Tim Frampton, an amateur racer, reports from a busy weekend in Aberdovey...
With most people arriving on the Friday at differing times of the day and in my case night, others even earlier, Aberdovey is always a good weekend event whether for the Boardwise demo event with a round of the BSA Slalom or the demo event in October. A beautiful location where we are all made to feel very welcome by both the locals and the Dovey Yacht Club, not to mention the legendry Saturday night party.
Saturday was a lovely sunny day with not enough wind forecast or apparent for racing or general free sailing, thought due to the major brands in the UK being there for the demo, there was plenty of Paddle Boards to go around, whether they were being paddled or sailed, with both the traditional construction and the likes of the Fanatic Fly inflatable being fitted with a mast foot base, there was plenty of fun to be had practising freestyle moves or improving rig control, as well as paddling across the picturesque estuary.
There was also the opportunity for the usual social gathering of competitors, support crew and race officials. Tips and technique advice being sort from, and in some cases by the pro sailors, with top PWA sailor Ross Williams, James Dinsmore and Nik Baker on hand to offer advice. It is always a very friendly atmosphere off the water at the Slalom events with legends on the water very friendly and approachable enjoying the banter with everyone else. A good day enjoyed by all.
On the Saturday evening we all headed to Dovey yacht club, but with one eye on the forecasted wind and tide for the next day offering a full days racing some of us decided to head for an earlier night.....
Sunday morning brought with it a building wind and a cloudy morning with clearing rain and sunny spells forecast.
We rigged in anticipation, from 9.6 down to 6.3, the forecast was a little vague.
The briefing was called for 10, and we were going to race a tight 3 buoy downwind course with a hook finish line. At this point I should point out that like our school days, some of us fail to listen in class, I include myself in this. Bob Ingram pointed out exactly where the finish line would be, so we had to gybe around the finish buoy to pass between it and the end of the Dovey Yacht Club balcony.
Some of us lost places due to just sailing past the buoy thinking I did well there, as others gybed inside of us to take the odd place, very frustrating but our own fault.
Always listen and attend race briefings when called, there is a point to them!
As always the master blast fleet started racing first with some close racing, completeing a good days racing with plenty of rounds, as an introduction to Slalom racing, using any kit, it really is a great series, with simple beach start, out and back racing.
Around 11 am we started racing with four full rounds of Slalom for the amateurs and 5 for the pro fleet, with an hour break for lunch.
This included two heats, with a winners and loosers final, for each fleet.
The start was 100 metres from the beach and a tight short reach course, with the inside gybe mark and finish close to the beach. In fact the inside mark was 15 meters from the beach! This meant great photo opportunities and a superb close to the action view for the spectators.
The starts were very close as there was only 100m to get up and planning over the start line at go.
The racing in both fleets was phonetic and close within the pack, leading to a lot of crashes and the odd breakage! Some ending up on the beach, when taking the gybe marks too wide.
There was some noticeable performances from Ross Williams showing his class and seeming to find another gear to most on the reaches, with impeccable gybing taking the Pro Victory, Si Cofield although loosing out in one heat after a big crash he managed to sail cleverly and work his way to a 2nd Pro finish, James Dinsmore with consistant sailing finishing 3rd, there was also some bad luck around for some sailors with kit failure and the afore mentioned finish line issues.
In the amateur fleet it was very tight racing in the heats and finals, with changing conditions meaning the event places swapping during the day. As always, a very friendly but competitive attitude through the fleet.
Again with some spectacular action around the marks, with places being swapped around the marks and on the reaches, which led to a most enjoyable days racing.
It has to be said that the great days racing was due to a good course being set in the morning by Tessa and the slick running of the heats and finals, it seemed that at most times there was a heat on the course. Without the race officer and crew, not to mention the patience of the results and event organisers having to put up with over eager and at times stroppy sailors, of which I must admit to being one, none of us would have had such a great event at the Boardwise/North/Fanatic/Ion BSA Slalom 4 Event.
A special thank you to event sponsors Boardwise for the pro prize money and K66/North/Fanatic/Ion for amazing prizes across the fleets.
Words Tim Frampton K78
Anyone at Aberdovey this weekend would have spotted Boards and Boardseeker camera man Alfie Hart getting up close and personal with a few of the riders, plus filming the on water action. Just as we did from the Worthing BSA, Boards will soon release a video of all the action from Aberdovey... here's a further gallery of stills from Alfie to wet your appetites!
Saturday 29th July and the BSA competitors and Boardswise Demo attendees were treated to a gorgeous, sunny day at the beach. With not much wind around everyone took to the water for some SUP action, preparing and waiting for the forecast wind. Though Sunday may have not been quite as sunny the wind was blowing, so everyone was straight onto the water for tense racing and trialling of brand new equipment.
Scroll down for gallery...
In the racing Ross Williams was victorious, stamping his authority on the slalom scene. Hot on his tail was Si Cofield, who was on fire in the 20 + knot conditions. In third was James Dinsmore, who was racing well and had the speed but couldn't quite take the win like he did in Worthing.
Kev Greenslade was also absolutely flying, challenging Williams for speed but it just didn't come together for Kev at this event, we're sure he will be after blood at the next event though and he definitely has the speed to take an event win this year.
Also, full credit to a strong fleet of amateur sailors taking on the racing in at times demanding conditions. It's fantastic to see more and more amateur racers getting out there too. Boards will have full results and much more coverage from the weekend very soon, for now we bring you some of the drama and a great gallery by Melanie Pettifer.
There was also quite a lot of drama through the weekend:
Where's the finish? A lot of confusion over how/where the finish line was, and which way it was to be sailed through. Greenslade and Dinsmore, among others lost out in finish line confusion.
Cofield vs Carbon...Cofield wins! Si Cofield not only finished second, but managed some pretty impressive breakages at the weekend. Si managed to break in fin in one race, and then before another catapult into his mast...breaking his mast with his arm, and only leaving a slight graze on his arm! Mast 0 - Cofield 1.
Tight. Very Tight. With a small racing area to play with the course was tricky at times, with some gybe marks and the start very close to the beach. This made things very exciting for onlookers but meant that it was possible to squeeze sailors out at gybe marks...Fair on not fair? What do you think?