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daymer bay
june 1st to 3rd, 2002

The previous Thursday evening's social indicated that several Nomads were planning to leave very early on the Saturday to avoid the large amount of traffic to be expected on the M5. I eventually rolled out of the drive at seven o'clock and was soon wishing I'd got up at least an hour earlier as the motorway was already three lanes full albeit moving reasonably quickly. Luckily there were no major hold-ups and I arrived at Daymer car park at about 10:30am.

Mike & Pierrette Simmons had already rigged and changed, having travelled part of the way down on the Friday night to break the journey, and were about to go afloat. Gerry & Chris Sanders and Steve, Viv & Danny Powell were just assessing the wind and deciding on a suitable sail to rig. With the wind a force three or so, the largest sails available seemed to be required, but I decided to opt for a 7m2 to allow me to use my new 105 litre board for the first time on the sea, and in the hope that the wind would increase.

Recent new member Steve Thornton arrived and also Mark Gregory, who hadn't been to Nomads event for quite a time so I was told, with his girlfriend Rona with young son George.

The wind was blowing from the south-east (cross-offshore) which is not an ideal direction for Daymer Bay as there is a wind-shadow in the lee of Brea Hill. However once out in the middle the wind was picking up nicely and my JP was soon up onto the plane, but the tide was ebbing making it quite a challenge to stay upwind. With an offshore wind there were obviously no waves or chop, but the fairly frequent power boats and trawlers moving up and down the estuary did provide a wake to try to jump off.

When everyone was out on the water, the wind was a good force four and most of us were enjoying blasting to the other side and back. I think Danny, who hadn't sailed for about two years stayed in the relative safety of the bay, but seemed to be going well.

With the very warm and sunny conditions, summer wetsuits could be used for probably the first time this year. Afterwards though, most people commented that when they had fallen in (including me), they got back on board p.d.q. as the water was still very cold!

After a short break for lunch the wind increased further to a full force five and veered slightly to blow almost straight down the estuary. A change down in sail size was forced and I thought I'd try a new 6.4m2 sail but was soon wishing I'd put up something much smaller, and had to stop on the other side of the estuary to put on more downhaul to lose some area at the top. Something like a 5-5 would have been ideal as the conditions became very exciting to say the least! I later found out that incredibly, Steve Thornton had carried on with his 9m2 sail all day, even attempting waterstarts with it! I thought we were supposed to be the Bristol No-mads!!

Most of us had had enough by late afternoon and eventually at about a quarter to five the wind began to drop and reluctantly I had to stop too. I think we all enjoyed an excellent day's sailing. In the evening we headed for the Port Gaverne Inn at Port Isaac for a well-earned meal and some very tasty 'Doom Bar' bitter!

Sunday brought a very different day, cool with overcast skies, but not much wind. A light westerly (onshore at Daymer) was enough to tempt most out to practice tacks, flare gybes, heli-tacks or just wallowing back and forth. At one point Chris borrowed Gerry's F2 Phoenix (for the first time ever apparently) with a largish sail and occasionally got it planing, and was clearly reluctant to let Gerry have his board back. It was only when Gerry sailed out on her 'Bee' that she gave it back!

Having had such a good and strenuous day's sailing on the Saturday I decided to have a rest day, listening on the radio to England's somewhat mediocre performance against Sweden at the World Cup, taking a walk along the beach to Rock and then catching up on some lost sleep. One or two others were likewise not tempted out onto the water.

The plan for the evening was to have a barbecue at the campsite where some of us were staying. Provisions were bought from a Spar shop at Polzeath and later Mike, Pierrette, Steve and myself made a start on some of the food (and drink) while waiting for the others to arrive. Mike said he had a dreadful time getting the campervan and trailer back up the narrow Daymer Lane, taking about half an hour due to the number of cars coming down the hill. He said there was a strong smell of burnt clutch lining coming from the van!

Gerry assumed the role of barbecue master-chef diligently turning the sausages and burgers, whilst the rest of us ate them! Actually he did manage to eat something. After the bbq, Steve & Viv, Danny, Gerry & Chris and Steve returned to their b&b accommodation whilst Mike & Pierrette, Mark & Rona and myself moved to the warmth and comfort of Mike & Pierrette's campervan for a night-cap and some fruit-and-nut chocolate, coincidentally two very similar large bars provided by Mark and Mike & Pierrette!

At about five o'clock on Monday morning I was woken by the patter of rain on my tent. This had been forecast, with it brightening up later, but the rain became quite heavy and this, plus the Daymer Lane episode, meant that Mike & Pierrette decided to head for home at about nine am.

As I entered the Daymer car park at about 9.30 there was the unmistakable sight (!) of the van of Ian Long and Neroli Blake. They had had visitors over the weekend and so were keen to get some windsurfing in, and to try out new skills honed at Moon Beach very recently, and this despite Ian having injured his knee doing a 'body drag'! I was certainly impressed by their dedication.

The rain soon stopped, and the wind was measured at 11 mph average with gusts to 15mph blowing again from the west. The others arrived and the general consensus seemed to be large sails and boards again. However, I rather optimistically went for the same combo I was using on Saturday afternoon having had such fun on it, but after one run out I had to come back to change up to a 7-0! Unfortunately the wind then dropped meaning yet another change up in sail and board. I then decided that the solution was to have two boards/rigs set up with one left on the beach, to allow a quick changeover if the wind picked up, something I'd not previously had the option of doing. After a short while this paid off as the wind picked up again to about a force four and more north-westerly, and so I was back out on the 105 + 7-0 a.s.a.p. I can tell you!

Now we had a situation of wind against tide making the water very choppy, but nevertheless giving a very exciting ride. We all seemed to be enjoying the conditions, and with the sun out again and the scenery to admire I think this location is as good if not better than any I have yet sailed at (in this country). The wind did drop slightly again mid-afternoon which meant resorting to the big kit once more, but it was still enjoyable planing conditions all the same.

The evening was spent at a very nice pub, the Maltsters Inn, in Chapel Amble near Wadebridge. An excellent meal and the local brew were readily consumed, after another busy day's sailing (and re-rigging!).

The forecast for Tuesday was for very light winds so we all decided in the morning to head for home early to beat the traffic, and to rinse off all the salty and sandy kit!
I'm sure that everyone who made the trip enjoyed themselves. It really was a great weekend of windsurfing and socialising. We should go there more often!

Al Donald

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