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There are 397 News Items in 40 pages and you are on page number 27

Sat 08 May - D Bay Surprises - Ross Ketteridge
Even the mystical powers of Obi Wan Boydy didn’t predict this one. The best the forecasters had to offer was a measly F4 northerly that was promised to die at lunchtime. Great, I thought, I haven’t sailed for three weeks, then this.

Our salvation was a completely unexpected steady cross-shore F5 at D-Bay boardwalk. From 11.00am to about 2.30pm even our more “generously proportioned” windsurfers were fully powered on 5.8m sails. I had a whale of a time on 5.5m and an 85lt board.

The tide, a spring low, was way out which meant a long walk but also meant that the wind was at its cleanest. Mental notes were taken by several that the wind at D-Bay works much better when the tide is low.

The sea state was the other unexpected pleasant surprise. Normally in a northerly you would expect a big, messy, scary scene with breakers way out but what we got was a nice rolling swell with clean ramps and some rideable waves on the inside. The latter were hardly ideal for hardcore waveheads but for rooky wave sailors such as myself they provided a good practice playground.

Also skiving off DIY duties to make the early start were Paul, Ray, Steve C, Gavin, Steve B, Phil, Brian, Rob, Tim, Matt and Martin D. Alistair arrived just in time to see the rain front that was effectively the final curtain, move across the sky. We did persevere for a while after that but it was effectively game over, save for a few more just-planing runs.

I think most had a superb session as there were some manic grins and frankly silly behaviour afterwards, two sure signs of adrenaline overload. Having a less than perfect day was Tim, who unluckily snapped a new mast after dropping a gybe in the wrong part of the shallow water and Martin who was not having the best of times in the shore break and swell. Martin, I’ve seen you sail in bigger swell than that previously. Maybe you were just having an off day. Steve C broke his Fanatic Skate in half after landing a big jump flat, but since he had purchased it for 35 a year ago he worked out that it’d cost him 1 per sail so he was still smiling - how much per sail is your board currently running at I wonder?

So, another excellent day, made moreso by the fact that we had really expected to simply not go sailing, let alone have a bit of an epic.

Monday 3rd May 04 - Beadnell - Gavin Duthie
A case of the early bird today, with those who got off with a flyer from home, had the 'flying' experience on the water. Being first there at 10.30am, I probably had the lions share of the wind, in perfect sunny clear conditions, and the whole bay to myself with Adrian close behind me. People dribbled onto the water in one's and two's and sailed in some perfect but dimminishing blasting weather. By the time every one had arrived, about 12.30 the wind had died and we saw the afternoon out with some relaxed banter laid out on the beach, getting that peculier tan only known to skiers and surfers, tidal neck tan syndrome. A good turn out including : Lesley, Nikki, Steve S, Ray, Adrian, Jackie, Barnsey, Kelly, Martin H, Alistair, Carl, Tim, Suzi, Peter and Cath. (sorry if I missed anyone out)Laugh of the day was watching Barnsey swimming back in, when the wind went suddenly off shore, and refusing help from a passing ski boat.

Thursday 30th April 04 Hadston boatramp - Steve Carragher
Or D-Bay as those trendy types like to call it!

Looks like none of those sailing on Thursday can be arsed to share their experiences so I feel compelled to enlighten the rest of NWC with at tale of waves, wind and videotapes!

Wednesday was my official day of rest this week so I was quite happy when I woke to the sound of the wind howling down the chimney. However, it was not to be; despite trips to just about every beach from Amble to Beadnell, there was nobody able to join me. Sod it, more wind forecast for Thursday, Ill have another day off! Paul was well rehearsed the night before and with a text message waking him with the words get you arse up here its howling, we soon met at the old favourite Hadston. As we arived, some nice sets were rolling in at high tide and the wind was a strong cross off so we rigged 4.7 and 5m with 80l wave boards. First run out both of us were totally overpowered, Paul soon deciding to change down to a 4.5m. Unfortunately I didnt have that luxury so had to make do totally overpowered all day. Soon to join us was a lad called Rob who was sailing with the club for the first time. If you are reading this mate, how the hell did you hold down a 6m?

