Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weymouth Speedweek, Portland, Dorset, UK 6th to 12th October

Apologies for how late this report is but i have been really busy since i got back from Weymouth and this is the first chance i have had to write this. Last month i traveled down to Weymouth where i would be competing in Weymouth Speedweek. I wasn't able to get to any of the Irish Speed Events now i'm living in the UK so i had been looking forward to this event all year.

I left Solihull on Friday afternoon, getting down to Weymouth around 8pm and got checked into the Chesil Beach Caravan site where i would be staying for the week sharing a caravan with a couple of mates who were also competing at Speedweek, Neil Hardwick and Chris Bates. As soon as i got everything into the caravan i headed straight down to the Ferrybridge pub for a couple of much needed pints before heading back to the Caravan for an early night to get a decent sleep for the comp the following day.

We all got up early and headed down to the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy where Speedweek is held and got registered but unfortunately the forecast for the day didn't look great with light winds forecasted and the best kit to be on was Formula kit which i didn't have but i hung around anyway to see if the wind would pick up, which unfortunately it didn't so i headed back to the caravan to get ready for the opening night party. As the forecast was for similar conditions the following day a few took advantage of that fact, including myself and had a great time.

Sunday had very similar conditions to the previous day and was formula weather again so i didn't head out as i wouldn't have got going on my biggest kit so it was another day of hanging around on the beach and unfortunately Mondays wind was even worse with racing called off just after Lunch.

On Tuesday though the wind had picked up but from an easterly direction which has to be the worst direction here as the wind is onshore meaning that there is massive chop and swell to contend with on the course. As the wind was blowing 20-24 knots but really gusty i decided to use my Mistral Screamer 123 with 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and 7.5m KA Koncept hoping my bigger board would get me through the lulls easier. It was finding the going hard on the course as the confused water state made it hard for me to pick a decent line through the chop but it was a fun day on the water considering how miserable it was and i managed to get some peak speeds just over 25 knots.

Wednesday brought very similar conditions with winds from the east again and winds around 20 knots but a bit more constant so i decided to use my Mistral Slalom 112 with 40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and 7.5m KA Koncept. I had a couple of runs down the course until my day came to a premature end when i had a massive catapult half way down the course, winding myself in the process. After about 10 minutes in the water i made it back in to the beach and called it a day as my ribs were killing me and i didn't want to hurt myself more.

Thursday was a light wind day and another day hanging around for the wind to pick up which i did late in the day but only for the guys with big light wind kit and the wind only came through for an hour until the wind switched off again. For me it was another day hanging around.

On Friday we awoke to find the wind coming from a more Westerly direction which is offshore at Chesil Beach meaning the course was now parallel to the beach taking advantage of the flatter water so speeds would be a lot greater and you could see how happy people were now, but for me this was my chance to improve my position from earlier in the week. The wind was around 12-15 knots and still pretty gusty so i decided to use my Mistral Screamer 123 with a 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin, Mistral Slalom 112 with a  40cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and Mistral Screamer 95 with a 34cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa Fin and rigged my 6.6m, 7.5m and 8.5m KA Koncept's so i would be covered if the wind picked up or dropped off. When i was ready to go out te wind had picked up slightly and was now around 16-18 knots but with some big lulls so i grabbed my Mistral Screamer 123 with 7.5m KA Koncept hoping the bigger board would help in the lulls and hit the water. Unfortunately the wind dropped off a bit while i was on the water but i still got a couple of runs down the course increasing my speeds from earlier in the week and stayed out until the course was closed for lunch. Heading back on the water after lunch the wind had dropped a little bit more to around 14 knots so i grabbed my 8.5m KA Koncept to go on my Mistral Screamer 123 and went back out on the water and got in some more runs. After about an hour a massive squall came through with winds gusting up to 30 knots just as i lined up to go down the course which meant i was now massively overpowered on my 8.5m but i got down in one piece, almost stacking it a couple of times and that run meant i had improved my peak speed for the week to nearly 29 knots and a 27 knot 500m. I headed back upwind hoping to get in another run but the wind dropped off and that was it for the day and the end of Speedweek.

I finished 46th Overall (24th Gold Fleet) which meant i hadn't achieved my goal of getting into the top 30 but i learned loads and know what i have to practice on for next year and i'll definitely will be back as it's the most enjoyable speed event i have ever been too. If you've been thinking about entering yourself i highly recommend you do so as it's a great introduction into competitive Speed Sailing

Monday, October 15, 2012

West Kirby, Merseyside, UK 29th September 2012

In the week leading up to the weekend of the 29th & 30th of September it was looking like it would be another speed session and as i was working nights all week, i checked the forecast when i got up on the afternoon of Friday 28th it was forecasting 20-30 knots Westerly going WNW mid morning but the tide was going to breach the wall at around 11am so it was definitely gonna be a another dawn session. As i had to be on the water at first light I drove up that evening arriving at 11pm, parking in the usual spot in Morrisons and went to get a couple of pints and relax before heading back to the van to get some sleep.

I didn't get too much sleep and when Mark Bailey woke me up just after 7am i was pretty tired but itching to get on the water. The forecasted wind strength was spot on so it was an easy choice to rig my 6.6m KA Koncept and got my Mistral Speed 73 ready with a 21cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed Fin which i've been wanting to try, got into my wetsuit and hit the water. Shortly after my first run the wind switched round to WNW earlier than expected which made the speed course very broad and also brought the dreaded death chop. It started to get hard getting long runs in when the wind switched direction, because when you bore of down the wall you ran out of power quickly but myself and Mark kept trying to get decent runs in. I managed a couple of 36 knot peaks, but the one good thing i learned from the session is the 21cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed Fin worked very well in the Mistral Speed 73, being rock solid and giving me the confidence going broad through the chop that was building knowing the fin wouldn't loose grip causing me to crash.

