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Away Weekend to Daymer – 26th / 27th June 2004

Thursday night at the Windmill clashed with England’s departure from Euro 2004, so not surprisingly there was a low attendance at the pub and frequent ooohs and aaaaghs coming from the pub kitchens behind our table. Neroli and I were coming to the end of a hectic week, so we left the pub before the end result – probably a wise move in hindsight with all those long sharp kitchen knives around.

From those that attended the club night, the vast majority were coming down to Daymer, so a quick swap of BnB numbers and everyone was booked into the same bnb, which just happened to be a pub doing food, so another phone call later and we were all booked in for food on Saturday night as well.

We decided to travel down on Friday and enjoy not having a long drive on Saturday as well as Sunday. I was working from home on the Friday, so at lunchtime the van was loaded up with all the toys and then having waited for the holiday traffic to disperse, around 8:30pm we headed south, arriving at our usual Friday night stop over point in Rock around 11pm. The forecasted rain started to arrive about 3:00 Saturday morning, so I was awoken to the light drumming on the roof and a gentle rocking in the van from the wind. The gentle rocking encouraged dreams of perfect waves, constant winds etc.

Not surprisingly, Neroli and I were first to Daymer Bay at 8:00 on Saturday morning, shortly followed by Mark Gregory who had made an early start from Bristol. A few texts later confirmed that Viv, Steve, Chris & Gerry were well on their way, having breakfast at the Little Chef outside of Launceston. Keith and Al had come down earlier on the Friday and were already enjoying the delights of the breakfast at the BnB.

The advantage of the rain arriving earlier than forecast was that it also passed earlier than forecast and rather than having to sail all day in the rain, it passed by around 9:00 and although the sun didn’t really come out till the afternoon, it did at least stay pretty much dry.

The usual dilemma of what sail to rig was as present as ever but eventually the decision was made, 5.3m for Neroli, 6.0m for me, although mid way through rigging up we were thinking about a 4.6m for Neroli etc. Out on the water, the sail choice was quickly confirmed as about right and the first few blasts across the estuary were excellent with swells building in the middle of channel to allow for little hops on the gusts.

The Little Chef contingent were slightly slower on to the water than the rest of us – some excuse like waiting for a large breakfast to go down, but eventually Gerry, Steve and Viv all appeared out on the water. Alas by the time they did get on the water, the wind had dropped and time on the plane was more elusive that it had originally been and usually proceeded with large amounts of pumping. The wind pretty much stayed at that level for the next couple of hours, allowing for many excellent blasts across the estuary. The wind was blowing South Easterly which meant there were many holes in it and plenty of frustrating time spent wallowing while everyone else seemed to be planing.

12:30 coincided with a slightly longer lull in the wind, so it was decide to call into the beach for the traditional Nomads cake stop. Gerry duly produced a bright green iced “football” cake that thankfully tasted much better than it looked and was promptly consumed by all present

Jeremy Diamond & son James turned up shortly after cake, just in time to ask those horrible words that every one arriving late to a beach dreads – “Have I missed it (probably referring to the wind rather than cake, at least we all assumed he meant wind)?” Alas the answer was yes, all that time driving down the motorway watching the trees sway was to no avail. The wind had come through and passed early in exactly the same manner as the rain had. James had a new waist harness and thankfully there was enough wind left for him to go out and have a sail and start getting used to it. To make matters worse for them, while they were rigging up, Jeremy’s car managed to lock itself with the keys inside, so a quick call to the AA was required. There is a Nomads tradition that any one who has to get rescued on an away day has to do the write up for the event. Fortunately for Jeremy, he was only on a day trip as cricket beckoned on the Sunday and somehow he got away without the write-up.

With no sign of the wind returning, Neroli and I decided to head off to Port Issac to relax on the cliff top for a few hours before meeting up with the rest in the pub for supper. En-route to Port Issac we called in at St Minver to see if there was a suitable place to park the van for the night within staggering distance from the pub. We were delighted to find that there was an ideal spot across the road from the pub behind the village hall, so the plans were set for the night.

The evening passed quickly thanks to one of the best pints of Doom Bar I have ever had the pleasure of quaffing. The food menu at the pub was relatively basic pub food but well presented and in excellent quantities – exactly what you need after a pleasant windsurfing session. By 10:30 or so we had all consumed as much Doom Bar as we could and either took our weary bodies to our rooms or across the road to our vans and crashed.

Saturday night passed without any disturbances, probably due to the amount of beer consumed. Sunday’s forecast didn’t look so promising wind wise, so I was pleased to notice the van rocking slightly in the wind as Neroli & I were enjoying our coffee in bed in the morning. Sunday breakfast consisted of bacon butties in Daymer Bay car park again, although slightly rushed this time as there was wind and it looked as though the Doom Bar on the other side of the estuary was beginning to work well. The wind had swung round to westerly on Sunday, onshore which meant it felt windier up in the car park than it actually was on the water. I rigged up the 6.0m again and took out Neroli’s 85 lt Starboard Free262 as I had on Saturday.

Alas the onshore effect in the car park was greater than I had realised and when on the water I found I was very under powered and time on the plane proved elusive. However the sun was out and gusts seems to come through frequently, so there was always the thought that it was about to pick up. Neroli spent a while rigged up and ready on the edge of the beach but didn’t seem to be inspired by the conditions and despite my waves to beckon her onto the water, she carried her kit back up the beach. I was later to find out that I was in the dog house. She was apparently waiting on the beach for me to come in and change up so that she could take the 6.0m sail herself. Oh hum, I was enjoying myself too much to come in and didn’t fancy sailing with a 7.0m. Eventually Neroli did come out with the 5.3m on my JP Wave board and didn’t appear to have any trouble getting one the plane at all.

Once again it took a long time for the BnB contingent to make it out on water. Apparently this morning’s breakfast was even bigger, so took longer to go down and while it didn’t look epic on the water, they were content to take their time. 6.5+m sails seemed to be the order of the day with most people taking relatively floaty boards. As the tide came in, the onshore wind encouraged some lovely waves to come into the bay round the headland. The waves on the headland made some great gybing ramps or take off ramps if you were nicely powered up – it is amazing how steep the faces of the waves get before they break compared to somewhere like Weston. (It is also amazing how blue and clear the water is compared to Weston but I guess you knew that anyway.)

During one of his breathers, Gerry very kindly offered to let me have a play on his eTechno 112 and 6.5m sail, so for the first time on the day I enjoyed some effortless planing and enjoyed some very pleasant blasts out and back on his board.

Once again, around 13:00 the wind appeared to go away for lunch and it became harder to find time on the plane. Neroli and I decided to come in for a bit of lunch, then to have a lot of lunch and Neroli cooked a chicken and pasta stir-fry that we had bought down with us. That was washed down with a pint or two of beer, so we decided that was probably the end of our sailing for the weekend. For most of the afternoon it appeared to have been a good call as the sun was replaced by spots of rain and the wind didn’t really come back. About three o’clock the sun came back out and the wind came back with vengeance and finally the 6.0m that had been promising all weekend finally arrived. The late Sunday afternoon conditions were without a doubt the best of the whole weekend but alas I was too tired and content in the van to enjoy them. The swells were coming in across the whole of the bay allowing people to ride a single wave right the way across the entrance of the bay on the way in and three or four perfect jumping ramps on the way out.I made a mental note that we need to come down to Daymer more often and then around 6:30 with kite surfers and surfers still out in the bay, turned the van round and headed home from an excellent weekend.

Ian Long.

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