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|Thu 18 Sept - Hadston Disappoints… - Tim Robertson
After being allowed to work flexi time this week, I’ve been solidly putting in the hours in preparation for an early finish today, as the forecast earlier in the week had been looking good for today. No lunches, long hours, a six o’clock start today – of course I jinxed it didn’t I….
I arrived at the boat ramp at 15:15 and John C was just about planing on a 5.8 but the wind was clearly dropping. Nevertheless, Tony C, Gavin, Jeff (on 7.5’s) and I (on 6.6) joined John on the water for what can only be described as a pretty uneventful session. I saw Tony and Gavin get going a couple of times but it wasn’t the maxed out day we had been promised earlier in the week by the forecasters. Disappointed springs to mind.
|Sat 13 Sept – Hadston, boardwalk end - Ross Ketteridge
We have the regular Hadston Carrs spot, the boat ramp spot, and now the boardwalk spot. Actually, Ray and others have sailed the latter before but not for some time.
The former two locations were unsailable due to beach casting fishermen and the risk of sailing into the reef respectively, so at 10am Ginge ventured the half mile along the dune road to the boardwalk, at the south end of the road. What’s it like? Clean, a wide rigging area, plenty of parking along the roadside, no dog poo, smooth sand as far as the eye can see, even at low tide, a better aesthetic view of the bay, more exposed in feeling, no rocks and therefore no kelp nor lobster pot lines.
Drawbacks may include a longer gear carry to the water, but this is all relative to the fact that the carry at the north (regular) end of the bay is very short - it's not a significant factor, I don't think. And a somewhat bad smell from the drain pipe a hundred metres or so to the south. This was mentioned by Tony and I must admit I wondered about it. For me it's the only real concern. Tony’s further posting on the subject is as follows:
“Regarding the stink from the pipe. Frankly it spoiled my day's sailing principally because I spent more time than usual waterstarting on the inside, thanks to the problems of a big sail on a small board. However I did have a word with the coastguard who claimed that it was mine water, not the discharge from a public convenience as I thought. Since I haven't suffered any ill effects he could be right but it will always be a downside to that spot except in a Northerly or maybe Westerly with a lot of offshore in it.
I still wonder about the exact constituents of the effluent because it does contain unidentifiable solid material and where it rises to the surface (fresh water floats on the sea) the seagulls obviously enjoy it.”
So, now to the sailing. Ginge, myself, Andy, Ray, Tony C, Tom, Keith, John C, Steve S, Peter, Richard, Martin D, new guy Phil and Barnesy enjoyed a sunshiney warm southerly breeze that powered us on mainly 7.5m sails for most of the afternoon (exception, as always, John C on 5.8!). It grew steadier as the day wore on, and I hear reports that Andy sailed until sundown. The sea also got smoother, starting out with quite a swell, maybe 5 feet, and severe chop. Throughout, the ramps were numerous and we all put in personal best jumps and wipeouts. The fast swell and shore break made for some really nice, if quite benign, wave sailing.
In summary a very physical few hours of sailing (especially for Andy and John C who each logged at least six hours sailing for the day!) since until the latter part of the session it was a case of being on and off the plane, and a lot of work once planing to stay there at times.
|Sun 07 Sept - Beadnell entertains in an onshore - Ross Ketteridge
Gavin got a birthday present today, and shared it with myself, Lesley, Mark, Steve C, Tony C, Andy, Ray, Kathleen, Fiona, Ginge, Keith and Carl. The gift was a great and quite unexpected sailing session in our favourite bay, in brilliant sunshine.
The weather forecast evidently put some off the idea of the trek to Beadnell. I must admit that I was almost one of them, but I’m very glad that I decided to go. Most forecasts said that we’d get F3/4 SE if we were lucky, but by midday the readings were no more than 3mph. The best expected prospect therefore, in Beadnell Bay, was a light dead onshore wind with shorebreak, with quite unenjoyable sailing conditions envisaged as a result.
The reality was quite different. It did blow onshore, but slightly from the right, so it was quite easy to get into the middle of the bay. The shore break was mild, although the chop was short and sharp. The tide was high at lunchtime so a good three hours of risk-free long-finned blasting over the reef were quite possible. The strength built from the top of a F3 to a good F4 by the end of the afternoon. Those of us rigging big (9m) were well powered all afternoon. I was wishing in the last hour that I had a 7m up, but like the others I didn’t change. Gavin and Tony C sailed on 7.5m throughout and looked to be going well.
