Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Malahide, County Dublin, Ireland Friday 24th Spetember 2010

On Friday last week i drove up to Dublin from Kerry as the forecast was looking amazing for burrow beach with winds from the North East which is the perfect direction and 20 knots gusting up to 25 knots so i reckoned it was worth the drive up. I left Kerry at 3.30am and got there at 7am but as i was pretty tired i decided to have a quick sleep in the van before rigging up. I woke just after 8am and saw the wind was around 18 knots but a little bit gusty so i decided to rig my 6.4m KA Koncept and use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 32cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa Fin. I got changed quickly and got out on the water but as soon as i got out the wind went more Northerly and dropped :-( so i spent the next half an hour slogging around and i couldn't get going. As the tide was also nearly overlapping the sand bar there wasn't much point rigging a bigger sail as there would be no sand bar to keep the water flat for speedsailing i decided to head in, derig and head over to Malahide. Steve Flannagan had also arrived at this point after being stuck in traffic for 2 hours also decided to head over to Malahide with me.

Once we got there there wasn't much wind so we stopped in by Wind & Wave to see if any arrangements had been made for John's burial and wait and see if the wind would pick up. After a little while the wind picked back up to around 10 knots so myself and Steve went down to the sailing club and rigged up. I decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and my 8.3m KA Koncept. I hadn't used this combo before so was interested to see what it was like. Once out on the water is was apparent that wind was very gusty and it was hard to get going but i still had just under an hour on the water until the wind dropped right off. I should really have been on my 9.0m KA Race but it was good to see what the low end performance of the 8.3m was like but i think that the 9.0m still has a place in my quiver in this wind strength as i would have got planing sooner on my 9.0m and been able to sail through the lulls easier as well.

I had a nice little session that helped me take my mind off what happed to John and at least my trip up wasn't wasted after not getting the forecasted wind at Burrow Beach

UKWA Cup 5, Christchurch, Dorset, UK

Sorry for the late update to my blog but since the death of my good friend John Kenny my mind has been on other things. On the weekend of the 18th and 19th of September i went across to the UK to take part in one of the UKWA Cup (coastal) events. I decided to get the morning ferry over from Roslare so left home at 3am to get over to catch ferry on time. I managed a few hours sleep on the ferry which was well needed and then carried on with my journey to Christchurch, stopping off on route to collect some new Chinook Mast extensions from Ed Britnell at K-Bay and finally arriving in Christchurch at 7pm.

I decided to rig up my 9.5m and get it ready for the next day so i wouldn't have to rig it the next morning and i would be able to relax instead of rushing around getting my equipment ready. Once that was done myself and a few of the other competitors walked up along the sea front to the local pub to have a few pints and catch up, get a pizza and then got back to the campsite reasonably early to get a good nights sleep ready for the next day.

I woke up the next morning but there was no wind so i went a registered and got my Starboard Phantom and XR Race 9.5m down to the beach ready for when the wind picked up which it was forecast to do and went to relax waiting for the wind to pick up. Just after lunch the wind started to fill in to 6-8 knots so we were called out onto the water for the first race. During this race the wind started to pick up a little bit more which i did prefer as i was able to get the board on the rail upwind which was making the racing a bit more fun. Once we had finished the first race the wind picked up again to around 10-15 knots but the sea was now getting very lumpy making the going tough for the second race and i was exhausted once i had finished so decided to sit out the next race and then made my way out for the 4th race but once out at the start line the wind was now dropping off and shifting around so the race crew made the call to finish racing for the day and we all headed in.

That evening it was back down to the pub for some freshly cooked fish and chips :-) and then i headed back early for some sleep as i was knackered and a few of the lads headed over to Bournemouth which i didn't really fancy. The next morning i woke up and my back had seized up and it was windier than the previous day so i made the decision to not go out unless the wind dropped of a bit as i didn't want to hurt my back any further as Speedweek is not too far away and didn't want to miss it due to injury. I was disappointed as racing longboards is a lot more fun in a decent wind and i had to be sensible in case my back got worse but the wind didn't drop so that was the end of the event for me.

