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Classic Hadston - 24th January - Tim
Today was always meant to be a big board day but for once I’m pleased to say the weatherman got it wrong – and in OUR favour!!! Even this morning XC was showing little wind but the eternal optimist Steve C convinced me with his posting, and many others it would seem. Today’s MBON were Steve C, Ross, Tim, Steve B, Paul B, Alistair, Tony C, Andy and Ray with spectators Kelly and Ginge with Junior Ginge.
Three hours of sun drenched blasting with sails ranging from 4.5 – 5.8 were had in a pretty steady cross off on a flat sea with slight chop. The air temperature was measured at 6deg but it felt unusually warm and there was a certain summery feel as we sat around in the water chewing the fat as the wind dropped at the end. For me it was a great day as I finally got the conditions to sail my JP. It was a day of mixed fortunes for Steve C as he had a great sail (first on and last off as usual) but unfortunately snapped a mast mid duck gybe.
It was a day that was long overdue and one where I’m sure we all had big grins on the way home. Thanks also to Paul and Ross for their coaching.

Sunday 18th January 2004 Hadston boatramp. - Steve Carragher
Matt and I arrived at Hadston at around midday after a quick look at Amble (too offshore). Potential new member Adrian arrived soon after and a 6.7 for Matt, 6.3 for Adrian and 5.8 for myself were hastily rigged. An hour of flat water blasting then followed. Barnsey + Kelly arrived just as the wind died so a short break was taken. Meanwhile, Matt endured, as he put it, ‘ the marathon of shame’ as he carried his kit back upwind from the Carrs to the boatramp! Barnsey was very pessimistic regarding his planing possibilities and so decided to watch from the sidelines. Unfortunately for him the wind kicked in nicely as the tide ebbed and we were treated to a perfect down the line wave sailing session. The waves were small (about 2 inches to 2 foot!!) but the cross off F5 allowed numerous bottom and top turns. Matt pulled off some nice carve gybes and Adrian blasted happily for several hours despite just returning from the, slightly warmer, red sea. Good day out? Matt described it as his ‘best sailing ever’

Tues 06 Jan: HAdston, “Dog [email protected]#e End” - Andy Freeman
Ray and myself thought we might try our luck at the traditional end of Hadston. The Tide was very high and made launching at the boat ramp a bit tricky so “pot line alley” was our place of torment to be.
The clouds were going by at a great rate and although there was only a light breeze on shore there did seem to be a wind line a few hundred metres out. Deciding to rig for the conditions and not the forecast Ray plumbed for 7.5 and I 8.1.
How wrong we were. After wallowing out to the wind line we were both then totally drilled by a good F5. A quick return to rig a 6.3 and again I was just hanging on. 5.0 weather in the gusts. Ray rigged 5.5 ish and we had a great blast in a sunshine bathed (at times) SW for about an hour wherein in started to drop off so we headed home having had our fix

Sun 11 Jan - Hadston - Ross Ketteridge
I’m pushed for time so this is a brief report. Apart from that I was something of a part-timer today despite turning up to Hadston at 9.00am. At that time it was F5/6 steady cross shore, sunshine, 6 degrees (brrr). Andy and I chilled out, drank coffee, ate cake and soaked up a very nice atmosphere from the warmth of his motorhome. All was well with the world at this point.

I went 4.7/95, Andy 5.4/104. I launched, then the wind dropped. And stayed iffy for an hour or so, apart from some very nasty F7 squalls that came through with every cloud bank.

During one I managed to stupidly underestimate the shallowness of the water in the shore and catapulted, splitting my board’s nose and ending my day after only a handful of poor runs in very unstable and overpoweringly gusty wind.

It seemed to have dropped off again for a period so I derigged and got changed. Only to see it fill in to 4.0m weather for the rest of the afternoon.

Coping admirably in the now white-out conditions were Ginge, Andy, Barnesy, Matt and John C, with sails of 4.5 to 6.5 (guess which end of the scale Ginge and Barnesy were at).
For me a poor, expensive and very cold session but I suspect for others a good if cold blast.

Addendum by Andy:

After Ross left it just kept getting fruitier and fruitier. I wish Ross was still there so I could have borrowed his 4.1. We were literally unable to sail at the end, the wind was so strong as to prevent us getting back up the beach; fruity indeed.

Ginge was the first to succumb, after getting a bang on the head, which made him resemble John Merrick, he could not be bothered to change down. Barnesy was next with no damage except for his pride, not only had he forgot how to rig properly but after all that Canadian steak the fat git burst his wetsuit! Matt managed to sail onto the reef puncturing his board but soldiered on to the end and was sailing really well. As usual John C stole the show with a fantastic performance which I’m sure we would all love to be able to emulate. At one point I thought Hadston was going to see its first forward when John stalled a big jump looking like he was going to rotate it before he bailed out, he later admitted it was not intentional, just a jump that went pear shaped. I trashed a fin on the reef and can hardly type this for the pain in my forearms (tendonitis again I think). I must have been gripping the boom a little too tightly!

