. Yes, it was bit gusty. But it was hot and sunny and as always the beauty of the surrounding landscape made it a wonderful sailing session. The journey took only one hour and 20 minutes door to door. Incidentally theyr.net forecasted it perfectly again.

Saturday 14 May D-Bay ~ Wind Simians Revenge - Gavin Duthie
The wind monkey got all the cake today, but more of that later Conditions that greeted us (Andy F, TDog & Gavin) at the boat ramp were sunny, warmish and probably a northerly F3/4 and very steady giving a slightly cross off direction with tide out. Andy tried to rig a 7.2 only to find his mast base missing, but a quick call to his back up team (Donna and family) had relief speeding on it's way. Tdog and myself duly rigged 7.5's, and opting to be wind monkey boy, I set off on the epic walk down the beach with knuckles dragging and lots of doubts on a very worried low brow. With the first foot on the board all doubts vanished and I sped off over the water, WAHAY ! What followed was a very entertaining hour of fully powered up very steady blasting, but what made it even more entertaining was the rolling swell, which oddly enough wasn't giving much shore break. With the easterlies that had been running for a couple of days we had a nice 5ft swell in places and would have been eminently jumpable had it not been for my complete lack of skill on a port tack. What really got the smile going was the return ride back in on the faces of some of the bigger ones. Tdog made it out somewhat later but only caught the tale end and Andy ages after, and by this time the party was over. Andy reckons the wind dies as soon as Donna turned up. I beg to differ, it was more like as soon as the great Wind Jonah himself set foot in the water.

Sat 08 May - Derwent Reservoir - Ross Ketteridge
It didn’t look promising. Like a millpond, it was. Hardly a ripple. And it was drizzling.

So we retired to the club house to drink tea and eat sausage sandwiches.

As midday approached the breeze seemed to be gradually filling in. The 11.5m sails of the NEWS guys started moving along at planing speeds. The trees started swaying. Then dinghies started to keel over. Hang on a minute, it’s getting windy! With 6.2m sail in one hand and a 120lt board in the other, I ran to the water with Gavin, Ray (on a 7.4m that he would later regret), Martin H, Raymond, Jayne, Jimmy and several others from DRSC and enjoyed about one and a half hours of comfortable blasting between the lulls and gusts, each coinciding with the front or back edge of a rainy cloud but mainly we had a very nice sail in the on-off sunshine. It was surprisingly cold on the hands for some reason - I got the hot aches for the first time since sailing on the sea at D-Bay on New Year’s Day – lakes can get really cold even in May!

At about 1pm the wind died completely so we took a lunch break. Boydy commented that Derwent was a funny old place and said we shouldn’t be surprised if it was blowing a force 6 by 4pm. Yeah, right, we thought.

By 4pm it was blowing a force 6. Steve was soon out blasting on his 5.8m. I manfully (or should I say foolishly) hung on to my 6.2 but despite its impressive range, in reality I should’ve been on a 5m and a sinky board. Some of the gusts were really vicious as the NW direction meant that the wind was not funnelling cleanly down the valley but coming over the land and trees of one side of the valley. As a result I found myself miles upwind on several occasions, having to choose very carefully my moments to gybe. I retired rather than rerigged, having had a good session and an excellent workout.

The sudden difference in wind strength during the back end of the afternoon caught many unawares, resulting in some frantic rescue boat activity. Those swept up by it included formula racer Tim Wood and our very own Steve Shaw.

A surprisingly good day.

Fri 06 May - Derwent - Steve Boyd
I left work at 12.00 to find a feeble F4 blowing butdrove up to derwent which was only 30 minutes away from where i work. Got there to be greeted to a measly F4 which slowly built into a F5-6 Westerly as the cloud cleared. Matt (another one) rigged 5.7 as it was deemed being the lightest he should be the sacrificial wind dummy. After watching him plane continuosly and getting catapulted quite seriously it was evident the wind was stronger on the water. I rigged 5.8 and planed well powered to overpowered. It was quite gusty under the clouds but when the sky cleard we had some good blasts in clean wind for derwent in which i managed to get 7-8 runs strung together with good gybing conditions without being "strung out" from the gusty winds. As i packed up due to lack of energy the wind picked up and for the next hour it was 5.0m with nick going full tilt on his 4.7. A very good typical derwent session that anyone after a flat water hi wind blast with good gybing conditions thrown in would enjoy immensely-and only for a fiver. This is less it would have cost me to travel up to beadnell and half the travelling time! A question to all those who like to sail at beadnell on a westerly- ask richie how much windier it was at budle today than beadnell and ask yourself this: a battering at beadnell in the gusty westerly winds(caused by the high dunes?) or a sail at budle with cleaner more consistent winds?

