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Sun 1 Feb - Boulmer - Steve Carragher
The max gust (in Warkworth) today was 46mph at 3.30pm. That sounds about right. Infact it coincided with the time I simply could not hold my rig in the waterstart position, let alone waterstart!
Steve (Obi), Matt (Vitara) and I adjourned at about 2pm at Boulmer haven. Steve looked in at D-Bay on the way up the coast and reported that 'it was howlin and there was a bit of off in it'. After a quick divorce (the missus thought it was 'too windy' (can it be too windy?), I suggested we meet at Boulmer, where, in the current conditions we should find a safe haven. And that is exactly what we found.
In a Spring low tide, Boulmer haven is bone dry, infact you can walk out an inspect the reef. As the tide pushes in, the bay starts to fill. At mid tide you get a really flat bay, no matter what the conditions outside the reef. At high tide, the waves break violently on the reef then reform as shorebreak.
Today, I think we would have been suicidal to sail on the open sea, so Boulmer provided us with a playground. Although it was a short session, from about 2pm till 4pm, it was definately wild. Matt rigged 4.1, Obi and I 4.7. If I had a 3m sail, I would have rigged it!
The sailing was simply surival style. A bit of airtime was had, but I have to admit, airtime was a little scary. I witnessed Obi make 2 gybes in a row- pretty amazing given the conditions. Matt had a few ballistic runs too. We all decided to throw in the towel at about 4pm, after I struggled out by the reef. The waves were starting to push over the reef and the wind got up so much that I couldn't waterstart. Eventually, I managed to waterstart in a lull (never said that before!), so decided to end it without a chopper ride. To be honest though, even with kit breakage, it would have been easy to swim/paddle in as we never went past the reef.
All in all, a good session. But, was it MBON?

Saturday 12th February Big Yellow Chopper Ride - Andy Freeman
I had been looking forward to an exciting sail all week. The excitement peeked on Friday evening looking at the forecast for ballistic NW wind and nine degrees.

Problem being that try as I might, not one person could be persuaded to commit to a time, venue or even state an intent to sail.

Eventually after two trips to Blyth and Seaton Sluice, Gavin, Steve B and Steve C and I made a firm plan to meet at Couquet Island. We arrived at low tide and parked a little south of the usual spot as there was some beach just over the dunes. It did not look overly windy but old hollow legs rigged a 5.8 and planed nicely around the place. Gavin opted for a 6.3, more to try out his new sail in anger I think. Steve B and I both went for 5.8.

I popped onto the plane very easily and thought Gavin must be a bit overpowered as I merrily headed out towards the left hand side of the island. Roughly ľ of the way across a pleasant bit of chop sat up and so of course I obliged.

Upon landing, merry turned into somewhat annoyed as I watched the sail concertina down the mast to end up on the boom. A quick look revealed the headstrap had disappeared. Nothing to do but swim for it. I reckon this was about 13:35 as I had looked at my watch as I set of from the beach which read 13:29.

I reckon I had been swimming for about 20 mins when Steve C came out and asked if I was OK. I said I was, but the sail was not fixable on the water and I suppose he went for another play.

Steve came back a bit later with a length of downhaul attached to his board to attempt a tow. As much use as, well no use at all. Steve went of again and I swam on.

At this point, about 40 mins in the water, I was not convinced that any progress towards shore was being made. Conscious that I had been swimming hard for a long time decided that more drastic measures needed to be taken.

Whilst I did not feel cold, probably due to swimming, my hands and feet were getting numb. My decision was to ditch the sail, but to keep boom and mast. De rigging at sea, in swell with cold hands is without doubt one to miss. I managed to get the boom off, pop it on top of the board and wrap the uphaul around the board to keep it in place. (I knew that uphaul would come in useful, I have nearly removed it many times)

Stuffed the extension in the rear footstrap, loosing the collar in the process. Got the mast out of the sail, shoved the halves in the footstraps and let the sail go to Davy Jones locker.

And again I swam on. Steve C came and attempted a tow again without success. Cheers for the effort though. And so I swan on.

Steve C came back once more and asked if I was OK, I said I was very tired. Swimming for an hour in cold water will do this for most people I think. Steve set off to shore and when he reached land I hoped for the first time that someone was going to call the lifeboat as I was making no progress at all and was less able to put the effort in by this point. Just to make clear to the Guys on the dunes I was struggling I started waving every minute of so.

Looked at my watch to see an hour and twenty minutes had elapsed and I started cursing the boys on shore. When were they going to call the lifeboat? When I slid under the waves? Another ten minutes passed and I heard a helicopter approaching. Bugger I thought I hope they are just spotting for the lifeboat, as they won’t mess around saving my kit. No suck luck. Down came the man on the winch and promptly put the slings on me, too tired to protest I said a silent farewell to my kit and was winched away. After agreeing with me that I did not need to go to hospital, or see any kind of medic they put me down just behind the dunes. Perfect for the audience and a photo opportunity for Gavin. In the water for over an hour and a half and lost all my kit. Not a good result by any stretch of the imagination.

The chaps were mostly concerned wondering if the helicopter ride had been exciting. Unfortunately it used to be very regular occurrence and I hardly took any notice at all.

