Friday, October 30, 2009

Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 4 Belmullet 24th, 25th & 26th October

As there was no wind for Round 3 we cancelled that round and waited to see if there would be enough wind for Round 4 and as it turned out we needn't have worried as the forcast was 40-50 knots for the Saturday and 20 Knots for Sunday. I was straight on the phone when the green light for the event was given to UISCE (097 82111) which is the local watersports centre/school as they had accomodation for the weekend for 140 for 3 nights including food which is great value and booked my bed for the wekend.

On Friday i went to pack my car but the car would not start so i started to panic as i didn't think i would be able to make the journey to Belmullet so started ringing round my friends and was able to borrow a Ford transit Van for the weekend and set off on the road to Belmullet after packing the van, arriving just before 1 am and was still able to get a pint in the local pub, got to love pubs in the middle of nowhere :-)

Waking up on Saturday morning we were greeted to a solid 30-40 knots of wind with it forcasting to build through the day so we all got breakfast and met at the beach for the briefing at 10am. Killian from Wind & Wave also came up to compete and he had my new board with him, a Starboard I Sonic 111 (Wood Constrution) but i wouldn't be getting that board wet today as it was too big for the conditions. I decided to go for the wood construction instead of the wood carbon as the board is less fragile so should last me longer. Not long after getting my I Sonic 87 out of the van and put a 28cm Vector Maui EX Speed into it John Kenny headed out on his 5.4m so i waited to see how he got on as i was planning on rigging my 5.0m KA Koncept and he shot off into the distance and when he got closer to the other side you could see the spray from his wipeout. He came back in and said it was pretty wild out there with a 3 foot chop rolling through the bay. At the same time Gregg Day was well overpowered on his 3.7m (see picture above) so i decided to wait and see if the conditions would ease a little before i went on the water. Steve Flannagan also went out briefly but was completely out of control. I decided at this point to wait till Sunday to go on the water as it was Gear Breaking conditions and with the Europeans a week away i couldn't afford to replace any of my kit so i headed back to UISCE to chill out and relax. Later that evening we were told that the weather station that they have at the centre was recording gusts over 50 knots in the afternoon so it was a pretty wild day.

Sunday brought conditions that were alot more manageable and it was blowing 16 to 20 knots as forcast so after breakfast i got to the beach at 9.30 am and i decided to use my new Starboard I Sonic 111 with 38cm Vector Maui ZX fin and 6.6m KA Koncept and got on the water and had a great day. The new board feels alot nicer than the Lorch Thunderbird 64 it replaces and once i get used to sailing it will definetly be quicker. I managed a 28.68 knot peak and 27.55 250m but couldn't manage any more. I was bearing off just before the gusts to get decent 250m runs but was finding that the gusts were running out off juice after a couple of seconds. After a great day on the water we called it a day and as the forcast for Monday was bad we called it a day and had prize giving. I finished in 6th spot and 5th Master so that has put me back up to 5th place overall and within 10 points of 4th place overall so i will be focusing on a good position at the next round in Dunagrven to try and finish 4th overall for the year. I am happy i am back in 5th spot as i was dissapointed after the last event dropping down to 6th so i achieved what i wanted to do for this event. All we need now is wind for the next round and have a great finish to the Irish Speedsailing events.

As nothing was going to happen on Monday we all headed into Belmullet partying and had a great time and most people woke up the next day with huge hangovers.

Now i will be focusing on the European Championships which start on the 1st of November till the 7th of November and hopefully we get wind and see all the top guys busting over 40 knots. Keep checking back each day and i will try to keep the blog updated with how i get on.

Monday, October 19, 2009

No Speedsailing At The Canel This Winter

Just got this news off
Looks like there will be no speedsailing at the canal this winter so the windsurfers will have to wait till next winter to challenge the kitesufers and Hydroptere. Check out the report below
After many weeks of consultation between Christophe Simian, head of the base speed of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and official timekeeper, and Pascal Maka, race director of the Masters of Speed, it's finally Friday, October 16 in late afternoon that the information is dropped, there will be no attempt to speed this winter on the famous Canal ...

Evil for good despite all the organizers rendezvous runners for six months for attempted between October 15, 2010 and March 15, 2011 "And if the date is distant indeed, it is motivated more than ever to go you ... It is also especially as the windsurfers are concerned by this attempt will have to register before the end of November this year, almost a year in advance!
The organization hopes to mobilize forces in quickly and with little hope, also encourage brands to truly invest in research and development in speed ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Irish Speed Sailing Championships - Current Ranking

The current Irish Rankings have just been released and i am currently lying in 6th spot with 280.57 points. Not too happy that i have dropped 1 place from 5th but i will have to focus on getting further up the rankings before the season ends as there is another 3 rounds (depending on forcast). It's great though to see so many people now giving speed sailing a go in Ireland and hopefully we can get alot more people coming along to the events or logging some GPS speeds. You can check out the full rankings below

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Sponsor

I am very pleased to anounce that i will become a Wind and Wave team rider. Wind and Wave is a shop based at Malahide by Fingal Sailing School and is idealy located next to the estuary if you are looking for windsurfing equipment.

