Monday, November 23, 2009

Dungarven 21st and 22nd November 2009

I'd been keeping an eye on the forcast for Dungarven all week. It was forcasting SW to WSW 30-40 knot winds which is perfect for to sail the course on Starboard and if we did get the WSW winds then we would be seeing some big speeds over the weekend. We all started making plans to meet up on Saturday morning and a few more would be down on Sunday. Steve Flannagan managed to get us a house to stay in so we didn't have to find accomodation for the weekend which was a big help.

Myself, Steve Flannagan and Paul O'Riain met up at midday on Saturday as the course was only sailable from about 1pm as low water was 3.30pm. on arrival it was blowing 23-30 knots but the wind was from the SSW so it meant the course was square and only sailable on Port so we all started rigging up. I decided on rigging up 2 sets of kit to make sure i could change sails quickly if i had to and decided on my 6.6m KA Koncept and 5.8m KA Koncept to use on my I Sonic 86 with 32cm Vector Maui Rockit fin and Starboard I Sonic W49 Speed Special with 24cm Vector Maui EX Speed. The wind was a bit up and down and as i havn't had the chance to sail the I Sonic 86 yet i decided to use that with my 5.8m Koncept and got out on the water.

First impressions of the board are great, it planes early and once up to speed is very easy to sail and feels more comfertable to sail than the I Sonic 87 it replaces. It also accelerates very quickly which at first caught me by suprise but once i was used to that sailing the board was fun. Upwind ability is also very good with me making ground quickly upwind to the sand bar.

On my first run down the course it was apparant that the fin i had in the board was too big and my 28cm or 30cm Vector Maui EX Speed would have been better as when the gusts hit me there was too much power in the fin causing the nose to rise up wildly at times which was making it hard to control the board at times. I still managed a 30.75 knot peak which as it was my first time on the board i was happy with and after a good couple of hours i came of the water after a good session and hoping that the next day brought more of the same. We all then headed to get some food after packing up and got an early night ready for the following day.

As high tide was a little later we all got to the beach at midday and a few more guys had turned up for today. John Kenny, Keith Gorman, Martin Waldron and Guy Molyneux came down from Dublin and Farrell O'Shea came over from the UK. It was windier today, about 30-40 knots WSW so like yesterday i decided to rig up 2 sets of kit again and decided on my 5.8m KA Koncept and 5.0m KA Koncept to use on my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 30cm Vector Maui EX Speed and my Starboard I Sonic W49 Speed Special with 23cm KA Starboard Assymetrical Fin. As the wind was forcasting to pick up i also decided to get out my Starboard I Sonic W44 Speed Special with 20cm KA Starboard Assymetrical Fin as the course was looking very broad and this board would be perfect if the wind got over 40 knots. I decided to start off on the I Sonic 86 so hit the water with that and my 5.0m Koncept and set my harness lines a little longer so i could get my weight a little lower which would help when bearing off onto the speed course. Unfortunatly for me as i was about to bear away i came unhooked by accident as a gust hit and felt a sharp pain in my left forearm muscle so sailed onto the bank at the top of the course. I gave it a few minutes so see if the pain would go away but it didn't and looked like i had just pulled the muscle so sailed back in which was hard as i could hardly hold the boom and got the camera out to take pictures for the rest of the day. I made a video of the pictures that you can see below and if you want to have a look at them on picacsa you can find them here

Congratulations to all of the lads with most of them getting personal best speeds and i am hoping that my arm gets better soon so i can try to better my own speeds before the end of the year. Max speeds recorded were all round the 39-44 knot mark so there was alot of happy faces coming of the water. To be honest after all the injurys i have had this year i am hoping next year will be injury free for me so i can push on and improve my speeds and national ranking

Friday, November 13, 2009

l'Hydroptere smashes World speed record over one nautical mile

Got this off

L'Hydroptere's record campaign in the Mediterranean ended in great style last Sunday as Alain Thebault and his ten crew smashed the record over one nautical mile, exceeding 50 knots.

An average speed of 50.17 knots (92.91 km/h) over one nautical mile (1.852km) is the new record to beat over this distance.

