Tuesday, November 11, 2014

LUDERITZ 2014 My Story


Luderitz 2014

My Story

Luderitz, Namibia keeps pulling me back year after year. 2012 was the first time the canal had been built and the Luderitz Speed Challenge was born as we know it today. The world and British records were smashed in that year.

I competed in the last two weeks of the Speed Challenge in 2012 and achieved my fastest speed over 500m of 48.21 knots with a peak speed of 50.20 knots, 0.6 knots off the British record that was set the week before I arrived. In 2012 we had 4 days of sailing with 5.5m and 6m sails in winds upto 40 knots. After the event we all presumed that personal bests and records would be broken every year.
2013 saw the event moved forward two weeks and the winds didn’t blow. We had days of sailing but not strong enough for records. My fastest was 45.5 knots over 500m and a peak speed of 47.3 knots. 5 days of sailing but only with the biggest sail I took, a 6.4m just for training purposes.

So 2014 came along and I was full of confidence, 2013 could have been a fluke year of low winds, we might get condition like 2012. The event had been moved another two weeks earlier than 2013.
Equipment wise things had been learnt from the previous two years. My boards were the same as 2013, Patrik Diethelm 41 and 43cm. My sails were the same make as 2013, Neil Pryde Evo6 updated from the Evo5 of 2013. Everything was set.

In the previous two weeks of the 2014 event up until we arrived there had been two days where four people had sailed just over 49 knots. The Luderitz airport forecast for that day showed 28-31knots of wind on the first day and 26 –31 knots on the second. The canal usually has 5-8 knots more wind than the airport but the nearest place that forecasts the wind is the airport. We really need a forecast of 30-35 knots minimum for a real crack at big speeds. When I got my record in 2012 the forecast was 28-34 knots.
During the two weeks we were there we had 3 days of sailing. Friday Oct 24th was the first day and I struggled to get five runs down the course due the light winds (22-28 knots forecast). Top speed was 44.6 knots peak of 45.87. Nice to get back on the canal again though and still early doors.

The next day of wind was 30 Oct, forecast of 24-29 knots of wind. 2 sailors went just over 49 knots and Patrik (who shapes my boards) blew every one away with a 51knot run. Being so close to the record he was given priority to jump the queue which did help but hats off to the maestro. I have to admit that I just could get it going this day, I had a 500m speed of 46.96 knots, max 48.60 knots. I change my fin from a 22cm to a 20cm and immediately felt the board was sliding through the water easier but by then the wind was dying.

The next day the forecast wasn’t good however we were pleasantly surprised with 20-26 knots of wind, the course was open and everyone was on edge to see if the wind would fill in and we could have a crack at our pb’s. It didn’t blow strong enough although I recorded 46.91 knots 500m and 48.5knots peak in a lot less wind than the day before. I was leading for most of the day until Patrik clocked and amazing 48 knots.

Conclusions

Overall I am happy with my performance, I am a big speed sailor and I am there to compete in strong winds to get records. The past two years haven’t produced strong winds however I am still in the mix with my speeds.

Luderitz will almost certainly never blow 50 knots and if it does because of the extreme broad angle of the canal it will be un-sailable.

I need 30-35knots of wind forecast to break the British record and push over 50 knots.

My equipment is working great, I just have to get the right combination. Fitness was great this year, joining the gym helped a lot and sailing all day with 5kg of lead on my back was not an issue.

What to change:  Not much. I weigh 115kg, in the lighter winds that we have had for the past two years I think 108kg would be right for me. That’s the goal now.

What is next: I am looking forward to a bit of play time in the wave with the boys in Guernsey this winter. There is a European Championship in Fuerteventura mid 2015 which would be great to compete in, different set up to record attempts but something I have always enjoyed. Luderitz 2015? It’s a long way off, I have still got unfinished business though.

Current Results
I am ranked 12th on the GPS Speedsailing all time overall rankings
I have the GPS British 10second record 48.94 knots
12th Fastest 500m all time windsurfer speed 48.21 knots
2010 Speed world cup Vice champion (last world cup)
More results can be seen on my cv.

Thanks to my Sponsors

NUTZ wetsuits
Crabby Jacks Restaurant
Smith Signs
Neil Pryde Sails
Aurigny Airlines
Patrik Diethelm Boards
Chinook booms
Black Project Fins
GSYPHOTO.com









Sunday, September 21, 2014

NEW SPONSOR

Great news, I have teamed up with Nutz Wetsuits.

Nutz are a Jersey based company here in the Channel Islands. Its great to be associated with a wetsuit company so close to where I live.

The wetsuits are super stretchy. It's really difficult to get wetsuits for windsurfing. Most wetsuits are designed for the surf market which is understandable as it is such a huge market but they are too tight in the forearms for windsurfing. Nutz Wetsuits are designed for the surf market as well but due to the super stretchy neoprene used they are fantastic for windsurfing.

Check them out here     http://nutz-life.com


Just under four weeks till I am off to try and break some windsurfing records in Luderitz.

