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Sat 18 Sept - D Bay, The Gavin's Bollocks - Ross Ketteridge
It certainly wasn’t the dog’s bollocks and, as the one of the main topics of conversation today was Gavin’s recent testicular disconnection, I hereby name this piece thus, and dedicate it to his lost and perhaps sadly missed virility.

Some had a good day. Brian, for example. Others had a very bad day. Actually that was only Alistair - see later. The rest had a good day at times and a frustrating one at others: myself, Gavin, Martin D, Adrian, Martin H, Paul B, Ray, Andy, Phil.

The tide was coming in. The wind, when I arrived, at about 1.30, allowed well-powered sailing on a 5.5m. So that’s what I rigged, on my 85lt board. As the tide got higher the light wind line became wider. At times I was sinking but for the most part I had some excellent blasts out and back, across some quite big swell and well-formed rampy chop.

Brian and Phil got well upwind from the boat ramp end, from where we all launched, and sailed the boardwalk area where there were some excellent waves to play in.

Martin D was getting stuck into some sea sailing after being conspicuous by his absence lately. Martin H was wave riding but knew that he needed less than 150lt of volume today. Well done, anyway, mate. PB was mostly airborne, Andy seemed to be planing all the time, Gavin was sporting a seat harness with the loose-strap look, to preserve his aforementioned recently re-fettled, presumably raw, undercarriage. I didn’t seem to see much of Ray but I think he had an okay session. Adrian was hurtling towards Norway every time I saw him. Phil was going well on a 6m most of the time but like us all he had a long sinky slog back in sub-planing hell. His arms only just stayed attached. At least he didn’t have to do a half mile swim like Gavin and PB during an earlier sustained lull.

But surely at the front of the queue of contenders for the 2004 bad luck award, stands Alistair, after today. He is becoming accustomed to driving for hours through gales only to see the wind die as he walks his kit to the water. How that hurts. Especially when followed by being consoled by insults and accusations of windjonah-ism. He truly has been blessed with dog-bad luck in the last year or so. Today the wind did, as expected, drop as he did his seaward walk, but, mercy of mercies, it picked up again straight away. What a relief. With a smile as big as his well powered 5.8m sail, he blasted toward the horizon, did a gybe of sorts and reached terminal velocity on a blistering run back to shore. Unknown to him, his two minutes of unadulterated, wonderful, hysterical pleasure were about to be curtailed cruelly and instantaneously in the next nanosecond. In the blink of an eye he somehow got out of shape in a gust and suffered a catapult so severe that his whiplashed body made a hole in his sail not unlike the type that Tom or Jerry might make in a wall or door. The bloke-sized gash in his monofilm was as complete a full wreck job as I have ever seen. Paul B’s immediate offer of some duct tape as a means of repair was not appreciated much, I suspect. Alistair, I truly sympathise, mate.

Thu 16 Sept - D Bay - Phil Jerry
turned up after work after what seemed like a worrying windless drive, Ray had just come off the water with a 5.8, Brian was leaving no doubt after being out on a 3.1 or some similar sort of size and adrian was on the water on a 6.1. Was informed it was a bit up and down so rigged a 7.0 to be on the safe side (not that I normally require a reason to rig a large sail) Adrian came off the water and said he was about to leave but seeing as i was there he'ed have another sail so i wasn't out on my own so big thanks to Adrian!

Got on the water and was a little underpowered but it soon filled in and i had a great little session, some steep ramps on the outside to jump off and some tiny waves on the inside to ride, not that a 3 cammed 7.0m sail is ideal for riding but that didn't stop me trying. Not sure how long i was out but had to call it a day when it got dark. Great after work fix.

Mon 13 Sept - D Bay - Steve Boyd
I took a half day and met the lads at d-bay. I took a half day and met the lads at d-bay


Complete contrast to sunday, a lot windier a small southerly swell, ramps on the way out, swell picking up on the reef for frontside riding comfortably maxed on my 5.3m, a good session inblue sky and sun and packed just before the big squall...im knackered after three days on small kit!

Epic Sat/Ballistic Sun 11/12 Sept - Rhosneigr - Phil Jerry
Woke up on Saturday morning to the windows rattling, after a quick breakfast we were down the beach and it was looking good, decent sized waves wind SWerly and strong, there were a few already out so it seemed rude not to join them! Rigged a 5.4 and put it on my 75l wave board, this turned out to be a slightly pessimistic sail choice and I was overstacked for an hour or so, came back in for a change down to a 4.6 and then carried on for another couple of hours. The conditions were epic Rhosneigr with plenty of jumping to be had, though not in the middle of the bay were the swells had 3-4m faces and jumping wasn’t really necessary for airtime! Plenty of backside waveriding inside as well , I did venture further round the bay for a bit of frontside waveriding but got it wrong and ended up being stuck on the inside and had a short walk of shame to get back to an easier launch point. After 3 hours on the water we decided it was time for a bit of lunch which coincided nicely with the rain arriving and he wind dropping, it didn’t pick up again in the afternoon which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as we were beat.