Gavin, Ray, Steve B and Brian trickled on to the water as the afternoon progressed holding on to sails ranging from 3.7 to 4.5m. Once Rob had left, this meant I was on the biggest sail. Must be eating too many pies! Anyway, what was the sailing like? Bloody marvellous! The runs out were full on warp speed efforts, most of us just trying to squash the jumps as we were all overpowered. Once further out, the reef in front of the boatramp provided some great, easy frontside waveriding, with the wind cross off from the North. It was possible to pick up a wave right out on the reef and then ride it all the way to the beach about half a mile down D-Bay. This we all did for several hours. Finally, the reef started to suck dry so we all decided to call it a day. A good day was had by all.

Videotapes?? Oh yes, Fiona joined us (from the shore) with a newly acquired camcorder thing and got some shaky (it was blowing a gale) footage which I will endeaver to put on CD and bring to the pub on Wednesday.

21 & 22 Wednesday and Thursday - Tony Champion
In foolish expectation of an accurate weather forecast on Wednesday a group of happy windsurfers, some of whom had taken a half day off work convened at Hadston at about 2pm. The group included Steve, Phil, Adrian and Alastair. Adrian and Phil rigged 6.2 and 7.5 respectively but the rest of us looked at the shorebreak and felt the 80 degree onshore wind and decided to wait for the wind so faithfully promised to us. Phil waded out manfully waved his sail around a bit and came straight back in without mounting in order to rig an 8.5. Adrian was unfortunate enough to point out to the rest of us that we lacked good Yorkshire grit so had to go out and prove that he indeed possessed it. One 20yd run later and he too waded in. At about 4pm Phil and Adrian ventured out again and managed maybe 60 yds between them and then we all went home, no longer happy.

Thursday was marginally better. Ginge and I rigged 7.5 and 6.7 respectively and sailed out from Seaton Point at 4.30. I was a bit slow off the mark due to camber inducer problems so Ginge had had a few reasonable runs on his wave board before I joined him. I just about planed out to the wind line at (say) 300yds then started to fly, gybed, came out on the plane and was so surprised I dropped the rig, instantly waterstarted and flew back in full powered, adjusted my boom height and plugged back out after the wind line. Regrettably it was receding in the direction of Norway faster than a non planing windsurfer so I gave up and came back in, played around on the inside for a while but the 5 oclock death of wind had struck again. Never mind. Summer is here. It was a beautiful evening and warm enough to stand around shirtless for a while.

Sun 18 Apr - Bamburgh - Gavin Duthie
Bamburgh it said on the calendar so Bamburgh it was. Steve C, Gavin, Alistair, Ally, Barnsey, Paul, Carl and Boydy turned up with 5.8 - 6.5m and 105 -135 litre combinations being the flavour of the day. Wind was cross shore F4/5 with some nice clean rolling swell and little or no chop. In other words perfect for outside blasting, bumping, jumping and jibing, only except for the lack of sun, chilly temps [about 7 C], vicious "long shore drift" [rip] and the wind shadow in the shore break caused by a BIG lump of rock called Bamburgh Castle. Highlight of the day was apparently Steve C's planing duck jibe [no witnesses] and unofficially Ally getting all excited and moist about zipping up some surfer chick's wetsuit [namely "long shore drift chick"] , who happened by. In conclusion, Bamburgh is an excellent CLEAN venue with turquoise water [even on a cloudy day] very clean non-choppy water and views that just can't be beaten. Top feel good venue !