Best of all the superstars of the RLNI fished out all my kit bar the sail, what a result.

Decent donation coming their way? You bet.

Looked like they all a decent sail though. And that is the main thing.


At no point was i really worried as i knew the guys were watching and that there are a few lifeboats nearby.

Lessons learned:

1) stay calm, as long as you are not sailing alone your mates will be looking out for you.

2) Towing is a waste of time and more importantly when its cold, a waste of ENERGY

Saturday 12 February Coquet Island - Gavin Duthie
Report No. 1 - oh yee all of little faith! nothing ventured nothing gained. 7.5 degrees and sailable F4-5 at coquet island WNW CROSS SHORE, small shorebreak and sunny. hee! hee! local is local, just not always the best option on the day. the wind pretty much stuck to the forecasted direction but it did drop off after a squall to return later and increase. Mr freeman had the ride of the day! I guess it must be old age or something that prevented the usual turnout? hee hee! ~ Steve Boyd

Boys oh boys oh boys ! ....... not a classic but verging on ..... sunshine, NOT cold, squall, rainbow, blast, jump, wave ride, lovely sandy beach (Coquet Island new launching beach south of car park) clean rigging area and an awesome end of day show. Andy (although I hate to say it)certainly had the best ride of the day !!!!! ~ Gavin Duthie

Report No. 2 shortly to follow by Andrew (big yellow chopper) Freeman.

Wednesday 9 February at the boat ramp - Tony Champion
Martin H (clearly bidding for a place in the MBON), Adrian, Bob and Tdog met at 1pm with the tide just lapping at the bottom of the boat ramp. Wind was exactly cross-shore with maybe 20 yards of wind shadow on the inside, but not more. Sail sizes were 5.2 for Bob, 5.8 for Martin and 6.2 and 6.3. The 6 meter men got it right but Adrian claimed he was overpowered in some of the gusts. Perhaps that was when he was approaching Norway because I didn’t feel overpowered having rigged the sail on the tight side but admittedly once or twice felt reluctant about bearing away into the gybe. Conditions were generally flat although there were some nice little ramps over the reef and as we came ashore the waves were breaking on the shingle which demanded a little care. We had the best part of two hours sailing on the plane most of the time but the wind was a bit iffy so it was hardly epic. Nonetheless Adrian, despite cracking his board, left in fine spirits because I demolished a tooth in a Mars bar during the post session debriefing. I think as I left he was already on the ‘phone ordering up yet another sail financed by the anticipated profit from making a crown. I suppose you’ve got to rejoice in a friend’s good fortune. Sometimes I find it difficult!

Sunday 30 January Seaton Sluice Sun but no Wind - Peter Amos
Ross went out first and left first with these comments later posted "So it ended up a waste of time, unless it kicked in after I left in disgust? Anyone willing to post a supplementary few words I can add to my report?"
Well Mat reckoned he had a great session. I got one planning run out and wobbled in with cold hands and feeling very unfit, oh dear exercise machine beckons. Carl got caught in the shore break and well & truly trashed a sail (photo's to follow) Steve (Plane on a nat's fart) Carragher was planning on 5.8 but when the wind dropped ended up with a long walk back up wind. Gavin came in rigged a 7.5 and took it to the water's edge only to decide that the wind had gone for good. Ally Mad also rigged and took his board to the water, he got it wet as well (he had to really as a dog pissed on it while he was contemplating the shorebreak and lack of wind). Catherine decided to shop at Sainsburys for a change and come on to the beach with the dogs so we had a very pleasant walk along the beach in beautiful sunny weather. Non sailors present Andy, Steve Boyd and Alastair.

On the whole not a great windsurfng day but a great turnout and a lot better way to spend the afternoon than decorating

PS From Steve Carragher
It did indeed kick in after you left Ross. It was, at times, 5.8m weather. However, the wind swung dead offshore at about the time I hit the water which caused many problems. First of all there was bugger all wind close to the shore which meant a real wobble out. The wind line was a hell of a long way out, and when there, I found it horribly gusty. But the main problem I found was trying to get back in. No problems when planing further out but as you got closer to the shore the wind disappeared altogether. I had the wobble of shame followed by the half marathon of shame. In fact, I was quite worried as I was heading for the 'sluice' and I wasn't sure what I might find in there!

Sun 30 Jan - Seaton Sluice - Ross Ketteridge
Well, I was wind monkey so off I went at midday on a 6.3 and 120, expecting to be overpowered. As I made the long walk to the water, in glorious sunshine and 10 degrees, the WNW wind died almost totally. I managed to get the last gust to see me through the small but vicous shore break but it was over by then so after one non-planing reach out and back I sacked it.

Matt braved it on a 7.4m as did Peter. As Matt seemed to be planing well in the wind that had returned, albeit gustily, I was tempted to go back on my 7.1 but decided not to.

In truth I should have just be done with it and rigged a 9.0m on a formula board and I'd have been laughing, assuming I hadn't snapped my mast while launching.

Still, the 8 minute drive ensured that I wasted only 16 minutes driving, not the usual hour and half. I also drove home in my wetsuit which was a major novelty!

