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Sat 07 July - Derwent - Ross

Derwent Reservoir is like a can of Ronseal varnish.  It does what it says on the tin.  Itís all very well saying that it has no waves and itís not the sea and so forth, but in a westerly, when the east coast is gusty and the tides are wrong for Budle, Derwent serves up no-nonsense solid high wind every time a westerly is forecast.


There were five things that made Saturday special for me.


  1. There was a huge buzz about the place as there were up to maybe eighty boards on the water at one time, with the UKWA racing events that were taking place on the day.  The formula guys were blasting so close to the wind and so far off the wind that you felt that boards were coming from all directions.  It demanded an unusual level of concentration when gybing or even just blasting.  Iíd hate to sail in such busy conditions every day but the novelty value was great especially as you could almost taste the collective adrenaline in the air.
  2. The sun was shining and it was windy!  After the longest period ever recorded of wet, windless summer days, it was a great relief to have wind again.  When the wind blows and the sun shines at Derwent, it really is a lovely place to be.
  3. The wind was steady.  As with all inland waters, Derwent can get gusty, but Saturday was about as steady as it gets.  Particularly in the afternoon, once the wind had kicked in, it was rock solid and meant that you could just settle down to some good gybing practice.  At the far side of the lake the water was super flat which, combined with the wind being stronger over that side, meant long, sweeping, fully powered gybing was possible.  Throughout my session I was fully powered to overpowered on my 5.5m.  Amazing that the formula guys were sailing on 11m+ sails at the same time!
  4. I was sailing well Ė for a change.  I donít know about you, but itís a great feeling when you feel after a session that youíve actually improved, even if itís just by a tiny amount. 
  5. The water level was as high as itís been for years, adding at least 50 metres to the length of each reach.


It was great to be sailing again with some of the Drewent regulars like Nick, Terry, Martin, Ian and Dave.  There was an equally good turn out of NWC guys: Nico, Boydy, Gavin, Ray, Ally, Andy and Matt B to name a few.


I did the ďone more runĒ thing so many times that on the last one I was so knackered I was almost unable to hold on so I eventually quit, after some three and a half hours, with a massive smile on my face and some impressive sun burn.  It took me a few days to recover but every ache was worth it!

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