Alain Thebault and his crew members now have the speed records on both distances over 50 knots, that is 51.36 knots over 500 metres and 50.17 over one nautical mile

Since April 2007, L'Hydroptere has continually improved the existing records over these distances.

Seeing the've just recorded an amazing speed over the nautical mile looks like the Windsurfers will now have a hard time getting the records back but i am sure Antoine Albeau, Finnian Maynard and Bjorn Dunkerbeck will give it a go to get them back over the next couple of winters. At least with Anders Bringdal onboard L'Hydroptere, a windsurfer is involved at setting these amazing speeds.

Checkout some of the photo's of L'Hydroptere below

Sunday, November 8, 2009

European Speedsailing Championships, Dungarven 1st - 7th November Day 7

I got down to the beach for Skippers briefing at 9.30am and there was again little wind but it was forcasted to pick up as the day progressed. It was also raining which made it miserable waiting around but atleast we had the big tent to wait in. As today was also the first day of the Irish Nationals there was some of the Irish lads around to give speedsailing a go. As one of them needed a board to use Killian said he could use his Bic Techno 75 and asked me to get it ready for him. I got the board for him but let him know if official racing started i would need it back incase i needed a bigger board.

At around midday the wind stared to pick up so we were told to get ready by the organisors so i got into my suit and started to get my gear ready. I got my Starboard I Sonic out with 36cm Vector Maui fin and my 7.5m and 6.6m KA Koncepts onto the beach and waited for racing to start. Not long after we were told to get ready the green flag went up as the wind had switched to westerly and was blowing over 20 knots. I grabbed my I Sonic and 6.6m KA Koncept but i was a little late getting on the water and the wind started to die off about 15 to 20 minutes after the round has started so i was now finding it hard to get going so i came in to get my 7.5m but the wind was dropping more so went to find the guy who had the Bic Techno 75 as i now needed a bigger board to get going, but he had sailed off downwind and i had to wait for him to come back upwind. After about 30 minutes he eventually was back up wind so got the board off him but by now the wind had dropped right off and i couldn't get in a run so i was pretty pissed of as you can imagine but it's something i can learn from and make sure in the future nothing like that happens again.

As enough sailors got the required speeds in the rules the round was official and we finally had a result and it all came down to those first 15 to 20 minutes that the result came from. For me it was dissapointing that i didn't get a good run as i know i could have got further up the fleet had i got down the course.

We had prize giving later that evening and the result's were:-


1st Andrea Baldini

2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck

3rd Steve Flannagan

4th Dirk Jan Knol

5th Pearse Geaney


1st Zara Davis

2nd Karien Scholten Vrendenbregt

Big congratulations to Steve Flannagan who i know over the past couple of years has put alot of time, effort and money into speedsailing, Stoked for you mate and Pearse finishing 5th in his first international event, hope to see you at a few speed events next year and also Zara for becoming European Womens champion. Very heppy to see Andrea become Europen champion aswell as i know he has wroked very hard over the past few years to achieve this, lets hope this is the first of many title's he will hopefully win in the future.

I myself finished 19th and i am dissapointed with my final position but i know what i have to do in the future to improve my position at events.

Now the search is on over the winter to find some more speed strips in Ireland and finally break the 40 knot barrier

European Speedsailing Championships, Dungarven 1st - 7th November Days 5 & 6

As the wind was still forcasting North Westerlys we were all called back to Clonea beach on day 5 at 8am for skippers breiefing but when we got there there was hardly any wind so we were put on hold until the wind showed any signs of picking up. Around 11am it looked like it was getting windy enough so i rigged my Starboard I Sonic 87 with 36cm Vector Maui Rockit fin and my 7.5m Ka Koncept and put it down on the beach to be ready incase the call came to start speedsailing. Not long after the wind looked like it was picking off it started to die again and the call was made around 4pm to abandon the day and skippers meeting was called for 9.30am back at the Speedstrip the following day.

On day 6 we all went back to the Speedstrip and again the forcasted winds never showed so most of the day was spent waiting again. In the afternoon it picked up a little so the green flag went up and we were sent onto the water so i borrowed a Bic Techno 75 from Killian from Wind & Wave as my Starboard I Sonic 111 was still not fixed and put a 42cm Vector Maui Canefire fin into it and went out on that with my 7.5m KA Koncept. Not long after getting on the water the green flag came down as the wind had dropped again so again the wind dissapointed us again. With only 1 day left of the competition we were all hoping that the last day brought some decent wind and Skippers Briefing was called for 9.30am with the forcast showing West to South Westerly's for the final day.

