FORCES OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Forces Open Windsurfing Championships 2007 were held at Hayling Island 25-27 April. This attracted 40 sailors from all 3 services who came together to compete in 4 separate disciplines, Course Racing, Slalom, Long Distance and Master Blaster over the 3 days of competition. The newly appointed Army Windsurfing Training Manager Jon Metcalf was drafted in as Official Race Officer and coordinated the proceedings from ashore and afloat.
The predicted forecast wasn’t looking too good, but we were blessed with 2 days of moderate NW winds with sun. This enabled use to get 2 full days of competition Weds, Thurs but due to the light variable winds on Friday no further racing was possible.
In the course racing discipline on Wednesday a interesting but challenging course was set with the vast majority of the sailors opting to use 11m sails with Formula boards to complete the circuit, unfortunately there was in sufficient wind to complete anymore races that day. The race win went to Sqn Ldr Simon Kent (RAF) closely followed by Capt Allan Cross (Army) and third place went to Sgt Ian Beaton (Army).
For the first time we also incorporated a Novice Fleet into the Championships although the fleet was relatively small all the sailors coped well with the tricky conditions with races conducted over the 3 days duration. They also took full advantage of the Jon’s coaching skills, certainly an area we wish to further develop over the next coming seasons.
Thursday brought similar wind conditions, however, enough to get four rounds of master blaster completed in the morning for the main fleet. The results as follows: 1st Capt Allan Cross (Army) 2nd Sgt Ian Beaton (Army) and 3rd WO1 Brian Grieve (Army)
The Novice fleet benefited from a technique clinic on Thursday delivered by Jon Metcalfe concentrating on basic fundamentals to develop tacking techniques and suitable stance when sailing upwind in light winds.
With two counting long distance race’s completed on the Thursday afternoon for the main fleet with an overall course of approx four nautical miles stretching Eastwards towards Chichester bar and back to the Inn on the Beach where sailors crossed the finish line.
The traditional Thursday evening function kicked off with an awesome carvery laid on by Diane and Carl at The Inn on the Beach followed by a brief insight of Jon’s experience’s within the windsurfing industry to date. It was certainly impressive and deemed suitable for the honouree rank of LCpl. On a serious note we are extremely fortunate to have Jon as our Windsurfing Trainer and look forward to the development of the sport within the Army.
The evening entertainment was in the guise of David Bowie tribute band which was lost on some of the younger sailors amongst us, but nevertheless with the lack of wind forecasted for Friday assisted a great sociable night .
Friday morning brought light and variable winds and more sunshine with a few fuzzy heads and after various attempts to complete a round of slalom it was decided to abandon racing.
Overall results standing as follows for The Forces Open Championships for 2007 were
1st Place Capt Allan Cross Army 2nd Place Sqn Ldr Simon Kent RAF 3rd Place Sgt Ian Beaton Army 4th Place Maj Dave Hinsley Army 5th WO1 Brian Grieve Army
Allan Cross is sponsored by Starboard/Tushingham, Fat Face, Williams Windsurfing, Eurospec 2000
Special thanks to Carl and Diane from Inn on the Beach for providing a great meal and party.
Thanks to the official sponsors of the event, Fat Face, Tushingham, Starboard and Boardseeker, Williams Windsurfing, The next event is scheduled for 6th June Inter Corps Series Event @ Hayling Island.