For the past 4 months i have been using Starboard boards since i left Lorch Boards so linking up with Wind and Wave is great as they are a Starboard dealer so will be supplying my boards from now on. I am sure now riding Starboard I-Sonic Speed Boards it will be only a matter of time before i break the 40 knot barrier. For next season i will be using the I-Sonic 144, 111 and 86 and I-Sonic w49 and w44 Speed Specials for speed.

If you want to try any of them out give me a shout and we can meet up for you to try them

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Irish Speedsailing Championships Round 2 Belmullet 3rd to 4th October

Late on Thursday the call was made to run the next round of the Irish Speed Sailing Championships in Belmullet, County Mayo so first thing Friday i rang the usual B&B, the Leim Siar Bed and Breakfast to book my accommodation for Friday and Saturday night but unfortunately Hannah wasn't taking bookings that weekend so tried to find alternative accomodation. I couldn't find anything for Friday night but managed to get a Twin room in the Broadhaven Hotel on the way into Belmullet for 120 euros a night for myself and Steve Flannagan so it worked out as 60 euros each which is pretty cheap for a Hotel. The hotel itself is very comfortable and the Breakfast is a buffet where you can have as much as you want so keeps you pretty full for most of the day.

As i didn't have anywhere to stay on Friday i had to drive up on Saturday morning so tried to get some sleep and got up at 3.30am and left to drive up to Belmullet from Tralee, County Kerry at 4am. First part of the journey was pretty quick as there was not too many people on the road but once i got North of Galway the roads got worse and had to slow down a bit and got there just after 9.30 so made decent time, although i was really tired after not getting too much sleep and having to get up early.

Anyway i started to rig and as it was blowing 23-25 knots i decided to use my Starboard I-Sonic 87 with 30m Vector Maui EX Speed fin and 5.8m KA Koncept. Once on the water it was really choppy and hard to get any decent speeds and no matter what i did i couldn't get over 28 knots. I think my main problem was after having a couple of pretty big crashes earlier in the year I'm having a bit of a mental block sailing fast when it is like this, something i will definitely have to work on as my kit is not the thing holding me back. I decided to go and have a break for lunch after a couple of hours on the water, gather my thoughts and Psyche myself up to get better speeds.

After lunch i had a quick look at my kit and loosened the out haul which made the sail a bit baggier and lowered my boom and hit the water. It seamed the wind direction had changed slightly and was at a better angle to sail parallel to the chop and managed to get a 30.87 knot max speed which i was a bit happier with. One of my other problems i had was as i havn't been on the water alot due to injury or lack of wind i have lost a bit of muscle endurance and i ended the session with massive cramps in both of my Calf's in my legs and Cramps in my arm's. Now the wind is back watertime shouldn't be a problem but i have invested in a cross trainer to work on my fitness.

I ended the competition in 1oth place (6th Master) and am now 6th in the overall rankings so have dropped 1 place from 5th which i am not too happy about so i will have to focus on getting back up the rankings so hopefully i can finish higher when the season ends.

Looking forward now to competing in the Europeans in Dungarven next month, unfortunatly the first round was canceled due to a bad forcast. We would have had wind for maybe 2 days but really marginal for the rest of the week so the right decision was made to wait until the forcast improves, just hope we get wind for either of the last 2 rollovers so the event will take place and i can work on increasing my PB's .

Got to use my Pro Motion 5/3mm Winter Suit for the first time and it is very warm when on so should be perfect for this winter. The no fatigue forearms worked well aswell not restricting my arms and never felt tight at all which was my my problem with my last winter suit

Only picture i got from the day was when i was walking out.

The 53 knot 'Boost' into the blue !!!

Got this of the Sailrocket website, looks like they have crashed again

Wed, 7 Oct 09 10:29
I'll cut to the chase...

Yesterday we did a run in gusty conditions with recorded winds during the run ranging from 18.6 to 26.3 knots. The run started slow and peaked at 52.8 knots going past the timing hut... with no main flap on (approx. 4 knots still up our sleeve)... I got the flap on and pushed on trying to make this run count. At the end of the course we hit a small freak wave (a last remnant of the North bound Atlantic swell that wraps around the distant Pelican point and rolls back up the bay). The front end got 'boosted' and it appears that the main foil failed at the top inboard tip due to the centre of effort moving rapidly down with the boat fully loaded at around 48-50 knots.

It didn't go as high as last time and turned 90 degrees to leeward... but it did the full flip and inverted landing. As I sat there looking at the clouds I congratulated myself on my choice of full-face KBC helmet and HANS neckbrace. They absorbed the impact well as my shoulders smashed the 'roll-bar' clean off as I flew out. I was fine.

At that stage I thought... "That's it... no more. This boat has issues". I thought the boat had just lost pitch stability in a gust. Alex pointed to the main foil which was wobbling around in the air. I was quitely relieved. Component failures are easier to resolve. The upturned boat was dragged backwards to the shore with the wing dragging alongside trailing bits of broken flap.

