Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Portland Pirates, a thank you to the team

If it wasn't for the support from the team, especially Mr Motivator - Pete, I would not have made it to an official distance of 201.44km or 108.76nautical miles on Saturday 28th May 2011.

I sent an email the night before saying I wanted to get to 100nm, for a result to score on the GPS Team Challenge it must be the average of 2 sailors results, so I needed someone else out doing distance to back me up. Swagger (Mark) was up for the job even though he had a hole in his arm from a knife wound a few days earlier. Swags is our chief and captain, if we don't follow instructions he can have us on deck scrubbing duties, or some say offered insertion of a mast extension, and his is the longer SDM chinook version. 

On the day The Matrix (Pete) was going for an average Nautical Mile of 30knots, to put this in perspective my top 2 second speed is only 0.4 knots faster than his average over a whole 1852metres. He was being supported by Camel (Steve) who does like to show off amazing gybes in front of the car park rather than go for the distance. They both delivered the goods which opened up a gap between us and the Pit Crew - an Australian Team who used to be top dogs on the challenge. They were only one point behind at the start of the day. Swags and I made the gap even wider giving us a whole 12 points lead over them. 

There are 54 teams in total from all over the world and it adds so much more to a windsurfing session. Windsurfing is quite a selfish sport, you are only reliant on yourself unless you suffer kit breakage and often just blast around or try different tricks and moves. With the  challenge you have an objective or a reason to be out on the water, especially on days like Saturday with it being the end of the month and the need to secure more points. 

The Portland Pirates are currently 5th overall for the year, with a few good months in the bag if we suffer a real wind drought. Many of the southern hemisphere teams are now entering their winter and will not score as well as the start of the year so this stands us in good stead for the rest of the year. The teams we will struggle to beat are the Dutch ones, who are full of professional sailors that often can get out when the rest of us are working. They also have more flat water options than most other accessible places in the world. Portland Harbour was the home of speed sailing in the 80's but now there are many other places that have been found to have better conditions. Portland though is good for the range of disciplines we need, and with skill and good winds we can stay in the top rankings in the world.

I was a competitive swimmer in my youth so never really participated in team sports at school, only basketball which from memory was just a bunch of ego's all trying for a glory shot and not really a team. As I was approaching 80odd nautical miles it was the team that kept me out there sailing even though holding the boom was painful and carving upwind with my toes was agony in my shins. Thanks again to the rest of the team and well done to all, they were tricky conditions and often a game of dodge the tourist for most of the day.

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