Sunday, 8 April 2012

BSA Hayling Part 3

Thursday afternoon I was excited and keen to set off,  I 'shoe-horned' myself into the drivers seat then I started to wonder where I would sleep. The van was full of toys, expensive slalom toys and an old SUP and sail just in case real boredom set in with no wind. Hayling is about 2hours from where I live and all the way there I could feel the nerves building, for no reason in the end.


On arrival I met my Hot Sails and Black Project Fins team mate Jon White, with his wife Karen. Both of them were really welcoming and this settled my nerves a bit. Jon then persuaded me to go out for a quick sail, there was a faint wind line about 500m from the shore so we set off with our new 8.8m Hot Sails GPS slalom winners (hopefully). Both of us were easily planing with our kit in what must have been 10-12knots in the gusts. I made a classic schoolboy error after my first run out. I saw the big white building upwind of where I was and assumed that was where I had to get back to. I spend the next half hour trying to get back upwind and not really enjoying any nice runs off the wind with the big kit. When I finally made it I realised I was at least 1km upwind of where I launched from which was the slightly smaller white building around 1km away! Next time I sail a new spot I will be certain I have my contact lenses in!

Friday was the annual Round Hayling Island race, for which there was very little wind, I will do a small report on this over the next week. Over to my team mate Andrew Freeman for a report on the BSA event.

UKWA BSA Round One - Hayling Island
7 & 8 April 2012
Sponsored by Tushingham / Starboard

Short Update from the Inn on the Beach, Hayling by Andrew Freeman (GBR 971) [Sponsored by Hot Sails Maui, Chinook and Black Project Fins]

Despite the poor forecast the large number of sailors who made it to the first event of the British Slalom Association's first event of the year at Hayling Island has got to be a good sign for the UK Slalom scene.  Also, the variety of brands getting involved in sponsoring sailors is great to see, along side staunch supporters of the UK Scene Fanatic / North, Neil Pryde / JP and Tushingham / Starbaord the colour is being added to by, amongst others, Severne, RRD, Exocet and Hot Sails Maui / Black Project Fins.  Hopefully, each of them and others will develop this over the coming season and future years.  

Exocet and Hot Sails out in front, I just hope its the same once we actually get on the water ;-)
My Bus also looks tiny there!
Whilst there was no racing for the Pros and Amateur Fleets (the wind never got over 6 knots) the Masterblaster fleet was out on the water almost the whole weekend.  There were 13 races on Saturday and a similar number on Sunday.  It is a really good way to get involved in the racing scene without having to spend much money at all.  In fact, I think that you could be perfectly competitive in planing conditions with a 130 ish board and 7.5m - but more of that another time.  Luckily there was no anti-elitism swimmer to get in the way as I do not think that the Masterblaster Fleet would have got out of the way! 

What made it for the lack of wind this weekend was that I have really enjoyed meeting up with people who I had not seen since last year and also to getting to know my new team members - Jon White, Lea Spencer and Chris Guest.  Having a team this year is a great improvement on last year as I am sure that the banter and helpful tips will continue to flow; also Lea makes a mean cup of tea and I have never been known to turn down a brew.  I can see that they will keep me on my toes and help me develop my sailing over the coming season.  And, its good to have people to help out when you need a screwdriver, mast or a desperate need for tea on a cold morning. (edit by the Bus - I felt guilty as the one thing I forgot was tea bags and coffee, luckily there were a few emergency teabags lodged behind my kitchen unit ;-))

Winners of the Master Blaster Fleet, they all worked hard in very little wind!
Day One was also good fun as my son and wife came down for the day and the lack of wind meant that we could spend some time on the Hayling Island miniature train and play with diggers on the beach (they are not here today so I have not an excuse for the train and I forgot to put the diggers in the car).   My son is only three, but he is already getting hang of helping with rigging and loves rolling up the sails at the end of the day.  Now he has progressed to saying that he wants to go windsurfing and "I need lots of kit, don't I daddy"  I am sure that his uncle Chris will be able to help him with a MicroFreak and expert tuition very soon! (edit by the Bus - I watched the pair of them rigging and de-rigging the sail with complete jealousy, I would love to have kids myself and Andy's son was an absolute joy and full of energy, he was really enjoying the rigging process and even tried to use the easy rig crank but got a bit too involved with the squeak rather than pulling the downhaul on).

Thanks for writing that Andrew, there is not much more I can say about the weekend. The one thing I do want to comment on is how friendly everyone was, quite a few had read of my nerves and came to assure me it was all about having fun. One character really sticks in my mind and I hope I can learn something from him. Richard Hobson was the most optimistic sailor and person I have ever met, he really did not believe the forecast and was even at the point of rigging a third sail before my cynicism rubbed off on him, sorry about that, next time I will be as optimistic as you were.

Wind is coming tomorrow for us on the south coast of the UK, south westerlies for the first time in months it seems. 
Good Speeds and Winds
The Bus




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