Saturday 8 October 2011

A different perspective on the famous West Kirby day.

Norman Petty (aka Normski), a windsurfer that many people in the UK will have been on the water with and may have the fortune to know or chat with at the beach, sent me his perspective of West Kirby , 6th October 2011. Normski invited me onto the GPS Team Challenge and I feel forever in his debt as without that none of this website would exist. 

He is a 'Legend' class windsurfer who is just as comfortable in logo high waves as he is on the speed course. He certainly showed me how it was done in my first month on the GPS Team Challenge when it was our job to go for distance, I managed 79nmi while he carried on to over 100! Here is his bit, I did not want it to get lost in the other article that a lot of people have already read. - 'The Bus'

Late entry for the 06 October West Kirby report....from a mere mortal grandad:

It was windy, windy, windy that a lady taking a walk got blown backwards and the usually simple task of derigging became a logistical nightmare. Oh and part of a tree blew down just yards from my van at the campsite I was staying!

I managed a couple of sessions before it went nuclear, with the early to mid morning  bringing the best results.  The wind most of day was about 110 degrees to the wall, which did leave a dilemma of staying tight to the wall, in fairly flat water or going deep into increasing chop.   I decided for me, in survival mode , that sticking close to the wall was going to be faster.  I did try a couple of runs into the chop and then crashed at 35+ knots and gave up on the heroics'

Not spending as much time on the water as some meant I was able to spectate and look at the array of kit being used.  I've never seen so many small boards attached to so many 'small' sails. Fins all looked different with one common feature...they were small as well!    Weight jackets (and I mean weight) were common place and they also had a useful second function of helping to stop kit getting blown around, when not being worn.

At first I was feeling rather despondent about the speeds I was achieving, especially when people were saying things like 43max, 41 max..and I even heard a 47knt when I had reached a rather pleasing 38knts , but then I looked around at the sailors and realised top speedsailors from Europe and the UK were all here!  It kinda felt better but then I watched them handling the conditions as if it were a normal day  and wondering why on earth I was here, shivering in the autumn chill and saying to myself. 'please let this run be faster than the last one'!

But I got over that and can now say I sailed at one of West Kirby's big days...and whilst my scores on the doors were small fry compared to the big boys (and also down on my best)....what I did on the day was enough to move me up to this years top dog in the GPS-Speedsurfing 'Super Masters' (Bus Pass Holders) catagory! 

My nearest rival is John Overmeer a super fit Dutch sailor who, it turns out, is good friends with Martin Van Meurs.  Martin told me he has been giving him some mentoring.  Not to be left behind...I phoned Pete Young up this evening and for a pie and a pint, he's going to give me some 'go faster' tips!! (can I join you please - The Bus;-))

My UK grandad record of 37.9knts, set in 2009 still stands....but there will be some new bus pass contenders snapping at my heels next year!

By Norman Petty

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