Sunday morning was much of the same, wind had a bit more westerly in and so was a bit more onshore but still very sailable, swells weren’t as big as well. Started on 5.4 again which was fine for an hour till the wind picked up some more, rigged down to 4.6 and had another 3 hours on the water getting increasingly overpowered till it went absolutely ballistic, considered changing down to 4.2 but my mate was already out on 4.2 and didn’t have a smaller sail so was ready to call it a day and with the prospect of a 5 hr drive ahead decided that perhaps not using every bit of energy I had left wouldn’t be such a bad call.

Saw John C just as I was leaving the beach, turns out he had got there too late for the wind on Saturday but with the forecast for the rest of the week over there I’m afraid I had little sympathy.

All in all a top weekend and even the 3hr session on Saturday would have been worth the drive so Sunday was a bonus. Luckily I have nothing too important on at work this morning so I’m going to fall asleep on my keyboard aguifhkhagjhelkjhulhgiwaisgw

Sun 12 Sept - Beadnell - Jeff W
John Duggan and myself decided to make the trip to Beadnell, as for mere novices it would be safer than Hadston.
Fortunately, a few others arrived as we rigged-up, from Sunderland I believe.
They all blasted off into the distance on 4.5s and 75/90ltr and the conditions stayed the same as Hadston pretty much throughout the day. The reach straight out and back looked about 2 miles!
John managed well on his 120ltr but I struggled to keep the Techno on the water.
There were about a dozen boards out in the bay for most of the day, all seemed excellent sailors and jumps were in abundance.

Sun 12 Sept - Hadston Boat Ramp - Ross Ketteridge
The dilemma this morning was that the wind forecast was for it to be strong in the morning, tailing off in strength in the afternoon. Beadnell, the scheduled calendar location, would be unsuitable until well after midday, when the tide would be high enough to sail over the central reef. So it was a case of either wait until the afternoon and sail Beadnell, when the wind would be weaker, or get in an early sail on a low tide at another, suitable, beach.

In the event, there was general agreement that the best chance to get a decent sail was to head to Hadston in the morning. My own intentions were to go from there to Beadnell later in the day, and do both. As with many good intentions, that is not how things panned out, due to my body being in an unfit state to do anything once D Bay had finished with me.

When we arrived at 9.30, we noticed two things. One, the wind was far more cross shore than expected. We expected a horribly gusty, quite off shore wind direction. Two, it was stronger and steadier than expected. There were white caps everywhere. It appeared flat, but it wasn’t. We all got excited.

Steve C was first on the water as usual and looked completely overpowered on his 4.7/75lt combo. That was because he was, very! Myself, Andy, Adrian and Paul B joined him. As I got to the water’s edge, Andy was just walking back to the shore after one run out and back and looked slightly pale faced as he declared that a 4m sail would have been ample for him - he was on a 5.4m I think. I almost turned around and went back for my 4.1m, there and then, but looked at the length of the walk back so instead opted for more outhaul and downhaul on my 4.7m. Being of the same weight as Steve, I was as overpowered as he was, and found the big rampy chop surprisingly large but great fun to sail over, especially coming back in. Some were making great jumps from the bigger ramps. Andy allegedly attempted a forward loop but sadly there were no witnesses. And he swore that it was too dangerous to try, ever again!

As it eased to “proper 4.7m” weather, Steve B, Ray, Tony C and James joined in the fun. To be honest the best part of the session was the first as the low tide made for no wind shadow at all, but as it flooded the wind shadow grew and the gustiness on the inside became more pronounced.

As ever at D Bay there were periods of reduced strength followed by mad fifteen-minute sessions of spray-filled air and big gusts galore. I made a couple of spectacular catapults due to the latter, one mid gybe and the other due to a misplaced stabbing of a back-strap foot just as a huge gust hit me.

Others had similar occasional high-speed crashes but none replicated Paul B’s superb bouncing bomb of last weekend.

In all, a thoroughly good session, and with Allonby yesterday, a fantastic weekend that may take several hours of soaking in a hot bath to start even a small part of my recovery programme over the next few days.

Sat 11 Sep - Hadston Boat Ramp - Tony Champion
Arrived at the boat ramp at about 1pm to find various miscreants with small 5s up and the Carragher rigging a 4.5. Watched in despair as Ian (I think) wobbled out and back on a 5.2 followed by Martin. Hung around for an hour with nobody going out, got my 6.3 on the mast and suddenly everyone was blasting on big 5s. Hurriedly rigged 5.7 and was soon blasting out in iffy wind through interesting waves over the reef but it didn’t last long and Brian went home. The rest of us (ie David, Ray, Ian and Martin) hung around for another hour and finally got in a solid hour of well powered sailing over the reef which was now producing some very steep and not so little ramps from the 4ft swell on the outside. Ultimately a good session but we had to wait for it and watch out for one particularly awkward pot line.

