RE RUN OF THE 2019 ARMY WINDSURFING CHAMPS 9-13 MAR 2020
BY JON METCALFE
LOCATION – AISTC THORNEY ISLAND
What a cracking start to the 2020 windsurfing season, crazy strong winds for the rerun of the 2019 Army windsurfing championships.
Due to light winds and no racing at last year’s event we decided to rerun the event earlier this year to try and ensure we got some decent conditions, and we weren’t disappointed!!
Event round up:
Day 1 – Forecast WSW F4-5 – Shake out sail on freeride and slalom equipment for the group before racing started, some of the group got out on the wind foil kit too.
Day 2 – Forecast SW F5-6 / Showers – First day of racing was completed with 4 x master blaster races and 3 x across the wind slalom races. Sailors had to get their kit selection right as SW winds proved to be really gusty in the Thorney Channel so being on the right size sail was crucial. Maj Marty Jerrard (AMS) was sailing well and put in a strong performance. Matt Whitehall (REME) also looked comfortable in the gusty conditions.
Day 3 – Forecast SW 5- 6 / Showers and some sunny spells – The day started off relatively calm and not that windy so we took the opportunity to run some coaching sessions on blasting control and strong wind gybing. Through the morning the wind started to build to a moderate breeze and by lunch time we had a fairly strong SW wind blowing – perfect for some more slalom racing. 3 more races were completed and again Maj Marty Jerrard (AMS) was the man to beat.
Day 4 – Forecast WSW F5-7, the windiest day of the week by far – Now that all of the group had settled back into the windsurfing groove it was time to test all the competitors further. The Long distance (1-hour classic) race has always been a challenging competition with sailors having to sail a short course completing as many laps as possible in 1 hour. Sounds easy but not on 30-40 knots!! The race started off OK with a steady F6 blowing and by the half hour mark we had most of the fleet still in the game. The forecast had given for squally showers during the afternoon and we had a major squall which put the wind up to and over 35 knots, extreme conditions and survival sailing for a short period of time. The squall came and went quickly but curtailed the end of the race. At the end Maj Jerrard had completed the most laps with 10, Capt Colin Jurgens (AAC) completed 9 laps and Nik Barnes (RA) a great effort with 8 laps completed. 12 sailors started the race and 5 finished!
Day 5 – Forecast WSW F3-4 – All racing now finished for the week so we concentrated on foiling and had a great 3-hour session at high tide in Thorney Channel and up to Pilsey Perch.
So to round up the week – 5 days straight of great conditions, lots learnt and some exciting racing. A perfect start to the 2020 windsurfing season.
Master Blaster – 1st M Jerrard AMS / 2nd M Whitehall REME / 3rd Lee Jackson RA
Slalom – 1st M Jerrard AMS / 2nd Nik Barnes RA / 3rd M Whitehall REME
Inter Corps Trophy – 1st RA / 2nd RLC / 3rd RE