BNWC header graphic  

BNWC Speed Trial. Portland 2nd November, 2003

Version 1:

I have just received a reminder from Gerry that I had won the honour of doing the write-up for the speed trial and that it was needed for this newsletter. I have learnt from previous experience that it is better to do the write-up as soon as possible, while things are still fresh in my memory. But for all my good intentions, I now find myself some three weeks later sitting down in front of a blank screen with a rather foggy memory. I could make excuses, holiday, change of job, but if I am honest I could have done it earlier. Well here goes with my foggy recollections of the speed trial.

This was the fourth and last of the possible dates for the speed trial as none of the others had looked at all suitable. Watching the weather forecast on the Thursday evening before the social, it was predicting 20 to 25 MPH southwesterly, ideal conditions. All those at the Princes Motto social evening were in favour of running the speed trial, so it was time to dig the space hoppers out of the back of the garage. I should explain at this point for those of you that think I am loosing it: the club buoys are in fact space hoppers, a practical and economical solution.

On Sunday morning, Pierrette & I jumped out of bed bright and early, eager for the day ahead, well maybe I am exaggerating a little there, but it was early for a Sunday! I had packed the trailer the evening before so we could make a quick getaway but it did not work out that way. When I turned the key in the van’s ignition, nothing happened. A dodgy interior light had come on and flattened the battery. This meant a quick change of plan, the trailer was swapped over onto the car and the rest of our stuff including the space hoppers put in the boot, then we were finally on the road.

As we were leaving Bristol, we received a call from Steve and Viv. Steve had come down with a bug and they were going to miss out. As Steve had volunteered to get the cake this meant a diversion into Asda when we got to Weymouth. We found a large chocolate gateau, which later proved very popular after a few hours on the water. When we arrived in the boatyard, Brian looked very pleased to see us; well maybe he was just relieved that the space hoppers had finally arrived.

The wind was indeed southwesterly and blowing a good force 5, the conditions looked great. We had a walk around the boatyard to greet the other Nomads already there and see what size sails they were rigging up: 5 to 5.5 seemed to be the order of the day. The Nomads in attendance were Martin Farrimond, Tony Low, Brian Derrick, Neil Bass, Al Donald, Ian & Neroli, Carl Edgar, new member Tony Howell, Pierrette and myself. After speaking to Brian who had by then been out on a 5.4, I went for a 5.2. While I was rigging, Martin, Tony & Brian were busy setting up the speed course. When I finally got on the water for a couple of practice runs, I discovered the wind was very inconsistent. I was fully powered up with my 5.2 one minute and sinking the next.

Martin and Neroli were both unable to sail due to injuries but had come down for the day anyway and kingly offered to time the speed course.

I had rather a frustrating morning and only managed to get a couple of runs down the course on the plane. The wind seemed to drop just as I was about to enter the course or was half way down it.

As the wind was directly off shore it picked up as you went out from the beach, Tony Howell unfamiliar with the local conditions found himself in some difficulty when he ventured out some way from the beach. Ian as usual volunteered to sail out and help Tony back in, with a bit of encouragement he made it safely back to the beach. Ian Heroics meant he only had time for a couple of runs down the course before we all broke for lunch.

After a sandwich and a large slice of chocolate gateau, I was still feeling frustrated at my morning’s performance and the inconsistent wind. I was considering calling it a day and packing up when the wind seemed to pickup and fill in. Martin offered to open the speed course again, so with new optimism we all headed back out on the water. The conditions were much improved and I managed several runs down the course. Unfortunately it seems, I was not spotted and did not get any times for the afternoon section, but I enjoyed it a lot more than the morning.

After packing up at the end of the day, there was still three slices of chocolate gateau which Brian, Pierrette & myself had to finish off. You should have been there.

I have attached the recorded times below. Many thanks to Neroli, and Tony Low who bravely stood in the rain and wind to record our times and to Martin who, not only stood in the rain, but worked out the speeds below as well.

Course 1
  Best run (knots) Worst run (knots) Avg speed (knots) No of timed runs
Brian Derrick 19.2 16.9 17.4 4
Ian Long 13.9 9.6 13.5 3
Al Donald 19.7 15.7 17.7 2
Mike Simmons 12.1 12.1 12.1 1
Pierrete Simmons 17.8 17.8 17.8


Tony Low 20.2 14.2 18.3 5
Course 2
  Best run (knots) Worst run (knots) Avg speed (knots) No of timed runs
Brian Derrick 19.5 14.2 17.4 3
Ian Long 19.3 16.2 17.9 6
Al Donald 17.6 17.6 17.6 1

Mike Simmons

back to top

Photo of Al Donald Photo of Brian Derrick Photo of Ian Long  


Speed Trial at Portland 2nd November 2003
(The other story!)

Sunday 2/11/03 Portland, again!! What’s going on here, I ask myself? Some years I don’t go any nearer Portland than Starboard tack at Overcombe, and then two sessions on the trot.

Martin had rang up the previous night to enquire as to whether I was going to the Nomands speed event on the morrow; he’s still not sailing on account of the ribs, but will be there with trusty palmtop. Already aware of a near perfect Portland forecast, which astonishingly proved spot on, in the event- a SW6-7- if a little up and down, it sounded good.

On the water by 10.15 on 268 Screamer and 4.7 Voodoo, and that was the correct call, with it nicely on the sweet spot at times for the rest of the day. The Screamer is by modern standards a fast board, apparently. (It can’t be that a hard core wave sail like the 4.7 is the bizz, or even the sailor, who, to be fair, isn’t really carrying the weight for a speed event).

photo of No 15.

There was an identified sailor with No.15 on his sail, and a Copello under his feet, who was definitely the pace for the day. We were seldom on the same reach, but at about 11.00 we hit the same gust at the start of a port run. I had the advantage of trailing him, if a shade downwind. We were both up on the skeg, boards levelled and bearing right off; totally maxed. Childish I know, but somehow I didn’t want him to get to the Fleet first. He did, but only just!

About 11.45 came ashore for a kipper’s; which didn’t really materialise. For some reason people preferred to be out on the water, so after a bite and getting thoroughly chilled, I was urged back out, feeling a bit geriatric. The wind was still largely there, though the swinging and rising and falling a bit.

After a while, I saw Martin waving at me, so I stopped off for a chat. The exhubrant gesticulating to the North, and a space hopper, didn’t indicate the usual tone, and it dawned that the speed event was in business. Got a fair first run in, which proved to be the best, but not maxed at the start, and so it proved each time. What was apparent, however, is that it is the same for all trialists; avoiding the traffic, and hitting the right gust, before you even think of putting as much forward thrust into the foot straps.

This was my first (organised) speed trial- with Nomads or anyone else- and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A mega thanks to those organising it- we all know who they are, and what they did, right down to the pain of recovering the hoppers. (Could I suggest we invest in a crab line or two, to haul them in, another time?, and even to re-position, after the attentions of other sailors!!)

Tony Low

[apologies for the crap photo quality - I'd decided to use my trusty old Olympus SLR 'cos
1) It's quicker to focus than my Oly digital,
2) It takes a photo immediately you press the shutter release (something a digital doesn't do)
3) I could put my sockin' gurt telephoto zoom lens on it!

The film processing company then promply exposed the undeveloped film prior to processing it, ruining many frames and semi ruining the rest. Hell - let's name the guilty: It's DirectPrint. If you ever think of using them - DON'T - Martin Farrimond]

back to top

This page last updated: 3rd Sep, 2021.