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What an absolute joy to be out in what are probably the most classic conditions you can ever get at Poole! After a couple of abortive attempts to kick the season off (Mudeford on a forecast of 20-40mph was so still that we could actually see our faces in the water!!!!) we weren't expecting to plane but just wanted to get wet! What a lovely surprise, then, to spend 2 hours blasting back and forth in clean wind on flat water. The sun even came out! Surprisingly not too rusty, although the conditions were flattering, and nothing broke after the long winter in hibernation. I didn't want to stop but I ran out of energy and both of our soft, winter hands have gone through for the first time in ages.
You use every muscle in your body windsurfing and man, I can feel all of 'em... but it was sooooo worth it. My bathroom now smells of damp neoprene, which must mean that summer is here. BRING IT ON!
Windsurfing in January; warmer than skiing - and how fabulous to do both in the same week!
It was forecast to be 20 gusting 40mph W, but when we got to the harbour, it was a benign 15 gusting 20. We rigged accordingly - 5.8 / 102 for me and 6.3 / 110 Firemove for Big Mark. The rationale being "bigger board : less time in the water..."
What a mishtayke to mayke! Talk about a lull giving you a false sense...
We have never had quite so much trouble getting back in downwind! My arms felt like they had almost been ripped out of their sockets and it was properly scary - I walked the last bit, desperately trying to hang on as the wind ripped and tore at my kit, as it swirled in a mad hunt, chasing its tail around the yacht club.
We rigged a slightly more conservative 4.5 and 5.2 and went down a board size. It was still hard work but what a joy to be out on a sunny January day in 8C - and my first outing on the 4.5m Ezzy, which has thus far been deployed only to teach beginners! We were not even a little bit cold, not least because it was very hard work - choppy and very messy, but a stolen moment of wintry, watery bliss on a golden day.
According to the wind stats, it was high 20mph gusting into mid 30s. That would explain why I ache like a b******!
Awesome day on the water. I keep saying "There won't be many more days like this..." and then there are more days like this! 20mph and full sun and for the first hour or so, only Helen and I on the water! We were joined later by Nick and Daniel.
I surprised myself by sailing out of my skin. I had been in 2 minds as to whether to go, as the 35mile bike ride over the Purbecks in thick mud yesterday had sapped my energy somewhat. Still, I made nearly every transition. It made a nice change not to be overpowered. I knew I couldn't cope with too big a sail, so had rigged conservatively. I thought I might regret it when I first went out, but the wind was up and down and to be honest, I don't think I could have chosen better!
Day off; 20mph of wind; what to do?! I was nice and relaxed after Body Balance; IT MUST BE TIME TO RIP!!!
Mark and I had the harbour to ourselves for a couple of hours and had an amazing session. The water was flat and my gybing skills seemed magically to have retuned!
Mark is feeling the love for the Firemove and was flying on the 7.0. We have discovered another way that the Firemove is a whole load of nothing - not only does it plane in nothing, it jumps off nothing...! The 102 was lovely and I wasn't too far behind Mark. Exhausted by the end, but it was sooooo worth it!
I am beside myself with fatigue after an AWESOME day on the water. The good thing is that I know that I did not quit too early. I didn't have another ounce of fun left in me!
It was the first trip of the season for the winter wetsuit; it is a source of great joy each season that I can still manage to squeeze into it! Mark was in the incongruous position of wearing his winter suit and going barefoot, because he had forgotten his booties!
It got up again, and Nick told me afterwards that blokes bigger than me went out on 5.5s, so I think I did rather well. Mark had an interesting time on the 7.0 and his debut on the Firemove. He LOVED it and was gybing like a god, even when it got up to 27 knots... I couldn't gybe for toffee today; go figure, but was pleased with my tacks. The harbour was beautifully flat and even going downwind wasn't too horrific, although by the time I was coming in, I literally didn't have the energy to do one more turn!
Raced Ken who was having a fine old time on his Laser! Lovely to see Helen, Bob & Jo and a few new faces who were coming back to the light. Gave Dave & Jackie the final push towards the Firemove 100 he was looking at. Not that I think he needed much persuasion!
A down side was hitting a plank floating around in the harbour... I managed to get it out and fortunately noticed another one - with 3 nails sticking out of it! With Mark's help, we managed to land them so they won't be a hazard for anyone else. Luckily, both board and rider are unscathed.
Some people have champagne in the bath. We had Jaffa Cakes. Fab!
Sandwich made. Flask made. Wetsuit, boards and sails in the van...IT'S TIME TO WINDSURF!!!!
Note to self; I need to extend this packing list to include FINS!!!! Still, I made a lot of friends down the beach asking "Do you have a 26cm Powerbox fin you could lend me?" I still had to go home and get my fins... It makes moving 15 minutes from the beach rather than 2 hours sooo worthwhile (not the only reason!) Every cloud has a silver lining, though. It was much more windy than I thought and I really did need to go and get a smaller board...!
It was a day of dual watersports; windsurfing in the rain and horse riding, also in the rain! Still, I got a dual, dual rainbow and enjoyed every second of ripping it up by board and beast - the forgotten fins forgotten! Helen and I were the only ones on the water for a time - Birds on Boards Ruling the Waves! With hindsight, 5.8 was overcooking it a bit. I had decided to rig big so that I wouldn't be underpowered. That plan worked - it is just that I feel like I spent the day wrestling a gorilla!
Massive gusts, cranking upwind - then the wind just stopped, like someone flicked a switch! Had to bog back in. So glad I hadn't opted for the 80L board. Bumped into Carl and Marion for a coffee and found out that all the guys who launched on Avon Beach had to swim back in! (Payback for them once saying to me "Oh, you're going out on a big board!" when I launched on my 80! For me, the 80 is not a board, it's a key fob!)
Another pretty day - a bit cloudy but you can't be too choosy this time of year if you want time on the water. It was a light wind session with Helen, my fellow Lady who Launches. My heli-tack success rate was not as hot as on Sunday, but I console myself with the fact the wind was stronger. Nevertheless, it was a most pleasing session!
A beautiful, sunny day down at Christchurch! Makes you feel good to be alive! Took me a little longer than usual to get on the water, after a class, gym and swim and all the lovely Sea Vets coming to admire the new Firemove and have a tuning lesson on me Ezzy sails!
Well, was the Firemove a good purchase? Here is another concise review - IT PLANES IN NOTHING! I had the smallest sail on the water and was the only one planing in about 10mph. Oh, I am so in love!
The debut of our new Firemove. It was AMAZING - I have just checked the wind stats and it was planing all the time in 10mph, although there were gusts up to 18 sometimes. I was flying - keeping up with Mark on his 9.4 - and it gybed like a dream. A very flattering board!
We did change up - it was very light when we first went out, so I was on a 5.0 doing freestyle and am very pleased to report that, after 3 years of trying, I did 5 successive heli-tacks in an upwinder! I am, how you say? chuffed to bits!
Unfortunately, Bam Bam has returned - Mark smashed Boom Number 8 and injured his beloved Futura after grounding his fin.
A superb session at Hamworthy; Southerly on neap tides. It was joyous - we were flying! Should have changed down from the 6.3 when it got up, but it behaved a bit better with LOTS of extra downhaul and outhaul, er, and a smaller board attached. Mark, never one to give in, obviously stuck with the 8.5 / 155 combo...! Pleased with a lot of dry gybes until I got too knackered and overpowered to sheet in. Then it became a series of magnificent wipeouts! Even yesterday's corned beef sandwich for lunch did not damp our enthusiasm. Bag of chips in the van on the way home. Living the dream! Living the dream!