Sunday, November 28, 2010

Speed Classic, Port St Louis, France

As you will have known reading on here i had my entry to the French Speed Classic in Port St Louis confirmed earlier this month so on the 12th of November myself and Steve Flannagan caught the ferry over to France from Ireland and traveled the 750 miles from Cherbourg to Port St Louis which took us 2 days to complete so arriving exhausted late afternoon on Sunday 14th November we checked into the house we were renting, had a quick rest and some food before getting an early night to try and catch up on some sleep.

We checked out the local area and relaxed on Monday 15th before heading down to the beach on the morning of the 16th to register. It quickly became apparent to me that the conditions were going to be too much for me with the winds averaging around 45 knots and gusting up to 65 knots and offshore so with my ongoing back problems this year i decided to give the day a miss. I was gutted with my decision as if my back was 100% i would have loved it out there but i really had to be sensible but full credit to the guys that did make it out. As the day went on though i wasn't the only one who didn't go out with some very good sailors also opting to stay on the beach.

The next 3 days from the 17th till the 19th there was little or no wind so it was more sightseeing so i took the opportunity to check out the famous canal at Saint Marie De La Maire and see where speed records have been broken.

On Saturday the winds switched 180 degrees so it was now dead onshore but also with this happening brought 3-4 meter waves making speed sailing hard work. Most people were reluctant to head out, again with some staying on the beach but i decided to give it a go. With the wind around 18 knots i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 and 40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin for a bit of extra float to help me through the waves and 7.3m KA Koncept and headed out onto the water. I wasn't on the water long at all trying to get upwind i heard the ominous sound of a wave coming just upwind of me so i looked round to see a wave breaking above the height of my head and onto my kit, wiping me out in the process :-( I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to get back to the beach. Once on the beach i was gonna head back out but i saw i had broken a batten in my sail so i decided then to retire before i broke anything else. I was really gutted as i at least wanted to get one run today.

The last day brought similar conditions with the organizers deciding not to hold any competition that day so that was the end of the event and a pretty disastrous event for me but i will learn from it an try to make sure this doesn't happen again at future events.

Before the long trip back to Ireland myself and Steve traveled down the coast to check out Leucate and La Franqui which has had it's beach pretty destroyed by storms which was disappointing as i wanted to try out the spot which has been put on the map this year by the dutch sailors before deciding to have a quick sail at Port La Nouvelle. As the wind was around 25 knots with some lulls i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 86 with 34cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa Fin and 6.4m KA Koncept and headed out on the water. I only managed a couple of runs until the wind started to drop which considering we were the only 2 out and the wind offshore i decided to head in but in the short time i was out i still managed a 29.6 knot max speed. The spot is amazing with really flat water and if i'm definitely back in the area i will try to get back here for a longer session.

It took a bit longer to get back to Ireland, about 48 hours as we had a bit of a wait in Cherbourg which we made good use of by cleaning all the sand out of the van and getting some cheap wine :-)) but i wish the trip could have gone better for me but still nice to have a road trip and check out some new spots in a new country

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