As it was a pretty high tide and the wind direction giving a bit of a tidal surge the tide started breach around 10am so myself and mark came of the water and got changed and went to get some food at Morrisons and wait for the tide to recede.

Shortly after the tide to get back on the receded enough to get back on the water just after 1pm the wind dropped off to around 10-12 knots but i decided to hang around to see if the wind would pick up. Luckily i didn't have too long and it picked up to around 12-16 knots so i rigged up my 7.5m KA Koncept got my 2013 Mistral Slalom 112 ready with a 38cm Vector Maui Fins ZX Fin and got back out on the water. I've had this board for a couple of weeks now and a board of this size is my most used board as they have such a big wind range. I managed to get a few runs down the wall on it and my first impressions of the board are good. It planes pretty early with a couple of pumps and the volume distribution is pretty even throughout the board so slogging off the plane is easy, unlike my old iSonic 111 which had hardly any volume in the nose. Having volume in the nose makes it easy to tack and it's also pretty easy to gybe, it's definitely gonna be a great board to have in my quiver :-D

We both came off the water late afternoon knackered but stoked to have had a good sail, packed up and i headed to a mates house where i was staying, got some food and had an early night.

The next day most of the boys headed out on the tide but i didn't have wave kit with me so i hung around to see if i could get out on the lake but the wind never really filled in enough to get out speed sailing so i headed back home to Solihull early afternoon hoping that it won't be too long before i get back here for a sail.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Sponsor

I'm very pleased to announce that through i will become a team rider for Spartan Wetsuits and i will be getting measured up for my new wetsuit's at Weymouth Speedweek in a couple of weeks. I am stoked to be joining a UK based wetsuit company and look forward to representing them in the coming future. With over 50 years of experience making wetsuits Spartan make suits that provide ultimate warmth and comfort and i can't wait to get my new winter suit in time for this winter. Being UK based Spartan are also able to provide a service where they can alter any suit in their range making sure they fit every customer that buys one, which means i will be able to get a wetsuit that fits me perfectly. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my old wetsuit sponsor Pro Motion for their support over the past 3 years

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

West Kirby, Merseyside, UK 14th September 2012

I'd been keeping an eye on the forecast all week keeping my fingers crossed that there would be wind carrying into the weekend but by Thursday the weather settled showing hardly any wind on Saturday and Sunday, but Friday 14th September was showing winds gusting upto 35 knots from the west. As i was starting work on Friday afternoon at 12pm i made the call as i finished work at 9pm on Thursday evening to make the drive up to West Kirby and get a quick dawn session i before returning back to Birmingham in time to start work. The main reason though was earlier in the week i took delivery of my new 2013 Mistral Speed 73 Speedboard (73liter/47wide) and i couldn't wait to get it out on the water.

The drive up was easy enough with too much traffic and i got up just before 1am and i parked up in my usual spot in Morrisons car park and got some sleep ready for my Early start. After being woke a couple by the wind i got up at 5.45am and made my way over to the marine lake and despite it being dark i got my gear ready and as it around 25-30 knots and having a short window of sailing i would only be able to rig one sail i decided to rig my 5.8M KA Koncept and got my new 2013 Mistral Speed 73 ready with a 20cm KA Starboard Asymmetric Speed fin and got into my wetsuit. As everyone had been posting on Facebook about making the trip here all week i knew who was gonna turn up so i wasn't surprised when Ian Richards was first to arrive as i was rigging and Chris Bates, Farrell O'Shea and Michael George arrived not long after i was rigged.

After catching up with everyone quickly i got out on the water at 6.45am and on my first run i got a new PB of just over 39 knots :-) so i was pretty stoked. As usual here when it's windy now it's flat at the top of the lake and then the further you get down the wall the size of the chop increases so gets a bit hairy at the bottom end when slowing down but the new Mistral Speed 73 goes across the chop like it's not there which is a definite advantage to have as you can just concentrate on sailing quick rather than having the board bouncing out on the chop. Also when i first got going on the board it felt like i had been sailing the board for years as it was so easy to sail so my first impressions of the board were pretty good. After a couple of runs with 37/38 peaks i made my way back to the top of the lake to take a quick 5 minute break but just as i was about come of the water the wind started to pick up so i lined up for my run and slingshot down the wall just as a massive gust hit and the acceleration from the board was amazing and it felt pretty quick but it wasn't until i got down the end of the lake that i saw just how quick, i looked at my gps and was stoked to see 41.22 knots on the display, YES, finally I've achieved my goal i set for myself when i started to speed sail, i broke through the 40 knot barrier and joined the elusive 40 knot club :-D

As i got back to the top of the lake i saw Mark Bailey, Matthew York and Tristan Haskins had arrived and i told everyone what i had just achieved and you couldn't shift the massive smile on my face. Everyone was as stoked as i was and after a quick drink i got back out for some more runs to try and get a decent 5x10 sec average and just after 8am i had to come off the water to get back to Birmingham on time for work. One thing i can tell you is there is definitely more to come form the Mistral Speedboards and the decision to change from Starboard to Mistral was definitely a good choice :-D

