Cribby Goes Large!
Having not competed in any professional level racing since 1996, Britain's twelve times national racing champion Guy Cribb, rocked up to the British Formula Championships in Hove to try out a Formula board. He brought us this report-
Having sailed a Formula board only once ever, for only two blasts across a lake, and never used a sail over 8.5m, getting onto this specialist race kit was an event itself- the 70cm fin, yup, 70cm - that's nearlyy four times the length of my wave fin, and more importantly longer than my leg, made getting on board more like rock climbing.
When I did get on it though I made the terrible mistake of falling off and found uphauling the sail wasn't just hard, it was near impossible. The Neil Pryde 10.7 greenhouse of a rig has a luff sleeve which comfortably fit a shoal of mackerel in it as I tried in vain to haul it from the depths, as the racers shot passed me one by one.
On return to the beach after being so overpowered that my outhaul rope had snapped, the announcement was made that the wind was 9-11knots on the course. I could hardly believe it, but yes, I'd just been overpowered in 9 knots. Hmmmnn.
Hence the first two races we beyond disaster, but as the race officer was knocking them out one after the other, I managed to get a new boom for race three and began to get into the swing of things.
With six perfect starts during the day I realised I'd not lost my timing, but hadn't got a clue how to set the kit up and was too knackered to sail properly, but race by race my results got better.
With five out of the six races counting I had to count a disaster, and with three of the worlds top ten sailors competing I didn't stand much chance, but under the circumstances I was happy finishing ninth overall, despite regularly being in the top few places by the end of the event. I felt given another crack at it now, having learnt what I did, the top few places would be in reach. That's if I ever recover from the immense physical destruction I went through!
An amazing weekend with 140 competitors reminded me just how good racing is for your technique and how much fun it is to compete. Don't be surprised if you see some Formula INtuition Weekends in 2005 and almost certainly an INtuition Very-X week abroad (detuned Super-X racing) sometime next year. Get INto it!
Huge thanks to everyone who helped me out with everything from a winch (to downhaul the sail enough!) to boards, fins and screw drivers etc and especially to Keith Atkinson, the UK's number one Neil Pryde racer, Matt Wemms, Ross and Aaron Williams.
Check out www.ukwindsurfingassociation.com and get down to your first racing event for free!