Of course it wasn’t forecast. When are people going to realize you can’t rely on the weatherman for this place? A gentle south-west breeze turned into a howling gale as it swooshed down Stradbally mountain with sailors on 4m at three o’clock in the afternoon. Coupled with head high waves the conditions were better than yesterday. The wind did ease off as the sun hid behind the growing cloud formation, but sailors were still on 4.7s to 5.3s in the cross-shore breeze.
Head Judge Duncan Coombes was keen to get on with the Pro double elimination so set 10 minute heats with two waves, one jump to count and two man heats. Oisin Van Gelderen(JP/NeilPryde) and Rich Jones (JP/NeilPryde) were so keen they went out one heat too early (thinking it was the usual four man heats) and were then told to do it all again straight after!
In the double elimination format, you go back into the draw where you lost in the single which means the top guys hang around all day waiting to see who they will be against. So the guys that lost early have to battle through round after round to meet the top 4. Stand out sailor today was Graham Woods (Goya/Quatro) whose snappy wave riding style and solid jumps got him through several heats. He took the scalp of Chris Murray (Tushingham/ Starboard) who was also having a good run. In fact he’s still alive in the competition because around half six, the wind dropped too much and the red & white postponement flag was seen flapping in the dying breeze. Next heat: Graham Woods .v. Timo Mullen with the winner up against Phil Horrocks, then John Skye, then Ben Proffitt. All to play for and who knows what the ‘Brandon Bay forecast’ will bring.
Having got through a double elimination yesterday, these fleets were asked to go and express themselves in front of the judges, not for points but definitely for prizes! Both fleets got to show off but the results will be kept secret until this evening at the pub.
Let’s finish with the two ladies who did have an official third round of competition today and it was Louise’s turn to shine in the waves. Youth sailor, Liam also joined in but their heat was seriously lacking waves until the last few minutes. In fact it was in the last 40 seconds when Louise picked up the biggest wave of the heat and rode it with fury all the way to the beach, determined to win this final round. Katie was in the shorebreak watching the final few seconds and realized Louise had probably beaten her but in true girly sprit Katie and Louise chatted away (apparently about shopping) as they dragged they kit back upwind to get the result. The result did go Louise’s way but although she was calling for ‘best of five, best of five’, three rounds is the maximum so Katie wins 2-1 overall.
So we await Thursday’s forecast…
All photos: Dave White / BWA