After getting De-rigged, changed and saying my goodbye's i headed back down the M6 pretty gutted i couldn't get longer on the water but still stoked to finally have a 40 knot plus run. Hopefully now this is the start of decent wind for Speedsailing in this country after not having any decent wind since June. My achieved speeds are below and i hope to see you on the water at West Kirby when the next big storm hits

Average speed37.19 knots ( 40.35 38.91 35.74 35.63 35.33 )Shows Runs in Virtual Earth
Max. 2 sec. (software)41.06 knots
100 m run40.83 knots
250 m run39.8 knots
500 m run35.6 knots

Later that day i heard Matthew York also joined me in the 40 knot club and it was great to see a good friend also achieve his long standing goal just as i did

Saturday, September 1, 2012

For Sale

I've just updated my for sale list so if your looking for anything, check it out here

Not listed there at the moment but available in the coming months when my new sails arrive are as follows

2011 8.5m KA Koncept (Yellow/Black) - £270 Available late October
2011 5.0m KA Koncept (Black/White) - £250 Available January
2008 4.4m KA Koncept (Red/White/Black) - £180 Available Late October

I will add pictures soon but f your interested in any of these sails i can take a deposit and reserve them for you

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weymouth, Dorset, UK 4th August to 8th August 2012

I had made plans for a mountain bike trip to Wales but in the week leading up to this weekend it soon became apparent that the weather was not going to play ball with rain forecast the whole weekend so i quickly checked the forecasts around the country on Friday 3rd August and as Weymouth was the only spot showing any decent wind i decided to head down and check out the Olympics and get some time on the water.

I got up early on Saturday 4th August to try and miss the traffic going into Weymouth, leaving Solihull at 6am  and arrived down in Weymouth just before 11am parking up at the Ferrybridge Car Park as the sailing academy was off limits due to the Olympics. After catching up with Lea Spencer and Duncan Adam, who i haven't seen in a while i decided to get my windsurfing gear ready and rig up. The wind was gusting upto around 16-17knots from a Southerly direction so i decided to rig my Mistral Screamer 123 with 42cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin and 7.5m KA Koncept, got into my wetsuit and went out on the water. As the Olympics was underway here there was a line of white buoys stretching across the whole Harbour which massively reduced the sailing area in this direction but i still had a great time on the water in the Sun with no sign of the forecasted rain :-) not even getting a bollocking from the Police on jet skis when i got too close to the white buoys on a few occasions detracted from what was a great day on the water and later that evening i retired to the Ferrybridge pub for a  few pints and some food, a great Thai Curry which you must try if you get the chance before retiring to my van for some much wanted sleep after not having much the previous night.

On Sunday i headed back over to the Ferrybridge Car Park but there wasn't much wind so i decided to chill out and relax on the beach for the day and watch the Olympic Windsurfing in the distance through binoculars which was great to see. Later that evening i got a Curry in the Indian by Windtek before parking up in the Ferrybridge Car Park for the night.

On Monday the wind was back, around 8-10 knots but from the normal South Westerly direction so after some Breakfast i rigged up my Mistral Screamer 123 with 44cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and 8.5m KA Koncept and waited for the wind to pick up which it was forecasted to do around 12-1pm. Sure enough the wind picked up at mid day so i got changed and got out on the water and had a great afternoon blasting around, didn't get any great speeds, only around 28 knots but it was great to be back on the water in the warm sunny conditions. Later that evening i went into Weymouth to the Gurkha restaurant for the all you can eat buffet which is great value for money and a must visit pace for food if your down here and after a great meal headed back to the Ferrybridge to park up for the night.

On Tuesday there was a possible chance of a sail late in the afternoon but more importantly and the main reason i was down was the Olympic windsurfing and today was the last day and the medal race. Nick Dempsey was in a great position in the Silver Medal spot going into this race and Bryony Shaw was in 7th so it was looking good for Nick to get a medal and Bryony with an outside chance of getting one. The men were up first and Nick sailed a great race coming in second winning the Silver medal but unfortunately Bryony lost out and finished 7th overall. The wind never picked up enough in the afternoon so after watching the medal ceremony online as we couldn't get into the academy to watch it i got some food in The Cove restaurant on Chesil Beach and headed into town to the Royal Dorset where we got invited to Nick's celebration party which was a great night and probably a once in a lifetime experience as having the chance to celebrate with a Silver medalist in my home country probably will never come around again.

After sleeping of my hangover on Wednesday morning i made the trip back up to Solihull having spent a great few days down in Weymouth and i can't wait to get back down here for Speedweek in October

Friday, July 27, 2012

UKWA Inlands Round 4, MWA Round 5, Rutland Marathon Rutland Reservoir, Whitwell, UK July 14th & 15th July 2012

A couple weeks ago after finishing work on the afternoon of Friday 13th, i loaded up my van and made the trip over to Rutland Water where i was going to competing at Round 4 of the UKWA Inlands. It was also Round 5 of the Midland Windsurfing Association Race Series and on Saturday the annual Rutland Marathon was to run as well. Rutland for me is one of the furthest locations away from Birmingham but still only 80 miles away so after a 2 hour drive i arrived early evening at 7pm. After catching up with friends i headed to the local pub to have a few drinks before heading back to where we were camping to get an early night ahead of the racing the following day.

