21 Oct 2015
By Luke Smith
Had a fantastic time in my first BWA comp and finished 6th in the ams out of a fleet of 10. Everyone was so nice giving me lifts around the island as I was without my own transport! Such a top week, had 2 decent windsurfs and countless surfs on the very cool island! Cannot recommend the week highly enough, bring on the freestyle champs next week – turns out competing is addictive!
9 Oct 2015
By Louis Morris
I have to admit, at one point, the forecast didn’t exactly fill me with excitement for the last event of the UKWA National Championship Series at Stokes Bay, Gosport. However, after about 1.5 hours of postponement, racing got underway in …
I have to admit, at one point, the forecast didn’t exactly fill me with excitement for the last event of the UKWA National Championship Series at Stokes Bay, Gosport. However, after about 1.5 hours of postponement, racing got underway in about 6 knots of wind.
(photo by Robert Hajduk)
Due to the constrictions of the shipping channel, racing took place on a windward/leeward course set close to the shore, with wind shifts and tide playing a very important part in tactical decisions. By the time we started racing, the tide was fairly slack, but probably still running in the deep water, so the winning tactic was to head right and make use of less tide, and possibly some kind of wind bend by the shore. Tom Naylor had really impressive light wind speed, and arrived first to the windward mark. I managed to pass him, but had to really work to keep him behind me in the first race. In race two, it was a similar story, but this time it was Rob Kent who had a good race, finishing just behind myself. Mark Kay was particularly impressive upwind all weekend, and beat Tom to take 3rd. With a late start to the racing, we were treated to a third exhausting light wind race. Again, I won, with Rob in second, but this time Tom just managed to keep Mark from the top three.
After a well-earned break, we headed out for the final race of the day. The wind was now just strong enough to plane downwind, and with a bit of extra power in his sail, Mark Kay found his familiar superspeed self. It was a very close race between us on the first lap, but a good second beat gave me a large enough lead to pump a little less on the last downwind. Tom sailed a solid race, but was unfortunately one of four competitors to be pushed over the line early by the strengthening tide. Annette Kent had a solid performance, finishing ahead of Harriet Ellis in every race, which put her in a good position going into the final day to take the national title.
In the youths, it was Alice Butts who sailed the best in the light, tidal conditions. However it was very close, with only a couple of points separating the 4 youths at the end of the day.
On Sunday, the SE’ly wind was there early on, but took it’s time to build, and the two morning races took place in similarly light wind to Saturday, with a fast tide pushing against it. The best tactic upwind was to head out to deep water and catch the tide and stronger wind. I managed to get away to a strong lead and win both races, although eventually retired from the first race following an incident on the start line, and a lack of enthusiasm for protest hearings. Behind me, it was very close racing between Tom, Mark, and Rob. Mark and Tom managed to get great upwind board-speed in the short chop, whilst Rob’s strength was downwind.
The wind built to a nice 12-14 knots in the afternoon, and the tide started to switch direction. Myself, Tom, and Mark started to have a little bit of a speed advantage over Rob in the stronger conditions. I didn’t have an amazing start in the first race, but a strong downwind saw me take the lead, only to run out of outhaul rope at the leeward mark, forcing me to tack to pull on outhaul on the other side of the boom. This sent me into slack/wind with tide water, whilst Mark and Tom headed into the channel and established an insurmountable lead on me, with Mark winning the race. In the final race, I took the start a little too relaxed and was called over within the final minute. I had to go around the end, but couldn’t find a gap, and in trying to manoeuvre myself into a position to start on time, fell in and gave everyone a 1 minute head start as I had some fun uphauling my sail! Mark and Tom sailed off to take first and second, whilst I played catch up. I managed to pull back to about 5th or 6th at the windward mark, then pumped like crazy to arrive at the leeward mark in 3rd, a position I managed to keep to the finish.
Pretty frustrated with my silly mistakes, as my speed was certainly good enough to win both races. In the end, I could still win the event, and unfortunately my mistakes impacted Rob more than me: with two 2nd places, Tom was able to displace Rob from the event podium, and take 3rd behind Mark in 2nd.
Lewis Barnes was going quicker in the slightly stronger breeze, and took a 4th and 5th. Similarly, Jenna Gibson started chipping away at the points; with 3 top ten finishes on Sunday, she managed to snatch the youth prize from Alice Butts, who did just enough to keep Thomas Cave, who prefers stronger winds, behind her in the final result. However, with the most consistent performance throughout the year, it was Thomas who was first youth in the overall series, congratulations to him in his first year on raceboard.
