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There are 397 News Items in 40 pages and you are on page number 20

Monday 6 December 4.5m at the boat ramp by Tdog - Tony Champion (Tdog)
Yes it was 4.5 m weather when I ‘phoned Carragher and arranged to meet. Adrian must have been hospitalized and in a high dependency unit because he claimed to be too ill to sail so there were just the two of us with little boards and small sails as we parked at the boat ramp to see a 4.5m tide but no 4.5m wind. It wasn’t even 5.6 weather as we stared in disbelief at the mill-pond in front of us but after 20 minutes the gnats came out of hibernation and Steve rigged his 5.8 and I opted for 6.3. We were soon planing out over the reef but a couple of runs later it had gone and I was on the outside with a long wobble back. Steve was in even worse trouble because he was on the outside and pointing the wrong way with not even enough wind for a flare gybe. He trusted to luck however and kept going in the direction of Norway and ultimately gybed and made it ashore with his knees awash some 10 minutes later. We then stood on the beach for an hour before I started to carry my kit up the beach. After 30 steps the wind kicked in and I carried my kit down again so we both had maybe an hour and a half of pleasant but unexciting sailing before the gathering darkness stopped play.

Get well soon Adrian. I would hate to have to write a glowing report of an epic day if you had missed it. I might break a rib laughing!

Sat 3 Dec - A game of two halves - Andy Freeman
An early start was requested by Steve "I will be there early hangover or no" Carragher. So I found myself at the boatramp for 10:00 all on my own. Not an onerous place to be on a warm and bright December morning, but still on my own.

Ross arrived at @ 10:30 and so we started to rig 6.3 and 95 litre? and 7.2 and 104 for myself. and a fine sail we were having too, lobster pot lines notwithstanding. But more of those later.

Adrian and the elusive, semi sober Steve C made it by about 11. Adrian muttering about a conspiracy not to ring him. Rigging 5.8 and 6.9 respectively.

Tdog rigged 5.5 (i think) and thankfully decided marigolds were not required this week although he did set off home still in his wetsuit fuelling suspicion he may have shamed himself in an altogether more odiferoius manner.

Martin H and Steve B turned up later just as the wind dropped, only Martin sailed and seemed to have a decent if short session. The wind did of course pick up once Maritin left, could be a challenger for Alistair if this keeps up.

The pot lines were a real nuisance, I managed three high speed dismounts, Tony a couple and Adrian claimed his a flatwater loop attempt. I didn't mind as it reminded of one of the funniest windsurfing days I ever had up at beadnell. Water so clear you could spot the lines miles away and just hop over them. Well everyone bar Ross that was. Laughed ? I nearly had to go home in my wetsuit that day!

Left the water as it got dark. A real soul session and boy do I ache from those wipeouts today

Sun 28 Nov - D-Bay Waves and WInd - Ross Ketteridge
As I am writing this report several days after the event (Thursday, actually) I apologise if I have missed any names. Brian’s Sunday epic at Blyth was not, at least for me, replicated at D-Bay, although after such a long “wind drought” any level of adrenaline production was an extremely welcome relief.

I arrived to 8 degrees and a cross off NNW. Steve C was first to the water and immediately displayed the fact that it was 4.0m weather as he and his 4.7m rig were almost blown off the water on some quite spectacular runs (and jumps!). So I rigged 4.1m and plugged it into my 85lt board.

As I approached the sea I realised that it was less flat than it looked. There was a good shore break and on the outside the swell must have been 6 to 8 feet in height. Now this would have been challenge enough if the wind had stayed at 4.0m strength but it steadied to 5m weather almost as soon as I hit the water. Lazily I persevered and was generally underpowered for the hour and a half that I sailed, making getting to the outside a challenge-and-a-half at times, especially as the waves grew in height as the tide came in over the outer reef. My day was made complete enough, though, as I found myself frequently well powered in the long gusts and it was just a delight to be sailing again in biggish waves with a lightweight sail in my hands. The ride of the day came when an XXL-size swell picked me up from a long way out and coincided with a long sustained gust that gave me a superb downhill run that may not have matched some of Steve C’s huge wave rides but was enough to satisfy me, even if it had been the only wave of the day.

Also out were Steve B, Ray, Matt (Ncle Uni), Andy, PeeJay and T-Dog. Most had rigged big enough and seemed to be having a whale of a time when I had to leave early to preserve what remained of my back. I “did it in” a week or so ago so I’m handling with care for the moment as it hurts!

The car read 6.5 degrees when I left and I reflected satisfyingly that once the horribly painful “finger migraine” period had passed, my hands were perfectly workable if a bit numb. Bring on the winter!! T-Dog was sporting some very nice sunshine yellow Marigolds but other hand wear was not to be seen.

