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