|There are 397 News Items in 40 pages and you are on page number 37
|Wed 23 Jul - Blyth, new venue! - Ross Ketteridge
It might have been only two hours, but it was a great after-work blast. Tim rigged his 6.7 and Ray and I rigged 7.1 and 7.5 respectively, not believing the forecast that said it would build in strength up to 7pm. It always drops off, doesn’t it? Wrong! It did pick up but we were so far away from the cars on the low tide that we persevered. The combination of being overpowered in the increasingly strong gusty wind and the very closely spaced chop/waves/swell (I couldn’t work out which it was, or maybe it was all three!) made for a hell of a workout.
Tim did a great job in coping with the conditions. It was far from easy even for one accustomed to it but the fact that he managed a water start or two and got blasting in both straps was a credit to his determination to not stay a novice for long. Tom, you have competition! The ramps on the way out were at times perfect for air time and, for me, some spectacular landings (of the one-footed non-planing variety at times!).
I managed to split the third panel of my beloved 7.1, right down its middle, by doing nothing in particular other than rest the sail on my head during a beach start pause in a lull, but a few metres of duck tape kept me going for the last hour. I’ll need to take it to the sail hospital tomorrow.
I must say that I was impressed by Blyth. It was very sailable at low tide, with no rocks at all and no lobster pot lines or other hazards apart from ten thousand jelly fish. There’s even a one-mile marker buoy to gybe round. The direction was SSW, which was cross-shore, so it’s similar in aspect to Hadston. The rigging area is good too. It has a chippy and ice cream van that could be handy but it was weird to have to share the beach with so many people – not the usual deserted bliss that we’re used to.
|Mon 21 July - Message Forum Not Working! - Ross Ketteridge
You may have noticed that the lifeline of addicted midweek skiving windsurfers, the website message forum, appears to be down.
Sadly there are only two heros who can fix this problem and they both happen to be on holiday in France right now, our honourable Webmaster and Dad Webmaster. They return at the weekend, I think.
There would appear to be a good forecast for the next couple of days, so please keep your mobiles switched on as we may need to rely on them this week.
Sorry I can't fix the damned thing myself.
|Sun 20 Jul - Hadston Big Sail Day - Ross Ketteridge
As I headed for the beach sometime after midday, I listened to the voice in my head, the voice of reason. “What are you doing, Ross? Are you prepared to waste another whole day of your weekend standing around on a beach? Don’t you think you should go and see your Sister and her family, or visit your Mum? Look, the trees are not moving – there will be no wind again, just like yesterday. You’re mad.”
I even considered turning back, but on the strength of Terry’s assertion that the six-hour (yes, six hour!) forecast said it would be a F4 SE later in the afternoon, I pressed on.
When I arrived, I was genuinely surprised to see that Steve C was planing nicely on his 8.5m rig, in a very onshore (with a bit of cross from the right) breeze that was just strong enough to keep him planing. I rigged my 9m and on my wide board set off through the shore break and out into the quite wavy sea. I wouldn’t call it overpowered blasting but I was well powered and enjoyed an hour and a half of planing on a far from flat sea. The swell on the outside was quite big, and the wind cleaner there too. I needed the luxury of the big fin to get me further out, as the kelp beds in the very low tide state, even 200m out, were within reach of a big fin; I suffered a few kelp-related heart-stopping catapults but none ended in any damage, thankfully. It was an enjoyable session, but as Steve pointed out, very hard work. Those big rigs are great on flat water when you can just lock them down and sit there and enjoy the ride, but on a big moving sea, their bulk and weight become noticeably tiresome, taking a lot of energy to keep trimmed, not to mention handling them in transitions.
It was admittedly a day for the “go big or go home” motto, therefore the only other sailors going somewhere fast were the similarly big-rigged Paul G and Ray. Also sailing were Reiner, Tom, Ashley, Tim (getting his first flavour of a wavey sea) and a couple of others whose names, I regret, escape me. Dave Roberts launched late in the afternoon and managed to get going on his 7.5m, but in truth he needed a metre more. A land-based contingent, making up a very good total turnout, included Dennis, Meike, Tony C, Tony L, Mike, Terry and Jeff W, but none could be persuaded to rig up and launch.
So, for those willing to suffer the pains of big-sail sailing, another unexpectedly good day was had. And all in blue skies and sunshine, again.
