Sunday, June 19, 2011

West Kirby, Merseyside, UK Monday 13th June 2011

On my way back to Ireland the forecast was looking great for West Kirby so i decided to re book my ferry to a later sailing and drove up to West Kirby on Sunday evening to sleep there overnight and be ready for a full days sailing on Monday. When i woke up on Monday morning the forecasted wind wasn't there so i went to get some breakfast and wait and see what the wind was going to do. West Kirby is a spot i have always wanted to sail at and finally on one of my trips to the UK there was some wind forecasted from the right direction.

Around 11am the wind started to pick up and was averaging 14-15 knots so i decided to use my Starboard I Sonic 111 with 38cm Vector Fins Maui Rockit fin and 7.3m KA Koncept, got into my wetsuit and hit the water. On my first run down the wall i was nicely powered up so i decided to head straight in and got my I Sonic 86 with 29cm Vector Fins Maui Delta Speed fin and went back out with the same 7.3m KA Koncept and for the next 3-4 hours i had great fun seeing how close i could get to the wall until i had to come of the water and pack up to leave and catch my ferry.

I managed a 32 knot peak speed which considering the light winds i was happy with but after seeing the potential of this place for me i will definitely will be going back there on a decent forecast

UKWA Inlands Round 3, Rutland Reservoir, Whitwell, UK June 11th/12th 2011

Sorry for the late update but been very busy since i got back to Ireland and this is the first chance i have write something about last weekends racing in the UK.

I went back across to the UK last weekend as it was Round 3 of the UKWA Inland Championships at Whitwell SC, Rutland Reservoir, Whitwell, Epingham, Oakham, England. As with last year this event also included the Rutland Marathon. I decided this time to take an earlier ferry where i arrived in Hollyhead just after 1am and parked up to get some sleep. After a decent nights rest in the van i awoke at around 9am and continued onto Rutland getting there around mid afternoon. I reckon i'll do this from now on as driving through the night is alot more tiring. After catching up with everyone, getting some food and a few beers i got an early night to get a decent rest for the weekend ahead.

I awoke early on Saturday and checked the forecast which was showing anything from 4-33 knots so i got my Starboard Phantom 380 Race ready and rigged up my 10.5m Raceboard Sail, 9.5m Raceboard Sail & 8.3m KA Koncept, registered and waited to be called out on the water. Not long after 10am we were called out so i grabbed my Phantom and 10.5m and had 2 races in shifty winds of around 10 knots. I was finding the conditions hard due to winds shifting around so much and every time i got headed and tacked of the wind shifted again so decided in the end not to play the wind shifts in the end. We went in for a quick lunch and another briefing to let us know the course for the marathon and then were sent out for another race which would be run back to back with the marathon. On my way back in from the 3rd race the wind had started to pick up more and i was finding the 10.5m too big so went in to change down to my 9.5m for the marathon and went back out. From nowhere just after the start of the marathon the wind picked up to 25 knots plus and on the first leg upwind i couldn't even sheet the sail is as i was massively overpowered so i decided to retire which i was pretty gutted about but as i have a bad back i didn't want to damage it anymore but full respect to the guys that made it round which wasn't that many as over half the fleet retired just like me, i'll definitely get round next year. After a Barbeque and a few beers i had an early night to get ready for the next day.

On Sunday the wind was around 10 knots gusting over 30 knots which made for interesting racing. and we were called out onto the water as soon as the race crew got the course laid. I decided to use my 8.3m KA Koncept as i wanted to be in control in the gusts and went out on the water and we had 4 tough races in the testing conditions. It was hard work getting upwind but off the wind was fun and recorded a speed of 21 knots 165 degrees off the wind almost on a run so it was great fun as well. I know 21 knots doesn't sound like alot but that far off the wind on a board 380cm long is a pretty good achievement. Just after 3pm the race crew called it a day which everyone was happy about as we were all knackered and hopefully after 2 windy events there will be more windy events this year.

I managed to finish 24th overall, 4th master and 1st in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet which leaves me 4th overall, 2nd Master and 1st in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet in the 2011 Inland Ranking which i am really stoked with as my goal for this year was to break into the top 10 or be close to that at the end of year so hopefully i can dig deep and get decent results in the next two events and finish the year achieving my goal