Sat 11 Sept - Allonby - Ross Ketteridge
We all arrived around 11 am, to a caf scenario that could not have been more far removed from the uncivilised activity we’d driven two hours to partake of. Tea in nice china cups, home made chocolate cake with whipped cream, lace table cloths, antique furniture, warmth, peace and quiet.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the wind was howling at about F7 across a largely white, boiling sea and the sand was blasting across the beach from the left as you looked out to the horizon. It vas sunny most of the day.

As we got to the beach, Adrian and I persuaded a very scared Paul B that we should go sailing since we’d driven all that way, even if it did look a bit like a slow act of suicide, and that to turn back now would look bad for the sailing report, anyway. Just kidding mate, but I did feel my bowels loosen slightly when I saw the sea - why does it always look so scary at high tide, Allonby?

We (PB, Steve B, Andy F, Adrian and yours truly) rigged four point something sails (ranging from my 4.1m to Steve’s 4.7) and plugged them into the sinkiest boards we had (75lt for me) and off we jolly well went, to join the locals that were boosting huge jumps from the very well formed and at times vertical ramps. See pic in gallery for a demo. Also in evidence were some loops, of the back not the forward variety.

The first thing you noticed apart from the fact that it was windy was a strong rip current that, because it was in the same direction as the wind, made beach starting require a more than usually assertive approach. Trying to settle the board in the normal start position was impossible, as the tail was being pulled out sideways with maybe 5 knots of rip flow. Once you’d jumped on and got going, the shore break was not too bad (I guess it was 0.5 to 0.75m) and as you got further out the ramps, as mentioned before, were very easy to jump off, even for me.

To be honest the wind strength declined gradually through the main part of the session such that I was tending to wallow out and get fully planing on some very nice long, fast wave rides back in. The wind direction was cross-on so backside waveriding was the script for the day. Paul reckoned he got nine turns on one ride.

As the tide flowed out, the wind dropped further so everyone except myself and Adrian rigged bigger boards and sails. They had a great second episode and as I gave up, being underpowered on my small kit, and walked the very long and pebbly trek back to the car, the wind picked up again and Adrian, on 4.5m, was the comfortable one again.

An excellent if not epic Allonby sail.

PS Andy caused amusement by sailing “Goldfinger”, the recently renovated (previously snapped) wave board purchased from Steve C, sprayed in gold paint! It looked like a million pounds* and it was still in one piece at the end of the day.

* Monopoly money

Fri 03 Sept - Allonby - Steve Boyd
Allonby had its moments but the spring high tide came surging in and effectively was knocking about 5 knots off the actually wind speed(Which was gusty but sustained ). That said, the wind picked up enough to allow me to plane comfortably of 5.3m (which in the end was right after a brief rise in wind strength for about 1hour.)Paul changed from 5.2m to 4.5m and was comfortable for half an hour till the wind eased back to 5.3m weather.Adrian unfortunately had a long walk of shame to come back and change down to his wave board. As the tide rose it presented some occasional big swell on which was ridable for a good distance with some decent size to it (at its best over head height) which allowed a good vertical ramp for jumping. Not the best day with the tide situation but there was still a lot of fun to be had for the experienced sailors. Adrian did well for a first session there, but by no means had an easy introduction. Had the wind been a lot stronger all day or neap tides it would have allowed us to get on 5.0m or smaller all day i am sure the story would have been better for everyone.

Fri 3rd Sept - BW/D-Bay - Gavin Duthie
With a split camp situation, some opting for Allonby and the rest staying local, we had a diminished field at D-Bay today. Tony C, Barnsey, Sebastian, Martin H and myself racked up to start at 3ish. A boom drama had to take place first, Barnsey had broken his so he couldn't rig his main choice of sail, and I basically forgot mine. After a trip home, I arrived to find people on 5 point something's and seemingly not much wind. I rigged my 5.5 and sceptically and ventured forth. Amazingly I planed out and back several times, then it died, Barnsey (the new chilled out version / wot you been smoking mate ?) smiled and said " Gosh I wish I had my bigger boom now " or words to that effect and ambled off up the beach humming a happy song about cowboys on the prairie under a starry sky or something !!!........... The rest of us persevered for a while but wills were failing in the fitful wind and finally as we retired after a seemingly fruitless venture. Martin H arrived about 6.00pm and SAVED the day. We all felt sorry for him, decided to stay a bit longer by rigging bigger sails (the wind had got up again ) and had a brilliant early evening blast, with a few chop hops until 7.30. Cheers MARTIN, that's a pint I owe you.

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