I had a hairy moment when I sailed out of the bay into the open sea and found myself in a lull at a point north of the bay. Drifting toward the rocks and unable to water start or uphaul in the bigger outside swell, I managed to put in a water start at the last possible moment and got planing just in time to make it past the point. It would have been doubly embarrassing had I washed up on the rocks as a rather arrogant yachtsman who saw me struggling to waterstart a few minutes previously did offer me a lift back to shore which I cheerfully declined, much to his annoyance.
The rest of the day was spent blasting back and forth in a choppy bay, where the water state made for some challenging sailing. Lesley was going well in the far from easy conditions, and ended up with arms two inches longer than they had started out. Fiona gamely challenged the shore break and lived to tell the tale. Keith and Mark were similarly pushing their personal limits. Via some coaching, Carl conquered his “backstrapitis” that has afflicted him for a while, and thus experienced warp drive planing for the first time. Well done, mate! Most of us had hardly the strength to carry our gear back over the dunes at the end of the session. It was a real workout but I bet everyone drove home smiling.
As a footnote we shared the water today with eighteen kite surfers! Mike Birt and some of his cronies had obviously organised a day in the bay and they were all ripping up the water and putting on a very good show. I must say that most of them seemed to be good kitesurfers and surfed not just with style but also with courtesy, there being no incidents of conflict that I was aware of. That said, it’s still a bit disconcerting when you feel the shadow of a kite pass over your head, or when you realise that you’re blasting at speed below a kite’s lines. At the end of it, a good day for WS/KS relations, I’d say.
|Hadston Friday 5 September - Peter Amos
It seemed windy and reports from Gavin and Andy indicated that it was, although a little lumpy. Richard and I got there at about 6.00 to find Gavin out on a 6.5 and Ginge flying on a 7.5. Unfortunately Tim was having a struggle as I also was to find the waves were making it difficult to waterstart, particularly near a reef that the tide and waves created. Sailing out was a bit of a slog but Rich and Ginge were flying in, on and down the waves. I got out only to find it impossible to get waterstarted in the troughs and waves and after a frustrating 15 minutes ended up swimming in. THe wind was SE, cross on so quite safe but utterly impossible to uphaul. Andy sat in his van on the shoreline watching our efforts and on our return suggested that for wind direction we would have been better around the corner at Amble opposite Coquet Island to which we all agreed. As we drove home at about 8.00 it was noticeable how dark it had become. I fear that our evening sails after work will soon have to end for this year.
|Roker Beach - Thursday Evening 4 September - Kevin Hazard
After a bad day at work, the suggestion from a friend to go sailing at Roker seemed a potentially good idea. Arrived to find an incoming tide, cross-shore wind blowing quite strongly (unfortunately not enough for planing) and a warm evening to boot. Enjoyed a good two hour sail, which was ended only by failing light.
|Weekend of the 29th-31st - Lesley Roberts
No operas to recall from my youth, but the oft cited maxim from my father ‘if you don’t succeed the first time . . . etc’. So . . . on Friday I set off for Hadston, still hoping for that sea sail this Summer – only to turn back as soon as I saw the shore break and the committed professionals looking on from the beach (though obviously they conquered the conditions). Ladyburn, however, provided an excellent refuge with a steadier than usual wind and good conditions for harness and footstrap work. Martin H and I sailed there with Paul H, and after Paul had re-rigged my 5 m for me and given me a couple of tips for staying out of the water, I had a wonderful time, even in the gusts.
On Sunday we returned for more and although the wind was not as strong, Paul’s rigging and sailing tips served me well with a 6.5 which meant that, although I still spent some time in the water, I managed to get planing again. Martin, as usual, sailed relentlessly despite something of a hangover and acquired a new board that apparently only goes well in one direction. Ally turned up too and sounded as though he was having a good time but by then, I was off the water and reaching for the thermos.
