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.

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