Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

After a successful 12 months for my windsurfing I am really pleased with my results over the year. Back at the end of September 2010 I bought my first slalom/speed sail and have been hooked ever since. It was then that I started this website, as a diary ready to complete my 1000 nautical miles for the British Heart Foundation. I succeeded with that by July and have gone on to raise £1600 and match it by distance windsurfed. This was really just an excuse to get out on the water as much as possible, a completely selfish obsession!

Windsurfing Goals for 2012
The real goal was to get 35knots on Portland Harbour, I managed this 3 times in total and am pleased with that. Portland is by no means an easy place for fast speeds compared to the true flat water spots. Next year I have set my goals high, I will get a 40knot peak with a trip elsewhere, I think it unrealistic to give myself that goal on the harbour yet with only a couple of people ever reaching it. My Portland Harbour goal is for a 38 knot peak and a 35knot average. This will push me, it is possible but very difficult. With the right conditions and another 6 months windsurfing under my belt I may be able to get there.

Distance wise I want to get 125nmi windsurfed in a day, my current PB is 109nmi (201km). For the gybe discipline, the Alpha (500m with a gybe halfway ending within 50m of the start) I want a 23knot, with regular 20+knot sessions. I have made 4 20knot alphas so far and have recently had a lot of progress with my gybing, getting much more of a feel for the full planing ones and understanding a lot more of the dynamics that are involved. I would also like to get a 28knot nautical mile on Portland Harbour.

The BSA is tempting me in as well, I saw how much fun people had with it and I want some of that. I will enter a couple of these and see how they go.

Equipment Changes
To do all of this I have gratefully accepted a couple of offers from some very well respected manufacturers. For boards, following my reviews I was offered a UK National Team rider place with Exocet. It was a hard decision whether I should go down the team rider route, or continue buying slightly older kit as mine wears out, and carry on trying to do the reviews on the website. After a lot of thought I decided that I would like to focus my efforts with a couple of companies rather than attempt to demo and review lots of kit. To be completely honest it was a pain in the arse at times. Let me explain.......

There were days I was dying to get out on my kit, and go for PB's and tweak it/tune it, get it set up perfectly (if thats possible). Trying it with different settings to see what difference it made etc. But I couldn't let Ian Kraft down with Exocet, so I went out with their boards and XO sails and tweaked/tuned them knowing that I would have to give them back and all I had learnt would not benefit me and not help me get to know my kit more intimately. It was also frustrating that lots of people offered to give me write ups and demo the kit, quite a few did, but I did not get a single word from them to publish. I would rather not have to organise that, albeit informally again.

Exocet are the boards I want to ride now once I can raise the finances and sell some of mine on. For sails I have been invited to join the Hot Sails Maui team as a UK National Team Rider, and hopefully my first sails are on their way on a ship somewhere. I have to say I am really pleased about both of these offers. Exocet for the reason that I have never heard anyone say a bad thing about them, and most people you speak to on the beach say.....'oh I had an Exocet xxxxx back in xxxx and really liked it', or at least that is what quite a few people have said to me.

Hot Sails Maui brings me one step closer to my dream.....well Maui is in the name at least, one day I may actually get there. Forget that, it was a dream to be a sponsored sportsman after having a heart attack and pulmonary embolism in my past. It is this website that has got me these offers, but I will prove myself with my windsurfing and speedsurfing over the next couple of years as well. In the longer term I want to show people that they can get back into sports after heart/blood illness and reach a good,  or maybe excellent level of fitness.

The Hot Sails GPS was recently fully tested on the West Kirby speed course by Martyn Ogier, 50knots is certainly going to be possible with these sails, not by me just yet though, I will be over the moon when I get 40 next year (and I will!). I have full confidence in them, and know it is a leap of faith having not tried them but do trust the design. Tom Hammerton is the designer, who also designs the Black Project fins. These fins I have got on with since the moment I tried them. I have not found the limitations of these fins yet, having used small fins with big sails and not experienced spin out I have great confidence in them, and this transfers to the sails. Hot Sails Maui are well known for their build quality and tough construction, but perhaps most of all for their variety of designs that really stand out on the water. The GPS speed/slalom sail I think is the best of the lot, but performance is what counts and Martyn has certainly shown that they are capable of the top end.

So after Portland Harbour filled up with Simmer SCR's in 2011, myself and maybe others will bring a new sail to the home of speedsailing competition and put it through its paces. Of course if anyone would like to try them when I am down at the academy please come and have a chat. I don't expect many will before March, but the offer is there, I hope to have the 8.0m and 6.6m soon.

Hopefully within the first couple of weeks next year I will be able to write something more about them. In the mean time I have some fast sails that I am selling and want a fast sale.

Kit For Sale

7.6 Tushingham x15 2012 hardly used £300 + Matching 100% mast £175 both for £400 for quick sale
7.0 Simmer SCR 2010 exdemo, good condition, professional repair to one panel. £230
6.3 Simmer SCR 2009 excellent condition £230
5.5 Simmer SCR 2010 wet once, rigged thrice, pristine condition £280
6.0 Severne Gator 2009 used 3 or 4 times, I have the 5.5 and 6.5 and this was kept for best, havent used any of them since getting cammed sails £220

North Gold 2011 (460 and 400) £250 each, hardly used.
Severne Blueline 2009 430 £175 (rigs the 6.3 simmer perfectly)

RRD Wavecult 85l 2009 Excellent Condition used about 6 times, once in waves. £450
Mistral Screamer 105l/66cm SL RD 2008 Good condition £350
Mistral 95l/59cm SL RD 2009 Excellent condition £450

Photos available on request, I need to get organised......
Make me an offer......I will do sails with masts for a good price.

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