On Saturday morning after breakfast and registering i decided to get my gear ready. With not much wind forecasted i rigged up my 10.5m Raceboard Sail, my 9.5m KA Koncept and got my Starboard Phantom ready with a 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and waited for racing to start. Just after 10.30 we were called out onto the water and as the wind was 4 knots gusting upto 7-8 knots i grabbed my 10.5m Raceboard sail and hit the water. As it wasn't that windy i was finding it hard due to my weight which is now down to 95kg, but still too heavy to be competitive and with the wind shifts the upwind legs were a bit of a lottery as most of the time i was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the shifts were coming through so i couldn't take advantage of them and we managed to get in 3 races before lunch. The call was made to have a long lunch and then run the Rutland Marathon.

Just before the Marathon was due to start the wind disappeared completely so we were put on hold until there was enough to run the race which after an hour the wind direction swung 180 degrees and with the wind now gusting upto 10 knots it was game on. When the start line was laid we would have been beating upto the first tower but with the wind shift we were now reaching downwind for the first leg and after 2 recalls we got underway but now the wind was steadily dropping off making the going tough but i carried on regardless as i wanted to finish this year. After 2 hours of pumping and pain i was making my way back towards the finish line when the heavens opened as i was about 500 meters from the finish and the wind swung again picking upto 10-12 knots before disappearing just as quickly as it came. I finished 24th overall and 1st Raceboard Unlimited and after 2 previous attempts i finally finished so i was pretty stoked as you can imagine. After some food and a few drinks that evening i got an early night ready for Sundays racing.

On Sunday there was a bit more wind with the wind around 8 gusting upto 16 knots so when we were called out for the first race i grabbed my 9.5m KA Koncept and hit the water. Not long after the racing started the wind dropped off to around 7-12 knots unfortunately and we had another 3 races before lunch. Unfortunately though when i came off the water i started to feel a bit of pain in my back so decided to call it a day and use my 2 disguard's for the scheduled 2 races after lunch rather than hurting my back my more which could mean having to take time off from my job which i can't afford to happen as any time taken off is taken into account when i am due to get my Land Rover contract in January and could mean i don't get offered one.

I finished the event 27th Overall, 2nd Overall in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet and 6th Master. Still waiting for the overall 2012 rankings to be updated and the Midlands Windsurfing Association results to be uploaded to the net but it looks like I've won the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet again this year so happy with that. The next event isn't till September now so time to recharge and get ready for the last few events of the year, see you on the water.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

New Sponsor

I am very pleased to announce that i have been sponsored by Sea Specs who are an american based Sunglasses company, that make sunglasses specifically designed for outdoor sports and have a non removable adjustable strap that keeps the sunglasses on your head while doing extreme sports. I suffer when it's sunny and up till now I've been wearing my expensive Oakley sunglasses while on the water and hoping that they didn't fall off so i'm happy to now have a pair of sunglasses specifically design with Watersports in mind and i look forward to representing the company in the coming future. You can check out their website here and their Facebook page here

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

West Kirby, Merseyside, UK 22nd & 23rd June 2012

I made the late decision to make another trip up to West Kirby when i saw the Forecast on Thursday evening that it was forecasting winds of over 40 knots for Friday evening and as soon as i finished work at mid day on Friday, finished a few things that needed to be done before i could get away i finally got on the road at 2.30pm. Unfortunately the traffic was a nightmare and normally a 2 hour journey took me 4 1/2 hours meaning i arrived at West Kirby at 7pm.

When i arrived Mark Bailey who had been here for a few hours already had come in and was changing down to his 5.8m from 6.4m as it was gusting over 35 knots which was a good sign that the forecast was materializing so i rigged up my new 2012 5.8m KA Koncept for the first time and got the Starboard iSonic W53 Speed that i borrowed again from Chris Bates ready with my trusty 25cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed fin, got into my wetsuit and hit the water.

The wind was pretty square meaning you had to slingshot and bear off into the chop but this didn't deter me and i set off down the wall for my first run locking onto a decent gust and when i reached the end of my run and checked my GPS i was ecstatic to see an new PB max speed of 38.93 which was nearly 2 knots more than my previous PB. I knew i had also probably broken all my other PB's with that run but i would have to check that later and i made my way back up the wall for my next run. The 5.8m KA Koncept felt so light in my hands and has the rock solid stability and endless power i have found in the other sizes and i know this helped me get the speed i had achieved.

I spent the next 2 hours getting in more runs but unfortunately couldn't get any faster speed but i didn't mind as i already had a PB in the bag so i came off the water as it was starting to get dark, packed up my stuff and headed up the my mates, Tristan Haskin's parents bar with Steve Thorp, John Palmer & Sam Gooch for a few celebrity pints, before retiring to my van just outside the bar for a much needed sleep.

I awoke early and got down to the lake for 8am and there really wasn't alot of wind so i went upto Morrison's to get some breakfast and got back down to the lake just before 9am to see it had started to pick up so i rigged my 2012 6.6m KA Koncept and get my Mistral Screamer 95 ready with a Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alpha Fin, got changed and got out on the water. I had a couple of runs but felt way underpowered so i came in and rigged my 2012 7.5m KA Koncept and went back out, had a couple more runs until the wind picked up so i came back in for my 6.6m KA Koncept and went back out. This was what happened for the rest of the day as the wind speed was up and down meaning changing sizes to make sure i was powered up but still had great fun. No great speeds as it was square again but still managed a 33 knot max speed and most of the other max speeds were over 30 knots so i knew i had a 30 knot plus 5 x 10 second average. I came off the water in the middle of the afternoon exhausted after a great few days at West Kirby.

Hopefully i will be a windy summer now and i soon will be bale to get another crack at breaking my PB's again soon as i'm now so close to getting through the 40 knot barrier and i know when the next big westerly hits West Kirby i will finally achieve that goal as i'm getting alot more used to sailing at higher speeds after all my practice at West Kirby.