So, smiles all round at Ladyburn this weekend. But I must go down to the sea sometime!
|31st Aug - Hadston - Tony Chanpion
When I was about 16 I was taken to see an opera. The only thing I remember about it was a phrase in the program notes where the antihero was introduced to a girl and “promptly seduced her”. I thought at the time it was a pretty handy accomplishment and to my shame spent a great deal of time trying to emulate him but only now do I realize the secret: the object of the seduction must be a willing victim before you start.
What is the relevance of this drivel? I hear you ask.
Yesterday, more out of habit than anticipation, I threw some kit into the car (just in case I could overcome my lethargy and general debilitation brought about by Saturday’s blast) and wandered down to Hadston where I expected to see one or two members wobbling around in a light Northerly breeze. Instead I saw Dave Roberts cranking in and out at breakneck speed on a 5.5m. I was “promptly seduced”. In minutes I had rigged a 6.5m (the 5.7m having been left behind), attached it to my sinker, staggered down the beach and waded out through a light shore break. A chest high beach start, foot in the front strap as I pumped once onto the plane and into the harness, back foot straight into the other strap, a little air off the last of the shore break and I was off on the start of an epic day. 50 yards further out and I was out of the harness, out of the straps and pumping like Hell to avoid sinking. Failure. 10 minutes later I was still waiting for a gust to waterstart and so swam back to a point 200 yards further down the beach from whence I started.
Ray had witnessed this performance and stood on the beach for another hour before risking a quick trip out and back in what seemed to be a freshening wind. Wrong. He was soon back in the car park having had to walk back nearly as far as I had done.
There are two good points about this sorry tale. First, the beach hot line failed so noone came flying up from Tyneside as a result of our initial enthusiasm. Second, I had a long chat with John Topping who the old lags will remember. He currently has a back problem but has looked out his gear and established that mice and mildew have not attacked it so he plans to get back into the sport. He also expressed a wish to be remembered to those of us he sailed with in the distant past.
|Sat 30 Aug - Hadston brings it on again. - Ross Ketteridge
Steve C called me this morning claiming that conditions at Amble were perfect – a flattish sea, sunshine and the top end of F4 – but I refused the offer, believing that his claims may have been optimistic (they sometimes are!) and that the wind would die like it did yesterday, and I couldn’t be bothered to cope with a combination of huge swell and no wind for two days running, thank you very much.
So I decided to get on with wallpaper stripping, despite further persuasive phone calls from Steve and Andy.
I cracked about two hours later, substituting my steamer and scraper for a car full of sailing gear, and found myself driving to the beach at Hadston to join Steve C, Andy, Ray, Tony C, Peter, Richard, new guy Alistar (I think) and Dave R. On arrival the tide was quite low but flooding rapidly. The shore break was clean and not hard to get through. The chop and swell were smaller than yesterday but still provided good ramps to jump from. The wind blew NNW strongly enough to propel us all on mostly sub 100lt boards and 5.5 to 6.5m sails. The rip was much weaker than yesterday too. And the sun shone all afternoon.
I had an excellent two and a half hour session, struggling for full power only in the last half hour when the wind became a bit weaker. I was on a 6.3m. As was the case with yesterday, the blasts back to shore were more enjoyable than the reaches out, with some great wave riding on the fast swell and clean shore break.
Steve, thanks for your persistence – I’m pleased that you had faith that I would crack eventually – you’d have laughed at the sight of me this morning, scraper in hand, running into the back yard every fifteen minutes to watch the clouds going past!
|Fri 29 Aug - Numbskulls in a northerly at Hadston - Ross Ketteridge
If your idea of fun is deep beach starting in waves that are breaking over your head, in a rip current that threatens to pull your legs from under you and which pulls your board round into wind every time you try to get it lined up, and which is running in the same direction as the wind and therefore kills your speed, as soon as you are up, before the wind can propel you, in a wind strength that is barely strong enough to allow you to even wallow along, and when it does, lines you up for the five foot shore break that is sending big waves towards you every ten metres, and eventually allows you to get into the deep water where the swell is eight feet, trough to crest, and the increasing wind overpowers you in the big gusts but allows you to occasionally wallow in the big swell, then you would have a had a jolly good time today.
In truth it was quite good fun, in a masochistic, I-lived-to-tell-the-tale-like way. I was well powered on a 5.4 and 95lt when we started the madness at around 2pm, but it dropped off gradually, to coincide nicely with the sea state getting gradually lumpier as the tide came in, to its very high state, at 5pm.
