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bitez uncovered - 2000

Having just returned from Bitez (when I started this article) I was interested to read part one of Martin's article on the highs and lows of the Hi Ho Here We Go Riding on a Techno Virgin Island Challenge (here), especially the bit about force four winds not working as well in hot climates as they do in cold - which I'll explain later - but let me tell you about Bitez first.

It was back in July that I heard a trip had been arranged with Neilsons through Alan Newell at Croft Farm. Looking through my busy schedule I was surprised to find that I was free that week (4th to 11th September) so decided that my pension provider could afford the trip. The package included windsurfing equipment with instruction if required, mountain bikes with guide if required, six nights bed and breakfast at the ah (pronounced Shah) or Yalihan (pronounced Yalli-han) and flight from Gatwick to Bodrum on JMC (stands for Just More Crap) airlines.

We checked in at 0820, the statutory two hours before take-off, only to be told there was a 90 minute delay; more time for drinking airport coffee, then! As the morning passed, the information screens up-dated, and added another hour to our departure time. We finally took off at 1330 -landed at Bodrum, 1700 - add an hour for visa and passport control, find luggage, find rep, find bus = 1800 - plus two hours adjustment for local time makes it 2000!! Praise be to Allah, it's only another 45 minutes to Bitez.

The local mozzies were assembled outside the airport awaiting fresh supplies of blood. They had some of mine before I could say, "I left my insect repellant in London!"

Our rep/instructor/entertainment manager told us he would point out the places of interest on the way. This was rather pointless as it was too dark to see anything.

At Bitez we disembarked the bus and filed into the grounds of the hotel with our bags (those of us who were not married just took our luggage) to await the allocation of our rooms. It should have come as no surprise to hear that the hotel was over-booked and all the Croft Farm crowd would be in the Kaynak (pronounced Ka knack) Apartments or the €evu (pronounced Shhhhafooosh, or something like the sound you hear when you flush the toilet) Hotel. We were assured that this was an up-grade and the rooms, although small, were clean and the linen was changed every day.

After breakfast on day one we assembled by the pool in the Yalihan where we had the welcome speech and introduction to the staff. We were asked what ability level we were and whether we wanted an RYA certificate at the end of the week. Some people wanted the full Monty but the instructors made it clear that you could have as much or as little instruction as you wanted but they liked you to go to the morning briefing so that you knew what was going on.

The kit was plentiful, about 200 boards from roughly 240 to 360 and sails from 4.2 M beginners rigs, 4.8 wave to 7.4 rotationals. The kit list said 120 short boards, under 310 and about 80 long boards over 320. Obviously the Fanatic Bee 317 which I found after the second day did not exist; it must have been a figment of my imagination. For a figment is seemed to go pretty well and for the rest of the week I tried it out with different rigs to find out what worked best. I liked the Gaastra Pulse and tried to grab one whenever I could: not easy as there were only a couple in each size. I had no trouble getting the board each day. The trick was to put it on the top level, right on the end of the rack at the end of each day (see photo) as most people took the easy option and didn't search too long.

the board racks

One day, after sailing, I walked around the bay towards Aktur Beach, a distance of about 4 kilometres, and took some panoramic photos. Another occasion I walked with a friend to Gumbet, a town in the next bay. More photo opportunities and the chance to buy some cheep tee shirts, drink some local beer, talk to the natives, soak up the sun etc.. Suffice to say that I enjoyed the holiday, the food, the people, the weather, the walks, the windsurfing but not the flight. These JMC planes are sardine tins with wings.

area map

Well enough chit chat, I'll get to the main point and the reason I'm putting Fingers to Keyboard. At the morning briefings we were told about the 'optional extras' like mounting bike rides, boat trip to Bodrum etc. and then split into groups according to your ability or preferences. One day the morning lecture was Wind and Weather and apart from our knowledgeable instructor, one of the holiday makers had worked for the Met Office.

Eventually the subject of hot force fours and cold force fours. There is no definitive answer to this subject but there is a theory which may explain the phenomenon. Sail designers build 'camber' into a sail. This is the amount of 'fullness' or 'belly' in the lower part of the sail and this is what generates the power. The head is flatter and this bends away to spill excess wind in the gusts, but we are interested in the curved part.

If we had to rely on the wind blowing us along is would be only be possible to sail down wind or on a broad reach. The curved shape of the sail creates an area of LOW PRESSURE on the leeward side which sucks you along. Because of this, and the lift from the skeg and/or daggerboard, it is possible to sail as close as 45 degrees to the direction of the wind and to sail faster than the speed of the wind. An anemometer, on the other hand, will move as fast as the wind that strikes the cups or vanes.

In other words, anemometers react to the speed of the wind; sails react to the pressure difference. Sails will work better in cold, dense air than they will in hot, thin air. (Ed - Is this why we tend to use smaller sails in winter?)

Until someone comes up with a better explanation, this will do for me.

Geoff Pook

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