White Air Slalom '05 - Junior report

31 October 2005

Saturday looked quite windy to start with, but there was not enough for any proper racing all day. There was some fun racing, but my biggest sail is 6.5m, so I didn't really do brilliantly, coming 5th in the first race (in the juniors) & 7th in the 2nd. I only did the first two races, as after that I was so fed up with the light gusty conditions that I couldn't be bothered. They ran four fun races, & overall I was 8th. Not quite the start I had hoped for!

Sunday looked better, I knew it was windy, when I came down the hill from the campsite just in time to see a kitesurfer picked up by a gust & blown up over the cliff face before crashing in to the wire fence surrounding the Yaverland sailing club compound. Briefing was at 9.00, & by then it was looking pretty windy. I had my 6.5m rigged, even though I didn't think I would use anything bigger than 5.2m. By the time I got out on the water the shore break was pretty big, (about logo high) & the wind was actually pretty light, I was planing ok most of the time, but I wasn't really powered up enough for slalom... The problem was getting big kit out through the shore break. I had kind of decided that I would stick with 5.2m, but then it dropped of even more, leaving me to wallow back in.

The decision had been made to run figure of 8 slalom, as this made it easier to lay out the course, but the buoy on the inside was right in the impact zone, making gybing a bit hit & miss.

I made last minute decision to change to my 6.5m & F2 Sputnik 280. Yes, it was a bit of a challenge to get out, but at least I would have a bit of power... The waves had started to drop off a bit with the tide, but out of the combined Challenge & Junior fleets only 4 sailors made it out. Daniel Simpson (junior.), James Simpson (junior), Paul Raven (challenge) & myself (junior).

In the whole day I only completed two races, due to missed starts, wind swings, stuck on the inside, underpowered etc. but as there where only three competitors in the Juniors who got out that did at least mean I came third, & won a nice new mast extension. I am not quite sure who did what in the top flight, as I was not paying much attention, I was obviously too focused on my own race...

John Leonard, GBR315 is sponsored by LAR watersports.