GEMINI TANDEM WORLDS, LA ROCHELLE, FRANCE

Following the global success of Starboard’s Gemini tandem boards, this year the “Grand Pavois" boat show in La Rochelle hosted the inaugural “World Gemini Tandem" competition between 21st & 23rd September, organised by the Centre Nautique d‘Angoulins (the local sailing centre) and Hi-Tech, the French Starboard distributor.

Representing the UK were two teams - Tushingham’s Marie Buchanan and Paul Simmons plus a team comprised of one of the first UK Gemini customers Mark Rose and sailing buddy Antony Thompson from near Camber in Kent. This pair had clocked in many hours on the Gemini, enabling them to offer plenty of tips to Paul & Marie who in return lent them a couple of larger Tushingham rigs.

The competitors raced upwind-downwind courses in variable conditions ranging from extremely light to well powered planing conditions and mostly in hot sunny weather. After twelve races and a lot of hard work pumping their Tushingham Lightning 10.3 and TK 78, it was the British pair of Buchanan-Simmons taking first place ahead of a couple French teams, one of which included Fred Beauchêne who crossed the Atlantic on a windsurfer back in the eighties and created indoor windsurfing! Antony and Mark had an enjoyable event and with a little practice pumping and starting, their sixth place could easily have been a podium finish. Competitors were greeted at the prizegiving by no other than the father of windsurfing Jim Drake, who presented all competitors with signed “Jim Drake" hats to commemorate the event.

The event really highlighted what a fun and social sport windsurfing can be, with all the competitors agreeing they would return next year. With increasing numbers becoming proficient on their Gemini, the organisers hope to see more entries from all over Europe and perhaps further afield next year… So start your training now for the 2008 event!