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There are 397 News Items in 40 pages and you are on page number 17

Wednesday 6 April - Boat Ramp - Tony Champion (Tdog)
Scene: The boat ramp driving rain and hail – Brian cowering under his tailgate to change – Quote: “That was the worst day’s sailing I’ve ever had here” and he got out through the shore break and the rip and blasted about for a while. Boydy “That was very disappointing” also managed a sail but along with Brian had to walk the walk of shame to get back upwind after nearly every wave ride. Bob struggled in the rip most of the time but did get out and back more than once. Richie (a newcomer to the group) sailed briefly and to good effect but claimed that his hands had never before been so cold. A dummyless Andy had to walk back from Poo corner and I managed to get outside once but wished I hadn’t.

Why was it so bad? We arrived 1.15 ish to see white caps, breaking waves and scudding spray in brilliant sunshine, 4.2s to 4.7s were rigged. Martin ("I've never seen it like this before") took one look and wisely went back to the pond. Steve went out as wind monkey and demonstrated that there wasn’t half as much wind as appeared. Brian followed him and planed most of the time but by now the shore break was really jacking up and the rip was awkward. I tried and got a good rinsing for my pains and decided to wait for the tide to change. Andy kept dry. My patience quickly ran out and I tried again successfully to find that the wind on the outside was not only very twitchy but had huge holes in it which coupled with fairly bumpy conditions made very uncomfortable sailing. I came straight back in to do a little tuning but on seeing massive black clouds approaching decided to wait a bit. At this point Andy wobbled out and only made it back to shore again at the North end, abandoned his gear and came stomping back through the hail storm. All but Steve and Richie then called it a day.

There were possibly two problems. First the wind was very twitchy and second it was blowing against the main tidal flow so that produced an abnormal amount of white water on the outside. Having said that I would not like to have had to hold down a 5m in the gusts under those bumpy conditions.

A follow on from TDOG's report from Martin H

The pond offered much the same without the rip. XC said 32mph gusting to 45 at 2pm, I would concur, stranded outside the Visitor Centre with my 5.8! I downhauled and outhauled it to the max which enabled me to sail.... only just. I sheltered from the hail under my sail as I also began the walk of shame around the SW wind shadow in front of the car park. The sun shone and the wind dropped as I packed away..... such is a windsurfers lot!

5th April 2005 / Lap of The Gods - Gavin Duthie
Andy F is a very very lucky boy, he's also a shrewd and crafty bugger.

Scenario 1 - TDog, Andy F and I roll up to DBay BR. The sky is blue the sun is shining (13C) and the sea is almost turquoise, except for the white bits called horses. The wind is cross of (WSW/ F3-5), it's looking good. Sizes 5.7, 6.3 and 5.5 are rigged respectively and 100-103litres are plugged and ready for play. I wobble out and wind dies, long walk of shame ensues ! Andy and TDog are confused and know not what to do. With much shuffling of feet and long diatribes of windsurfing clichés filling the void, Andy steadily crumbles and hankers for home, the smell of nappies and warm milk. I rig a 7.5 in desperation and venture forth on a huge 140L board, ........... EUREKA ! the gods are tricked and the wind steadily builds to a fruity F5. I blast around for a bit on the big kit just to make sure, then swap back to my 5.5 and 100L. TDog is also there and having just as much fun and some of that essential soul surfing nourishment. Andy has caved in and gone home.

Scenario 2 - All of the above but Andy stays and has a brilliant soul sesh also. He also educates us on how to conduct ourselves when we attempt to predict and arrange future sessions, he says in order to trick the fickle wind masters best not mention specifics, keep descriptions vague and always rig a sacrificial 7.5 to appease them.
Andy is also lucky not to have me land on him as we both jump the same wave at full speed side by side !!!!

You decide what's true, but suffice to say when Andy got home he had a big smile on his face, and it wasn't just the welcome he got from the family this time. ~ Gavin.

Friday 1st April and Sunday 3rd April - Peter Amos
Fools on the Toon & Fools on the Pool at Ladyburn for the first sail on the calendar of the season

Big thank you to Nikki for organising the Fools on the Toon on1st April at El Torero where 15 Club members had a great meal and a good Crac. We all adjourned to the Bridges for a beer or two and were joined by Steve Shaw who finished work too late for the meal. Some of the younger ones went on to 55degrees for a late one.

The Fools on the Pool were much of the same crowd and getting out on the water were myself, Martin H & Armin, Paul Gilmore, Gavin, Ally Madd, Nikki & Steve. Providing the critical assessments from the shore side were Terry D, Andy, Tony C, Tony L and Maggie.

The day was one where it required effort to get any planning progress and for me was a good work out but not really prepared to put the effort in for a few seconds planning on the Formula board so the longboard had a good airing. Ally managed the best runs of the day according to the shore side gallery.

It was a surprisingly nice day and even those not sailing hung around for a good while just enjoying being outdoors in moderately good weather for a change. Catherine came for her lunch and she and the dogs walked round the lake with Alexander.

