Thursday, April 28, 2011

Round Hayling, Hayling Island, UK 22nd April 2011

On Thursday 21st April i headed down to Hayling Island as i was going to do the Round Hayling on Friday arriving at Hayling Island Sailing Club early evening. The Round Hayling is a race i have always wanted to do since it was massive 20 years ago so i was stoked to finally get the chance to take part. After a few drinks with friends in the bar i got an early night to get a decent sleep ahead of the Round Hayling. I woke up pretty early and after a great breakfast i checked the latest forecast which was 4-9 knots so i rigged up my 10.5m Raceboard sail as i would need it in the light winds i would find and my Starboard Phantom 380 Race and waited for the start of the race at 2pm.

At 2 pm we all gathered which was around 100 windsurfers on the beach just by the race tower of Hayling Island Sailing Club and when the gun went it was a mass beach start and we all headed downwind towards Northney Marina and Langstone Bridge. As we were going with the tide we made it down to the marina pretty quickly and turned west towards Langstone bridge and at this point i reckon i was somewhere between 20th and 30th place so right on pace for my goal of finishing in the top 30. Now i heard stories about this part of the race and thought i would be pretty hard but on approach all i needed to do was grab the uphaul, drop the rig to the water and drift through under the bridge. Once i got to the other side i uphauled the sail and made my way upwind to the Ferryboat Inn at the entrance to Langstone Harbour. Rather than pinching upwind like everyone else i decided to free the board off the wind a bit for more speed as i was pretty powered at this point, railing the board with ease but once i got into the middle of the Harbour i got caught in the current and had to tack back into the shallows in the east of the Harbour and lost about 10-15 places here but gained some of them back by the time i had got through the entrance to the Harbour and headed east along the sea front.

At this point the wind went more easterly and dropped off to around 3-4 knots making it hard going beating upwind along the beach but i carried on hoping the wind would pick up. I got about two thirds up the beach to just by the Coastguard tower, which is around 2 miles from the finish when the wind dropped off completely to nothing which made the organizers finish the event there as with the tide now coming out of Chichester Harbour by the Sailing Club it would be impossible to make headway against it with the lack of wind. At that point i reckon i was somewhere around 35-40 position so i was pretty gutted i couldn't finish but hopefully i will get a chance next year to make it round the Island.

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