Whitstable - Freewave 4 Report

18 June 2006

By Team Airborn member Graham Woods.

We set off from home at 5.30am, Saturday morning to get to Whitstable, there was no traffic on the roads for once and we made good time and were there by 9.00. Stepping out of the air conditioned car to that heat in the morning is pure joy. We had arrived to an offshore wind, not sure of strength, looks ok though and a warm welcome from everyone.

As registration ended, it was great to see so many new promising Juniors wanting to compete for the first time and the're getting so young as well! but unfortunately no pro's or amateurs were able to come to the event.

The wind wasn't great but there was enough to run an event, and further out it was planing winds. Everyone was keen to get on the water in such warm weather.

Because the wind was offshore, the competition had to be run offshore, but there would not be time for us to sail back between heats. This posed an interesting challenge for the judges and the club allowed us to use the club committee boat which was anchored offshore. This also proved interesting for the competitors too. Pip tied his board off the back of the boat and at the changeover and we all had to sail and cling onto the line to change streamers!

The wind was a bit up and down and gusty, but the competition got underway with 1 round of Juniors and 1 round in the Youth fleet. There was some fantastic sailing in the Junior fleet with Sam Neal and Richard Jones producing solid moves, but in the final Matthew Leonard surprised us all and sailed the better heat producing a solid heat with good light wind moves and took first place. The Whitstable youngsters were amazing and there is some real talent here being coached by Pip Pardoe and Tom Parsons and will be ones to watch in the future.

The Youth fleet rounds produced some of the best and closest scoring sailing of the day. Chris Audsley, Pip Pardoe and Trevor (our judges) were finding it hard to separate the fleet. Tom Parsons, Dave Williams and Richard Myerson started off the heats with Dave getting through to the final, and then it was my heat against Josh Willmot. We both sailed well and I just came on top to get into the final. Tom beat the opposition in the repertoirge and got through to an action packed final. With the wind a bit gusty it was either not enough wind or just a bit too much wind for light wind sailing and not enough to plane. All three of us were finding conditions difficult but yet still busting out some big moves. I came on top with Tom in second and Dave in third.

After the main competition the sailors still out sailed a 10 minute expression session to finish the day.

SunsetIn the evening we were treated to a club BBQ, parents and older competitors were particularly grateful for the keg of lager donated by Shepherd Neame!

Sunday morning seemed to be hotter than ever, but very little wind. With a few people feeling a bit worse for wear the competition was called off so people could get home earlier. After the prize giving we all said our good byes as the Whitstable boys went wakeboarding.

Thanks to the sponsors of the event, White Stuff, XS Energy drinks, Whitstable sailing club and Whitstable Windsurfing. It was a good venue and we hope to return next year for another round in the series. Thanks also to Linda Funnel, my mum and Martin Harwood for running the flags and Pip Pardoe, Chris Audsley and Trevor Funnel for judging and making a great event work, and Tom and his dad, Pip Parsons for organizing the event.


1st Matthew Leonard
2nd Richard Jones
3rd Sam Neal
4th George Norcott
5th Milo Tonry-Brown only just 10 years old

1st Graham Woods
2nd Tom Parsons
3rd David Williams

Graham Woods K498 is sponsored by:
Windsurfers World
604 Ltd
Pentax Cameras