ARMY WINDSURFING CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Army Windsurfing Championships were held at Hayling Island 10 – 14 July 2006.
What an awesome week, yes we all got good tans but more importantly the wind didn’t fail us either to ensure a great week on the water for all sailing abilities entered, talking of which we saw no less than 28 Novice’s to the sport of windsurfing competition from across the army. These novice where in the first season of competition however there windsurfing experience varied from 1 week of sailing experience to 2 years. I real mixed bag of ability. They fought through their races on the Mon/ Tues of the week, with the winds being ideal for this format of racing, they certainly brought a buzz to the week and will ensure that our sport within the army grows with a healthy appetite of young sailors of mixed gender to the competition arena.
2 Novice sailors worthy of special note, fistly Sarah Bibby who is18 years of age, having recently completed her A Levels. She is on a Gap Year before she goes up to Southampton University where she intends to read for a MSc in Aeronautical Engineering in four years time when she graduates it is hoped that she will continue through to RMA Sandhurst and eventually emerge as a REME Officer.Currently Sarah is serving as a 2Lt in 2 Battalion REME in Germany as part of her Gap Year commission. During this year she took part in a Windsurfing training exercise, in Dahab Egypt, with Windsurfers of the REME Yacht Club. She arrived as a complete novice but in the one week in Dahab she experienced sailing in winds strengths of upto 7Bf. By the end of the week she had clocked a wind speed of 50kph+, not bad considering at the start of the week footstraps, harness, planning, waterstarting and carving were merely words on the course programme to her. She took part in her first Army Championships in July, held on Hayling Island. She finished 3rd in the Novice Class and then tested her newly acquired abilities in the Open 10.1m2 Class where she also finished a credible 3rd. She also intends to take part in the Forces North West Europe Championships in Renesse on the Dutch coast in late August before finally starting her University life.
The Second being LCpl Neil Vidot is originally from the Seychelles and is currently serving with REME at 7 Battalion in Wattisham. Neil has recently completed his trade training at Arborfield and 7 Bn is his first posting to the Field Army. It was at Arborfield where he was introduced to Windsurfing during Wednesday sports afternoons and achieved his RYA level One at the end of 2005. He also took part in a Windsurfing training exercise, in Dahab Egypt, with Windsurfers of the REME Yacht Club. With winds in excess of 20 knots LCpl Vidot had a very steep learning curve, in Dahab, since he hadn’t mastered the techniques of using the harness or planning but by the end of the week where the winds had increased to 30 knots he was achieving these techniques and a host of others. Neil shows so much potential that he should be ready to attend an Instructors course by the end of the year. At the Army Windsurfing Championships held on Hayling Island in July Neil sailed a Formula Board for the first time and successfully won the Novice Championships with 6 wins out of a possible 9 races.
On the Wednesday witnessed the Final of the Inter Corps Series Team and Individual competition and also the Army Team Championships, which is a one off competition at this annual event. Unfortunately we had to wait till the sea breezes kicked in late afternoon before our race officer summoned the competitors to the water for the first of 3 races in total in the light variable10 – 14 knots winds. It was the Royal Engineers headed up by Capt Mark Collins RE who headed their team who took the Army Team prize on the day with an awesome effort by all their team sailors. However it was The Royal Logistic Team who retained the Inter Corps Series Event after competing in no less than 4 separate events throughout the year headed up By Capt Allan Cross RLC who won the 3 races outright.
It was then onto the Army Individual Event which took place on the Thursday/Friday, of the week. No racing took place on the Thursday as the wind hovered just below out minimum wind strength of 10 knots. But the Race Officer had us on our starters orders all day as the last possible time to race of 1600hrs lapsed. Next on the agenda was our Annual ASA (W) AGM sat out on the balcony at the Inn On The Beach in the lovely evening sun .On the conclusion we had our annual dinner which we said goodbye to Gordon Jeffery our Army Windsurfing Trainer who leaves us on early retirement from the Civil Service, we wish him all the very best in the future.
We had an excellent evening with a few fluid replenishments throughout the evening a huge appreciation goes out to Boardseeker who contributed generously to the dinner.
As Friday morning loomed it was obviously it was all or bust as the wind increased to 15 – 20 knots in the gusty off shore winds of Hayling, not expecting any sympathy for some of the thick heads from the evening before. The Race officer set an upwind and down wind gate course and we completed pretty much 5 back-to-back races to gain our results from the day and the Individual Annual Army Championships. The closing races where witness by Major General Chris Elliott The President of the Army Control Sports board who eventually presented the overall prizes.
We would like to thank Havant Borough Council for their support of the event, Steve North who always makes us feel very welcome at the Inn On The Beach and our generous sponsors who supplied the prizes for our competitors, Fat Face, Tushingham, Williams Windsurfing, Sola wetsuits
It was Maj Gareth Baker RE who became The Inter Corps Series Individual Champion 2006
The Novice Category was won by LCpl Neil Vidot REME
The Open Class was open by Maj Nick Jefferey AMS
But after a hard close fought competition in the Individual Championships, it was Maj Gareth Baker RE who came 3rd overall with SSgt Doc White AAC coming 2nd but it was Capt Allan Cross RLC who retained his title as the Army Individual Champion of 2006.
Allan is sponsored by Fat Face,Tushingham/Starboard, Williams Windsurfing Sola Wetsuits,