Epic Sunday 28 November Blyth - Brian Day
Following yesterday at Hartley surfing, 8 - 10ft glass and barreling all the way, what was today to bring? Early morning inspection showed 15 - 20 knt cross shore at Blyth, but only ankle biting waves, so it was to be home for a coffee. 12.00 and the incomming tide had increased the swell with head to logo high on the inside with a glassy logo to mast high break on the outside! Where was everyone?????? Oh it was 6 degrees, maybe thats whats wrong? Well, back to the faithful Blyth locals, Phil rigged a 4m and I rigged my 4.5m (the only sail I had put in the car) A good 3 hours followed, with huge jumps and epic riding, the way out had to be timed right otherwise a swim down the beach was in order. As the tide rose the outside break became a little more confused and not so good for riding, but the jumps were still there, without even trying! Just for a change Phil was the one testing the bigger waves further down the beach, always from swimming level though. His board did, at one time do a perfect double back loop at double mast high above the wave......shame he had just bailed! As the waves were getting smaller with the high tide we decided to call it a day, before we started doing anything too risky and breaking kit, it was 3pm anyway when we left the water, and not long till dark. It's a shame that 'Team Tarmac' rules and no one checks the local breaks before adding to the Opec economy and heading north, certainly more company in the water would have made things more fun. After all Phil and I have sailed together for years, we both need someone to push us to another level, as all we do, certainly in these conditions is sail well within ourselves. So next time the North wind do blow, get to Blyth and push us to the next level!

Wednesday 17th November 2004 - Boatramp - Steve Carragher
The day started with very strong Westerly winds. Tony Champion (now preferring to be known as the daft old git), Steve Boyd and I convened at the old faithful (boatramp) after lunch. TDOG arrived in his wetsuit (?) while Obe & I were pontificating on 4 point something then 6 point something before settling on a good old fashioned 5 point 8. It would be rude not to.

First run out was among the best for me. Waist high clean waves on the edge of the reef with cross off wind. Serious lack of balls on first run out though as I was presented with the perfect ramp to do something spectacular…….but I squashed it. The waves disappeared afterwards so it was not to be. TDOG seemed to be going nicely. Obe was suffering from lack of volume as the wind line was about 200m offshore.

Adrian then arrived and hurridly rigged a huge sail. With only an hour or so before darkness, he certainly made the most of it and was beginning to get round some gybes. Well powered he sailed until twilight until the wind shifted offshore, so I came in and he soon followed.

Mon 15 Nov: D-Bay - Obi Wan Boydy
Adrian and Steve boyd decided to check out d-bay early at low tide to see if the forecast F5 WSW would be any good. Arriving early we found a westerly of about F4-5 and rigged 6.1 and 6.2. It then strengthened to a F5-F6 so adrian rigged a 5.0m on his freesyle wave board and myself 5.8m on my old 90litre custom and struggled to carry the kit to low tide line(miles away on a 5.3m tide). On my first run out a planed from the beach out the wind shadow then realised i needed a 5.3m so gybed and headed back to the beach to change. Adrian had a blast out and got catapulted into the sail, putting a hole in the panel and splitting the reinforcing! we both came out to change down and Tdog the sailor formerly known as Tonyc joined us but only had his big board with him, so rigged a 5.0m on 106litres with 22cm fin. I rigged my 5.3m and thought i should have put my 4.7m in the car. Adrian rigged a 4.5m on his wave board and we all went for a blast in the wind which had now lulled- but luckily it came back- sometimes too much! the wind stayed between the W and WSW and gave some exhilarating blasting fully powered right across the bay sailing back upwind to blast downwind on flat water next to the beach. We had a basting session allbeit a short session as by about 2pm the wind had started to drop and the tide had filled the beach. It made up for the disapointment at beadnell. My elite custom is now not for sale as it is perfect for the druridge chop!

Sunday 14 November - Beadnell Frustration - Peter Amos
I arrived at 12.45 to find quite a crowd, but all in the car park. Steve B, Adrian, Ray, Ally, Tony C, Carl, Gavin and Ross. They had rigged 5.5's mainly but the wind was dropping off. It was 11c when I arrived and the swell that was coming in was breaking on the reef in the middle of the bay in dramatic fashion with the backdrop of the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance, unfortunately the promised wind failed to materialise. I rigged a 7.0 and Ray came in to change up to a 7.4. This worked for about 15-20 mins when we had 2 or 3 planing runs before the wind deserted big time. A real frustration as everything else was right, tide was coming in, water was warm enough and a good crowd was out. In Gallery you can see a photo of the bay looking truly benign.