Sat 17 Apr - Seaton Point - Ginge
Being in the weekend doldrums at the moment with my wife working weekends is not exactly doing my sailing much good so knowing she was going to be home at 2:30 ish the morning and afternoon was spent checking the usual places, you all know the scene:- XC, theyr, windguru, BBC etc and the wind was not happening nor was it going too. UNLESS you had the chance to drive to Allonby with the wind guru himself Obi Met Man Boydy. This coast was just going to be absolutely crap and I could not find a forecast giving more than 13mph. At 1300 I looked out of the window to see the trees starting to move and white horses out at Boulmer.

It was beginning to happen so optimistically I got back on the computer with a post saying 1500 at Seaton point. Unfortunately more takers didn't grab the opportunity as at 1500 I arrived at Seaton point to be greeted by what felt like 20+mph wind from the SE and Tony smiling. I had packed my powerglide 145 and 9.1 Max but stuff that so out came the 6.5 and 95ltr wave board. Tony made a decision as he was going 6.3 but with me normally sailing overpowered changed his mind to a 5.7 and 106ltr combination. Steve turned up with his camera and no kit totally gutted as it really was quite a surprise.

What followed was a really good couple of hours with Seaton point rocking, even though I had a 15 min' problem when after doing a big jump my hook came out of the downhaul eye and having done a bodge job and sailing back in with the baggyest spinnaker in the world I was able to crank on the downhaul and have a fantastic 2 hour session. I even made half a dozen jibes on the outside. Towards the end I was well overpowered but beaming to have finally had a good session. I still struggle jumping on starboard tack but by the end of this year I will be working very hard on rectifying that quirk. Thanks to Tony for supporting my optimistic wind forecast and joining me in what was one of the best sails I have had in a while. Or is it one of the only sails I have had in a while? I may be able to escape for an afternoon session in the week so if anyone is up for it lets pray for wind.

Saturday 17 April at Seaton Point - Tony Champion
No doubt others watched the wind increase all day but only Ginge and I managed to take advantage of it. We launched at Seaton Point shortly after 3pm with Ginge on 6.5m and his wave board. I was on 5.7m and 106l freeride. Wind was cross on and we were both a bit underpowered at times or I was anyway. I suppose the chop on the outside was 3ft or more and steep and breaking. Ideal conditions for jumping as Ginge ably demonstrated but I found that the combination of swell, wind direction and too big a board gave me water starting problems on the outside (board getting pushed away down wind and then flipping when it was upwind). However we both had a very good sail for about an hour and a half when I had to go. By then the wind had risen a point and turned more onshore and Ginge was occasionally overpowered. There were two downsides to the day: Ginges tack hook pulled out after a jump on the outside and he had to rerig in the chop, not an easy task and it took long enough for me to worry about calling his mates out. Also when underpowered we were drifting down on the reef which, in the sandy foreshore, hides many fin eating rocks.

Wednesday 14 April at Hadston - Tony Champion
As Barnsey said benign conditions giving a relaxed sail. The turnout was: Ray on 7.4m , Steve C on 5.7m (does he ever use anything else?), Barnsey on 6.6ish, Gavin on 6.5 and Martin Dillon on 5.8. Boards were generally over 100litres although I think Paul went smaller just as the wind dropped. The wind was a bit variable but I planed most of the time on a 6.3 and 106 litres without ever being overpowered or having to wait for more than a minute for a gust to water start. No great tales of daring maneouvres to report although there was enough chop on the outside for the occasional jump. Barnsey claimed he did 5 clew first water starts but no one can attest to that. Personally I believe him but only because hes bigger than me. I did see Martin pull off several competent helitacks.

Sat 17 Apr - Allonby - Ross Ketteridge
It was windy at Allonby, again. Steve Boyd sailed on a 4.7m sail.