I finished the event 1st overall in the Raceboard Unlimited fleet and 7th Master which i was happy with and hopefully i will be able to make it to Rutland for one of the days to compete in the last Inland event

Sunday, September 26, 2010

RIP.....John Kenny

I am still shocked that my good friend John Kenny passed away last week. The next time i turn up to go speed sailing and he will not be there giving me a kick up the arse cause i'm not sailing fast enough and not see him charging down the speed course usually setting the fastest runs of the day is going to be wierd. Whenever i sailed with him he was always pushing me to do better. He lived his life to the full, giving 100% in anything he did and the world will be a much smaller place without him in it and he will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him. RIP...mate hope your getting 50 knot runs in up there

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dungarvan, Ireland Monday 13th September 2010

Last week i headed over to Dungarven as the wind was forecasting 25-35 knots SW-WSW which is the perfect direction for the speed course. Unfortunately though when i got there at 1pm the wind was nowhere near that with the wind 6-8 knots with the very occasional 12 knot gust coming through. As the wind was due to pick up decided i would use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 32cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa fin and Starboard I Sonic 111 with 38cm Vector Maui Fins Rockit fin and rig my 6.4m and 7.3m KA Koncepts. I left my speedboards in the van and get them ready only if the wind picked up.

The wind looked like it was starting to pick up so i got changed and hit the water with my I Sonic 111 and 7.3m KA Koncept but couldn't get going so after slogging over to the speed strip i waited a while to see if the wind picked up, which it didn't so headed in, changed the 38cm fin to a 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and rigged up my 8.3m KA Koncept and headed back out. I only got a couple of planing runs after that so after half an hour headed in and de rigged.

I really wish the forecast came through and i didn't get skunked but if i hadn't have driven over and the forecast came through i would have been more pissed off. May be one day we will get a decent day here and finally see the potential on Dungarven Speed Strip

Saturday, September 11, 2010

UKWA Inlands Round 4, Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, Farmoor, Oxford, UK

Sorry for the late update but i have been very busy since i got back from the UK where i was last weekend competing at Round 4 of the UKWA Inland Championships at Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, Farmoor, Oxford, UK.

When i arrived in the UK i had to go to Hayling Island first to meet the KA Sails importer and then finally arrived in Farmoor after 24 hours of travelling at 8pm. I also had my new van with me so setting up camp took didn't long as i would be sleeping in the van for the weekend and would be a bit warmer than sleeping in a tent. For this event i had my new Starboard Phantom but also as KA Sails do not make a dedicated raceboard sail i had a 9.5m Tushingham XR Race to use so i would be competitive. I have tested all of my current KA Sails and they don't perform as well on a raceboard in under 8-10 knots of wind so i needed a sail that would give me the best performance in these conditions. Above 10-12 knots i will be on my current KA Sails as in this wind strength they have as good a performance if not better than alot of the dedicated raceboard sails out there. Once KA have a dedicated raceboard sail i will get that when it is available.

On Saturday morning i awoke to sunny weather which was nice but no wind. As i have been competing in the raceboard unlimited fleet this year i decided to stay in the same fleet, registered and went to get my gear ready. Just before 10 they decided to get us on the water so i headed out and we had 2 races before lunch. Both races were in light gusty winds with big wind shifts of 30-70 degrees which made the upwind legs hard. You would get headed, tack off to take advantage of the wind shift and straight away get headed again so playing the wind shifts was pointless and getting a good position after the upwind leg was a bit of a lottery. After lunch we had another race but the wind dropped during the race to almost nothing so we were kept on the water while the race crew waited to see if the wind picked up again. After about half an hour the wind picked up to around 6 knots so the class flag went up to signal that the start sequence was about to start and we had another race. Just before the end of this race my arms were starting to cramp with all the pumping i had been doing so i was glad to hear that this was the last race for the day.

On Sunday morning i woke up and my back was killing me so took a couple of painkillers and thankfully after a while it started to feel alright but i would have to give the pumping a miss for the day so hoped for a bit of wind. We got on the water just after 10 and had 2 races in light, gusty winds again with big wind shifts which made racing tough again and around 11.30 the wind dropped completely as some rain came through so we had an early lunch and wait for the wind to pick up. About 1 1/2 hours later the wind picked up to around 6-8 knots so we went back on the water and had another 3 races. The wind picked up a bit more which meant that my weight wasn't really a disadvantage anymore and i was enjoying the racing more. I wish it could have been full on planing conditions though as i was still underpowered going off the wind.

I headed back in absolutely wrecked and i finished the event 2nd overall in the raceboard unlimited fleet and 5th master. I'm also 16th overall in the Inland series now which considering this is my first year racing a longboard in 20 years has exceeded my expectations for the year. Depending on the forecast for the first 2 days at speedweek i might be able to make the last event at Whitwell as Round 5 of the Inland Championships clashes with Weymouth Speedweek but if there is decent wind forecast in Weymouth then my priority is competing in speedweek and to achieve a Speed World Cup ranking so if this is my last Inland event this year then i am happy with my overall performance in the series and look forward to next year where my goal will be to place higher up the fleet.