After being thwarted by poor conditions in recent weeks the Hayling Slalom scene has really gone off with a bang over the last week. James Dinsmore reports from the two successful meets, where experienced racers are being pushed all the way by an influx of newcomers.
On Saturday 2nd June, the combination of low tide, 14-18 knots easterly and sunshine even tempted Michael George to make the trip down from Milton Keynes. The perfect conditions enabled us to run 12 races of 3-buoy downwind slalom. We had a mixture of newcomers to racing and seasoned campaigners on sails from 6.5 to 8m. Apart from a brief problem with a wandering buoy it was a cracking afternoon and you could see the buzz in the eyes of the sailors returning to the beach after each race.
The club is very inclusive, aiming to introduce people to racing, and to give them the chance to improve their windsurfing by having the opportunity to learn off others. In between races I was pleased to to hear discussions between sailors on topics like what is the best line to take round the gybe mark and how to choose the right sail size.
After race nine most sailors called it quits but a few of us continued so that latecomer Allan Cross could get a couple of races in.
Throughout the afternoon the racing was very competitive and everyone was sailing well. Relative newcomers to slalom racing Paul Shotbolt, Rob Solly and Marti Jerrard gave the BSA regulars a real run for their money.
The next slalom racing at Hayling took place shortly after, being held on the evening of Wednesday 6th June.
On Wednesday we were fortunate to have excellent conditions for the second time in a week. Turnout was again good and included previous HS organisers Dave Dobrijevic and Dan MacCaulay as well as newcomers Dave, Dan, Tom and Rich. As the forecast had predicted by the time evening came the rain had gone and we had 16-18knots and flat water in the lee of the sand bar. I was well powered on my 8.6 and 127 board whilst others went for sails as small as 6.5m. The first reach was long and broad and it was a great sight to see 14 sailors going neck and neck into the first mark. Racing was again highly competitive and we ran 7 or so rounds of downwind slalom.
With the handicap system almost everybody was leading at some point. First-timer Dan nearly won one race and was leading around the final mark but didn’t quite have the speed to press home his advantage. It was cool to see how stoked he was afterwards.
Charlie Stobart Hook who is injured kindly took some photos of this session, as did my wife Aneete Sinha on the first Saturday racing.
To find out more information about the Hayling Island Slalom scene and how to get involved simply comment at the bottom of this post…