Once we got it ashore we could do a basic damage assessment. The boat itself is undameged... amazingly enough... neither is the whole main section of the wing... or the two end flaps!!! Even the strut is still intact. The main flap is confetti and there is a few spots of random damage that will take some detailed repairs. We got the boat back last night and brought the wing back this morning. We've already started. This boat has had a hard life... perhaps the hardest of all(considering it is the same hull/beam and wing originally launched)... but it just refuses to die.

We've gone over all the data and watched all the videos. It was only on the video that we saw the wave. The peak speed was actually done earlier where we did 5 seconds over 50 knots. The sun was glaring of the wing angle display. From the PI/COSWORTH data logger I could see that I could have sheeted in a little more and as mentioned, still had the flap to come in. The wind was measured at around 25 knots there so it's not surprising. The video showed how solid the front end of this boat is in normal conditions. To me it didn't feel like anything super special. If only the wind wasn't so damned gusty! This boat has a world record in it and we are going to do every thing in our power to drag it out.

We will go through the foil failure and work out a repair. Obviously it didn't have enough of a safety margin. The foil itself is fine... it's only the very top tip where it is supported by a ball joint at the top of the centre-board case. So we found another weak link that may have let us down at a higher peak speed with even more drastic consequences. Looking at the damage now I feel that we got of lightly.

Of course we caught it all on video with stills from both directions. I even had an onboard camera... which turned itself off the second the nose lifted (I will write a whole report about onboard cameras for boats as no-one has got it right. We've tried them all and spent thousands... and they all fail or give average results).

It will take us 7-10 days to be back in action. The boat will be better than ever and we remain undeterred. we know this particular boat is far from perfect... but we also know first hand that it is bloody quick and that on its day it should be able to top Hydroptere's current record. I will happily climb back onboard. One day, just as it has for every other world record holder that has had the perseverence, it will all come together for us... and it will all seem easy.

all the goodies will be posted once we sort out our other job-list.

Perseverence pays.

Cheers, Paul...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vestas Sailrocket Begins Quest For Outright World Speed Sailing Record

The UK based VESTAS SAILROCKET team have returned to Walvis Bay in Namibia for one more assault on the outright speed sailing record. The 28 day record period commences on the 2nd of October.
Since Sailrocket was first launched in 2004, the outright speed record has been broken seven times by a variety of different craft. The rival Hydroptère team now hold the record, having achieved a speed of 51.36 knots over 500 metres on the 4th September 2009 in Hyères harbour on the French Riviera.
Paul Larsen, Sailrocket’s pilot, now needs to go 4 knots faster than his previous record-breaking run in order to take the crown.
“50 knots is last year’s story”, said Paul. “We simply have to go well over that now. I look forward to taking this wonderful boat out to do battle one more time. There’s a final chapter to be written and I’m sure she still has a few knots up her sleeve. It will be one hell of a ‘suck-it and-see’ ride on the ragged edge that’s for sure!”.
Walvis Bay provides excellent speed sailing conditions, with its combination of flat, shallow waters and steady, predictable winds. It was there that the team broke records last December. Since then, they have been in the UK, making improvements to the design.
VESTAS SAILROCKET Designer, Malcolm Barnsley, said, “We have learnt so much since we started. Through constant development we have managed to solve most of the teething problems of this new concept and have allowed the real potential to begin to shine through. On paper, the 500m record is definitely within reach but everything has to be just right and if we do make it I doubt it will be by a big margin. Even in a place like Walvis Bay, which provides fantastic conditions on a regular basis, it will take a special day. Let’s hope we get those perfect conditions to make chasing down those four knots as easy as possible!”.
With the limits of wind-powered speed being constantly pushed – by windsurfers, kitesurfers and craft like the Hydroptère – there appears to be a renaissance of sail-power at the moment.
“Nothing focuses the mind like competition”, said Paul. “The record hasn’t fallen so many times recently by chance. Sometimes the limits are as much psychological as they are physical. When the level you need to attain gets so high that your current best isn’t enough then your options become limited and in some respect the job gets easier. You simply have to change your sights and find another gear.”
Malcolm Barnsley’s day job is as a test engineer at wind turbine manufacturer Vestas.
“With fuels running out, we’re going to be looking to do more with wind. I see it as a very broad picture and that things we’re exploring with the Sailrocket can feed in to the long-term future of energy and travel”.
In the wake of Sailrocket’s success, Malcolm has been given time to keep working on the project in pursuit of the ultimate goal. Vestas support is more than just financial.
“Fundamentally, we’re working on extracting energy from the wind as efficiently and reliably as possible. I’ve carried across a lot of the experience from my work environment and have a lot of technical support available within Vestas. We have experts on many things, including aerodynamics and structures, and the Vestas resource makes this project powerful and very unlikely to fail”.
The team will be on full standby at Walvis Bay Yacht Club throughout the whole record period. Regular updates and live feeds will be streamed from the website throughout the attempt.

Check out this clip: