Tuesday, 30 April 2013

BUCS/SWA Nationals!

Last weekend, I enjoyed the many student windsurfers from across the country at Calshot near Southampton to compete in the BUCS nationals, which is also the last event of the SWA series.

After a mini disaster on finding out that the Bristol minibus we booked didn’t exist, the car convoy got underway (shout out to Dave Cox for making a detor to get my Raceboard from the kit store!). We pitched our tents in the dark and found everyone else partying in the hanger.

Saturday saw racing for Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced divisions. Whilst the beginners and intermediates competed in the flatter water of the lagoon, the advanced division raced around a triangle course on the Solent side of the spit.

Initially, the wind was quite strong, and I was pretty fully powered on the old IMCO 7.4 I found. I didn't have the best start in the first race, but managed to finish a comfortable 2nd behind Sam Sills, who lead from start to finish.

The wind had begun to drop and become pretty gusty by the next race. I got a better start, but still arrived to the windward mark behind Sam. The first reach was very broad, and I pumped hard to get a deep angle. It paid off, and I just managed to overtake Sam shortly before the gybe mark. Unfortunately, this didn’t leave me in the best position for the gybe itself, and he gybed inside to lead me down the last reach to the finish.

By the start of the 3rd race, the tide had begun to ebb, and the wind-with-tide conditions made the upwind leg tactical and challenging. I got the best start, and headed into the beach to avoid the tide as long as possible. Sam still managed to get ahead and cover me for the second half of the beat, but I managed to get past just before the windward mark, before his fin got stuck on the anchor line, allowing me to pump into a strong lead down the reach. Sam found a good gust and made up some ground, I messed up my gybe big time, and allowed Sam to claim is 3rd consecutive race win. 

It was decided to finish the 5 race series without a lunch break, since the tide was really racing. I knew I would have to pull something pretty special out of the bag to win the event.

I got the start spot on in the next two races, heading straight into the beach, where there was no tide, and allowing me to make a big gain before hitting the strong tide past the point. Sam unfortunately fell victim to the strong tide in race 4, getting pushed off the line, forcing him to start behind most of the fleet and allowing me and Kirsten O'Callaghan from Exeter to lead the fleet to the windward mark. Sam still managed to finish 2nd, just ahead of Kirsten.

The last race was the most exciting. I started slightly ahead of Sam, and managed to point a little higher to get into a decent lead and loosely cover him to the windward mark. I didn’t fall in on my gybe this time, and managed to win the race.

In the end, my two race wins weren't quite enough to get the win, and with Sam winning 3 of the 5 races, he took first place, with me in second, and Tom Firth from Cardiff counting some consistent results to take 3rd. Kirsten was first woman with Jo Wright in 2nd and Rachael Ince in 3rd.

Photo: Duncan Dumbreck

The rest of the day was spent having a blast on the Futura 111 and T4 7.0, and trying a bit of old-school freestyle on Storm 5.2 and Kode 94.

Needless to say, the traditional Saturday night boat party lived up to all expectations, with some pretty amazing fancy dress around! I think Bristol pulled off morris dancing pretty well, bells and all, and UWE went to their usual outrageous lengths to make an incredible marching band.

This ended badly! (photo George Curtis)
Sunday started pretty slowly, and once the lagoon had filled with water, the team racing got underway. The competition was pretty fierce with 13 teams competing, and the wind was marginal planing/non-planing. Team Bristol managed to get to the final, but couldn't quite replicate such an amazing performance in the Final, oh well, maybe next year we'll get the chance to better last years silver medal. I think we finished 6th. Cardiff and Southampton Solent had an excitingly close battle for 1st, but in the end it was Solent who took the win, successfully defending their 2012 title.

The freestyle was next, I felt fairly confident, since the light winds meant that it would be non-planing freestyle on big boards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the form that I discovered at Aussie Kiss, and Nottingham, and struggled to find my style, dropping a few moves, and losing to Tushingham team-mates Ollie Acton and Jo Wright in my first heat.

As well as second in the BUCS racing, I won the SWA racing series for the second year in a row, which is pretty amazing. I also got joint second in the overall SWA series (combined disciplines).

Next year, I’m going to miss all the SWA events apart from Aussie Kiss perhaps due to my placement. But it’s been an amazingly fun 2 years at the events, I allready can't wait for AK! Thanks to all the amazing SWA sponsors for letting the events happen and giving some incredible prizes!

Next stop is Weymouth for the first event of the UKWA cup series this weekend!

Event video by Duncan Dumbreck now up!

No comments:

Post a Comment