So although the sailing left a lot to be desired there was a fair turnout both on and off the water and I think everyone had an enjoyable, if not exciting time.

Fri 01 Apr - Blyth - Ross Ketteridge
The wind gradually built, after hovering around 10mph all morning, eventually at about midday, to 15mph, SSE to S direction.

Steve made the call at that point, and we agreed to meet at Blyth before it died off. When we arrived, our hearts sank somewhat as it had seemed to have dropped off a bit. Story of our life. Steve resolved to not sail as I rigged my new 9m Nitro4, nervously eyeing up the shore break which was a slight worry with the size of kit that I was going to be sailing.

I needn’t have worried as, predictably no sooner had I finished rigging the big gear that the wind picked up a notch and then another, and turned more SSW. It had been swinging around a bit before this point but now the clouds were really moving overhead in the 15 degrees and sunny sky. We knew it might not last so we acted quickly.

I started to rig my 7.1m but realised that it had actually filled in quite nicely and that this was the opportunity to see if my new 6.2 Loft Lip, collected yesterday from Surfstore, was as good in bottom end as it claimed.

Steve did likewise and we hit the water each with 6.2m sail in hand.

The wind was lighter (where have you heard that before!) as we prepared to launch. It was obviously going to be a wobbly affair in the shore break but you could see a wind line developing about 100m off the shore. Once there, we had an absolute blast, even Steve managing to get going as soon as I did. That North sail sure has some good bottom end, as does my new Loft which just felt fabulous, especially in the gusts.

The sea state on the outside was choppy, but with wide spacing, so Steve was getting some huge jumps in the gusts and even I managed to get my fin clear of the water a few times (Steve is a witness!). The F4 wasn’t exactly solid but it was sustained enough to get a good couple of hours of excellent blasting. In the last five minutes an amazing thing happened. As I was following Steve back to shore he caught a huge gust, jumped really high, sheeted in, and pulled off the cleanest double loop I’ve seen in my life. He even planed out but at that point I realised the date and woke up. I also reflected on the fact that what had actually happened was that I did get out but on a sail three metres larger, but the shore break and general lethargy not to mention forearm cramp meant it was a severely limited session timewise.

So all in all an excellent session and all the better for being a completely unexpected one.

Fri 18 Mar - D Bay north end - Ross Ketteridge
Talk about an accurate forecast. I put my faith in theyr.net and, once again, they didn’t let me down.

They said F5 WSW all morning, veering W at midday and dying off in the afternoon. That's exactly what happened.

So we had arranged to meet at 0930 to catch the morning wind. Andy, TDog, Adrian and myself hit the water a few minutes later at high tide in a cross off VERY gusty wind that almost ripped my 5.5 out of my hands a few times and made for some serious tailwalking in the sustained gusts on the outside but it settled down as the tide receded to perfect 5.5m strength albeit with some holes. The "real men" as Adrian reminded me, had rigged 6.2m but I noticed a degree of wrestling at times on their part. . .

The sea was flat apart from the small wave on the outer reef. John C joined us at about 11am and managed some great jumps off this, the only non-flat part of the whole bay. He also gave a nice display of fully carving duck gybes as the wind blew its last.

The flatness of the sea made it a great day for gybing practice for a change, after so many weeks of big northerly swells. I took full advantage and strung together many more gybes than I have for ages – and then started to drop them as soon as I had bragged about how well I was doing.

Good call for the early morning sail though, as it dropped off to F3/4 and started to drizzle as we packed up.

For me, one of the best sessions in a long time, mainly for the fact that, for a change, I felt that I was sailing well!

Thu 17 Mar - D Bay north end - Andy Chopper Freeman
Normal service has been resumed it seems. SW winds and 16 degrees on the mercury.

Today was indeed a rare beast. Not for a long while have we had a day that would have great for all the Pond life to make the transition. 6M weather, unless you are Brian, and no swell/chop at all.

Partaking were Brian, Ray and myself with Gavin on hand to take photos.

For my part there was as much standing on the beach trying to get some movement back in my forearms as there was sailing. Funny how soon you can loose fitness so quickly. Must think about getting my old pull up bar out again.

Couldn't hold on to the boom, couldn't gybe, even the menace beneath the waves could not stop me falling in.

Did I have fun? You bet.

Wed 16 Mar - D Bay North End - Ross Ketteridge
It would be difficult to overstate the massive change in the weather in the last two days. For the previous two months it has been consistently much colder than normal and the wind has been almost absent. When the wind has blown, it has registered below minus ten on wind chill readings, so there has been a distinct lack of good quality sailing in this whole period.

Having now dispensed with the stubborn high pressure system that has been causing all of this misery, we are, at long last, back into a more normal south westerly airflow, and with it is coming gulf-stream-warmed air. The car thermometer was reading 15 degrees at 10am today, quite remarkable.

It seemed more like a Saturday than a weekday at D-Bay today, looking at the great turnout. Starting from 10am, a steady swelling of the ranks made for a roll call consisting of myself, Gavin, Boydy, Ian (from Durham), Bob, Brian, Adrian, Ally Mad, TDog and Matt B. What a bunch of skivers!

