|Venues||Board / sail size||Total|
|Southend on Sea||1||1|
|Tankerton Bay, Kent||1||1||1||3|
|Lepe & Calshot||1||1|
Each cell shows number of sessions, click on a cell for more details.
Windsurfing can be a lonely business. Might have been the 10°C, or the constant rain, or even the generally miserable grey weather, but it was me and the seabirds at Minnis bay this afternoon.
My "finger in the air" method or gauging wind velocity in a desolate beach worked its magic and I rigged the right sail first time around. Alas the magic evaporated after an hour's worth of planing, as the wind dropped and I was gently washed ashore alongside seaweed and general north sea debris.
Still a good season warm up (so to speak). Getting ready for the big one. When is that going to be again?
First sail of the year! Left it too late though, so realising my new year's resolution to sail more than Carl is looking unlikely.
Nice day at Thorpe Bay, but crap session. Howling as I was getting there, but dropped dead as soon as I rigged my 5.3m. Tried the 7.5m but even that didn't cut it. Managed to stick my feet in the foot-straps for 15 minutes and the rest of the session was reduced to an embarrassing balancing act in the high tide swell.
As this was my week off, I arrived at Tankerton Bay at 9am for an early morning sail. I earned it as I spent the whole of Thursday with the kids at the Rare Breeds Farm while Sarah was chilling in Deal.
The combination of the incoming tide and the onshore wind turned the sea a revolting sewer-brown colour literally as far as the eye could see. Not the most attractive sight first thing in the morning.
On the upside, the sea was quite rough with some 4-foot high ramps for jumps and practising tight gybes.
By 11am the wind dropped (again!) but this time I was close to the beach so I just laid back and let the waves gently wash me ashore.
Also, a guy I met on Tuesday at St. Mary's bay, was there too. Random coincidence!
Overall, Kent was ok this week, but I want my Hayling back!
Could it ever be possible that, during the same 2-hour sailing session, one gets stranded a mile out to sea twice; because of a massive wind surge due to a storm the first time, and because of a total wind drop an hour later?
Well, it did happen to me! In the first instance I clutched onto my kit and patiently waited for the storm to pass (due to poor visibility no arm waving would have mobilise the local RLNI!). In the second instance I had to perform a 30 minute swim of shame, as I could neither waterstart nor stand on the board (followed by the walk of shame, as the current pushed me downwind whilst swimming).
A day to remember!
Mud, mud, glorious mud...
I love St. Mary's Bay (the other side of Camber Sands). Beautiful, long, quiet, sandy beach; and then you step in the fine clay mud pools; up to your knees; for about 50 meters; with every step thinking that you leg will never come up again, and you'll keep sinking.
I got there on low tide and two 70-year-olds (couple) where already out. I calculated that if a 5.3 was suitable to their skeleton-like silhouettes, then a 5.6 would be perfect for my ampler figure. Thankfully my calculations were bang-on, so I enjoyed a couple of hours of bump-and-jump action, using the right board this time. A bit further out the sea had a nice greenish/bluish colour, but close to the shore it was plain mud-bath.
After a while the 70 year-olds packed up (or gobbled up by the mud), so I had the whole beach to myself!
It was my first time at St. Mary's bay, but I am not sure I will be going back. That mud is a show stopper.
Finally! Stable wind for a change: lovely, warm NE breeze. As I am a bump&jump board short, I had to make the Freeride alternative do things it wasn't meant do. It struggled, huffed, puffed and in the end the ever growing waves sent us both packing.
Had a great weekend at Bramblebush.
Saturday sail was good despite the dubious looking seaweed that was floating in large patches and turned that stretch of the harbour into an obstacle course. The wind was patchy as well, switching from dizzying highs to devastating lows in a matter of nanoseconds. Yet, I did practice my gybes although according to Paul S a week in Club Vass would do my some good.
Kids played happily both days with Rory, Iona, Robert and a bunch of others whose names escaped me.
Saturday night we camped at Corfe Castle Caravan and Camping. Great camping site and amazing castle!
Chatted all weekend with other club members: Paul, Sheena, Carl, Marion, Andrew and others.
Carl and Marion's dog learned to fetch a Frisbee.
What else could you ask for from a summer weekend?!?
The doubting Thomas's kept asking the same question: "why are we going to the beach since it's raining?". And I kept answering: "Have faith in the island young ones. The island will deliver". And it sure did! After driving in the rain for an hour, the glorious sun came out as soon as we crossed the bridge. The rest is history.
We got there at 11:30. We drove through the car park looking for familiar camper-vans, but alas we didn't recognise any, so we ended up pitching our wind-break and beach-tent in front of the golf course by the rocks. On my way to the toilets I spotted Andrew's red van, but there was nobody around so I assumed he was sailing. So in the end we didn't get to see any club members at all!
I only brought my large board with me, didn't expect such bumpy conditions. After two hours of bouncing around like a kangaroo on steroids I decided that it was time for the kids to get some parental attention and dragged myself out of the water. The wind dropped an hour later anyway.
We were almost the last ones to leave the car park at 7pm.
Added by Andrew on 30/07/12
Hi Yannis, sorry we missed you. Where you saw my van is our usual spot, but there was only a few of us around. Hope to see you next time. Hayling is great, but unless it's springs & low tide, then it's nearly always bouncy and bumpy.
Excellent evening sail. SW cross-shore winds and low tide meant the sea was completely flat, perfect for me to practice some of Jem Hall's tips and tricks.
Whitstable can be a very dramatic evening backdrop when low hanging black clouds fly past while the horizon above Southend clears just as the sun sets, showering the village with horizontal orange light. Sadly, such romantic moments are counter-balanced by Whitstable's ankle-deep sticky mud-fest and the seaweed that surfaces on low tide and creepily gets tangled around the fin just as the board starts planing.
Still, it's only an hour away from home, so the only option for an after work session.
Added by garibaldi on 20/07/12
Aaah...the memories of when I lived in Sidcup & could nip down there (or Minnis Bay) for an evening session !
Back in the distant days, the club used to sometimes visit the area. I know Carl & Marion, Carolyn & other 'old hands' remember playing rounders at Minnis Bay.... & of course, the depressing B & B in Margate.
Our weekend experience in 10 lines:
We arrived at Calshot on Friday.
We met some great members (and children) throughout the weekend, too many to name!
It rained some more
We toured a number of camper vans and got some great ideas.
It rained even more.
We didn't get a chance to BBQ as it kept raining.
Kids had fun paddling and having a go at windsurfing.
Managed to score an hour's worth of great sailing on Sunday with John, Juan and others.
We shredded a tyre on M4 on our way back and car ended up on a towing truck.
Sun came out.