Saturday, July 30, 2011

UKWA Inlands Round 4 Rutland Reservoir, Whitwell, UK June 23rd/24th 2011

After sailing at West Kirby on Tuesday 19th i headed up to the North East where i had an job interview on Thursday so stayed with my Sister before heading down to Rutland Water on Friday morning where i was going to be competing at the 4th Round of the UKWA Inlands at Rutland water on the 23rd and 24th. I arrived down at Rutland around mid day and i decided to rig what i needed for the weekend so i wasn't rushing around on Saturday morning so i got my Starboard Phantom 380 Race with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and rigged my 10.5m Raceboard Sail, 9.5m KA Koncept and 8.3m KA Koncept as i wasn't taking any chances with the last 2 events being so windy. Afterwards i got the barbecue together, had some food before heading to the local pub to have a few pints before getting an early night.

I awoke early on Saturday, checked the forecast which was showing 6-18 knots for the day from the North West and registered for the event. Just after 10 we were called onto the water and had 2 races before lunch in winds around 6 knots gusting up to 14-15knots so i grabbed my 10.5m and hit the water. The racing was tough as there was massive wind shifts of 45-90 degrees and i was particularly finding the shifts tough to read as in the previous event. I would find that i was getting headed by a wind shift so i would tack off and then get headed again so unless it was a massive wind shift i decided not to play the shifts. When i got in for lunch i was finding my neck all the way to my shoulder really painful with the deltoid muscle really tight and i couldn't move my neck to look over my shoulder when looking to tack off on a lay line to a mark in the second race so got one of the other competitors, Keith Atkinson who is a personal trainer to have a look at it and he said in was strained and in spasm so he massaged the muscle to free it up a bit and i sat out the next 2 races (which i would use for my disguard's) and see if i was able to get out for the last race of the day. Luckily the pain subsided a bit with the help of some pain killers and the muscle although still sore and painful freed up a bit so i decided to get out for the last race of the day which was a tower dash between the two concrete towers in the lake. The wind had picked up and was gusting upto 18-20 knots so i changed down to my 9.5m KA Koncept and went onto the water. This race was great fun with a massive upwind leg fully powered up to the first tower and then a big downwind leg to the second tower, then back to the finish by Whitwell. I took it easy so i didn't hurt my shoulder more but on one of the broad reaches on the downwind leg i managed a 25 knot peak on the phantom which for me is new PB max speed so was stoked with that. After a barbecue and a few beers it was an early night for all so we were fresh for racing the next day.

On Sunday the wind was a little lighter, around 5 knots gusting 12 knots and again very shifty so i grabbed my 10.5m and Phantom and went out on the water. My shoulder was still sore but was able to get out on the water so i grabbed my 10.5m Raceboard sail and Phantom and went out on the water and we had 2 races before lunch. It was hard again with the wind shifts so i stuck with the same decision as the day before and not play the shifts unless they were massive. After lunch we had another 2 races in the testing conditions before the race officer called it a day and i for one was happy with that so i was able to give my shoulder a rest.

I finished the event 25th Overall, 1st Overall in the Raceboard Unlimited fleet and 5th master which leaves me 6th overall, 3rd Master and 1st Overall in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet in the 2011 Inland Ranking if my calculations are correct and also means i have won the Raceboard Unlimited fleet for the year and on course to achieve my goal of finishing in the top 10 for the year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

West Kirby, Merseyside, UK 19th July 2011

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up but i only just got back to Ireland on Tuesday after spending a week in the Uk with no internet access and had loads of things that needed doing once i got back so have been busy all week.

On Tuesday 19th July i travelled across to the UK early as i was competing at Rutland water the following weekend (23rd & 24th) hoping to catch the back end of the storm that hit West Kirby over the weekend. I was gutted i couldn't make it across sooner and missed the best of the wind but couldn't justify the extra cost i was quoted on Saturday with Stena Line, 460 euros compared to 296 euros i paid with Nutt Travel on Monday and also the extra cost of a couple of extra nights accommodation which i couldn't really afford to pay.