Thursday 5th May 2005 ~ Beadnell - Gavin Duthie
After deciding not to go because of injury and to save it for the weekend, I couldn't resist and went. I arrived to find Tdog and Adrian rigging 5's and Andy blasting on a 5.4. The bay was a mass of white caps, sunshine and the tide was fully in, in otherwords a classic Beadnell. Andy huffed and puffed up the beach to say he was grossly overpowered in the gusts. I rigged a 4.7 and ventured out. The next half hour saw it increase to sustained gusts of F7 which basically cleared the water with only Tdog getting slightly caught in it all. Fifteen minutes of this saw it moderate again and the rest of the afternoon was spent in glories flat water bay running. Andy clarted on for a bit and changed down board and rig size, but this seemed to put the mockers on it and it died again to a comfortable F4/5. Being the usual gusty westerly, some of the sustained blows were very entertaining and certainly tested out my new Gun Wave MC. Boards ranged from Ritchie and Sam on 80+ to me on a 100. The falling tide and risk of reef collision finished the afternoon, but it was just as well as the conditions had given our bodies a damn good thrashing. ~ Gavin Duthie.

Fun Friday Flyer 29 April - D/Bay North E - Steve Boyd
Well, having just got out of bed at 12.30pm after night shift, i received a phone call from Gavin Duthie. "Hey boydy you want to get up here adrian only brought 6.1 and needs a 5.0!" -yeah right i thought..........

A few strong gusts in the trees out the back of the house and a quick XCweather check saw me leaving the house eating lunch on the way to D-bay in double quick time. As i arrived at D-bay to be greeted by a multitude of white horses,low tide, blue sky and sunny, 18degrees cross to cross offshore SW-WSW F5-6 and Brian Dey, T-dog, Gavin and overpowered Adrian on-6.1m-i-aint-got-no-excuse-for-not-having-enough-power-in-the-gybes and duly rigged 5.8 and 94 and sailed for 1 hour WELL powered up at the north end. A brief lull coincided with Andy freeman arriving and rigging 5.7 only for the wind to return at a solid F5 which allowed some blasts right out into the bay in one of the most consistent winds i have sailed in at D-Bay. For most of my runs i was able to sail with one hand off the boom and relax into the sailing in such stable conditions. There were occasionally a few ankle biting wavelets to ride but the only person who would play chicken with me across the water was Brian. Gavin kept giving me a wide berth and me and brian nearly hit each other head on in our game of chicken as a gust hit us and we both headed upwind. Unfortunately Brian lost and got his hair wet and i sailed off waving goodbye (i think Brian was waving to me but i did not catch what he was saying).

This made up for the disappointment of thursday, today was a real classic. Wind strengths ranged from the top of a F4 to F6 SW-WSW and sails from 5.0 to 5.8(and Adrian on 6.1) on 86litres to 105litre boards.

Adrian learnt a hard lesson today. He came to the beach with one board and one sail. The right board and the wrong sail! ALWAYS bring all the toys, perfect days are few and far between to be lost. ~ Steve Obi Wan Boyd.

Sat 23 Apr - Derwent Reservoir - Ross Ketteridge
If we’d got there at midday we’d have had two hours of planning on 7m sails (thanks to the Derwent crew for reminding us!) but as the forecast said it would be stronger later, myself, Andy, Tony L, Peter and Jayne did not venture up there until mid afternoon.

By that time it had dropped off somewhat. In summary Andy and Tony had a frustrating time, planing occasionally, on 9m and 8.5m respectively. Andy would have had more fun on his formula board but it wouldn’t fit inside his car. Peter had a good day on his 9.2 and longboard. Jayne is back on the water after a long time away and looked to be sailing very well – like riding a bike! I was fortunate to have the gear to make the most of the conditions, planing for maybe 50% of the time on my 9m and freeformula. The wind gradually turned from E to NE and died off to almost nothing by 4.30pm.

It was a bit chilly at 8 degrees but the sun shone brightly all afternoon and it was a sociable sort of day apart from the low-adrenaline sailing.

Sun 17 Apr - Amble - Ross Ketteridge
Where did everybody go?

