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Friday, 15 December 2017
Home arrow BLOG arrow BSA 1 TENBY
BSA 1 TENBY
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TENBY BSA MEGASLALOM  EASTER 2010
All images copyright Noel Thorp

I'd been thinking about doing the slalom again for a while..

Back in 2001 I was British slalom champion. At that time the slalom and course racing were run together and 12.5m sails had just become the norm. If it was proper windy we'd do slalom, if not then formula racing. 9 times out of 10 we'd be on huge kit doing formula. Pretty much everyone jacked it in the next year - we were fed up with the big kit and freestyle was the new thing to do in light winds (if you're knee's were bendy enough)

Now it seems that slalom is making a come back. The biggest kit needed is a 9.5m if you're a heavy weight, 8.5 otherwise, there's a new association (the BSA) and the events are run with just slalom racing in mind -no more big horrible box courses and 3 sails over 10 bl**dy meters!

So I decided to give it a go!

In the week before Easter I'd got enough kit together to go over to Rutland for a practice. I rigged the 8.6 in the rain and was all set to go when I was politely informed they had closed at 5 'o' clock, so derigged and went home, not a good start!...

GOOD FRIDAY

We drove to South West Wales on friday morning in plenty of time for the bank holiday racing, but no wind for two days meant surfing (Whitesands was ok but small, Manorbier was proper good for a longboard wave, Freshwest BIG but fat -surfed all on the McTavish biscuit ) and site seeing...

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Whitesands

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Whitesands

I was having such a good time it didn't occur to me to fit my outhaul adjuster or read my watch manuel..

EASTER SUNDAY

The forecast had looked pretty light, so I expected to roll out of bed, rig/tweak a few sails, read the manuel, ease myself into a bit of light wind practice..

WRONG!

I was just wiping the crusties from my eyes when the tannoy blurted 'first race in 10 minute'! b*gger.

Threw the kit together, grabbed my tally and headed out for my first race. Straps, harness lines, mast foot, everything all wrong! Sail felt huge and I came in pretty much last. Not that it mattered, I'd sailed the wrong heat anyway.....           that showed them!


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After much rapid tweaking I headed out for the loosers final and managed a more respectable second place behind Rich Jones. I was starting to enjoy this.


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Cribby won the final, with Mat Pearch and Ant Baker just behind.


The wind had eased for the second round of racing. I managed to make the final and then much to my amusement lead it for the first 2 legs!

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Eventually Cribby sneaked past and his dirty wind left me underpowered and a couple more sneaked through. 4th not bad though! As it happens this race was thrown out over night for being too lightwind. I think that's maybe a good thing though, my biggest sail is a meter down on some and I don't like light wind flapping.

By the end of the day I was starting to feel pretty dialed in. The 8.6 SCR Simmer and the Mistral 123 were feeling far more normal sized, easy to sail and pretty damn quick for big stuff. My only fin (a 44 Northshore) I wasn't so happy about though, feeling a bit too small for the light winds and figure of 8 course.

MAGIC MONDAY

The forecast for Monday had been perfect all weekend, a 20mph+ southerly!, and fortunately that's exactely what we got with sunshine thrown in. Sweeeet.

Just needed to find some kit to sail! Luckily Jim from Pura Vida sorted me a mast and 34 fin, and Kev Greenslade had bought me up a Mistral 95 (cheers Kev). I rigged my 7.0 and 6.2 SCR's and was good to go! I felt right at home on this stuff straight away and started to give the front runners a hard time having some great dices with Cribby and Alan Jackson.. 
I won my first heat, then went on to finish 3rd in the final..

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I can't begin to tell you how much fun I was having! This was a really cool day. Racing with all the top slalom heads and old boys from back in the day in perfect slalom weather, with a perfect downwind slalom course, ACE fun!!

The second final didn't go so well. I got a bit over excited and jumped the gun, getting an 'over early' and unfortunately causing a re-run of the final without me in it. Doh.

I have to say, starts are blooming tricky! Hitting the line on time at full speed is not easy and I was always having to slow down to avoid DSQ, this means you're instantly half a leg behind the leaders and down in 6th place or worse..
I need to practice these for sure. [Although atleast now I know how to work my watch to count down (after the last start of the day), thanks to Fred]

Whilst everyone else had a rest, I was training!..

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Round 3 went ok and I managed a 4th in the final, just behind the all too familier big pink North sails of Guy Cribb, Mat Pearch and Ant Baker. Seems these are the 3 to beat, fast, well tuned and very experienced racers..

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It was pretty windy at times..

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Kev Greenslade

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Team Tush..

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Loving the kit..

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Unfortunately we were only able to have one more race (a crew boat was punctured by a fin) and they decided to run a beach start..

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More lessons learnt! -make sure you run further into the water than those upwind of you! Wind stolen I was nearly last to get away, but managed to race around into 5th. Great fun though this mass start.

This gave me 5th overall for the event. Not bad considering the 2 disqualifications out of 5 finals, being on new kit and not having practiced for 9yrs! I'm really happy.
Most importantly I had a fantstic time, I'm super motivated for the next one and my kit is super fast and easy to sail.
I know I can improve; my gybes were getting better as the event went on (hard to break the 'wave gybe' habit!), I need to practice hitting the starts better, I know how to work my watch, fins are on order and maybe I'll even get round to fitting my adjustable outhaul!

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The Pro fleet..

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FULL RESULTS HERE


It really was a great way to spend the bank holiday with a great bunch of people.
Thanks to all the organisors, sponsors and race crew for making the event happen.
Huge thanks to Farrel Oshea and Dave Nobles for rounding me up some kit at short notice, I'm stoked to be sailing it.

(I'm using Mistral 95 and 123 slalom boards and Simmer SCR 8.6, 7.8, 7.0 and 6.2 sails, and a 34 Simmer fin with hopefully 42,46 MFCs coming soon)

Whilst most were too cold and tired for more racing, I didn't want it to end! Roll on the next BSA round at Weymouth. :)



Something for the speedies..

On the drive home I stopped off at Lllansteffan to check out a potential speed strip. It looks pretty sick..

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The Llansteffan course

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The longer course

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The rigging area ;)

More info in the 'speedspots' section under St Ishmael.

And then some Wavey's..

Much to my delight it turned out I had Tuesday off too, so headed for Rhosniegr...


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Checking out another speed strip at Beaumaris on the way.


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Another amazing day, with a 4m southerly wind a logo high stunt ramps I did some jumping for a change.
And gave the Opto-flex K4FINS another hammering, they really are something special, some big news about those coming sooon!


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Izzy smells a hamburger from 300 yards.




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