Thanks to Sarah Jane Owen for taking the picture :-) and you can check out my PB speeds from Friday 22nd June on here

Thursday, June 21, 2012

UKWA Inlands Round 3 Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford, UK June 16th & 17th 2012

I wasn't able to get to the last round that was held at Bewl last month so i was looking forward to getting back out racing on my Phantom 380 at the next round of the UKWA Inland series. As with most of the Inland events for me now this was a short drive from my new home in Solihull but as the England vs Sweden Euro 2012 match was on the TV on the Friday night i stayed in Solihull  to watch it and got up early on Saturday morning to make the short trip over to Farmoor Reservoir near Oxford, arriving at 8am.

I soon became apparent that i was going to be a windy day just like the forecast had said with gusts of over 30 knots already. I soon made the decision to leave my 10.5 Raceboard sail in the van and rig up my 9.5m, 8.5m & 7.5m KA Koncept's and get my Starboard Phantom 380 race ready with a 48cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire Fin and awaited the start of racing for the day. Just after 11am we were called out onto the water and it was gusting over 30 knots so i grabbed my 8.5m KA Koncept and went onto the water for the first race. Not long after the start the wind picked up again as the race got underway for a 4 lap race. I got round the 1st lap alright but half way up the 2nd beat i along with half the fleet got flattened when the gusts started registering close to 40 knots and i was just able to make it back in to the beach after retiring to find that once the race was finished they were postponing racing until the wind dropped so we went in for lunch.

After lunch with no sign of the wind dying most of us that had the gear with us rigged up our short boards and went out for a play. I rigged up my 5.0m KA Koncept and got my Mistral Screamer 95 ready with a 30cm Vector Maui Fins EX Speed Fin and went out on the lake next to where we were racing just the other side of the dam which was flatter. It was hard to get an good speeds as one minute i was massively underpowered and then the next massively overpowered but still had a good session on the water. At around 4pm the call was made to cancel racing for the day so we all packed up and a few of us headed into the local village for some pub food and a few pints and then retiring to our vans in the pub car park for some much needed rest at around 11pm.

I woke up early around 7am and headed back to the lake and saw it was not as windy as before but still gusting to 16 knots. After some breakfast and i decided to rig up my 9.5m & 8.5m KA Koncept in case the wind decided to pick up and as the wind was still around 15-16 knots when were were called out for the first race at 10am i grabbed my 9.5m KA Koncept and hit the water. The sail size was fine in the gusts giving me plenty of power but there was massive lulls in the wind so i was finding i was underpowered in these so when we went in for lunch i rigged up my 10.5m Raceboard sail so it was ready for the afternoons racing. In total we had 5 great races on Sunday the variable gusty conditions and it was great fun.

I finished 21st Overall, 1st Overall Raceboard Unlimited Fleet (4th Master) which leaves me 17th overall for the year with 2 events left so i'm hoping i can do well enough at the next 2 events to give myself a good chance of finishing higher up the fleet come the end of the year

Thursday, June 14, 2012

West Kirby, Merseyside, UK 8th & 9th June 2012

I'd been watching the forecast all week and i became apparent that by Thursday 2 speed spots in the UK, The Ray in Southend and West Kirby up in Merseyside were going to fire up and right up till 7pm on Thursday i was still undecided as to which direction to head from Birmingham as they are similar distances away. In the end it took a couple of West Kirby regulars, Mark Hayford and Howie Rowson to persuade me that West Kirby was gonna be good and as i hate the walk at Southend the decision was made, i was heading North up the M6.

As the wind wasn't forecasted to start picking up till lunchtime i left Birmingham at 9am finally arriving at West Kirby just before mid day. It was great to see David Temple here , having made the trip up from Devon for a Festival close by and sacrificing a days music to check out the Kirb for the first time and not long after i arrived Chris Bates turned up. Mark Bailey also made the trip up and Mark Hayford also managed to get here as well. David was already on the water saying the wind was building and was nicely powered on his 6.8m so decided to rig my 2012 7.5m KA Koncept and get my Screamer 95 ready with a 34cm Vector Maui Fins SL9 Alfa Fin, got into my wetsuit and hit the water. I didn't last long till i was back to change down as the wind picked up and i couldn't even sheet in the 7.5m so i rigged my 2012 6.6m KA Koncept and went back out on the water. On my first run down the wall i managed a PB on the Screamer 95, a 35 knot max speed. When i first used the 2012 7.5m a few weeks back i was blown away with the performance but after my first run on the 6.6m KA Koncept i was speechless with it's performance. It was rock solid and stable in the biggest gusts and the surge in acceleration as you slingshot and bear off down the wall is awesome and the sail feels like it has an endless supply of power. I definitely think that this will become my favorite size. Soon the wind had started gusting upto 35 knots so i went in and grabbed the W53 iSonic Speed i had borrowed from Chris Bates, cheers mate, as my new Speed Boards haven't arrived yet and stuck my trusty 25cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed fin into it and headed back out on the water and on my first run i got just over 36 knots but the best was to come on my next run as i manged to lock into a gust and after my run saw 36.66 knots Max Speed on my GPS, yes a new PB :-) Unfortunately i couldn't improve on this as the wind was really gusty and square making bid speeds hard to achieve but i spent the next couple of hours trying until i came of the water exhausted when the wind started to nuke but at that point i couldn't hang onto the boom any more but it was great to see how much wind the 6.6m KA Koncept can handle. Steve Thorp turned up at this point and gave us another masterclass in Speed Sailing which was great to see. I packed up around 9pm and headed upto my mate, Alan Jones house who kindly let me stay again, cheers mate, had a few beers and got some sleep ready for the next day.

