Last week we posted the results and a few photos from the BSA at Weymouth, now, as promised, here is the full report from Kev Greenslade and James Dinsmore.
Kev Greenslade runs us through the first windy BSA event of the year:
The waiting was over, after a windless Hayling competition, the forecast for Weymouth promised to deliver.
It was time for the questions would be answered, would Ant Baker's dominance from last year continue? Who had been training hard? What difference would people’s new gear make? How would the sailors moving up into the pro and amateur fleets fair?
The new and improved OTC, powered by Puravida Boardriders, were event sponsors with a free hog roast to all competitors, free party and the opportunity to settle any differences on the water, with a gladiator style pugle stick arena, this event was sure to be great fun for all both racing and spectating.
On Friday evening it was hard to imagine what the weekend would bring. Sitting outside the OTC enjoying a chinese, whilst the sun went down over Chesil beach, who knew this would be far from an option come the following morning.
71 competitors woke on Saturday morning, to driving rain and a solid north easterly 14-18 knots. Race officer Paul Sibley set a five buoy downwind slalom course, whilst Brian Tilbury got the master blast fleet underway, making the most of the conditions.
In the masterblaster fleet, with the Page Possie moving up to the race in the amateur fleet there was a new kid on the block in the form off pro kite surfer Dan Sweeny. Obviously having Ant Baker as a boss and windsurfing mentor is paying off for Dan, as he only started windsurfing last year and after a grueling day of 19 races, Dan came out on top in front of Charles Milner and Rob Duggan (nice one Dan!).
I would also like to congratulate the local T15 team, with Joe Adams finishing fourth in his first ever event, Emma Stevenson first lady and second overall, plus Scotty (the legend) Stalman finishing eighth overall at just ten years old, well done team, good work!
The amateur fleet is looking fiercely competitive this year, once everyone gets familiar with the heat system etc this is going to be a hard fleet to call, with several sailors capable of taking top honours.
Simon Langley started where he left off last year with a bullet in the first, only to be overhauled by Lee Marrs in the next two finals. Tony Attfield came good at the end to take third. Well done to Kate Strange, finishing fifth overall and first lady, as well as local Weymouth U17, Tom Wells (OTC/Puravida), both of these youngsters will be ones to watch for events in the future.
Lee Marrs’ two wins meant he took the top prize of the weekend, with one weeks free hire from the OTC in Tenerife, well done Lee!
There has been an obvious absence in the pro fleet so far this year, with Alan "all action" Jackson missing the events, for a good reason though, congratulations to Alan and Caroline on the birth of your son, Rory. Big love from everyone on the BSA circuit, we all look forward to seeing the Jackson family soon.
The pro fleet kicked off with a bang, with most of the usual suspects progressing through to first final.
Everyone was completely on it from the first start, unfortunately yours truly was out in front when the fleet got recalled. On the re run it was James Dinsmore, who would take the honours, with Si "the Hulk" Cofield hot on his heels.
In the second round, I again found myself out in front, but this time a sloppy gybe gave Ant and James the opportunity to slip past. Round three saw a RS:X star, Sam Sills smoking off the start line, managing to hold his nerve with James and Ant breathing down his neck the whole way round, this left James the overnight leader followed by Ant, then Sam in third.
On to the party, a massive thanks to "party Steve" Howlet who spent his whole Saturday getting the party zone ready for action. At 7pm the pig was ready and the beer began to flow, some chilled tunes were spun on the decks from party Steve, whilst everyone ate. Then the local rock band, The Cheap Shots, got the weary limbs of the racers moving and limbered up for some Gladiator action.
With Mark Steen (from Bustinskins) on the mic, myself and Mistral Simmer team mate Simon "Willie Wonka" Pettifer opened up, but wasn't long before I found myself on the canvas walking off with my head held low. Si continued to dominate, until he came up against Dave White, who finally beat him in three rounds.
The random name generator then selected Reece White, which made for the Gladiator bout of the evening, with the younger of the mighty Whites coming off best. The band and party continued late into the night. Anyone heading off early for an early night was bitterly disappointed, as outside it blew 50 knot plus and chucked it down with rain, which made sleeping well in a van almost impossible.
Jim Crossly FB quote "Omg shit nights sleep in the van! Now got to rig in 40 odd knots and rain, and slip into a wet wetsuit. Here goes 3 2 1"
The next morning sure delivered wind, and lots of it, with the forecast to drop and swing, the race crew gave the pro fleet the choice of figure of eight in 40-50 knots or wait for the wind to swing and drop a little. The grim prospect of rigging lots of sails in these conditions meant that the majority voted to sit it out and wait.
At 11.00am the decision was made to race regardless, as the wind showed no sign of subsiding. But sure enough, just as the first race was about to start the wind swung and dropped, to nothing. Shortly after this the decision was made that there would be no more racing this weekend, what a way to end great weekend!
I would like to congratulate everyone that took part over the weekend and thank all those who were involved in making it all happen.
See you next time, Kev.
Kev Greensalde is sponsored by OTC, PURAVIDA, SIMMER, MISTRAL, SPARTAN and C3.
James Dinsmore's view on the weekend and full results on page two...
We really lucked out that we were racing at Weymouth as it is one of the few places on the South Coast where you can still have a good day's racing in a cool north-easterly wind. The position of the OTC/Pura Vida centre allows racing in almost every wind direction and the restaurant and warm showers of the adjacent National Sailing Academy meant that we could keep warm all day.
Lining up for the first start of the season is always very exciting, as there are new faces as well as the regulars on new kit. I felt optimistic that I could raise my game from last year, as I had managed to get out quite a bit on my new Starboard and Severne kit in the previous couple of weeks, and it was feeling fast and comfortable.
Within the finals of the pro fleet there is never any room for error at the start. This time the line was biased in such a way that it was going to be very advantageous to start at the downwind 'pin' end. That meant all the big guns were aiming to start there. Psychologically it is tough when you are up against reigning champion Ant Baker, who you know will be banging out another of his trademark 'in the right place at the right time' starts.
Final number one, I was a fraction cautious and got left in the dirty wind and wake and behind Kev and Ant. Luckily for me Sam Latham had gone over early and there was a general recall. On the re-run I managed to get off the line in the best position with Ant just upwind of me. As we drag-raced towards the first mark I could hear the chatter of his board right next to me. I started to feel the power going from my sail and my heart sank as I thought that it was him overtaking me. He didn't come flying past and it became apparent that it was just a lull and I made to the first mark in the lead. I pumped away from the mark and managed to keep it together round the rest of the course. It is a nervous business leading the pack but, if you can keep your nerve, then the clean wind and undisturbed water mean that it is a lot easier sailing than if you are behind.
The pro fleet remains super competitive this year, and there are at least half a dozen sailors who can feel that they have a decent chance of winning a final this season. It is also great to see that more younger sailors than ever have stepped up to the pro fleet, like Sam Sills, who are becoming genuinely competitive.
The great thing about slalom, is that there are so many aspects to achieving a good result. Setting up your gear to go fast, picking the right kit for the conditions, timing the start, gybing reliably under pressure, the psychology of keeping the nerves at bay when you are winning are just a few. Even for those at the top of the pro fleet every slalom event is a learning experience which makes it so rewarding.
James Dinsmore is sponsored by Starboard and Severne.
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