After yesterday’s debacle we ignored the forecast that said the wind would steadily build to a lunchtime peak of F6/7, and therefore opted to "rig big", in this case 5.5m sails (Boydy 5.8). In the cross shore rather gusty wind, we soon found ourselves overpowered as the strength increased (as forecast!), and 4.5 to 4.7m became the revised main size choice. Some manfully clung onto their 5m sails (and bigger) including TDog, Adrian and, unsurprisingly, Boydy.

The sky was intermittently sunny and the wind remained strong all afternoon. At 1pm it did indeed peak, whereupon for at least half an hour it must have been blowing a full F7. At this time some unlucky souls were caught on the outside. These included Adrian and TDog, both on 5m sails that were some 80% too large for the conditions. Matt made some great survival sailing too to get back in one piece. Well, almost, as he put a Tom-and-Jerry style hole in his 4.7 where his harness hook had pierced the monofilm in a big wipeout, and a corresponding impressively severe dent where his head had made contact at what was obviously quite a high speed!

As the tide came in, the waves became rideable but the chop on the outside became bigger and more confused, but this didn’t spoil what was a superb day of sailing. It was Steve’s birthday today – what a great present, a solid F5 SW and 15 degrees!

Talking of presents, I christened my shiny new Loft Lip 4.7 today and was mightily impressed. Over the whole day the wind varied considerably in strength as well as being quite gusty. There was therefore much frantic tuning work by all of us, so those sails with the widest wind range were the best sort to have. After today I feel the Loft fits that category well, with great low end power when needed and unflustered overpowered sailing. Mind you I didn’t take it out between 1pm and 1.30!

So, does today’s weather represent the start of normal service being resumed? Let’s hope so.

Tue 15 March - D-Bay North End - An F2 Sailor
Expectation and anticipation could not have been higher due to, firstly, a combination of having not sailed for the two months (while the recent freezing cold high pressure system has persisted), secondly, being presented with the most solid forecast (of several days of mild so’westerlies) and, thirdly, watching the trees bend all morning in the strengthening breeze.

Tony C sagely commented afterwards that he had been in the game long enough to not be surprised at the way the day panned out; however, I shall explain regardless.

At 2pm, Adrian and I walked to the water’s edge on the incoming but low tide, and found a wind in the region of about 5.5m to 6.0m in strength. Seeing the building cloud and feeling the light rain, we all rigged 6.3m just to be sure. Bob joined and rigged his brand new Ezzy Wave 5.7, rather hopefully.

I was wind monkey and immediately planed away in the cross shore wind, fully powered. After a surprising successful gybe on the outside (given my complete lack of sailing for an unprecedented long period) I was rather overpowered on the way back in, so took my gear onto the sand to apply more outhaul before the next run. The next hour saw maybe three decent planing runs, each being nothing more than an occasional gust in the increasing grey, damp gloom. By about 4pm it was clear the forecast had been scuppered by the by now unmoving cloudbank, so we disappointedly packed up.

As soon as it got dark, the low cloud cleared and the wind returned; as I type this at 10.30pm the wind has built to a steady 25mph.

Sat 12 Mar - Ladyburn - Martin Haigh
5 brave/windstarved/deperate for a sail even at the risk of hypothermia souls did sail at Ladyburn today. The early birds had the best of what was on offer with some blistering runs across the lake. Armin stepped onto his board and sailed like it was only yesterday and not 7 years since the last time, Andy G, Mike Stewart, myself and late arrival Stephen Shaw also enjoyed(?) the mind numbing cold water. Carl wisely stayed dry, thanks to Andy Freeman for rigging tips and carve gybe techniques - maybe next time when the water is a little warmer and survival is not the name of the game

A great opening day for Ladyburn, good wind strength/direction, I just wish they would consider heating it......... for the benefit of the wildlife you understand!

Fri 11 Mar - Boulmer - Steve Carragher
Adrian & I sailed at Boulmer today. WNW wind was cross off port tack.

When we arrived the bay was dead flat with a strong wind blowing across it. I opted for 5.8/78 and Adrian 5.5/86.

First run out straight over the reef, gybe on a nice swell then frontside ride all the way back in. Bliss! Adrian struggled with the light, gusty wind on the inside, a real shame as the wind was consistent further out by the breaking waves over the reef, just where it was needed. Numerous wave rides followed before I made the mistake of coming in. The last 100m was a serious wobble until being gobbled up by the shore dump, which was a monster full of kelp. Luckily kit remained unscathed, particularly as I had to borrow a boom from Adrian, (thanks mate, senility appears to have set in).

I don't want to overstate Boulmer too much, otherwise the PWA crew might descend on our shores, but it is a serious wave venue in the right conditions. Spring tides are quite a challenge though- the bay sucks dry at low tide and then you get heavy shore dump approaching high tide. Getting out can be hard in a NW/WNW as there is a wind shadow from the village.

Neaps are best, sailable at all states of tide with waves over the reef on an incoming tide and less wind shadow to worry about. Also, it's Andy's spiritual home (his big yellow friend lives there!).

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