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Can Dinsmore Race to Victory?

Boards: Who else is performing well on the BSA tour this year?

Dinsmore: With all his high-level experience the reigning champion Ant Baker is the man to beat in the pro-fleet. The other two ‘big guns’ are Worthing event winner, Simon Cofield, and Weymouth OTC centre manager, Kevin Greenslade. Both of them can be pretty unstoppable on top form. There is strength in depth in the fleet and close behind are a host of others.

Boards: Where do you usually windsurf?

Dinsmore: Last autumn my wife and I moved to Hayling Island so that is where I now do the majority of my sailing. I have enough annual leave to fit in two or three international slalom events a year but that leaves none for any other trips. I have been lucky enough to sail in many places around the world but still have not been to Maui. Hopefully I will make it out there in the next couple of years.

James Dinsmore in Fuerteventura. Image credit Aneeta Sinha.

Boards: What is your favourite spot on the BSA tour and why?

Dinsmore: We are lucky that all of our venues have something going for them. My favourite conditions are when there are high winds on the open sea. I love approaching the marks fully lit on a 7m and then gybing off banks of swell. We had these conditions at Worthing a couple of years ago and then I won the event there last year, so that venue has become one of my favourites.

Boards: Why would you encourage others to compete?

Dinsmore: Competition is one of the fastest ways of improving your sailing and keeps windsurfing exciting. As you inevitably sail with better sailors you learn by just being around them. My experience has been that at both UK and international events, most sailors are happy to share pearls on technique and kit set-up that a sailor could otherwise take years to work out on their own.

Boards: What equipment are you using and why?

Dinsmore: This year I have been lucky enough to join the Starboard and Severne team and it has been an exciting move. With Bjorn Dunkerbeck winning the world title on the gear last year it is clear that the combination has great potential. At the two events so far this year I feel that the gear has enabled me to significantly up my game.

I have iSonic 87, 107 and 127 boards and Reflex 3 sails from 9.6m down to 5.1m. The 9.6m is a bit too big for me at PWA events as racing only really starts when Bjorn and Finian are powered on their 9.6m sails and at which wind strength I am overpowered on mine. However I need the 9.6m as we race in some pretty light conditions in the UK. This year my smallest sail is a 5.1m as last year at Fuerteventura it was so windy that I could hardly gybe my 5.8m.

James Dinmore racing in front of Mt Etna at PWA Reggio Calabria. Image courtesy PWA/John Carter.

Boards: Slalom racing is all about going fast, what are your top tips?

The hardest thing about slalom is that there is so much to it: the gear selection, the tuning, the start, the speed along the straight, the gybes under pressure… It is very hard to succeed in getting all these elements right and it takes time and practice.

Much of racecraft is pattern recognition and you have to learn from your mistakes. When a start doesn’t go well you have to ask yourself ‘what would I do next time?’ and then remember that lesson when the same situation presents itself in the future. For these reasons older sailors can be very competitive in slalom (which is good for me!).

As far as tuning kit goes there is no doubt that fin choice is often not given the attention it deserves. The right fin has just the right amount of lift to allow your board to unstick from the water yet not so much that the board tailwalks when fully powered. Beg, borrow and steal to enable you to try as many fins as you can!

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