European Speedsailing Championships, Dungarven 1st - 7th November Days 3 & 4

We were all called to the beach for skippers meeting at 9.30am on Day 3 so i got down to the beach at 9am to get my gear together ready for the day. The 20-25 knot winds forcasted the day before never materialised and it was not even half what it was forcasted so it looked like it would be a waiting game all day but i still got my Starboard I Sonic 111 with 38cm Vector Maui ZX Fin and 7.5m KA Koncept and also my Starboard I Sonic 87 with 36cm Vector Maui Rockit fin and 6.6m Koncept onto the beach incase the wind showed up. Not long after i had put my gear on the beach a freak gust flipped over my Starboard I Sonic 111 onto the fin of a board next to mine and put a 4" hole in the bottom of it so i was gutted as it is still practically a new board and now was out of action for the week. We spent the rest of the day waiting but the wind never picked up enough to get any speedsailing in so the day was postponed and skippers meeting called for 9.30am the following day.

We woke on Day 4 to be greeted again with winds from the North West and also alot less than forcasted. It seams that all the wind was missing us here in Dungarven with all the reports coming in from all the other locations in Ireland of people overpowered on their smallest sails. This was annoying as all we needed was a decent strong South Westerly and all the guys here would see what Dungarven is like when it gets the right direction. I got down to the beach for 9.30am for skippers briefing and there was not enough to get in any sailing so the organisors checked out Clonea Beach just round the headland to the east to see if we could hold any racing there. About an hour later we were told to relocate as it was blowing 20-25 offshore at Clonea and really flat aswell. I packed up my 5.8m , 6.6m and 7.5m KA Koncept and my Starboard I sonic 87 and W49 and headed over to the other beach. When i got there i rigged up my 7.5m KA Koncept and 6.6m Ka Koncept and Starboard I Sonic 87 with 36cm Vector Maui Rockit fin and when the green flag went up i headed on the water with the Starboard I Sonic 87 and 7.5m KA Koncept. When i was on the water it was apparant that there was big holes in the wind and was really gusty but also the wind was also up and down so i was spending most of the time up to my waist in water and never got anywhere near the course. Eventually the wind dropped off to almost nothing and i had to get a lift back to the beach on a rescue boat, as most people did and was realived to find that the organisors did not call it an official round and it was only a fun round. At least we all got on the water and now we all hoped we would get some good winds to get a result.

Monday, November 2, 2009

European Speedsailing Championships, Dungarven 1st - 7th November Days 1 & 2

As my car was still not ready i rented a van from O'Neills Van Hire in Tralee for 350 euros for the week which was a great deal and enabled me to get all my gear to Dungarven so i could compete in the Europeans and i collected it on Saturday morning, headed back home and packed up all my gear and set off for Dungarven.

I arrived in Dungarven later in day at 7pm and this year myself, Steve Flanagan and Killian McKay rented one of the houses at the back of the Park Hotel so we are walking distance of the town which makes it easier getting about to the things that will be organised in the evenings in town.

We all got to the beach on Sunday morning to find this year a big tent has been provided for all the kit so we can store it all near the waters edge and don't have to derig the sails. I got my gear all into the tent, registered for the event and rigged all my sails and got the boards ready with fins and mast feet so i can just grab a board and sail and get on the water quickly.

That evening we had the opening party with Irish Dancers performing and a great time was had by all.

As skippers meeting was called for 9.30am on Monday Morning we all got down to the beach early to find no wind and not much forcasted so we were put on hold till midday so i checked i had everything ready in case the wind picked up. At midday it was looking like there would be no wind for the day so racing was postponed and next skippers meeting will be at 9.30am on Tuesday. Looking at the forcast it looks like it could be a great day with 20-25 knot west to north west winds so i am hoping that the forcast holds and we can finally get some speedsailing in here in Dungarven.

Keep checking back here and when i get a chance i will update the blog with all the latest news from here.