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Sat 13 Jan - D-Bay - Ross

The thing that made today such a blast was that the warm F6 SSW just wasn’t forecasted.  They’d all been saying it’d be cold with light wind.


The scramble for D-Bay started on Saturday morning and by 12.30 Nico was the first of six or seven on the water.


White caps bathed the sea, we got intermittent sunshine and at 13 degrees it felt just like a spring day.  Maybe it was a spring day – let’s hope the winter doesn’t kick in because it certainly hasn’t thus far.  


I rigged 4.7 and very soon realised that a smaller size was needed.  A quick re-rig and with a 4.1 on my wave board I was sorted for the rest of the two hour session, being well powered in the quite steady wind.  It wasn’t so much gusty as variable – the wind seemed to be being turned up and down like someone had a giant volume control – nevertheless I was well powered for most of the time.  At times I was overpowered but it felt wonderfully controllable on the small sail and board. 


It was really the first test of the Guerilla 78 since I got it last May.  My impressions were very positive, as it flattered my crude style, felt very controllable in the big gusts, kept planing through the lulls, floated me well in the big gaps and got me round gybes with ease, when the sea state allowed.  


The sea state was perfect for a great bump and jump session and that’s just what we all had.  The shore break was minimal and the chop got progressively larger as you got further out, to the extent that on the outside it was huge and very steep.  Strangely there were flat sections mixed into it so you took your chance on these for gybing.  I had a tremendous blast; it really is great to work with such a small sail in your hands.


My passion was reignited today, and it was followed by a great night out with good company at the NWC AGM and quiz night.  What an excellent weekend!


Footnote: The Rescue

Meanwhile (Peter, please forgive me for reporting this in public!) one of us was having a bad day that ended up with being plucked from the sea by the Big Noisy Yellow Bird.  Peter suffered a boom breakage at the same point that the wind whipped up to its fullest strength.  After spending some 45 minutes pushing the board along in the waterstart position (a full waterstart was impossible) we called the coastguard.  Man and kit were thankfully recovered intact.  As is often the case in these situations, Peter was warm and calm and would have made it back but you just have to err on the side of caution in these situations.  Anyway, mate, your fame is secure - you’re now in a small elite group, including our very own Andy F and the infamous Reiner Stockle!

Sat 13 Jan - Seaburn - Andy B

Guys arrived at the beach about 1130 to moderate SW will it be 7.0m or 6.0m??The wind was forecast to pick to about 25-30mph. So went with the 6 made a few calls to see if anyone was up for it. Some of the guys showed but injuries and the increasing wind strength meant that Billy was on his own. Not something I'm happy doing but desperate to get wet.

Flippin Heck where did all that come from or words to that effect.  Mental gusts came from nowhere picking up the water. A beautiful direction SSW head-on through the 3-4ft rolling swell some canny wee jumps followed by a drilling. The run in having to bare down wind was crazy never felling much in control.

Back in more downhaul and a tweak of outhaul, allowing time for my heart to stop pounding into my wetsuit. The wind looks to drop a bit have another go. Drilled again then tried to waterstart. From the beach a sea of white caps and a mini whirlwind of water passes close by. A couple of water start attempts followed by some of those static forwards we talked about. Up and away and smoked my way to the beach with a trail of steam behind.

Back in more downhaul and outhaul, the mast now has more curve the a banana and the sails collapsed like a floppy thing.

Wait till wind drops a bit then back out thinking this is mad. Go in change down from 111ltr board to a waveboard and 4.5 is the solution, is it worth it, I'll just have another run and see, crap I brought the big gear?

The morale of the story once again is take as much  gear i.e small board because if you leave any kit it's always the sail or board you require. 

I enjoyed the thrill and battling the gust with the stance akin to an ape's but it's always better doing with someone else!

Wed 3rd January 2007 - DBay - Gavin

A good turnout of 8 enjoyed a mild 12C top end F5 SSW for a while today. A few nice 3 - 4ft ramps  and a bit of surf to play in, around a springs high at the boatramp, so much so that we all wintnessed the move of the day from Carragher doing one of his trademark back loops. Sails were 5m + with all of us being overpowered at first, untill some pulling of ropes and fin swapping sorted it. Excellent if somewhat short sesh to start 2007. Gavin, Steve C, Steve B, Brian, Terry Mac, Martin, Tdog and a new guy from Morpeth attended.