I awoke pretty early and got down to the lake at 8am as it was forecasting around 25 knots of wind and as the wind was forecasted to drop by mid day i wanted to make sure i got another session in but on arrival i found the wind was around 10 knots and no one was there so i headed upto Morrison s for some Breakfast and got back to the lake just before 9am and there still was not too much wind and no one there. As i was pretty tired i decided to have a quick nap in the van only to only to wake at 12.30, oops and see the car park was full and the wind had picked upto 15-25 knots. Jon White had made the trip today and had already been out for an hour on his 7.3 and was well powered up. I decided to rig my 6.6m KA Koncept again as i wanted to see it's lower wind limit and grabbed the W53 iSonic speed again with my trusty 25cm Vector Maui Fins Delta Speed fin, got changed and headed out on the water. It was great to find out the 6.6m KA Koncept was giving my enough low end power and grunt to get going in 15 knots and after hanging onto it in 35 knots yesterday it has a massive wind range which is great to know. I had a great couple of hours on the water where i managed to get a peak speed of 34.77 knots which was good as the wind was square again with big holes in the wind. Later that day i came off the water and made the trip back down the M6 exhausted but stoked at such a good couple of days Speedsailing and hope that it's not months before my next trip back up there.

Big thanks to Karen McBarrons for taking some pictures of the session, you can see them here

You can also checkout one of my runs captured on video, thanks to Mark Hayford for taking the video

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fleetwood Saturday 26th May 2012

Now that i have been back in work for 5 months it has meant i am restricted to getting on the water at weekends and usually there has been wind during the week and once i get time off at the weekends there has been little to know wind and i can't remember the last time i got out on my smaller kit at a weekend as i'm usually on my Raceboard and 9.5m but last weekend i made the trip up to Fleetwood in Lancashire which is a spot that since i have heard about i have been waiting to try out once the right wind direction was forecasted which has to be a North Easterly through to East South East. 

On Saturday i finally saw the forecast was right but as low tide was at 10am it meant an early start from Birmingham, getting up at 4am and on the road by 4.30am. I had arranged to meet Mark Bailey at his house and then share the rest of the drive up as Mark has sailed here before so could give me the low down on the location. Arriving just after 8am we saw the winds were around 15-20 knots and there was sunshine with little to no cloud cover so i knew this was gonna be a great session on the water. Chris Bates also made the trip up so it was good to catch up with him as well. I decided to get my Mistral Screamer 95 ready with a 36cm Vector Fins Maui SL9 Alfa fin and rig my new 7.5m KA Koncept, get into my wetsuit and hit the water. The Koncept this year has a shorter mast and longer boom so more low aspect and I've been dying to get them on the water since i got them.

Heading down the beach i should have watched where the guys launched as you have to stick to the rocky parts, which i didn't and what looked like dark sand was in fact mud so i had to get through ankle deep mud to get on the water, definitely won't make that mistake again. On my first run down the channel i kept close to the channel buoys to make sure i didn't hit any of the sand bars and i soon became apparent that the wind direction was pretty square so i knew there wouldn't be any big speeds today. The new Koncept is awesome though and yet again Jesper Orth has improved an already great sail. It's so stable in the gusts which now were gusting upto 25 knots meaning i was was massively overpowered but the sail stayed rock solid and once going just wants to keep accelerating and the cams rotate like there not there. On some of my runs on the day i tried some slingshots off the wind for a few seconds to see it's potential broad off the wind for when i am at West Kirby and i'm stoked with the surge of acceleration you get in the initial bear off and the continuing acceleration from the sail, can't wait to try the smaller sizes :-D

After a couple of hours i was knackered sailing so overpowered for the first time in so long so i headed in for a rest and while on the beach the wind speed started to drop so i called it a day but happy i made the trip up. As the wind was so square i only managed a couple of 29 knot peaks but as the Screamer is more of a freeride board i was happy with my speeds and now i need to get a few more sessions on the 7.5m to get in more tuned so hopefully i won't have to wait as long to get out on it again. If you want to try out the new Koncepts get in touch and i'll hopefully be able to meet up with you so you can get the chance to try these awesome sails for yourself.. 

The picture at the top of the post was taken by Mark Bailey 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2012 Mistral Boards being tested in the South of France

Checkout a video with Anders Bringdal and a few others testing the new 2012 Mistral Boards

Sunday, April 29, 2012

UKWA Inlands Round 1 & MWA Round 2, Pitsford Reservoir, UK April 21st & 22nd 2012

Last weekend was the first round of the UKWA Inlands and also the second round of the Midland Windsurfing Association Race Series. I finished work on Friday afternoon at my usual time time of 12.15 and went home, got a quick shower, packed the van and got on the road. As with most of the UKWA National and Regional events Pitsford is close to Birmingham where i am now based and is only 45 miles away so only took me around an hour to get there and i arrived at 4pm. As i was one of the first competitors to arrive i got a great spot to get parked and got my gear sorted out. As i didn't get a chance to put sail numbers on my new 8.5m KA Koncept that was my first task and once that was done i rigged up my 10.5m Raceboard Sail and 9.5m KA Koncept as the forecast was not showing winds above 15 knots all weekend and fitted a 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin to my Starboard Phantom 380 Race. Around 7pm i headed into Brixworth, the local village next to the reservoir to get some food and found a great pub called the George where i had some good food and after a couple of beers headed back to my van to get a decent nights sleep ahead of the weekends racing.