The weather forecast was accurate but the local effect at Allonby accelerated the wind to at least a Bft force above the general prevailing strength. We launched on a falling tide, at around midday. The sea had little shore break but lots of well-formed ramps in the swell that was coming in from the left, as was the wind, in a perfect cross shore direction, and F6 most of the time. As the tide receded, waves gradually formed near the shore but they were never large, unlike the swell that was maybe 6 feet or so on the outside. Steve, the local sage in our group, thought the wind was less steady than usual but it compared to approximately the most steady state that we tend to get on the east coast, so in other words it was quite stable. Gusts were long and sustained rather than nasty and the lulls were few and far between. We even got sunshine for a while, which gave us a glimpse of the lovely view of the Scottish mainland and its mountains in the distance. The sunshine gave way to cloud then rain, but that was at the point that most of us were physically worn out anyway. My car said 8 degrees C when we left, reducing to 6 soon after, I noted.

Andy also ended up on a 4.5m sail, and was well powered on his wave board. Ray was in the remarkable position of having bought a new (used F2 Wave) board only minutes before actually launching it. He stormed up the learning curve of 82lt sailing, the lowest volume board that he’s ever sailed, I think he said. Tim was also sailing his JP Wave 78 for the first time in anger and did a great job in the challenging conditions, better than his last Allonby trip. I also had a maiden voyage for the day, sailing my F2 Mystery 85 for the first time, with a 4.7m. What a lovely board to sail, infinitely more manoeuvrable than my Flow 95 and far less sinky than my 75 - I think I’ll grow to like it a lot. Paul was on his trusty JP Wave 87 and Ezzy 5.4m

Big jumps were in evidence partly as they were unavoidable and spectacular crashes too. I may have won the prize for the most violent. After missing the front strap with my foot, immediately following a very high wind waterstart, coinciding with the biggest gust of the day, I was launched into such a violent catapult that (according to Paul’s witness account) I did the full slingshot effect with feet doing the full vertical arc before splashing me into the sea in a dazed but otherwise unharmed state.

For me it was neither pretty nor textbook sailing, as the sea state made gybing for experts only, but I had another great session that was a real learning experience.

I’m aware that readers of these recent Allonby reports may consider it an expert-only location, but that is far from the truth. On days of slightly less wind and a slightly different direction, I am told that it offers sailing as easy as many places on the east coast, and with much steadier wind. I would urge anyone who is reasonably confident on a flattish sea to make the trip sometime. Once again it was well worth the journey, in my opinion.

Sun 04 Apr - Beadnell Bay - Ross Ketteridge
Ray, Gavin, Tim, Peter, Andy, Steve B, Steve C, Phil, Matt, Carl, Alistair, Adrian, Steve S, Dave R and myself enjoyed a great (almost “epic”) day of sailing at a very high tide Beadnell Bay today.

Earlier, on flat water and steadier wind, and on 7 to 7.5m rigs, Ray, Gavin, Tim and myself planed nicely on smooth water with some great swell and even explored the scary big wave over the reef when the tide was high enough for us to dare to. The shore break was bigger than normal such that while getting through it Andy and I were taken by surprise by the biggest wave I’ve ever seen at Beadnell. Splash!

Tim was testing his new JP 128 and Gaastra Matrix and christened the former by holing its deck. Peter did well to hold down an 8.0m. Phil did the same all afternoon on an 8.5, making it look more relaxed than it was, as the wind’s gusts grew longer and stronger to the extent that I rigged a 6.3m/95lt combo that I took out in the windy squalls. Steve B took this theory to the extreme by sailing what looked like a 70lt custom wave slalom that he managed to blast out on, on a gust, gybe it and return without sinking once! Steve C ignored doctor’s advice again and sailed on his gammy leg. Matt was on his supersonic yellow flying machine again and brought a female friend who was an adept windsurfer herself - potential NWC girl maybe? Carl put a hole though the foot of his sail - with his foot! - at the end of what looked to me like a fully planing body drag! Alistair was carving nicely on his carve 111 as was Steve S who was having the first fix for a long while. Dave R was moaning about the cold (actually my car thermometer read only 7 degrees on the way home) but he’s just returned from Mauritius so he got little sympathy.

A great day of sailing, especially the first hour or so which holds the memory of the day for me - about six or seven of us all blasting back to shore in the sunshine in one fast-moving convoy - wonderful!

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