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nomads away day to minehead - 22/7/2001

After experience of previous Nomads outings I assumed everyone was an early riser and eagerly loaded my new toy (Bic Techno 283) to the roof of my car at 7.30 am. The words from Ian still ringing in my ears, that the tide was at 8am and we needed to sail on the falling tide. My keenness to arrive early and get out on the water was only momentarily distracted when I was drawn by the lure of those "Golden Arches" as I entered Minehead. The thought of food had not crossed my mind, but that Macdonalds sign stopped me in my tracks and I knew I could not continue until a sausage and egg McMuffin meal had been devoured.

Now fully fuelled and ready for the day I managed to find the destination at about 9.15 am, but to my amazement there were no Nomads to be seen. Not having sailed from Minehead before I assumed I must have the wrong location. A quick call to Neroli and Ian confirmed I was in the right place but just too keen. Half an hour later they arrived, but to my dismay decided that food was in order and proceeded to walk to the shops.

We passed the RNLI and stared pitifully at the flag barely moving in the dwindling wind. I assured Ian and Neroli that it had been flapping earlier and the wind was sure to return. Laden with Malt loaf, apparently the fodder of windsurfers, we arrived back to the car park to discover that Mike and Pierette had arrived. They too then decided that a walk was in order as the wind didn't look too promising.

I joined Ian for a cup of coffee and could tell that he wasn't keen to get rigged up and was even, can you believe it, contemplating going back and doing some DIY !. By now I was almost crying with desperation to get my new board wet and decided that I was going to rig up and go in on my own if necessary. I think Ian and Neroli took pity and decided to join me. (Pity = having to forfeit my Mars bar if they didn't get planing).

Whilst rigging up Mike and Pierette returned and decided to show a united front by joining us. By now the RNLI flag had started to flutter a little more. I think Gerry and Chris could smell the wind picking up as they arrived shortly after. Once out on the water even the big sails did not seem to do the trick, but then the wind started to increase and a bit of sail pumping seemed to be sufficient to get you going. Now I could relax knowing that my Mars bar was safe as both Ian and Neroli were planing and I was enjoying the first bit of early planing that the Bic's are renowned for. I think it was Gerry and Chris next to the water with Mike and Pierrette in hot pursuit.

Next to arrive on the scene was Steve and Viv, however Steve's fun was to be short lived. He managed to get as far as his first run out before deciding to give Ian a chance to practice his towing technique. It wasn't until closer inspection that I could see the cause of this short lived fun on the water. A broken mast was to blame. Once ashore the Nomads rallied round in true comradeship to offer Steve a replacement so he could enjoy the rest of the day. Steve did comment on Gerry's (Ahem - I did loan him my 490 spare mast, after I thought he was trying to water start) attempt at entertainment whilst awaiting rescue by flying past in several directions without actually asking why he was sat on his board going nowhere fast.

I did have my own incident to contend with as my deck plate came loose and resulted in a quite spectacular uphaul where the complete rig came out of the water and followed me over the opposite side of the board into the blue (I think brown would be a better description) stuff. Now accustomed to assisting sailors in need, Gerry was quick to my aid as I found re attaching the rig was somewhat difficult whilst treading water. (Thanks again Gerry). The rest of the day passed without incident and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

The final words from, now an experienced Minehead sailor, is "watch out for those rocks and sand bars" they had a nasty habit of creeping up on you at low tide, usually when you are sailing flat out!.

Martyn Payne

(Thanks to Martyn for his write up - he being but a young Nomad, and being press ganged by Ian for the report.)

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