I awoke early on the Saturday morning to see there was a little bit of wind, around 5-6 knots so i went a registered and got some breakfast and at 10am we were called out on the water for the first race. The wind was pretty gusty and shifty as is usually the case here which made for some great racing in the 2 races we had before lunch and i was finding i was usually in the wrong place at the wrong time when the shifts were coming through which was annoying but it was the same for everyone else. After lunch we were called back onto the water for another race which was held in similar conditions but i was beginning to read the shifts a bit better and made up some places but i made the worst mistake you can when racing by missing the gate i had to sail through before the finish which meant all the hard work i put in during this race was undone and instead of moving up a couple of places in the overall rankings i had to count this as my first disguard of the events. Soon after the finish the wind dropped right off and the race officer made the call to postpone racing for the time being and once i made it back to the shore i saw my sail was ripped and when the call was made to go back on the water and this was the sail i needed i had to unfortunately miss the 4th race. I was disappointed with this but that's racing sometimes and you have to accept these things happen.

On Sunday morning we woke to see not much wind, around 5 knots like the previous day but with wind forecasted to pick up i waited until the last minute to see which sail i would need. My 10.5m was now available again as i had the chance to fix it once the sail had dried but at the last second before hitting the water for the 5th race at 10am i grabbed my 9.5m KA Koncept instead which turned out to be a good decision as not long after the wind started gusting up to 15 knots which now made the racing interesting and my weight was not now so much of a disadvantage when the wind was up but in the lulls i was finding that i was loosing ground but i still got some better results than the previous day in the 4 races that were held before the race officer called it a day.

I finished 17th Overall, 5th Master and 1st overall in the Raceboard Unlimited Fleet (UKWA Inland Ranking) and 8th Overall, 3rd Master and 1st Overall Raceboard Unlimited Fleet (Midlands Windsurfing Association Series Ranking) which i am a little disappointed with as i know i can do better but hopefully a future events i wont make stupid mistakes or have any damage to my gear. The next event now is the UKWA Inlands Round 2 at Bewl in May so i'll hope to see some of you there

Friday, April 13, 2012

Round Hayling, Hayling Island, UK 6th April 2012

On Thursday 5th April i headed down to Hayling Island for the annual Round Hayling Windsurfing Marathon which was to be held on Friday 6th April getting there at 8pm where a met up with Jon White at the Inn on the Beach where he was camping in his Camper Van to give him a bit of info about getting round the Island. Lea Spencer was also down to compete in his first ever slalom event that was to be held at the Inn on the Beach on the Saturday and Sunday. After catching up over a few beers i drove over to the Hayling Island Sailing Club where i had booked accommodation. Usually i sleep in my van but after seeing the forecasted temps of minus degrees overnight i decided to book into the rooms that Hayling Island Sailing Club have on offer and at 20 pounds for 1 night they are very good value.

I woke up at 7am and went out to my van to move it closer to the waters edge as the car park was full last night and the first thing i saw was ice on the windscreen so the decision to stay in the accommodation looked to be a good one. Not long after David Gollick from arrived as he was going to have a stand set up displaying the fins he has for sale so i help him set everything up and after we were finished doing that and after some bacon sandwiches i got my gear ready for the race. Unfortunately the forecasted wind was only showing 4-6 knots which meant another slog around the island so i rigged up my 10.5m Raceboard sail and got my Starboard Phantom 380 ready and waited for the start of the race at 12' o clock.

We all gathered by the race tower of the Sailing Club just before 12 and waited for the starting gun which when sounded there was a mass beach start as the race started and we all headed towards Northney Marina and Langstone Bridge. As we had Northerly winds the first leg was a long beat up the Harbour :-( so i decided to head up the left side with about half the fleet as there didn't look like too much wind in the middle and the other half of the fleet went up the right. Unfortunately this turned out to be a bad decision as once they got over the right hand side there was more wind and they got a decent lift and once i realized this i headed over the right myself but it was too late by now and the front runners were a good distance ahead. The beat up the Harbour itself was not fun as the wind was shifting all over the place making headway difficult and i must have put in over 50 tacks to get up there but after 1.5 hours i finally was able to turn west towards Langstone Bridge. As i approached the bridge i remembered from what to do from last year which was to try and carry as much speed as you can and at the last minute grab the uphaul, lower the sail to the water and drift under the bridge and then up haul the sail on the other side.

Now the wind was behind us which made the next leg through Langstone easier and as the tide was now with us this made getting though the Harbour towards the ferryboat Inn at the entrance to Langstone Harbour was alot easier than last year. I managed to make up a few places here that i has lost on the first leg before the bridge but the front runners were nowhere to be seen. I reached the entrance to Langstone Harbour about 2 1/2 hours after i started and as i passed through the second gate i was told they were stopping the race there. I was gutted to be told this as i knew i could have got along the sea front and to hear i was only 1/2 an hour behind the leaders made being stopped here harder to take.

I managed to finish 19th overall and 7th in the Silver fleet which meant at least this year i had result after not finishing last year and this has made me more determined to finish it next year and use what i have learned over the past two years to make this happen. For me now the next event is the 1st round of the UKWA Inlands and 2nd Round of the Midlands Regional Raceboard Series at Pitsford on the 21st and 22nd of April so i hope to see some of you there

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MWA Round 1 Hollowell Reservoir, Northamptonshire, UK March 24th 2012

On March 24th i made the short trek over to Hollowell Reservoir in Northamptonshire from Birmingham for the 1st round of the Midlands Windsurfing Association Race Series. As i am now based in the Midlands in the UK this race series was one i wanted to take part in as quite a few of the guys i race against in the UKWA national events take part so it is great practice for the national events.