After launching at about 1pm into an iffy wind, Steve C, Gavin and I (5.8, 6.3, 6.2) struggled in the first half an hour to get many sustained powered runs, despite much bearing away and pumping,.

By about 2pm, however, we found that our perseverance paid off as the wind, just as forecast, built into a nice F4, its SE direction making it cross shore at Amble. The lulls gradually became fewer and less frequent and its steadiness built such that it made for very relaxed, well-powered sailing without any of the usual gusts to contend with. The sun even shone for about an hour. Until about 4.30pm we enjoyed a great session of nicely powered reaches out to Coquet Island and back. Never exactly overpowered, the wind picked up sufficiently in the latter part of the afternoon to warrant the plugging-in of my 94lt board, to replace the 120lt that I sailed for most of the time.

The sea state was fairly flat but with enough swell and chop to make it interesting, not to mention a jolly good workout. The temperature hovered around the 9 degree mark so it was chilly but fairly comfortable. Not a classic but an excellent afternoon of sailing.

The big mystery is why everybody else decided to go home early without sailing. We all knew the forecast said it would pick up later and this is exactly what it did. Presumably the desire to watch football on the TV or just go home to sit in a nice warm armchair (and presumably reach for the pipe and slippers) has become stronger than the desire for a good windsurfing session?

Sun 10 April – Beadnell classic - Ross Ketteridge
This time the wind was even better than forecast, the sun shone all afternoon and the temperature was near 15 degrees.

In fact, days at Beadnell don’t come any better than this, quite frankly.

In short, from my own perspective, I had three hours of being fully maxed on a 5.5/94lt combo that to be honest was a bit of a handful at times. The gusts in the middle of the bay coming through the gap in the dunes were certainly F6 and several were sailing on sub-5m sails. Generally it was a solid F5 Run after run across the whole length of the bay in warm sunshine, absolutely wonderful. Again it was flat, even more than yesterday, so it was another excellent gybing practice day. And if you got it right on the inside there was a good audience of witnesses including Rich with his camera.

Andy and I commented that it was possibly the steadiest, least-gusty westerly that we’ve ever sailed in at B-Bay, at least until the last half hour when the tide came in and it became much gustier.

Who made it? Andy, Ally, Tdog, Tony L, Carl, Adrian, Ali Claydon (good to see her out and showing us how to gybe!), Ray, Matt B, Nicholas (new NWC guy from Leucate, France), Peter, and . . .did I forget someone?

Definitely a classic, if flat water blasting in sunshine followed by a 10m walk to your car at the end of the day is your idea of fun.

As a PS there was a good turn out of the "better halfs" and offspring. Cath joined Rich & I and the dogs who got at least 2 walks. Jenny was with Tony. Kathleen was there with Alex, his cousin and Ray & Katheleen's newest addition Douglas. Donna and little Ross were also on the beach with newly arrived Craig. Quite an encampment to enjoy the spectacle on the water. - Peter

Sat 09 April – Beadnell semi classic - Ross Ketteridge
Leaving Whitley Bay at 1030 in sunshine, strong westerly wind and 10 degrees made the arrival at 11.30 rather disappointing as it was 6 degrees, quite windless, grey and raining.

Eventually persistence paid off as at about 1330 the rain clouds blew away and the wind kicked in to a very nice full F4 WNW.

The sea in the Bay, now near high tide, had the remnants of the recent northerlies, with some huge swells in the middle of the bay, where, over the central rock reef, they were jacking up to maybe ten feet in height. Sailing through, or rather between, these monsters, was a stressful experience as the wind had some big holes in it. Sadly for John C a big lull coincided with a big reef wave and he got well-munched but of course lived to tell the tale. The swell also gave quite a shore break at the north end from which we sailed and some big rolling waves at the south end.

For me, it was a great day of blasting on flat water across the whole length of the bay in generally steady wind that built to F5 by 1500 and throughout the day allowed me to test fully the tuning range of my new Loft Lip 6.2 that was getting its first outing. Being on my 121lt, I managed to plane almost all the time even through some of the big gaps between the gusts, so there was little spoiling three hours of jolly good fun.

Also sailing were Matt S, John C, Carl, Adrian, Tdog, Steve B, Ally, Martin H, Raymond, Gavin and, ummm, sorry if I missed someone.

By the time I drove home the sun was out and the temperature was back up to 11 degrees. An excellent day.

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