A cautionary tale...

Golden Ticket winner and bona-fide windsurfing evangelist Francis Goodwin got in touch with a timely tale – especially relevant just as winter’s cold begins to bite. So read on, and stay safe out there…

Francis' perished UJ
Francis' perished UJ

Golden ticketer gets to swim in the English Channel

I had a good sail at Pevensey on Sunday 3rd – Southerly F6-7 cross on, nice waves and flat stuff in between, raining!! poor vis… but near the end of the session (on 5.3 and 90 l RRD) I went to gybe right out the back and the UJ bolt failed with a big crack and the board shot off down the wave leaving me holding the rig like a nana – so I ditched the rig and swam for the board but the breaking waves took it off beyond my swimming ability!! – The shore looked a long way away!!!

Luckily my local Nutley friend Roy and his mate Kevin were not that far off and spotted my helmet with the flourescent strips!! – nowhere was my kit to be seen by the time they arrived; They hung around to stop me getting lonely; whilst I eventually swam in close by the campsite at Normans’ Bay – took about 40 mins I reckon. They tried to tow me on a bit of rope but it was hopeless, flying their rig didn’t work either.

Found my board just up the beach from where I landed, undamaged…. but 5.3 simmer sail, 4m simmer mast and boom and mast extn were gone prob for ever.

I called the coastguard just in case they go out looking for someone.. quite an experience, good job it was warm water.

THEN A WEEK LATER sunday 10th – to my local mates

Hi all – in case you hear via other windsurfing sources, I was re-united with my 5.3 Simmer rig, Mast etc – (after exactly 1 week!!!) intact but a bit scruffier than when I lost it.

Chap found it this am. low tide at Normans Bay close to where I was sailing today and pretty much where I swam in to last Sunday.

He told a local windsurfer who reported it to the coastguard (to whom I had notified the loss a week ago).

Dover Coastguard then called me with a phone number and address! – so there it was!!

Mast – intact, no signs of any stress

Boom – intact – some soft covering rubbed off near the clamp (one side)

Sail – only one small puncture about 1cm and a small clean cut 2cm – all in the ply so east to fix. Bit scratched by the harness lines and boom arms.

Mast extn – all fine.

Not even the downhaul and outhaul had come loose, all was exactly trimmed for sailing…… So that says something for Simmer sails and Mast!!!

As to why it happened (see pics) here’s the bits of the UJ from the board and recovered from the mast extn and you can see looks like some signs of seperation of the rubber to the extent that only a bit was holding it together. So maybe this was 5+ years old but it did not look like there was cracking at the UJ waist which was all I really looked for. Not any more – new ones from now on! Irony is i had just bought 2 new ones this year and they were with my kit in the car.

Francis Goodwin

  1. Adam Sims

    Sounds like something that happened to me almost exactly a year ago. In fact I wouldn't need to change any details except for the fact that my rig was never recovered!!! Lesson learnt form that and now I change UJ's every year.

  2. Phil

    I've often considered carrying a spare UJ. But in this circumstance it wouldn't have helped at all!

  3. rich

    nutley on the ashdown forest? I lost a rig at porthcrawl when my uj came undone and phoned the coastguard to let them know I hadn't drifted out to sea and they found the rig for me, no harm done except a scratched boom! Good old coastguard and honest folk on the beach!

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