In all though, after 3 weeks without a fix, we were not amused. Steve C experienced the feeling of a futile 45 minute drive and reflected that that is usually the fate of the rest of us on such days.

Sat 15th Jan 2005 - Shoulda bin a Painting Day ! - Gavin Duthie
Just for the record, there was a turnout at DBay/BR on Saturday. The wind WAS a blowin' on arrival but by the time we hit the water it wasn't, but the waves still thought it was. The combination of a SE cross-on , crumbling breakers outside, kelp beds and all this having to sail across Hadston Scaurs underpowered did wonders for any of the perennially constipated. Had we rigged 7 point something, instead of 5 point something it might have been ok, but the size of the sea prohibited this. Martin H and Raymond played a little longer in the surf working on waterstarts, but myself, Ross and the two Matt's retired in disgust , only to find Andy F (not sailing) wondering why we had been messing around, as the wind was still blowing up by the cars ! A strange day.

Sunday 16 January - Tdog’s Sunday - Tony Champion (Tdog)
I had given up all hope of wind by 12.30pm and together with my beloved wife had set about the gargantuan task of clearing out my shed (16’*8’) which had become clogged with the priceless treasures of 30 years. As you may imagine there was considerable pressure from the distaff side to consign many of these to landfill; thus having agreed that an old and ragged melamine 6.5 and some worn footstraps were unlikely to be used again I was in too weak a condition to argue about family heirlooms like an old chair that was my mother’s (or perhaps it was the next door neighbour’s, I can’t remember) and a spirit level with a broken bubble, some rusty old bolts and many other similar items of considerable sentimental value. Then – salvation! A ’phone call from Carragher to the effect that it had kicked in. Normally I would have taken such a claim with a few kilograms of salt but this was the key to escape from purgatory.

Within half an hour we were at Seaton Point – very mushy; Boulmer – nearly dry at extreme low tide and then Alnmouth – small but nicely formed waves, sun shining, sand blowing, cross shore potential bliss. A brief discussion on sail size followed: Steve (looking at the sand) arguing in favour of 4.7, me (looking at the sea) in favour of 6.3. We compromised on 5.7/5.8 rigged and walked half way to Norway to launch. After that it was all downhill. I don’t think either of us got more than a couple of good runs in an hour or maybe an hour and a half of wobbling and pumping. 6.5 was the size but I think we were fooled by the considerable Northerly tidal flow (I would hesitate to call it a rip because it extended so far out). Anyway it was hardly epic although if we had been on something bigger it could have been. Alnmouth in the conditions we found could have been perfect, it is a really nice place to sail in a Southerly.

Was it worth going? You bet it was even though I’d forgotten my boots and had to sail barefoot.

Was it better than cleaning the shed or painting the house Ross? What a silly question.

Sun 09 Jan - D-Bay North End - Ross Ketteridge
I got to D-Bay North End at 11.45am. Note I’m calling it “North End” as I think the previous faeces-related nickname does us no PR favours and anyway it is no worse, in this respect, than along the rest of this side of the bay. Also there was Andy, Adrian, Martin H, Gavin, Steve B, Ally and Bob.

The tide was in, the temperature was 9, the wind cross shore SSW F4. I rigged 6.3m/120lt and shot towards the horizon, nicely powered up. After 2 runs the wind died but half an hour later it was back, stronger, albeit with some refreshing rain. With a nice swell on the outside and small waves building on the retreating tide, I had a fantastic blast fest for about 2 hours. In the middle of this session the wind notched up to 5.5m strength. Gavin went to rig smaller at his point, and Martin called it a day, but I decided, as did Adrian, to pull some more downhaul on the 6.3. This worked a treat and with the wind resuming its solid F4 strength Adrian and I continued our extremely enjoyable burn and turn sesh. Gavin got cold and had to get changed at this point so it was a two man display from then on. In summary I had a superb sail, as did Adrian and have rarely experienced such steady wind at D-Bay. Even in the rain squalls it just held steady. Whether this is because there was more south in the wind than normal or a function of it being this part of the bay, I don’t know. But in the whole 2.5 hours I never experienced one gust, in the normal sense.

The only question is, “Why only 4 sailing?” As you can see from the roll-call there was a good turn out but very few sailing. The wind actually kept steady until it got dark, it was only tiredness that ended the session for me. I was even gybing well today. Marvellous.

Thu 06 Jan - D-Bay - Andy Freeman
A few of the classic Freeman superlatives would have been heard if you were at Duridge Bay today. "A bit cheeky" and "Fruity" were indeed good descriptions of the sailing today.

The combatants were Brian, Bob, myself and Adrian who was hot of the plane and not the plane it seems, from Moon Beach. He was also in THE VAN, it is very nice and after a quick spin I can say that it is faster than any van ought to be.

The sailing was lumpy, a bit gusty and hard work at times. Sail sizes were whatever the smallest you had brought with you. 4 metres would have been plenty.

Most of my sailing was done overpowered and so not a day for trying anything other than staying onboard.

Wind was SW, air temp 12 degrees and looking on XC there were gusts of up up to 55 mph.

Nuff said

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