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two write ups for the Portland Trip
(3rd April 2005) and Photoshoot.

Ian's version...

Since I have something to gloat about , I am only to happy to tell tales of planing winds, occasional sunshine and uncrowded waters......

Before that though, a HUGE thank you must go to Carrie our photographer and Ivor who bravely sat out in his boat for well over an hour while we all sped past "strutting" our stuff while his kit remained safely dry on the shoreline - thank you very much, your sacrifice was greatly appreciated.

When Neroli and I got to the boatyard, it was obvious the F2 Speed Event that was rumoured to

neroli, mid-gybe

clash with our photo shoot was on - the boat yard was full of vans and F2 flags so we feared the waters might get a bit crowded.

While having the obligatory cup of coffee etc while contemplating what sail to rig, one of the organisers of the speed trail came round and announced the kippers meeting was going to be in ten minutes. I decided I would attend the meeting if nothing else, to find out what was going on to make sure we didn't interfere but also out of curiosity....

Kippers meeting came and went. Rather than a GPS based speed trial, (they were having teething problems with the GPS), it was going to be a radar gun based speed trial. The start of the course was a buoy out in the harbour, you then sped as fast as your steed would carry you to cross the finish line between a buoy and the marshal boat. In the marshall boat would be both radar guns, trying to record your maximum speed as you approached.

Well there wasn't a great deal of wind at this point, however our early probe (Keith) had announced there was plenty of planing wind to be found, you just had to be a little bit careful of the rather big holes.

I decided to go for it, so crossed their hands with pieces of silver (well - plastic) got my T-Shirt and Competitor rash vest and went off to rig my kit.

Light winds meant there wasn't much option on the kit front - biggest sail, Tushingham 8.6m Max and the good old Techno. Alas the 8.6 isn't looking quite as healthy as it should do - a mouse decided to nest in it last winter, so every 18 inches going up the luff tube it has holes getting progressively smaller from where the mouse made its nest while it was rolled up! Next to its competitors on the beach the poor set up didn't quite look the part either. The formula boards and their fins looked massive, and as for their sails . I have never thought of an 8.6m as small, however when next to a 12.5m it looks pathetic and thats before you consider all the gismos for adjusting outhaul tension etc while on the move.

ian & matt

Out on the water, there certainly was wind. Not as much as we would have liked, but with a few pumps you could get on the plane and pretty much stay on the plane till you were ready to gybe. I did a few legs up and down and in honour of the speed trial did the very rare thing of coming in to make a few tweaks in search of ultimate speed - I moved the fin back as far as it would go and did some further tunning on the sail.

By this stage the flag on the marshal's boat was up, so headed out to the course and joined the pack making runs down the course. Felt like a bit of a pretender been one of the very few people on the course not on a formula board but stuck to my guns and managed five or six runs down the course before I noticed Ivor's boat heading out for the photo shoot.

My vanity took over, so I abandoned the speed course and headed over to the boat. To help Carrie identify Nomads on the water, Brian had issued us all with yellow ribbons to tie onto the leech of our sails - felt a bit like sailing with a amnesty ribbon but certainly made it easy to spot your fellow Nomad.

I believe the photo shoot will be written up else where, so I won't bore you with tales of catapults in front of camera etc, but suffice to say that we all had great fun posing to our heart's content before returning to the beach for cake and to compare tales.

After lunch the speed course opened again, however the wind had dropped a little bit and I found it increasingly hard to get the Techno onto the plane and keep it on the plane for the whole duration of the course. I saw Carrie had resumed photography from the beach so headed back to that and continued my study of dismounts in the most appropriate manner.

The wind continued to drop so around 3 o'clock we all seemed to call it a day and headed back to de-rig, satisfied and exhausted with a good days sailing and playing around.

4:30 was the prize giving for the speed trial, so I went along to the tents to show my appreciation to the winners and thank the organisers for an enjoyable experience. First was the juniors, then the Ladies (I'm afraid I can't remember what speeds they recorded). For the men they said they decided to split the fleet up into Professionals and Amateurs and awarded the Amateur fleet first. To my enormous surprise, I managed to bag 3rd place in the Amateurs , so collected my prize and sneaked off to the back wondering how on earth that happened! The fastest times recorded during the day in the professional fleet was 28mph (recorded both in the morning and in the afternoon). My Techno gave a very good account of itself having put in a 25mph performance - not bad considering it was never really fully powered up and I would guess the windspeed was only around 15mph. (The guy in 4th place also recorded 25mph, but I got above him on the basis of a faster 2nd best result.)

What did surprise me was that the Formula boards managed to record similar speeds in the afternoon when I could hardly get planing. It made me wonder....... If a Formula board does 28mph when reasonably powered up and 28mph when only just powered up, 28mph is probably close to their top speed. The Techno can certainly go faster than it did during the speed trial, what would have happened if there was a couple of knots more wind?

