Thursday 7 June 2012

Portland Harbour Record, 40knot 500m

Pete Young on one of many runs chasing his dream of a 40knot 500m at the home of Speedsailing.
With SSW winds blowing 30knots, gusting to 50knots Portland Harbour guru Pete Young (Black Project Fins) managed to achieve one of his long standing dreams. For a long time now Pete has been dedicated to speed surfing and as much as he will never admit it he is one of the big characters in the speed surfing world, currently in the top 10 for 2012 after a great session earlier this year at West Kirby.

This shows how consistent every 500m run was, with just the one tipping
over the holy grail of 40knots. What is amazing is the 5x500m average
of 39.07knots!
He is one of the very small Portland Harbour 40knot club for peak speeds, others including Kev Greenslade (Puravida/OTC, Simmer, Mistral) and the UK Olympian Nick Dempsey. Tonight Pete managed the ultimate accolade at the home of speedsailing, an average of 40.12 knots over 500m. He was sailing his trusty 6.3 Simmer SCRace 2009 on a Fanatic Falcon 80 2007, with the Black Project Type S 29cm. His results can be found here.

How about those tracks for consistency, this is only possible on neap tides
or mid to high tide on springs. 
To put this achievement in perspective Portland and the Mainland funnel the wind, which crosses over Chesil Beach (a 15metre high bank of pebbles), and then over a busy road. On a clear seabreeze day you can see the gusts on the water following the lorries as they journey along the road. At its best the wind is slightly gusty, in strong winds the water can be glassy in patches and fizzing in others. The water in strong winds is far from flat, especially over a 500m course.

This sets a new standard at Portland yet again, with 40knot peaks being achieved first by Pete a few years ago. Pete had this to say;
"The Holy Grail for me, all those years after Sir Fred's 30knot 500m finally I have managed a 40knot 500m at my home spot, I'm pretty stoked with that." 
He told me that he never thought he would do it, so many times in the past he was very close but never managed to hold it for 500m. Many times in the past couple of years he has scored mid 40knot peaks and low 40knot 5x10 averages, this was the elusive one for him. Everyone who knows Pete is really happy for him, he deserved to get this goal and I think it will stand as a record for a very long time.

Tom Wells
Kev Greenslade
As for the rest of us who were left in his wake, young Tom Wells gave us a masterclass. He was showing off his gybes in gusts of 50knots while we walked slowly upwind far enough to be able to sail back. Tom was simply cruising back upwind like it was a summer breeze rather than  unseasonal storm force winds. Toms uncle, Steve Corps had been chasing a 40knot peak since Pete first managed his, each time getting closer with many sessions showing peaks of 39+knots but never the 40. When I left he had his 40 and no doubt did not leave until well after dark while trying to get more.
Steve Corps

I also managed some PB's for peak, 5x10 average and 500m but nothing noteworthy, with a bit more tuning of the kit I had never previously used I know I can get more. I am pleased as my average is nearly a knot faster (33.72) than previously (32.85) yet my peak (35.84) was only a fraction higher (35.5), so I am getting better and holding the speed for longer. The 5.5 Hot Sails GPS with my Tabou Manta 54 and Black Project TypeS 26.5cm fin were a great combination, although I think I could have handled the 6m better with full downhaul rather than the smaller sail on mid downhaul. Only time and testing will tell.

Finally I would like to add that this is a record, it was witnessed and the track has been posted to GPS Speedsurfing. Whether official or not everyone who knows Pete Young knows he is the Portland Harbour record holder and no doubt will be for a long time to come.

Well done Pete!
Thank you to Griff Halliwell for taking the pictures.
Good speeds and winds
The Bus

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