Exhilarating stuff, if a little chilly for the first five minutes

Amble 7 Jan Short but worthwhile - Tony Champion
Steve Carragher and I convened at Hadston at 2pm to be greeted with a gentle onshore breeze. More in hope than anticipation we relocated to Amble where the same breeze was cross-shore with the odd little gust showing on the water. I thought 7.5m was worth a go but Steve only had a 5.7 with him so we stood and looked at it for a while and a few bigger gusts came through so with astonishing optimism we rigged (6.3 for me thank God). Steve was first on the water as I couldn’t get my harness on because it had shrunk over the Christmas period. When I eventually got on the water I was planing comfortably but with little excitement. Steve was losing ground down wind in his efforts to stay on the plane between gusts. I had a couple of nice runs and then got well powered on the way out to the point that the 4ft plus ramps on the outside were unsquashable and uncontrolled airtime was inevitable. I initiated a nice gybe on the face of one prize specimen only to find that it vanished under me and I was in the air when I flicked the rig. A minute later I catapulted out of the water-start and then did the same again, got going on the third attempt and promptly got comprehensively drilled. Belatedly I realized it had suddenly become 4.5 weather or less and I was a long way out in a rough sea with a totally unsuitable sail. I water-started very slowly straight into the gorilla stance and landed back on shore some 3 or 4 minutes later thankful to be there. The wind then dropped slightly but I decided that it wasn’t worth pushing my luck further and derigged. Steve stuck it out well overpowered on the inside for perhaps another half hour bringing off some nice jumps but by then it was time to get off the water before dark.

2nd January, 2004 - Pelican Point, WA - Lesley Roberts
Wind, at last!! Force 4/5; ambient temperature 38 degrees; water temperature about the same. All excellent. Water start lesson: tuition excellent; performance patchy. Achieved deep beach starting on one side only, and one complete water start with assistance. My 'half full' side says this is progress. No wind since. Tomorrow last day. Oh no!

Sun 28 Dec – Amble, wave sailing in 4.5 degrees! - Ross Ketteridge
I write this as a spectator. I don’t mind admitting that it was just too cold for me today, being way below my personal minimum limit of 8 degrees (maybe 7 at a push), below which point my body ceases to function properly, to a degree that makes windsurfing too unsafe, to be honest.

So I raise my hat to John C, Matt, Ginge, Steve C and Alistair. The real MBONs, perhaps.

When I arrived at 1pm the sun was bright, giving the impression of a lovely summer’s day, until you noticed the icy wind cutting through your several layers of fleece and making even pocketed hands numb with cold. Nevertheless, the apparent summer scene was completed by the sight of Ginge and Steve ripping across the sunny bay in the F5/6 cross off shore wind that was coming from the WNW.

They were each on 5.5m sails. In Steve’s case this for most of the time grossly overpowered, but the gusty wind appeared to make it extremely difficult particularly on the inside where the rising tide was producing increasingly large breakers that had to be negotiated in the fluky, weaker shoreline wind. And today was not a day for lying around in the water for too long.

The waves were beautifully formed and coming in in very nicely spaced sets. We had never seen such well-formed waves and the boys made the most of them, particularly John who must have cleared 8 feet with several of his jumps on the way out. All made some great wave rides on the runs back in.

Ginge has to get a special mention since he had, only a few hours previously, been basking in 30 degrees and 30 knot winds in South Africa. The Balls of Steel of the day award must go to Matt, who persevered for ages with a far-too-big 5.7m sail then changed with numb hands to a 4.7 and returned for more of the same. This was all in spite of being just on the wrong edge of his ability and fear thresholds much of the time. And to cap it all, he made (I mean landed) some tremendous jumps. An inspirational performance, you crazy bugger! Alistair did a great job too, braving the conditions and going well after not having sailed for two months. A baptism of ice. Steve C just proved once again that he does not have human blood in his veins, as, after complaining that it was unbearably cold went on to sail for two and a half hours. Does he get Fiona to give him a pre-sailing transfusion of polar bear blood, maybe?

As a measure of the conditions there were a number of non sailing spectators, including Andy, Steve B and Ally. Keep an eye on the gallery, as I did get a few shots to record the madness.