Sunday was the day for Harriet to get some points back from Annette, but unfortunately for her, it wasn’t quite enough, handing Annette both the event, and overall series win for the womens prize.
In two weeks, the final inland event takes place at Pitsford Reservoir near Northampton. After that, we look forward to more great racing next year. However, there are still the LWA icebreaker events to go to if anyone wants some more racing between now and next spring.
Event results summary:
1st, Louis Morris
2nd, 1st master, 1st heavyweight, Mark Kay
3rd, 1st veteran, Tom Naylor
1st supervet, John Pete (6th overall)
1st lady, Annette Kent (7th overall)
1st youth, Jenna Gibson (10th overall)
Complete results: http://www.windsurfingresults.co.uk/StokesBay2015.html
Series results summary:
1st, Louis Morris
2nd, 1st master, 1st heavyweight, Mark Kay
3rd, Robert Kent
1st Veteran, Tom Naylor (4th overall)
1st supervet, John Pete (6th overall)
1st Lady, Annette Kent (7th overall)
1st Youth, Thomas Cave (9th overall)
Complete results: http://www.windsurfingresults.co.uk/UKWACup2015.html
8 Oct 2015
Every October the worlds longest running speed event is held in Portland Harbour, England. The event in its 43rd Year still attracts the top windsurfers, kitesurfers and sailors from around the world all competing to be the fastest over a 500m course set inside the Harbour.
The annual event is firmly fixed in local windsurfer Scotty Stallman’s calendar, not only because it involves his love of windsurfing and is held in his local waters it also involves speed sailing, one of Scotty’s passions alongside slalom and wavesailing.
Scotty started windsurfing just after his 9th Birthday, a couple of taster sessions at The Official Test Centre (OTC) soon had him hooked on the sport, and under the watchful eye of Tris Best Scotty progressed quickly in windsurfing soon becoming a competent sailor who tended to prefer challenging high winds…
Portland Harbour has a strong tradition of speed sailing and it was not long before the local speed sailors, notably Pete Young started mentoring him and introducing him to speed sailing, he quickly progressed from rotational sails to fully cammed race sails and at just 11years old broke 30knots for the first time (his current max speed is just over 36 knots). The speed sailing discipline clearly runs deep within Scotty making it even more important to win the local event, this ethos is also seen in local sailor Kevin Greenslade who also places great importance on winning the event.
Alongside speed sailing Tris Best at The Official Test Centre has made sure Scotty has been introduced to all the other styles of windsurfing, the winter slalom training series run by the OTC introduced Scotty into the world of Slalom sailing, again supported and encouraged by some of the top UK slalom riders Scotty now competes in the Amateur fleet on the BSA National Slalom Series, where not only topping his age group he has placed very highly within the whole fleet, even winning the Weymouth event in the Harbour earlier this year! Now sponsored by the OTC, Starboard and Severne. Tris has also made sure Scotty has been bitten by the wave sailing bug, taking him sailing to local beaches alongside longer trips away to Cornwall even allowing him to test kit and provide a perspective from a younger and lighter rider. It does appear the time spent speed sailing in 40-50knot winds has paid off well with Scotty soon settling into wave sailing enjoying the usually associated high winds the conditions often need.
Sailing all year round Windsurfing has become Scotty’s main sport with Rugby and Football making way to ensure he is available to sail when conditions allow, on dry and very light wind days Scotty will be out on his road bike clocking up the miles keeping him fit and active, and if its wet the mountain bike comes out.
Sailing all year helps in the training and preparation for Slalom events and of course Weymouth Speed Week. This year’s event saw no little or no wind on Saturday but a steady 20 knots on the course for Sunday. “The wind had built up nicely to a steady 20 knots on the course, unfortunately it was from South Easterly direction making the water choppy, far from ideal conditions for speed sailing but this was the last day of the Junior competition and we all had to sail in the same conditions. I soon settled into the conditions after a couple of runs, I was really pleased my best runs averaged just over 25knots over the choppy 500m course and were fastest in the Junior Fleet, I was very pleased to win the Tushingham Trophy for the Junior Fleet for a second year running”.
With the final Slalom event of the series looming Scotty is busy tuning up his new kit from Starboard and Severne. The combination of 2015 ISonic Carbon Boards and Reflex 6 sails is working incredibly well for Scotty with some fin upgrades on the near horizon it looks like Scotty will be kept busy all winter.
At 14 years old Scotty already has a fantastic grounding in windsurfing, he is quickly developing into a well-rounded sailor who enjoys the competition side of windsurfing along with the personal challenges he sets himself not only speed wise but by learning new skills and techniques.