Fri 29 Dec - Boulmer - Ross

Having just got back from my Christmas travels, driving up and down the country (several times) in freezing fog, rain, sleet and other non-sailing weather, I was amazed to find Friday had dawned mild and windy.


I had to unpack the van and repack all the gear resulting in arrival at Boulmer an hour and a half after Martin H and Mike, who were blasting around like pros on 4.5/4.2 sails, on the falling tide.  


Matt and I joined them on 4.2s and wave boards and Martin McG did so a while later.  He was struggling with his new 4.2 that had never been rigged before.


An hour of pleasant blasting followed, in a quite steady wind that gradually decreased during this time.  It was a great feeling being overpowered on that old 4.1 again, especially on flat water, although I did wish I’d been there earlier when there was still some chop to play in..    


We were joined in the lagoon by a rather over-friendly seal which did a great job of intimidating me at the end of the workout as I blubbed back on my “one last run”.


The best memory of the short session was the incredible light effect caused by the low weak sun and thick rain clouds which at one point made it appear to be night time it got so dark.     

Wed 13 Dec - Seaburn - Ross

It’s always good when you gamble one of your scarce annual leave days on a good session, especially one like today.


The morning had started unpromisingly damp and unwindy, making me wonder whether or not I should take the gamble, but towards midday, as forecast, the clouds cleared, and the wind built through the afternoon, along with the temperature.  By the time we left the water they were force 6 and 14 degrees respectively.


Seaburn was the venue of choice and as usual it didn’t disappoint. When I arrived at 1245 Mal was already on the water and to be honest it looked a bit gusty and patchy but once I hit the water with 4.7 metre sail in hand, I realised that it had filled in nicely.  To such a degree in fact that I very soon realised that I had far too big a sail and board.  Once on my 4.1m and 78lt board, I really enjoyed the sailing.  Cross shore, slightly off, the receding tide gave clean strong wind from the shore and once on the outside I was very well powered and had great fun screaming over the big chop for the next hour or so.  There was even a photographer there to record the action.  Much to Mal’s amusement, said camera man asked if it would be okay if he sent a particularly good action shot (of Mal, not me) to the Sunderland Echo.  Despite being an upstanding, modest sort of chap, Mal agreed!      


All in all, a short but sweet workout session in big warm winds and big chop, nicely summed up by Mal who commented that days like these are the ones that make you glad to be alive.  I couldn’t agree more.

Sun 10 Dec: D-Bay and Boulmer - Ross, Steve C and Martin

An excellent two hour session at D-Bay north end. It started out at 7 degrees and rose within 2 hours to an amazing 12 degrees, as forecast.

The first hour was the best, as the neap low tide started to come back in. Nice 3-5ft ramps and a super-steady F5 that had me well powered on my 4.7m. The second hour saw the wind turn cross from cross on and weaken slightly at the same time as the sea built up such that on the outside it was well over 6ft from trough to crest and some were starting to break on the outside too. Fruity, as Andy would say. Even in this last hour I was mostly powered up on the 4.7 once I'd let off some outhaul.

Jumpfest for some, backlooping for others (nice one Steve C) and a great bumpy blast for others. I was just pleased to get a few of the outside gybes off the huge swell faces which were great for riding back in.

Rose-tinted perhaps, since it is over two months since I sailed, but in anyone's book a nice little session, especially the first hour which was quite glorious.

I checked Blyth on the way and it looked quite flat, cross off, gusty and light on the inside and bloomin cold. Well worth burning some diesel in the end!   

Steve C:

Nice session today. Good waves, good wind, good company. I was a bit out of sorts, hangover and some sort of flu bug but still enjoyed it. Had to come off the water early though as I could barely hold onto the rig. Plenty of backie practice though. Lost count of the number of attempts. I seem to be getting progressively worse at them, now under rotating.


Ross, I am pleased you didn't sail at Blyth today because I was down at the beach watching the sunrise at 8:20 and thinking it would be perfect if only the wind would hurry up and arrive.