I arrived at West Kirby around mid day to find the wind 14 knots gusting 24 knots from the North West so i decided to use my Starboard iSonic W53 Speed Special with 25cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed Fin and 6.4m KA Koncept, got into my wetsuit and hit the water. It was also the first opportunity to try out the 6.4m on my new 460 KA 100% Carbon RDM Mast since i got the mast earlier this year. Because of the wind direction it made the sailing down the wall very hard due to it being very broad, around 130 - 140 degrees and on my first couple of runs i was running out of power on my speedboard after about 50-100 meters so went back in and got my Starboard iSonic 86 with 29cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed Fin and went back out and with the extra volume and tail width in the 86 it made getting down the wall easier. Unfortunately now the wind was getting very gusty with big holes in the wind so there was alot of waiting for the gusts to get down the wall and then once sailing down the wall you had a big rolling chop near the end so it made sailing really tricky and hard to get any decent speeds but i still managed a couple runs with a max speed of close to 32 knots. Around 4-5pm the wind started to back of and i was spending alot of time up to my waist in water so i decided to call it a day and get a welcome warm shower.

The 460 RDM mast worked very well in the sail compared to my 460 KA 100% Carbon SDM mast with the sail reacting well in the gusts and the sail felt lighter with less of a swing weight so for me the new mast worked very well and i can highly recommend trying the RDM mast in your own Koncept. Hopefully i will get another chance to sail West Kirby soon and get on my smaller speed boards and have a decent crack at 40 knots

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Alteration To The Racking In My Van

After sleeping in the van for a few events I decided to change the interior racking slightly to incorporate a bed as the existing layout didn't give me much space and and any longer than a few days spent on the van was uncomfortable. I kept the existing bench I put in for my old bed as this will be useful for storage. and as you can see from the next few pictures I put in a vertical section of 2 x 2 in the middle of the old racks so I was able to get enough space to build a base for a bed. I also added a rack higher up to utilise the space at the top of the van interior more.

The only downside of this is I sacrificed the racks that were for my wave boards and sup but these can fit in loose if I'm heading to the beach and I don't need to sleep in the van. Give me a shout if you want any other info if your doing your own van. The van is definitely more comfortable to sleep in now :-D

Ventry, County Kerry, Ireland Saturday 2nd July 2011

On Saturday 2nd July as there was no wind over in Cork a few of the lads decided to come over to Kerry to sail and as Ventry near to Dingle was showing the best forecast the decision was made to meet up there. Ventry is a awesome spot with a bid sandy beach and big bay for sailing in and if you ever get the chance to visit this part of the world check it out.

I got there around mid day and there was around 9-10 knots I rigged up my Starboard Phantom 380 Race with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin with 10.5m Raceboard sail, got into my wetsuit and went out on the water. Almost as soon as i got on the water the wind picked up to around 13-14 knots so I headed in and rigged up my 9.5m KA Koncept and went back out.

I have been waiting for the chance to use the 9.5m Koncept on my Phantom for a while now to see what it would be like and when powered up works very well on the Phantom, providing loads of power on all points of sail and feels awesome off the wind. When I find similar conditions in the UKWA events in the future I will definitely be pulling this out the quiver bag to race on and it will be good change down sail from my light wind Raceboard sail, a 10.5m Demon VG5 in planning conditions.

I had a great cruise round the bay in the sunshine and came of the water happy that I made the drive over and got the chance to sail in this stunning location and thanks to Brian Doyle for taking the photo :-))

East Ferry, County Cork, Ireland Saturday 25th June 2011

Last weekend i had originally made the decision to head to Dungarven as the forecast was showing 25-35 knots SW -WSW winds so i drove up on Friday night and after a couple of pints in the Park Hotel i retired to my van in the car park to get a decent nights sleep. As high tide was mid day the speed strip was only sailable until around11am so I got up at 7am and drove over to the speed strip only to be greeted by little to no wind :-(( so yet again it was a wasted drive over.

Not long after i arrived a few of the local lads turned up and were just as gutted as me about the conditions so after a bit of waiting we decided to relocate to a spot in Cork Harbour called East Ferry which took about an hour to get over to. On arrival there there wasn't alot of wind, around 8-14 knots so I rigged up my Starboard I Sonic 144 with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and 8.3m KA Koncept, got into my wetsuit and hit the water.

Not long after getting on the water the wind dropped off and I was just slogging around off the plane so I decided to head in and hung around to see if the wind would pick up but apart from a few gusts coming through the wind never did pick up so I packed up and headed back to Kerry. Gutted the forecast for Dungarven never showed up because it could have been epic there but at least i got some time on the water.