Getting Closer to 40 knots

Day 2 of what should be a good weekend for speed sailing and after yesterday’satempt was somewhat foiled by wind and tides not coinciding my plan was to get in an early session as the tide came in and the sun rose.

I was on the beach at 6.30am in the pitch dark. The wind was only around 20 knots but I was certain it would pick up as it got light so I put my head torch on and rigged up my small speed kit. A 5.2m North Warp sail and my Fanatic Falcon Speed board – Kit that I had yet to use in anger.

As dawn broke I got on the water in semi darkness and had a few runs to get things set up right. Once it was fully light I then went for it properly. Top speed yesterday on bigger kit was 32.2 knots and that felt easy.  I was soon beating that and the wind was now howling. My excuses for not getting to 40 knots were getting fewer. I was in the speed channel with the right kit, the wind was in the right direction and I was fully powered.

I do have a few excuses for not making it though. First up, I may just not be man enough! Second is that there just isn’t much room in the estuary at those sorts of speeds. You start your run in very choppy water. I mean proper 1 foot chop with the tops breaking, you head upwind through this trying to get into the straps etc and then as you approach the sandbank you bear away into flatter water. You then have around 200m of relatively flat water before the sandbank curves away from you and the chop returns. By the time you’re settled into a decent run you actually only have about 100m and even then to get a really good run you have to sail away from the sandbank a bit and out into the chop. All the time remembering that you need to leave yourself room to slow down and turn around without crashing! And slowing down from close to 40 knots through chop on a tiny little board isn’t that easy either.

My only other excuse is that I think I need a smaller fin. At those sorts of speeds, a 28cm speed just produces too much lift making the board quite a handful.

So,what speed did I hit? Top speed today was 36.38 knots. Still a long way to go, but I’m getting closer. It was nice to beat 36 knots though because when I first started windsurfing the World Speed Record was 36 knots held by a boat called Crossbow II and the windsurfers were all trying to beat it. That was a long time ago but at least I’ve beat it now as well.

So, will I ever hit 40 knots? I’m not sure yet, maybe not in the estuary but somewhere with flatter water and a little more room, then maybe. Yesterdays 32.2 knots was easy whereas the extra 4 knots to get to 36 knots today was a completely different ball game. Another 4 knots on top of it is quite a big ask – I’ll keep trying through.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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