Sat 27 Dec - Hadston, short blast at the boatramp - Steve Carragher
John and I met at Amble to find the steady force 5 blowing a bit too offshore for my liking, having struggled to get back in on a sinker a couple of times before at Amble.
So we relocated to the Hadston boatramp. A beautiful sunny day with whitecaps as far as the eye could see, we deliberated sail sizes with John opting for a 5m and myself a 5.5m. I struggled to carry kit down to the waters edge as the sand whipped along the beach. Pulling on as much down and outhaul as possible I enjoyed about half an hour of powered up sailing. Chop hopping in the legendary Hadston corrugations and trying to avoid the lobster pots. John had a couple of blasts but to be honest we missed the best of the wind. I blame Easyjet (they cancelled my flight back from Stansted last night).
A fix was had though, albeit a short, sharp one. For the record it was 4.5 degrees C...plenty warm.

Boxing Day - Blyth - Ross Ketteridge
I know I’d eaten far too much on Christmas Day but I didn’t really expect that I would find the need to be sailing on a big wide board and a 9m sail on Boxing Day, but that is, indeed, how my day at Blyth started. The fact was not that I had put on 20kg but that it seemed that the forecast F5 was not going to materialise. Added to this was the fact that I had limited time, so it was a case of go big or go home, such was the lightness of the wind, hence my reluctant big sail sailing.

My role of wind monkey had just started, though, so after I was blown off the water within 20 minutes of launching, the signal went out to rig 7m sails instead, to the gathered MBONs, Martin H, Ray, Gavin, Peter and Andy. Actually Gavin rigged 6.5m that turned out to be closer to ideal for the next couple of hours or so, as I was increasingly over powered on my new 120lt/7.1m combo. The whole sailing session was a real workout, partly because the sea was quite lumpy and the wind was variable and a bit gusty, and partly due to us all being back on big gear for the first time since October. It’s amazing that I haven’t been on bigger than 95lt and 5.5m since the start of November! Being back on a 120lt board felt cumbersome to say the least. However, the Carve is nothing if not light, so it allowed some good airborne fun off the very well formed ramps on the way out. The shore break was quite tricky to get through, as the very low tide quickly flooded, as Martin found to his frustration, but he made a gallant effort given that he was sailing his 150lt board – not the ideal tool for getting through breakers.

Peter got out for a blast for the first time in ages; it was great to see him get a planing fix at last. Gavin was going well, as was Ray, but Andy had one of those bad sessions that blight you every once in a while. At lunchtime John C turned up, having worked a night shift, then driven from Harrogate, deciding to miss out on an afternoon sleep, giving priority instead to a damned good sail. At this point the wind went up another notch and the assembled sailors, which now included local boy Brian, were flying on around 5m each and having a whale of a time.

Again the temperature was about 10 degrees. We have been truly blessed with some great sailing weather in the early part of this winter – I think we’ve only missed one weekend since the start of November that being because of sub zero weather.

Christmas Eve - Hadston - Ross Ketteridge
I heard that the BBC weather bulletin today featured a clip of a windsurfer, with a comment about it being alright for some, such were the unseasonably good conditions. I’m pleased to say that I actually missed the bulletin today, as I was windsurfing.

Andy needed to be away by 11.30 to go to a Christmas social event in the afternoon, so we decided to convene at Hadston at 9.00am and get a morning session in.

The early morning view from the boat ramp was inviting to say the least. I’ve never seen the sea so flat for a long time. The clouds were low, the temperature was 11 degrees and the wind was blowing WSW, or cross offshore. White caps were out in abundance. It was a very low tide so the walk down to the water was as long as it gets and we had to hike another hundred metres or so to the south to avoid the kelp beds that were well exposed about fifty metres out.

I rigged a 5.5 on my 95 and Andy went 6.3/104. We very soon realised that we were over-sailed and could have done with smaller boards too. I could easily have got away with 4.7/75 but it was a long walk and anyway that 5.5 Vulcan doesn’t half downhaul nicely. I think between us Andy was finding the regular and sustained F6 gusts more of a handful; he was certainly the one being launched into the air more regularly.
The sea state was flat at a glance but the usual Hadston corrugated chop, on the outside, did its best to rattle your eyes out of their sockets and provided some nice, if a little too closely spaced, ramps to jump from.

For two hours or so we had an absolute blast, being always powered up, until the end of the session, when lulls started to appear, but they didn’t spoil the excellent sailing.

We were joined at midday by Tony C, Brian and Steve B, who rigged 5.0, 4.5 and 5.8 respectively and all went well despite the increasing frequency of the lulls. I made a bad decision in changing my 5.5 to a 4.7. Although I was well powered for some of the following hour or so, I was rather in need of the extra 0.8m much of the time to be honest.

The walk at the end of a satisfying day was blissfully short, as the 5.1m tide had come so high that there was no beach left and you had to land directly onto the concrete boat ramp. Thanks, Santa.

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