One of the UK’s top female windsurfers, Jo Wright is making the most of being down in Exeter for her final year of uni… as well as helping get more wavesailors on the water. Here’s an update from Jo after three windsurfs in three days!
After a few weeks off the water due to lack of wind and too much work, last weekends forecast brought much excitement.
With a few novice wavesailers in tow, we headed to Daymer Bay on Saturday, which with its perfectly formed waves and relative safeness (on an incoming tide) provided the perfect place to all get out on the water.
On arrival we were greeted by about 10 windsurfers all-bobbing around on 4.7s and 5.2s – not quite what we expected! However, after a leisurely rig and chats with a few dog walkers we launched as both the wind and waves started to fill in! The wind switched around to cross onshore, which allowed for some nice front-side wave riding and cheeky aerials. The light disappeared at about 6pm as we all headed in and after a speedy de-rig we all headed to firehouse, resulting in a pretty ideal Saturday!
Much of the conversation at firehouse focused around where to sail on Sunday. A strong south westerly was forecast, which pointed to Gwithian, but with a few people needing to get back to Portsmouth the drive was out of the question. Lyme Regis was suggested but after scouring a few spot guides, it appeared that it wouldn’t be that great. Looking at the map we saw that Sidmouth beach could be an option, but we were all a bit dubious, as none of us had sailed there before.
We risked it and on arrival at about 11am, we were met with a grey sky, 6-degree air temp, 20 knots of wind and sideways hail! A large part of me really did not want to change into my semi-wet wetsuit. But after a little bit of persuasion from the others, I rigged up my 4.7 and 91 flare (was a bit of a wobble to get out) and launched. Much to our surprise, the wind switched to solid cross-shore, 25 – 30 knots and waist – shoulder high waves. Bar having to come in a few times to deal with ‘ice cream hands’ it was a fantastic 2 hour session. Towards the end, a few monster sets came in and unfortunately Will’s mast snapped in one of the waves. But due the wind direction that was the only harm done and we all helped him walk his kit the 20 minutes back upwind, alongside the main road, which resulted in many bemused expressions from the general public!
Monday’s forecast was too good to turn down, so we decided for a cheeky morning session at Exmouth. Due to the mega high tides we had an unusually large window of sailable time at the duckpond. After checking out the seafront and deciding the tide movement was too large to launch there, we rigged 4.7s (again!) and headed out at the duckpond. In our hour and a half session we experienced hail, snow, 50 knot squalls, rain, sunshine and just about everything in between! But we couldn’t complain with people landing freestyle moves left, right and centre!
So all in all, it was a great 3 days, now back to the world of work! However, due to donning a new rash vest, I ended up getting an annoying wetsuit rash. Which is resulting in some dodgy looks in the library!
Fingers crossed for some more windy conditions soon! This blog post originally appeared here.