One day I will bore of telling people that I came 3rd in a windsurfing event I only entered for a laugh, but in the mean time, I'm thoroughly enjoying it - so you have been warned. Don't ask me how the speed trail went . Prize was a couple of DVDs, which combined with the T-Shirt and the rash vest, more than covered my entrance fee so I drove back to Bristol with a totally contented smile and complete exhaustion. Concentration was an elusive commodity at work today.

Ian Long

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Matt's version...

Hi there, new boy Matt here.


Having attended 2 events in a row, Brian thought I was now suitably qualified to provide a few words on yesterday’s grand day out at Portland. A blatant attempt by Steve to bribe me with an extra piece of cake sealed the deal so here goes

After a lengthy but uneventful drive down from overcast and windless Gloucester I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at the Boatyard around 10am in bright sunshine. I was even more pleased to see several F2 flags flapping nicely in the breeze. Ian and Neroli’s van was quickly spotted and hello’s exchanged. The traditional checking out of the conditions then followed, with the usual deliberation over sail size etc, although for me it was a straight choice between a 9.0m or 7.4m. A quick glance at the number of enormous Formula sails lying around plus some interrogation of any sailor returning to the beach (thanks Keith) soon resolved that one, so ‘go big or go home’ as the saying goes.

During the next hour or so, several other now familiar Nomadic faces appeared, along with a few others new to me. Portland is obviously a favourite spot and I can see why. As a long time lake sailor, I feel pretty at home there too since I’m used to using big kit in fluky winds. On the few times I’ve sailed there, Portland seems easy because the winds are much more constant than my local spot. You just hook in, get your feet in the straps and blast off into the distance for as far as you feel comfortable. With the Southerly (?) wind yesterday this meant an easy launch straight out from the beach and across the harbour towards the wall.

Anyway back to the story. It seemed to take me a long time to get on the water. This was mainly due the embarrassing mistake I made of not checking that the bung in the sail was engaged in the top of the mast before downhauling. For a second or two I was worried when I felt something go as I applied the usual amount of force, but it was only the mast popping out the top of the luff tube. Ooops, try again hoping none of the pro’s had noticed (I spotted Lucy Horwood, Dan Ellis and Nick Dempsey of Olympic fame amongst the competitors in the speed event).

After cruising around a bit on the trusty AHD Free Diamond 77, the fun and games really started with the arrival of Ivor’s speedboat and photographer. By this time there must have been at least a dozen Nomads on the water, each identified by a yellow ribbon attached to something. There’s nothing like a camera to bring out the natural poser, so I obviously tried to get as close as possible to the boat whilst going as fast as possible. Since my freestyle skills are a bit limited, this was about the extent of my posing although I did attempt the occasional dodgy gybe within camera range. Fellow Nomads were a bit more adventurous, with talk of body drags, sailing backwards, standing on the wrong side of the sail etc.

During this spell I spotted a group of Nomads standing in the waist deep water. Something’s afoot I


thought. Sure enough, it was an attempt to get a flotilla together for a mass photo. Not wishing to be left out I dropped into the water and waited whilst the numbers swelled. On Brian’s command we set off, with everybody feathering their rigs to go slow whilst we all got going. At this point, things took a turn for the worse for me. Surely it must have been a very localised freak gust that caught me unawares and caused me to be flung over the front in what must have been quite a spectacular catapult. Bugger! “There’s always one” somebody quips. Thanks Steve. I look forward to seeing the photos.

Shortly after this lunchtime was called and everybody adjourned for the traditional cakes, which also allowed Ivor and Carrie to thaw out after their sterling work in the boat. It was whilst I was parking my kit on the beach that I noticed something different about my board. Hmm, don’t remember that black line being there before. Closer inspection revealed a crack about 10” long extending back from the nose on the underside of the board, with a matching dent on the top of the board caused by the either the mast or boom during my photogenic catapult. Oh well, I’ve got some epoxy at home.

A few of us wanted to go out again after lunch to do some more posing, this time with the camera set up on the beach. At this point I thought I’d better not get my newly modified board any wetter so went and looked at the demo kit for a possible replacement. An F2 Hornet 155 Limited Edition was quickly selected so off I went. Seemed like quite a nice board, a similar size to the AHD, but a bit slappier on the chop (80cm wide) and with very outboard footstraps. Pity the wind had dropped a bit, since it felt as if it could have been pretty quick in the right conditions. Apparently I could have had it at the special price of only £650 as an ex demo board, but I restrained myself this time.

I called it day after this, and I think most of the other Nomads had too by this time. After a leisurely de-rig I packed the van up and set off for home after another very enjoyable Nomadic day on the water.

(PS. I would have written this earlier but I’ve been carving chunks of polystyrene out of my AHD all evening!)



Who was there?

Ian and Neroli Long
Steve and Viv Powell
Chris and Gerry Sanders
Brian Derrick and Carrie (Photographer)
Matt Keevil
John Parker
Kieth Shepherd
Adrian Johnson
Neil Bass
Martin Heath
Ivor (Supplied the speedboat, Photograph Platform)

Sorry if I’ve missed anyone.

Matt Keevil

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This page last updated: 3rd Sep, 2021.