Others needing their heads examining were Ginge, doing remarkably well, given the marginal conditions, on a sinker and 6.5m. Gavin was going likewise on 100lt and 5m. Tim wins the balls of steel award for getting through the shore break and managing to turn round, waterstart and get back to shore without wrecking his kit. And he went back for the same again! Ray hit the water when it was getting truly marginal and found, like most of the others, that the rip tide combined with sailing underpowered, sent one a remarkable way towards the south end of the bay. Ally and Tony C each made a sterling effort to get through the shore break but their efforts coincided with the waves reaching maximum height and the wind dropping off, so they retired after a few good rinses. Martin H and Lesley turned up but sensibly opted for a diversion to Ladyburn. Only Dave R was staying nicely upwind, on his trusty Screamer and cambered 6.5m. He was sailing better than any of us and at one point made a jump of truly awesome dimensions on the outside, that Andy estimated at ten feet high.
Given that the swell really was a full eight feet, this height is believable, as even the most benign of chop hops (which were simply unavoidable, such was the size and steepness of some of the ramps) often ended in a breathtakingly large drop off the equally steep back of each ramp. Riding these big rolling waves back to shore was very entertaining; if you caught them right, and rode the crest, they gave you the impression of sailing a couple of metres above sea level – fantastic!
On reflection, I’d hesitate to use a precious half-day holiday to sail in a similar northerly, as it was hardly a classic sail, but I feel its been one of those educational days where you probably learned more than you think you did. Like, for example, that I would have been better off making a start on stripping my wallpaper, I hear you say.
Several others were in attendance (Tom, Carl, Martin D, Andy, Barnesy) but only PB got wet, opting for a surf on Andy’s stick, narrowly missing impaling himself on the lethally sharp rusty steel supports of the field drain pipe, as the rip tide dragged him within a few inches of a very nasty accident. You should have seen the look of horrified concern on Andy’s face, like a true friend. Until he said, “Bloody hell, what a relief! That was really close! I had visions of my board getting wrecked, there!”
|Tue 26 Aug - A year with NWC - Andy Freeman
My first contact with the club was provided by an Internet search for windsurfing in Northumberland. Donna and I had decided to relocate to the NE and I needed some way to fuel my addiction.
I presume the web site must have been a new thing back then, it seemed to consist of a contacts page and a few stories of sedate long board cruising and one or two threads in the forum. Donna e-mailed the chairman and received a very prompt and “comprehensive” information pack.
With reference to the above I must say there were more than a few doubts in my mind. The information pack consisted of a brief club history where the most common word was “lake”!!!!!!!! (It really is. You can check if you like) And a veritable rain forest on the safety aspects of the sport. You will forgive me if my initial impression of the club was of pottering round on a pond with a full military style check of safety kit prior to being allowed to sail.
Donna persuaded me to turn up to the first event after we moved, preaching “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and so we headed to Beadnell on a warm and sunny Sunday.
Arriving at Beadnell I found a couple of people rigging, Bic Technos and 7.5 ish sails. A quick look over the dunes very definitely said 9m plus to me but I felt it might not be good form and so settled with an 8.8. It ended up quite a nice sail and it still amazes me I missed the reef with a 46cm fin when so many others, who knew of its presence, hit it.
At this point I was glad to have been brow beaten in to attending but the next few weeks dampened my enthusiasm. Relocations to the pond when people were not comfortable with the conditions (you should always do this, I agree) and some long board cruising days took their toll.
The turning point was in fact an impromptu weekend at Beadnell where we met John C and at last light had a rather cheeky little session in the waves at the south end of the bay. Things were looking up.
The rest is history, as they say. Things now seem to be going from strength to strength with the hard work behind the scenes and the commitment and devotion/addiction of the members. Every week seems to bring in new blood and other experienced sailors to swell the ranks and propel the club forwards. I don’t think it will be long before we get our first club forward loop if the autumn gales play ball.
Please don’t take this as being derogatory towards what went on before, this is purely from what I have experienced in the last year. But the way things are going with the improvers on the pond and with many of them now looking towards the sea I hope we can look forwards to crowded seas like the “OLD DAYS” which I do not remember, but I would love to witness something like that returning and be a part of it.