I'll be taking the short arm 2-2mm


and the 3-2mm long arm


When the wind really blows in Luderitz the sand being blown across the desert stings the arms, so it will be short arm for training light days and the long arm for the records.

Sponsors:

Nutz Wetsuits
Neil Pryde Sails
Patrik Diethelm boards
Chinook Booms
Aurigny Airlines
Black Project Fins
GsyPhoto.com






Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pre Luderitz

What's been happening?

A very windless frustrating summer for windsurfing since my crash in April.

Having taken almost 2 months to heal from my broken rib and prolapsed disc in my neck training for Luderitz has been slow. I ordered the Patrik 135 III to get out on the water more which has helped but not enough sailing for my liking. Apart from 1 x 6m wave session and 1 full on 4.9m session (with tiny waves) I haven't been out on anything less than the Evo VI 7.8m and mostly the 9.5m.

The last 3 weeks have seen me have pain in my right elbow (elbow not wrist, no smutty innuendos) which was diagnosed yesterday as Tennis Elbow. Been waking up with aches all over which again was diagnosed yesterday as my back being out of line. Sam at the Beach Clinic did a fantastic job of putting it right and this morning I felt great.

It may be 20 years late but tonight will be my first Yoga class. It seems all these years of not stretching is taking its toll and that's why the injuries are mounting up.

Six weeks till Luderitz, can't wait. The kit is looking great, really happy with the sails / masts combo I have. I don't think they worked well last year, although we didn't get fantastic wind the masts felt a little too stiff for the sails. This year the same masts on the new sails look fantastic.

Boards are sweet 43cm Patrik production and 41 custom. Fins, Black Project X Type (what else!) fantastic grip and speed.

It will be good to go back with everything tested, no surprises this year.

Summer sailing
 
I keep you posted.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Injury follow up

Every week a little bit better.

I have had a couple of SUP sessions and a couple of big swims but today was the first time in the gym since my crash.

Good and Bad news.

Good to be back and pushed hard

Bad strength in my left side, never been so weak on one side and not the other. Time will bring it back together.

Pushed really hard today, thought I was going to throw up.

Feels good to be back on the road to fitness, looking forward to getting out on the water this week.
 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

MRI Follow up

Saw the specialist today. Same kind of story as last time but in more detail.

There is a lot of wear to the neck, crushed discs and worn vertebra.

I would have liked the diagnoses from last time that the disc has prolapsed and the the soft inside has squeezed out pressing on a nerve. The soft bit should be absorbed into the body relieving the pressure on the nerve.

Never nice seeing your body deteriorating with no fix.

I have been booked in to seeing a spinal expert in Exeter. The doctor here still thinks that the diagnosis will to leave it alone but it's worth a second opinion.

I feel better every week and i know that when I had my prolapsed discs in my back it took 3 month to repair and my neck is no where as bad.

Still looking / hopping for a water return in a couple of weeks.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Post MDV accident report


MRI Scan today, I should have the results in a week.

My Rib is cracked which until a week ago gave me hardly any trouble at all. The last week it feels like the day after you have had a health kick suddenly doing 100 sit-ups with no buildup. an annoying dull pain when tensed.

My vertebra has been diagnosed as arthritic and on collision the two either side of my prolapsed disc must of touched chipping of a small section from each. A good thing the doctor reckons, it will give the disc more room.

The main problem is a prolapsed disc which is pressing on a nerve causing numbness down my left side. It is getting, very slowly, better each day. Not soon enough though. I had two prolapsed disc a long time ago and I know it takes a long time to heel (by heel I mean not hurt, it will never be good as new) We're getting there.

Be safe, have fun

Monday, May 5, 2014

Guernsey diagnoses

Having made it back to Guernsey I thought it best to have a check up at the doctor as my left arm and hand feels numb.

Got booked in for Thursday afternoon straight from the boat. He didn't tell me anything I didn't know already but did say he would book me an emergency MRI scan to check out my neck and see if there was any damage there causing the numbness.

The doctors secretary phoned me on Friday, after I had called twice, to say the earliest I can have a scan is in 2 weeks time (emergency ha). She did suggest that I go up to A & E, they might be able to get something earlier.

I had a lot of pain Saturday night so decided to go up to A & E. The receptionist told me there should be someone who can help, take a seat. A nurse then called me and asked if I had done the injury recently, I explained when it happened and that I had seen my GP. He told me that I should go back to the GP and would phone for an appointment.

When I mentioned that the GP would only give me pain killers he told me that is all they can do at A & E on a weekend, especially a long weekend. My GP wasn't working Saturday morning so he said the doctor on call there would see me.

After two minutes with the doctor he had me having an X ray, when the results came back the nurse had been called to strap up my neck and I was going for a CT scan. The nurse looked a bit embarrassed to say the least.

The CT scan shows that I have a crack in my neck which they are concerned about. No neck brace or anything for now, just rest and no situation to put my neck in any more harm.

Appointment with the specialised on Tuesday morning.