FORCES WINDSURFING AT HAYLING
Every year the best Forces windsurfers get together for "Open"
Championships. It used to be held at Renesse on the Dutch coast, but since
most of us are based in the UK now, we have moved to the Inn on the Beach
at Hayling, a great venue with instant access to beer! The format is
simple and inspired by the Vass Classic: get as many races as possible done
in 3 days including Course racing, Slalom, Master Blaster and Long Distance
and party all night. If there is anyone left standing at the end, he’s
usually the winner.
This year the wind was late and we only got 3 Course races on day 1; Sgt
Doc White (Army) beating CPO Jamie Walker (Navy) with Flt Lt Simon Kent
(RAF) neatly rounding off the top 3. Day 2 had no wind but Friday was a
perfect Hayling day: SW force 4, sunny and warm.
We kicked off with 4 Master Blasters: 1000 metres out to sea and back with
Capt Allan Cross (Army) just beating Simon and Doc, with UKWA stalwarts
Jamie Walker and Dave Strudwick (Navy) 4th and 5th. Then straight into a
mass-start Slalom, winner takes all (no time for heats, I’m afraid) run 3
times. Simon won easily, benefiting from Allan and Doc’s equipment change
for race 2, when they both changed down and fell to 8th and 9th in deep
frustration as the wind failed to strengthen.
Finally, we had a "half hour classic" won easily by Jamie who took
ZUD slalom board (a weird-looking, square-fronted missile that is just
very, very fast). Most of the 30 or so sailors were on 11 square metres
all day and showed a far higher standard of sailing than at any previous
Forces event, though when they get the chance to practice nowadays I really
have no idea. It was a lot easier in my day, I tell you!
Overall winner was Simon Kent, runner up Doc White and third Jamie Walker.
Many thanks to Tushingham for sponsoring the event and providing a heap of
prizes and vouchers, to Aaron Williams for his time spent coaching and rig
tuning and the Inn on the Beach for the fantastic hospitality. Oh, and we
got a live interview, on the water, from "www.garrisonradio.com",
Forces network programme that goes out in the main garrison areas: for once
the race officer was in the right place – pretty reporter, sunshine, blue
water, all the sailors well out of reach!