St Jude has passed through and given us a reminder that winter is on the way. Traditionally our boats come out of the water for the winter and when a south westerly gale comes through St Mawes you can see why! Times change though and certainly the winter provides some exciting times for watersports enthusiasts given the right sort of craft and equipment.
The windsurfing last weekend was certainly very exciting and local sailors Richard, Lawrence and Tom were making the most of the conditions and providing some entertainment for the half term holiday makers. The modern boards are low volume and light commonly about 90 litres and 8kgs. There is a degree of skill needed to sail these boards as they don’t float when not moving! You need to waterstart, (use the sail to lift you out of the water) The sail sizes vary as well so whilst in light winds you might use an 8-9m sail whilst on Sunday the boys were using 4m sails to enable them to cope with the conditions. Carbon masts and light weight laminates in the sail make these sails feel very light and comfortable.
One of the advantages of taking to the water this time of year is the water temperature which is currently about 15 degrees and this is much warmer than when we usually start sailing again in April. A good wetsuit is a must though and for winter windsurfing a 6mm blind stitched single lined suit is idea. The thickness provides more insulation, blind stitching means that the suits don’t leak through the seams and single lined suits don’t hold water on the outside. This last factor reduces the heat loss from evaporation.
St Mawes SC have held their laying up supper and prize giving signalling the end of their season but the junior section still have a chance to continue sailing. Mike Croft and his Team Feva group have a team racing event and there is a winter training programme for Feva dinghies at Stithians lake. The RS Feva is an excellent dinghy for young teens and is very popular country wide a modern Mirror dinghy. The hull is rotomoulded plastic which is maintenance free, no sanding and painting or varnishing for Feva owners! The sails are one design, some good and bad points to that but the asymmetric spinnaker is an excellent choice providing exciting and easy sailing downwind.
The older team Feva sailors are now starting to move on up with several crews are following Chris Thomas and Jack Hawkins into the 29er. This is a true high performance dinghy only one trapeze but very light and a big asymmetric spinnaker and blisteringly quick in a breeze. Josh Croft and Elliot Wilkinson are out and about in the bay this week, the clear sails with orange trimmings make it easy to spot.
Two weeks ago I attended a coach update course for my Kayak instructor award at Hayle canoe club. The course was interesting I found that some of my rescue techniques were a bit dated and after a very wet morning I feel much sharper. In the afternoon we looked at efficient forward paddling and this is a real bonus for paddlers at all levels. It was fun to actually be on the other side of the ‘class’ and also nice to paddle a different venue with other enthusiastic paddlers. I would thoroughly recommend joining a local club or taking some lessons to freshen up your skills and enthuse yourself.
So, don’t forget the water is there all winter! See you out there.
PS if you enjoy the painting and varnishing of wooden boats pop in to the Gig club in St Mawes the club are busy on maintenance on Sunday mornings.