On arrival at 9am there was little to no wind but the forecast was showing it to pick up as the day went on to around 5 knots the race officer laid a box course as we all rigged up. As there was little chance of there being any strong winds the decision of what to rig was easy so i got my Starboard Phantom 380 Race with 50cm Vector Maui Fins Canefire fin ready and rigged my 10.5m Raceboard sail and registered and got changed as the first start was going to be 11am so i wanted to be ready. The first 3 races were held virtually back to back with a short rest between them in very testing conditions as the wind was only around 4-5 knots and very gusty but i had decent speed upwind keeping up with everyone but once off the wind i was finding it hard to keep up with the others as they weighed so much lighter (20kgs in some cases) than myself which i have known for awhile has been an issue for me but one i am working on trying to get my weight down to 80kg.

After a quick lunch we had another 2 races before the race officer called it a day and although i don't like these light shifty conditions i had great fun on the water with some very close racing between myself and a couple of the sailors. I finished the day 7th Overall and 1st in the Raceboard Unlimited fleet which is a good start for the year and hopefully i can build on this and get a decent final ranking once the race series has finished. The next event for me now is the Round Hayling on April 6th so i will hopefully see some of you on the water if your down there

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Events I'm Competing In This Year

It's now time to decide what events i want to try to get to this year. I am now restricted to taking time off work at set times during the year when the Land Rover factory is shut and have to work at all other times it is gonna be hard to get to any Speed World Cup event's other than Weymouth Speed Week so for this year as it's a new job i have decided to concentrate on work for this year and then next year try and get to as many events as i can to get a good ranking. As i'm now working Monday to Friday getting to the Irish Speed Events is going to be impossible which i'm pretty gutted about as i would need to take 2 days off work which i am unable to do but i wish the lads well with the Irish Speed Championships and hopefully in the future i am able to make it over for some events.

Now i'm in the UK i will continue to do the UKWA Inlands and see if i can improve on my 10th place from last year and also as i'm now based in the midlands i will also do the the Regional Midlands events. I will also attend Weymouth Speedweek again and also the Round Hayling Island Marathon next month.

The events i'm planning to go to this year are:-


Midlands Region Round 1, Hollowell SC, Hollowell Reservoir, Northamptonshire, England
(24th March)


Round Hayling Marathon, Hayling Island, Hampshire, England
(6th April 2012)

UKWA Inland Series Round 1/Midlands Region Round 2, Northampton Sailing Club, Pitsford Reservoir, Northamptonshire, England
(21st to 22nd April 2012)


UKWA Inland Series Round 2, Bewl Valley Sailing Club, Bewl Water, Kent England
(19th to 20th May 2012)


Midlands Region Round 3, Barnt Green Sailing Club, Upper Bittell, Reservoir, West Midlands, England
(9th June 2012)

UKWA Inlands Round 3, Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, Oxfordshire, England
(16th to 17th June 2012)

Midlands Region Round 4, Notts County Sailing Club, Hoveringham Reservoir, Nottinghamshire, England
(23rd June)


UKWA Inlands Round 4/Midlands Region Round 5, Whitwell Sailing Club, Leicestershire, England
(14th to 15th July 2012)


National Windsurfing Festival, Hayling Island, Hampshire, England
(7th to 9th September 2012

Midlands Region Round 6, Location To Be Confirmed
(15th September)


Weymouth Speedweek, Weymouth, Dorset, England
(6th to 12th October)

Midlands Region Round 7, Bartley Sailing Club, Bartley Green Reservoir, West Midlands, England
(21st October 2012)


UKWA Inlands Round 5/Midlands Region Round 8, Whitwell Sailing Club, Leicestershire, England
3rd to 4th November 2012)

As always i will have my KA sails available for demo at all events i will be attending. Come and find me at the beach, look for the KA Flags

Fresh Start And New Beginnings

I have to apologize for the lack of posts over the last few months but this is because in January i moved over to the UK to start a new job with Jaguar/Land Rover in Solihull, West Midlands and haven't had the time to post on here. After being out of work for so long it is great to be back in work and earning money again and I'm gonna miss Ireland but as there is no work there for me the best thing was to move to find work.

Thankfully my back is much better after completing my physio treatment. I also had it X Rayed to see if there was any damage and thankfully there was nothing found so after the last event in November i stayed off the water to give it as much rest as possible. To make sure that i don't injure it any more in the future i have joined the local gym to work on my core fitness and give my back more support so hopefully i won't have any more problems in the future.

I haven't had any water time since my back got better as i am now restricted to windsurfing on weekends due the the new job and each weekend had been pretty windless but hopefully i will get the chance to get out soon as my new 2012 KA Koncept's have arrived and they look awesome. I decided to get the 5.8m, 6.6m & 7.5m to replace my 2010 5.7m, 6.4m & 7.3m and got a 2011 8.5m to replace my 2010 8.3m, when i get the chance to get some photo's i will post them on here. Can't wait to get out on them.

Haven't got my new Mistral's but hopefully they will be here by the end of the month.

Not long now till the competition season starts with the Round Hayling marathon just a few weeks away so keep checking back and i will keep you updated as to how i'm getting on