Thursday 4 Nov – Boat ramp by Tony C - Tony Champion
Scarcely epic but two of us enjoyed it. I think.

Arrived 1ish regretting that my 7.4 was languishing in the garage. Walked down to the edge of tide and decided on 6.3. Got back to the car, glanced back at the sea and rigged 5.7. Donned a wet suit, looked at the sea, wished I’d rigged a 5. Meanwhile Andy had rigged 6.3, ventured down to the sea and set a neoprene covered foot into the water. The wind died instantly and after a short wobble in and out he returned for more horse power. I refused to believe the evidence in front of my eyes and set out as the second wind monkey with identical results; but stood around for a few minutes and suddenly there was wind and for about half an hour I was powered up and motoring over a lobster pot free zone. I was shortly joined by Matt on 7.5 and Andy I think still on 6.something. The wind then died away and I was wobbling but Matt kept going with his extra sailcloth but by 3pm it was all over.

Brian and Adrian were also present but Brian contented himself with absorbing a few late autumn rays and Adrian obviously thought it was a poor substitute for Moon Beach and also stayed dry.

Tue/Wed 26/27 Oct - The Great North East - Brian Day
The great North East, who could ask for more! Last night, hardly a breath of off shore wind, perfect 6 - 8 ft Hartley Reef with a few friends. That wave is soooo smooth and incredibly fast, I’d love to get a windsurfer on it! The sun set and the full moon rose over St Mary’s, a superb surrealistic setting to paddle the ˝ mile back in, climb up the rocks and up the long winding cliff stairway back to the car.

And today!!! After a long wait the promised wind turned up. Too late to venture afar to a cross shore destination, so a good battle at a virtually onshore Blyth was the order of the day. Crumbling onshore waves, a good logo high in the sets, made the exit from the high tide shore line an amusing guessing game. Worse still was the temptation to try and ride some of the bigger sets on the way in. My only sailing partner for the day, Phil, eventually couldn’t resist venturing in to investigate what I was finding so interesting in the walk along the bottom of the prom, dodging the waves coming in, and the waves going out!(Having bounced off the base of the prom). He was magnetically attracted after a fall in the white stuff 100m up wind, the rip, travelling at a good 5 knots ceremoniously dumped him in my favourite walk zone. At last! Something for me to laugh about!

Bob did turn up, rigged, but his cunning plan to make the wind drop didn’t materialise, so we kept sailing and Bob went home, I’m really not quite sure why, as a little perseverance paid off with an entertaining afternoons sailing…..and yes Phil, walking back under the prom! I probably did beat the odds in the end and get more sailing than swimming and walking, but for sure, at one point it was close! The dummy was almost ready to be kicked along the beach.

Well what will tomorrow bring? Another great day at home here in the North East. A good job I didn’t make the annual pilgrimage to Tiree, light easterlies are no good at all up there, the right choice for once!

If there’s wind I might even see someone out walking their kit with me, oh, and maybe even doing a bit of sailing, swimming or other forced beach activity.

Thu 21 Oct - D Bay Boardwalk, TDOG and 4m sails. - Ross Ketteridge
In sunshine and an air temp of 11, I joined Boydy, Brian, TDOG* and Matt at the boat ramp at 1pm to see the wind drop from a full F6 to the bottom of a F4 within a matter of minutes. Big gear was not an option as the waves were big (head high at times) and the swell equally impressive, so we waited and we saw.

We decamped to the boardwalk where the waves looked cleaner and when it later picked up again I rigged 4.1m, as did Tony, Steve 5.3m (I think), Brian 3.5m (!) and Matt 4.7m. Another Matt, of Newcastle University WS club joined us, also sailing on a 4m.

For an hour or so I got some of the best wave sailing that I have ever had. I was just powered enough to plane most of the time and the really nicely formed waves (it was cross -off in wind direction so the waves were being held up in clean faces) allowed some very satisfying backside riding. Fantastic! My 85lt wave board came into its own, being floaty enough to slog out through the big white water but small enough for some serious fun once on a wave.

An excellent if slightly underpowered session (although had I rigged 4.7 I’d have been uncomfortable in the gusts). Highlights apart from my own gloating include TDOG trashing his sail (AKA crisp packet) in a monster-munching wave, of which there was one in every dozen or so, it seemed. Matt launched his (60lt???!!!) custom wave board, managing some decent runs in the strong gusts but finding it needed them to stay afloat, Brian hovered and Steve talked wistfully about the current ROHO sale while haggling with Brian over the potential sale of his 94lt Freestyle Wave.

Well worth a half day off.

*The daft old git. Tony C. Now looking for a new 4m sail.

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