Sunday, February 13, 2011

normal service has been resumed

With all the talk of speedsailing, hardly had time to mention the wave sessions of the last week.

The day after the speedsailing in Dungarvan, we had the first round of our Irish Wave Champs in Coolmaine in Cork. The wind that I had got for the speed continued all weekend, and by Coolmaine standards, the swell was pumping about as good as it gets there... bit over logo high cross-on ramp central, and nice for some good rides too.

The first day was set aside for newcomers to the wave series, and the turnout was great, with loads of new faces having a go, even some who had never wave-sailed before.
We had a few fun expression sessions for the silver fleet... and a couple for us too, one was for biggest jump, the other for general 'express yourself' type stuff.  It was an absolute jump-fest, and also nice to get a couple of takas in there, and generally loosen the muscles up after the speed marathon the day before.

Ryan, Jeff C, Myself (Pearse in background) Mark Killeen in the rain.

Then Sunday was comp proper, and we got through the whole round pretty quickly before the wind eventually died, and left us de-rigging in the pissing rain. 

The newcomer to the Surfdock Team  Ryan O'Leary was right at home in the starboard tack conditions, and generally loving life.   Before you knew it, there he was in the final with myself, Jeff Cochrane (also team Surfdock) and Mark Killeen.  Mark actually might have never made it, after breaking his boom 1 minute before his first heat.. luckly I was on the beach with one in my hand at the time rigging the 3.2m for Ryan.    Unlucky to miss a place in the final was Dan Gardener, whose equipment decided enough was enough after all his jumping, and a shredded sail left him out of the running after his semifinal.

The final itself turned out to be a bit of an anticlimax after a great day of jumping and riding, as after about 4 minutes in, the wind started to drop, and we were left trying to keep moving, rather then giving it everything.  Just a shame after 3 days of solid wind, for the last few minutes to be a bit frustrating.  In the end though, I'm glad to say I got the win, Mark 2nd, Ryan 3rd and Jeff 4th (see pic).

Big thanks has to go to Pearse, for running the whole thing, arranging the non-stop wind and waves, and also getting a great crew of newcomers to try their first event!
Wish I had some pics of the event, but my Nikon is having memory card issues which need to be sorted out, and so I don't have any stills shots of this event, or of the Louisbourg session below.  The shots are on the card... just need to find a way to get them.

Louisbourg...  boots are back on :(
Anyway... yesterday was another great forecast for the westcoast. 6.3m swell and 30 knots Southerly :) That was the good news.  The bad news was it's got colder again, and it was booties and hood back on, and I even got the full re-heats in the hands :(
Louisbourg was breaking the biggest I have ever sailed it, with some mast+ sets rolling through, an making getting out tricky at times.  We tried sailing the outer reefs, which were absolutely firing, but they were actually a bit too bumpy to even think about turning on.   The inside reef was breaking really heavy, and apart from Tibo having his usual 25 minute swim after his equipment, it was damn good fun.  He didn't manage to break anything (again), but did manage to lose his mast off the top of his car on the way home. DOH!

The shot above is as usual from my trusty GoPro HD. I'm liking that nose mount angle, and just playing around to see what I can capture shooting stills every 2 secs.  It's a bit hit and miss, but always good fun.

Hope you had a good one.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

records fall !

What a windy week we have just had, and it's still blowing !!

After the Louisbourg session I posted about last week, we got a couple of wavesailing sessions in Dublin, before starting to look ahead to the forecast for the first round of the Irish wave Championships, which was set to take place in Cork last weekend.

A massive storm was on the way, with most of Ireland promised 30 to 60 knots of wind, 13m swell, and very mild temperatures.  Could this be the end of the arctic winter and freezing windsurfing sessions we have been having?

Where to go, and where to sail before the wave event was proving to be a hard choice.  Go to Donegal or Sligo to find massive waves, but then have and drive to Cork for the event at the far end of the country?  That seemed like too much of a mission, and still manage to get work done too (yes I do actually work too !).

