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minehead - november '98

I awoke to a dreary grey Sunday morning, the air was still and the trees were silent. I hear the slow and steady pounding of feet, it is my Mum coming up the stairs to wake my brother, sister, and myself. I quickly pretend to be asleep and act all surprised when Mum bellows at me that it is time to get up.

I quickly eat my breakfast and I am ready to start loading up the trailer, but then I realise that everyone is still just getting out of bed, or in the case of my younger brother, Gareth is still fast asleep. Here I am raring to get on with it, showing my usual eagerness and proving I am always on hand to help (despite what my Dad may say) and where is everyone So I decide to watch television until further help materialises.

A couple of minutes later everyone is eating their breakfast while I am still patiently waiting. Once the rest of the family are ready, we swiftly loaded our kit on to the trailer and we were on our way.

It was a two hour drive down to Minehead meandering through the scenic Quantock Hills. As we were driving down I was wondering what Minehead would be like, the only other place I have sailed in the Bristol Channel is Weston-Super-Mare. So I was expecting it to be a lot like Weston7 but when we got there I was quite surprised to see pebbles instead of sand and that the sea was not somewhere on the horizon. As we pulled into the car park the question was raised, "What does a Nomad look like ?" As we looked around we could see that there were some people with windsurfers on their cars and vans. We then found somewhere to park and went to assess the wind direction and its strength. We waited around for a bit until we saw Geoff Pook's famous blue van. Geoff organises the training and racing for the South West region, so we know him fairly well, we have been going to his events for a couple of years now. We went over to his van to see what he was up to and then debated when we were going to go out. Geoff introduced us to everyone. The other Nomads were wondering when we were going to finally show, as we had either been going to a racing events or we had been too busy with other things.

As no one else was getting ready to go out, so my brother, sister and I decided we should be first to test the water. The conditions were almost perfect with the tide being incoming and the wind coming from the north east, which made it fairly safe. We were all rigged up and so we made the long and fairly tricky walk to the water, as the pebbles were smooth and with your wet boots on, it meant you had to tread quite carefully.

We slowly ventured out to sea which I found quite difficult because of the low tide it meant some three foot waves were starting to roll in, which add to the fact I was on a wobbly 285 with little wind and it made an interesting situation. As I turned around I could see my younger sister Jane was finding the conditions particularly challenging. The waves were not all bad news it meant as you came back in you could ride and do turns on them. As I ventured further and further out and the wind began to pick up, the lumpy swells started to get bigger which was good because in the conditions we had, were you were struggling to get planning, you could get onto a swell which gave you just enough speed to get onto the plane. Geoff Pook and Tony Low were still going in all the lulls on their long boards. Then a few more of the Nomads were coming afloat and by now the wind was a bit more steady and the swell died down.

Conditions remained good for the rest of the day, when I eventually came in I was surprised I had been out for so long, I guess time does fly when your having fun. We slowly put all the kit on the trailer and one by one everyone else s1~9 came off the water. Even when we were all packed up ready to go Nigel Rudgyard and a few others were still sailing. We then said our goodbyes, everybody really enjoyed their day, I enjoyed mine and I look forward to meeting up with Nomads in future events.

John Edwards

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