Every year the best Forces windsurfers get together for "Open"

Championships. It used to be held at Renesse on the Dutch coast, but since

most of us are based in the UK now, we have moved to the Inn on the Beach

at Hayling, a great venue with instant access to beer! The format is

simple and inspired by the Vass Classic: get as many races as possible done

in 3 days including Course racing, Slalom, Master Blaster and Long Distance

and party all night. If there is anyone left standing at the end, he's

usually the winner.

This year the wind was late and we only got 3 Course races on day 1; Sgt

Doc White (Army) beating CPO Jamie Walker (Navy) with Flt Lt Simon Kent

(RAF) neatly rounding off the top 3. Day 2 had no wind but Friday was a

perfect Hayling day: SW force 4, sunny and warm.

We kicked off with 4 Master Blasters: 1000 metres out to sea and back with

Capt Allan Cross (Army) just beating Simon and Doc, with UKWA stalwarts

Jamie Walker and Dave Strudwick (Navy) 4th and 5th. Then straight into a

mass-start Slalom, winner takes all (no time for heats, I'm afraid) run 3

times. Simon won easily, benefiting from Allan and Doc's equipment change

for race 2, when they both changed down and fell to 8th and 9th in deep

frustration as the wind failed to strengthen.

Finally, we had a "half hour classic" won easily by Jamie who took

out his

ZUD slalom board (a weird-looking, square-fronted missile that is just

very, very fast). Most of the 30 or so sailors were on 11 square metres

all day and showed a far higher standard of sailing than at any previous

Forces event, though when they get the chance to practice nowadays I really

have no idea. It was a lot easier in my day, I tell you!

Overall winner was Simon Kent, runner up Doc White and third Jamie Walker.

Many thanks to Tushingham for sponsoring the event and providing a heap of

prizes and vouchers, to Aaron Williams for his time spent coaching and rig

tuning and the Inn on the Beach for the fantastic hospitality. Oh, and we

got a live interview, on the water, from "",

the new

Forces network programme that goes out in the main garrison areas: for once

the race officer was in the right place - pretty reporter, sunshine, blue

water, all the sailors well out of reach!