Another choice presented itself, and is one I have been waiting for, for a long time.  Dungarvan Speed strip was forecast for Friday last with SW winds from 30 to 55knots, and the tide absolutely perfect for speedsailing all day.  Better still, it's kind of on the way to Cork from Dublin, so in the end it was an easy choice... time to pack the speed board again and see how good Dungarvan might actually be for speed in the right conditions.

I have to say I got pretty excited at the prospect of possible record breaking conditions, so spent most of the night before checking gps equipment and settings, updating firmware, and getting all the speed gear together too.  And of course packing and getting ready for the wave event afterwards in Cork.

After an early start to get down there, I was greeted with the flattest water I have ever seen, with sure enough - 35 to 50 knots blowing down the course.  Rigging was a mission in the howling wind, and luckily enough a local sailor Oliver Clancy turned up for a sail too, which meant I could hit the water straight away, while my friend Dave Garvey followed me down (who while on the way discovered he had forgotten his wetsuit - which was pointed out by his young daughter, and a cross Dublin mission was set up with his very understanding and brilliant wife Cora).

For me it was time to put all 12kgs of lead in the weight jacket, and go and try out the conditions.  First run down the course was pretty maxed out on my 4.7m RS Racing, and the GPS hit 43.5 knots max speed.  This was going to be an interesting day indeed !  Run after run the speeds increased, with the top of the course being perfectly flat but still broad, until you get to the second red marker bouy, and then the course goes broader, and seems to increase 10 knots at the same time. Quite a few high 44s appeared, and then eventually a 46.34 !

My mission all along was to try and improve my 5x10 second average (which is what the ranking is based on, and of course try and beat my 500m speed, and see if I could also break John Kenny's (R.I.P) 500m record at the same time.  It's no secret that I have been chasing that speed for a long time.

With these times coming up, it looked pretty likely, as the course is sooo long, that it's pretty easy to wind up to top speed and hold it for a long time, with room to spare.

Dave eventually turned up, and had his first ever go of a speed board and small speed sail in strong conditions.  It was a bit trickier when he got out, as the oncoming tide was pushing a lot of water through the starting area.  He had a blast though, and got a good few runs in and started to get the hang of the speedboard.  He definitely wants to come back for more.

The whole day I kept thinking that it would eventually have to be time to man-up, and go and try the 5.5m, and see if it was any faster.  As it turned out, for me it was slower, only managing to get 43.5s on it.  I think there was too much drag in such a strong wind, and for my bodyweight, the smaller sail was just more efficient.

Anyway, if I haven't bored you by now, you might be interested to see the speeds, which I could only find out that night when I got to Cork and could put them on a friends computer to analise.
Top Max Speeds

Top 10 second speeds, with the 5x10 averaged at the bottom.

Top 500m speeds.

Mission accomplised, or so I thought, as after Dave did all the GPS record witness stuff for me, I uploaded the wrong files to gps-speedsuring, and found the speeds to be slower than I thought.  Eventually we sorted it out with great help from Roger in Holland, and then I could claim a new Irish GPS record, which was then sent for verification.

I found out last night that everything is in order, and I have got official word that I now hold the National GPS speed record, which is based on the fastest 10 second run of 45.02knots.
At 78kgs, I would be considered a lightweight in speedsailing terms, and looking at that list of top speed guys from the Netherlands, I'm keeping fine company. 
Have so say, not bad for a guy with 1 speed-board and 2 sails. 

And finally.... here is the video of the day !!!
Hope you enjoy it !

Dungarvan Irish GPS Speed Record from Surfdock Watersports on Vimeo.

I will have to write about the wave event in the next post.
That one well really well too, and I'm glad to say the strong winds continued and we had a great competition !  Also happy to report I won the event too :)

Hope you got to catch some of that great wind over the weekend !

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Monday waves

Had a fun session in Louisbourg on Monday, with Dan G and PK from Galway, and Cormac from Belmullet. Wasn't massive waves - that's for later this week - but just so much fun powered up nicely on 4.5 Combat and 74 JP Quad all day.
Best of all, it's getting warm enough now to lose the booties, which is such a pleasure.
Thanks to PK for getting tired and taking the shots.