Monday 24 October 2011

Weymouth Speed Week 2011 final report

Gold Fleet Winners L(3rd) to R(1st) Daniel Borgelind 33.5knt,
Kevin Greenslade 34.4knts, David Williams (kite) 36.3knts.
For myself and many others it was a long week, with good winds on a couple of days and lots of waiting on others. I have been asleep pretty much since Friday evening so I have a new found respect for many of the speed and windsurfers who stayed on over the weekend to compete in the BSA Weymouth slalom.

After a quiet weekend with very little wind on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th, Aeolus delivered the goods for the early part of the week (google it if you dont know).

Monday was a great day and I am sure if the harbour had been quieter then the local legends would have been chasing records. As it was the harbour was busy with many people standing around (in the middle of a wind hole leaving no run up to the lead in bouy)) waiting for their runs. The wind built as the day drew on, allowing for some runs later in the afternoon quite close in to the shore where it was not so choppy. This is where the big names made their winning runs for the week, none of the top scores made on the Monday were bettered before the end of the week.

Leading Ladies, LtoR Zara Davis, Tania Mertens,
Patricia Flecks, Katherine Knight
Tuesday  had winds in a less favourable direction, with West and occasional gusty WNW winds throughout the day. The course was designed to allow for these shifts in the wind but it was quite confusing from a novice point of view. No significant positions changed today, and it was unlikely that they would change as Mondays wind was much more consistent and in a better direction. Further down the table a few positions changed with people getting good runs in the shifting gusty winds. WNW is interesting in the harbour, it has lots of holes in it especially in the area we needed to use to get upwind for a good run into the course.

I should have known better than to trust the 'windlines' that you can see on the water in this section, but did occasionally and wes left trying to waterstart for a while with no wind, or slogging and making no ground upwind. It was best to keep the runs upwind short and make more tacks to get back to the course. This was taking about 5 minutes each time and many competitors preferred to stand in the shallows at the end of the course.

At around 3pm a squall came through, this was my most memorable moment of the whole week. As I approached the lead in bouy I could see the water almost flatten (it was rolling chop most of the day) and fizz with the signs of big gusts and the squall. Over my shoulder I could see two much more experienced speedsurfers approaching from upwind. I knew if they got much closer that I would lose the wind in my sail and get overtaken, this is not a confidence boosting experience on a speed course and it happened to me several times the previous day. I released my outhaul until it was more negative than the current financial climate, got down low over a bent back leg with a straight front leg and prepared for accelerate onto the course.

Novice Category Runner up - Lea 'The Bus' Spencer
The biggest gust hit me all with perfect timing, this was a taste of what the top guys must feel. Everything felt perfect, even Farrel O'Shea's advice of - just hold the {@<# on made sense and at that point was the best bit of advice ever. The Tushingham 7.6 X15 sail felt in the perfect position to spill the gusts, the Black Project 37.5cm type R fin* held true better than any other fin I have used, especially in such a big size for what was happening. The Exocet 66cm Sl Sport* board rose above all chop and almost hovered for a good 100m. It gave me a peak of 33.5knots and a 500m run of 30.5 knots, alas this didn't coincide with the course, I think I accelerated too soon and bore off in a gradual arc meaning I lost a knot overall on the 500m speed course and didn't improve my position from Monday. It was a great learning experience though, I remember it so clearly and everything I did differently to hold off the two approaching sailors. When I finally had the guts to look over my shoulder near the end of the run I could see I have left them behind by a good distance.
*Brand names mentioned as a thankyou to Ian Kraft, Exocet and Black Project fins. As regular readers will know I am doing a full review on this kit, see other articles.

UKWA Speed Sailing Championship, L(3rd) to R(1st) Ant Baker, Martyn Ogier, Kevin Greenslade, and Leading Woman far right Zara Davis 

Wednesday was a day of rest for me, after two stop start days on the water I personally was very tired. I couldn't manage another day as I am still recovering so I went to the event to speak to a few people. The wind was poor all morning and I left at midday, later in the afternoon it picked up to good planing weather and quite a few people got near their best speeds. I do not think anyone managed to better their previous scores though.

European Speed Championship Winners, LtoR Thorsten Mallon(3rd)
David Garrell (1st) and Martyn Ogier (2nd). not forgetting Zara Davis for the ladies
Thursday was a day for no wind at all, there were only two speedsurfers that got onto the course with very low speeds. Friday was frustrating for me, all day I could see those with big quivers planing and having a good time. Having rested I wanted to get out again while the rescue boats were still there (I felt a lot safer with those looking out for problems, it meant I could put a lot more effort into my speedsailing compared to when I go out and hold back due to still being in some pain from two months ago.). I tried with the XO silverline 7.8m sail. It was great 100m out from the course but I could not get going closer to shore. On the odd occasion when I managed to get going I could only make it 300m or so down the course before either I ran out of steam pumping or I fell in backwards with no wind in the sail at all, and no speed to get some apparent wind in the sail.

It was a great week, I learnt a lot and would love to participate again when I am at full health. I will not go into details about the final results as they can be found by clicking the links for each day, and the final results are posted here. 

Mike George has done some deeper analysis with a more thorough (but completely unofficial) ranking system which can be found by clicking the links; I like how this moves me up the rankings considerably ;-)

Dave White took some fantastic photos for each day, found on Boards, Mpora.

Finally I would like to thank everyone who told me how much they enjoy reading this website, it made the event very special for me and has given me the satisfaction that I used to find in teaching. Also thanks must go to the event organisers, especially Nick Povey for inviting me to compete as a guest after seeing my fundraising efforts. Next year I will be working closely with Nick and Windsurfing 4 Cancer Research. One project we have talked about is to write a substantial article about the history of speed week. I am happy to collect as much information as you can get to me, either in text, quotes, links, photos, or any format you choose. If it is in hard copy then email me and we will discuss how to get it online. My email address is I will put online mini articles as the information comes in and then collate it all together before next years 40th anniversary.

Mandatory thanks must also go to Simmer and Farrel O'Shea for prizes, Black Project Fins for Champagne, Windtek for Prizes, (Tris Haskins) for prizes (especially my engraved leatherman), Ant Baker for the holiday, North/Fanatic/Ion/Boardwise/Puravida for event Tshirts, Tushingham for youth prizes, Spartan for prizes, last but far from least the OTC and Tris Best for prizes and hosting a great chilli night. If I have missed anyone then I do apologise, please contact me and I will amend it.

Good speed and winds, its the windy season now hopefully! 
By 'The very happy Bus'

Late edit - I had to rewrite most of this after using a blogger app on the iphone whilst in the doctors waiting room this morning then losing all the text......sorry if I have missed anything in this second attempt


  1. Ask the Windtek boys to buy some paint stripper and clean off the wall around the doors. It was signed by all the speed sailing greats back in the 1980's until Andy painted over it.


  2. I went in there today, you can just see some of them above the doorway. The paint job was so poorly done!!! There is one there now right above the door - Kai Lenny!

    Si Todd the new manager has some really good plans for the place now, and is putting them into practice rather than keeping them as plans ;-)


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