As it was I met Mike at Newbiggin at 11, too rough, then we met Steve ( Ladyburn, QEII regurlar ) at D-Bay, again too rough so we headed for Boulmer. We arrived in time for low neap tide (1.7m) but the boats were sitting on the sand, knowing the tide would eventually come in we leisurely rigged 4.5's. By the time we hit the water the boats were afloat and the haven was flat as the waves broke on the exposed reef. What followed was 3 hours of sometimes overpowered flat water blasting. It was still only half tide when we finished but we were knackered and the light was fading, the strange thing is, as the tide rose and the reef became submerged the sea on the outside became calmer but the wind just as strong, Mike as usual having 'just one more run'!

Boulmer will be having a few more visitors this winter I feel, as Steve remarked that the water was far warmer than QEII!


Sat 11 Nov - Beadnell - Martin H (addendum by Steve C)

[Editor's note: meanwhile, Ross and co were stood for three hours at DBay, but  this is what Martin was doing. . .]

Where were you all?

I thought you were going to Bamburgh so me and Mike headed to Beadnell and had the beach to ourselves. We sailed a flat water neap low tide with the reef just visible out in the middle of the bay. I rigged 6.5 with Mike on 5.5, I had the best of the initial wind getting one foot in the straps but as it grew, Mike had his best session ever, hooked in and BOTH feet in the straps!
Ally turned up later on to find Mike overpowered at times and me watching from the shallows so he wisely stayed dry, and warm!.
The wind eased a little and we both had a few more runs in the sunshine, Mike grinning like a cheshire cat

Steve C's version of the total failure at DBay:

Alistair and I sailed D-Bay boatramp. 5.8's/around 100l each. I had about 20 mins of nicely powered sailing, typical d-bay bump and jump. Alistair persevered and was rewarded with a bit of planing when the rest of us packed up. Should have gone to Bamburgh!

Wed 01 Nov - Redcar - John C
Good couple of hours sailing in NNW wind, on 5.7m at a new location for me. Opted for 'Paddys Hole' apparently best in NW or NNW. The Garr is better in Northerly direction which allows sailing parralel to the reef. Basicaly a small horse-shoe shaped bay just inside the Tees estuary, enough swell from the massive swell out to sea rolls in through the piers to provide safe wave sailing. Small 3ft wave provides jumping on both tacks and gybing off faces as you sail across the bay. Certainly an interesting back drop with nuclear power stn, steel and chemical works.

THu 26 Oct - DBay - Andy F
The bar has been raised


There was wind and waves in plentiful supply today and the conditions were quite challenging. It was certainly the first true winter sail of the year and taking part were Ian (from Sedgefield), TDOG, Alistair, Ray, Steve C and myself.


One run on a 5.3 sent me scurrying for a 4.7 and I wish I had made it 4.2 with hindsight. Others were also suitably overpowered all bar Steve who made a late appearance and rigged 3.5.


It was hard work and I thought the star of the show was Alistair who sailed like a demon and would been a clear favourite for man of the match till Steve C accidentally pulled of one of the best back loops I have ever seen. Not wishing to rest on his laurels off he went and did a few more. By his own admission the first was the best but I won’t be taking anything away from him.

 The level of the bar has gone up and whilst there can only be one “first” the question begs who will join the club next? This weekend anyone??????

Sun 22 Oct - Derwent - Nick
The early birds got the worm at Derwent !

I got a 9.30am call from an excited Matt telling me to get my ass in motion. I arrived at about 10.15 to find Matt planing comfortably on 5m, McGill Senior rigging a 5 and McGill Junior rigging a 4.7!! My options were 4.5 or 5.4 - surely it couldn't be 4.5m weather???

It wasn't.

No sooner had I pulled my 4.5 out of the bag, the wind started to moderate so I opted for 5.4.

Went out.

Did a run out.

Did a run back.

The wind died.

Matt's waaay too polite to laugh. But after my constant mockery of his slowness and shoddy gybing this season, I could forgive him for feeling a little smug.

Anyway, while I was plodding with 5.4 everyone else was arriving and rigging 6.5. They all seemed to be doing OK so I decided to go back and rig 6.5.

Ran back down with the 6.5 - it's miles to the water now!!!

Jumped on.

Planed Out.

Planed Back.

The Wind died and never came back.

Went home at 2.30am and listened to the toon get stuffed by the smoggies

Sunday was going just fine until Matt phoned.

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