A simultaneous sailing session was actually going on at the "boat ramp end" from mid-morning, but were unable to mix with the session I was in as we were divided by the reef that is Hadston Carrs. This other group included Ian and Ally, and they seemed to have a good time too.
|Sun 13 Jul - Welcome Late Sea Breeze at Amble - Ross Ketteridge
The whole weekend has been scorchio, so there was no question that a day at the beach was a good option today – there hasn’t been a cloud in the sky all day again. The slight dampener was that although there was a great turnout, nobody really thought we had any chance of any decent sailing, let alone any powered planing sailing.
When Gavin and I arrived at 10.30, the low tide sea was like a millpond. What very light breeze there was, was not sufficient to spoil the mirror-like surface of the water but slightly spookily carried all the chatter and squawking of the thousands of birds on Coquet Island a mile or so offshore, to our ears.
The car park soon filled with more cars, some belonging to Ally, Terry, Tony L, Martin D, Paul G, Andy and Donna, Steve Shaw and Steve and Fiona C.
The day panned out much like a Mediterranean day, with lots of talking, eating and drinking and generally sitting around in the sun, but not much action. Then someone had the bright idea of trying to sail around the island, on longboards. So off went Gavin, Terry and Tony, followed, some distance behind, by myself. It was awful. At times it was difficult to detect the direction of the wind, such was its lack of strength. Added to this was a slowly building rolling swell. As I approached the island this swell got larger and unpleasant, but I could see in the distance that my lack of enjoyment was as nothing compared to the predicament that the other boys were in. Beyond the protective reef that runs out from each side of the island, the sea was really building up into a serious swell, up to four feet high. This would be fine if there had been a decent breeze, but there was virtually none, so it was a challenging (and some admitted later, very scary) experience, since dropping an invariably huge sail meant extremely difficult retrieval.
So we wobbled back in, having not enjoyed it one bit.
At this point (about 3.00 pm) the sea breeze, that had been threatening to blow for some time, suddenly kicked in. As has become customary, this was signalled by Steve C planing merrily on 8.5m and his trusty 125. “Steve’s planing!” came the cry, and longboards were swiftly swapped for shorter and wider boards.
The rest of the afternoon was thus transformed into a great session of blasting out to Coquet Island and back, over some roller-coaster swell and waves. I even managed to get some air on the outside, on the way out, on my 9m and the 138lt fridge door. Andy was similarly having a blast on his formula kit, but others were going well on less extreme gear too. Another unexpectedly excellent day – it just shows that it’s worth turning up sometimes even if the forecasts are poor.
|Fri 11 July - Chilling Out at Seaton Point - Ross Ketteridge
This evening was my introduction to the delights of Seaton Point, the recently discovered beach that has been found to be ideal in a westerly wind direction.
And delightful is the word, it really is. What an absolutely beautiful little two-mile bay. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is one of the most attractive beaches I have ever sailed at, in any country, ever. This impression was probably helped by the sunshine, the strong wind and the blue water, but even without these factors it will be a very nice place to be in, I am sure. We sailed it from a mid tide to a full low tide, and throughout, the clean sand was uninterrupted except at very low tide when a small number of rocks started to become visible, but these were right on the shore and never a problem. There was no seaweed, but lots of jellyfish – I was sailing barefoot, so had to be careful where I dropped my gybes!
The landscape is lovely, the low perimeter land being unspoiled except for a couple of houses at the very edge and a few camping shacks at the south end. Spoiled is not the right word, actually, as these few buildings fit well with the overall feel of the place.
In a WSW, the direction we had today, making it cross-off, it is possible to sail a beam reach straight out to Coquet island, visible in the far distance, probably 5 or 6 miles away. We must sail that route soon. The water was very flat, especially on the inside.
Thus Steve Simpson was carving some great duck gybes when we arrived in early evening, and had been for a few hours before, too. The wind, soon after myself, Matt and Andy arrived, settled down in strength and became more steady and less gusty too, such that on 6.5m we were mostly planing on 120/130lt boards. Gavin stayed on a while but Tony C had had enough at this stage and departed.
Until dusk the wind stayed enough for powered but never overpowered blasting. Andy went about three miles out at one stage, way past Alnmouth and towards Coquet, but sensibly turned back in the dropping wind.
