Thursday, September 15, 2011

Southend, Essex, UK 6th September 2011

After driving from Weymouth yesterday evening and sleeping overnight in the van just by the rigging spot on Southend Sea Front i was hoping after a great session at Weymouth yesterday i was hoping that today would be the same and looking at the forecast of gusts up to and over 40 knots i also hoped to break a few of my GPS records.

When i got up it was great to see a few of the top UK Speedsailors here coming from all over the UK and after some breakfast i decided to rig my Starboard iSonic W53 Speed Special with 25cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed Fin and 5.7m KA Koncept. The decision to rig here is made hard by the fact that where you are sailing so far from the rigging spot so whatever you rig is what you have to sail that session. After getting changed into my wetsuit i made the long walk which is about a mile out to the channel across the mud and was pretty tiring walking into 30-40 knots of wind and once out to the channel i had to have a rest and watched a few of the guys going down the course to see which route they were taking as i knew there is some shallow spots that i definitely didn't want to hit.

My first run down the course was a bit cautious, just feeling my way down so i had an idea of the line to take but i still managed a 35.1 knots peak which i was happy with and hoping that today was my day to break 40 knots. Setting myself up for my second run i sailed upwind to the sand bar and bore off but after about 5-10 seconds into my run, a massive gust hit forcing me to sheet out as i got lifted by the gust which caused the nose to lift out of the water just as i was going over a bit of chop, which in turn caused me to spin out as the fin lost grip. I tried to hold it and re-correct the spin out but before i knew it the leeward rail tripped which me catapulting into the sail. I felt something give in the crash which i initially thought was the mast and was happy when i came to my senses and saw the mast was in one piece but this was short lived until i saw the panel i had just gone through in the bottom of may sail. I think it was my knee which caused this but i can't be sure as it happened so fast but for me that was the end of the session so i derigged and started the long walk back to the rigging spot.

I was pretty disappointed as i knew i could have gone faster but glad at the same time i hadn't hurt myself. Still always nice to try out new spots and i can see now why alot of people rate Southend so highly and hopefully i will get to sail here again sometime. After looking at the forecast the call was made to make the long drive up to West Kirby for my 3rd days speedsailing in a row.

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