If you’ve never sailed at Seaton point, I urge you to do so, as it really does have a magic atmosphere. For first-time sea sailors, it’s a great training ground, as it is flat and has a protective barrier at the north end, even at low tide when the rocks form a land spit at this side of the bay. Plus, it’s only 15 minutes further than Hadston, so I, for one, will be heading there in future whenever we have that “shall I launch or not?” offshore westerly wind dilemma at Hadston.
|Wed 09 July - Ladyburn Evening - Nikki Gill
Typically, having a night off from work and the boys, there didn’t appear to be any wind at all as I pulled out of the school’s car park this evening. I had already had texts from others suggesting it may not be worth it, so I was thinking I may have to go home and do something ….else?! But not deterred easily, I phoned Martin and he confirmed he was still willing to give Ladyburn a go! So I followed suit and Jacki confirmed she was on her way there too! When I arrived Martin had already rigged his 6.6m sail and the water was showing signs of some wind out there! I rigged my wee sail determined that I was going to get some time on the water before I disappear on my travels….this could be my last chance! Jacki arrived soon after with Kai. Martin set sail, but soon returned to rig a larger one, my heart sank! Jayne arrived with her 5.8 sail which she very kindly offered to me, but it was unfortunately a no go on my mast! Thanks for the offer anyway Jayne! So had to make do with my handkerchief sized sail! As it was the wind picked up (can’t get anymore technical than that I’m afraid), the evening sun shone and we actually had some fun! Kai and her young friend certainly did, Jacki sailed with her daggerboard up!…..and thanks to Martin (and Ally’s tips at the weekend) I managed to perfect my beach start…..well not perfect but was quite good methinks! So thanks guys! See you back on the water in August! (look out for News reports of British windsurfer lost in South China Sea…..that’ll be me!)
|July 7th - Windy Monday at Hadston - Rich Amos
I arrived at Hadston at 3.30 to find Dennis and Mieke already rigging up and a good breeze blowing over a flat sea. Tony Champion soon followed and we all rigged up 6-7.5m sails. The session started out with a bit of a flukey wind - stronger on the out side and not quite enough to be fully planing, fortunately it picked up in both strength and consistency after about an hour and we all had a good hour of solid blasting. Tony was tearing in and out gybing smoothly at both ends, Dennis and Mieke were making good progress with waterstarting and I had a productive session on getting round my carve gybes. As we were beginning to tire Carl arrived and was shortly followed by Barnsey, by this time the wind had dropped off a bit and as I left they seemed to be experiencing the same not-quite-planing that we had had two hours ago.
|Sunday 6th July - Ashy Pond - Steve Carragher
A good turnout for Ashy Pond despite a terrible forecast: Reiner, Martin D, Martin H, Ally Mad, Nikki, Kevin and Lesley in all (sorry if I've forgotten anyone or got their name wrong!). Unfortunately, as predicted, the wind never made an appearance. In fact, Ashy pond was more consistent than ever, as the wind stayed between zero and ten knots all day!! The lack of wind was not going to put us off however and there was a great atmosphere, plenty of banter on and off the water. Reiner was definitely the fastest on the water despite using a triangular sail and a tie on boom, which would not look out of place in a nautical museum. He took great pleasure in telling me this many times as he overtook me, but I did manage to get my own back by leaping from my board onto his while sailing. Surprisingly there was plenty of room on the board for a couple more pirates, and we didn’t even seem to slow down. Must try this planing next time! Freestyle was definitely the order of the day; Martin appears to have the heli-tack well mastered now, I don’t think I saw him do a regular tack all day. Nicky was suffering from a hangover, but as I said, the best hangover cure is immersion in cold water; problem was she didn’t fall in most of the day. Next time, fall in on the first gybe and the hangover will disappear! Possibly a new family membership too, a family who regularly sail at QE2 now have a membership pack (Reiner was very keen to use it as it has been lying in his van for a couple of years!). You are all welcome to the club and we all hope to see you on the water in the future. All in all a good day out, the water was warm enough for a shorty and it certainly beats mowing the lawn.
|Kos 2003 - Ross Ketteridge
The report is too big to post here so CLICK HERE to see the Kos Report page.
|Trashy Pond Rocks - it could almost be Kefalos Bay - Martin Dillon
After a windless weekend I couldn't let the opportunity of the usual Monday wind pass. So I dashed up to Ashy Pond for about 5. After the usual dilemma of what to rig I stuck up a 6.5; which at times was far from a comfortable choice. After a few minutes of bobbing around off the plane came about 10 minutes of Nuclear winds where hanging on and keeping the board on the water became the only priority. The winds did ease to steady planing conditions when I was joined by Tom and a few non NWC members. For the next couple of hours the wind was up and down from good blasting runs to the usual swirling (but this time ballistic) winds associated with venue. Martin arrived about 7 with a couple more sailors but by then the best of the wind seamed to have passed. Tom and I called it a day at this point, Tom with suspected broken hand after one of many spectacular wipe-outs/dismounts.