Eastbourne once again turned it on for the windsurfers, with winds from 25 to 30 knots for most of the day allowing 13 races to be completed.
Conditions were fast and demanding with plenty of spills and some close finishes for the 22 sailors who turned up to sample the windiest city in the world.
The Gold fleet started offshore racing 5 legs to give spectators a great view of both the first mark and the finish.
Just returned from the Professional Windsurfing Association (PWA) competition in Noumea, New Caledonia, Auckland windsurfers Laurence Carey and Tim Wood showed their class placing first and second in the Gold fleet, with Tim closely followed by Luke Holliday and Harry Reid. Laurence Carey is the current New Zealand Slalom Champion and placed 25th in Noumea which bodes well for his 2016 season when he will be seriously racing on the PWA circuit. Windsurfing is arguably New Zealand’s most successful sailing sport internationally and Laurence hopes to add his name to the list.
The Silver fleet opted for beach starts, not without it’s own challenges, and raced 4 legs.
In the Silver fleet local Eastbourne sailor Peter Haan was the clear leader, with John Davies (Tauranga), Esteban Funes and William Novak (both Wellington) closely grouped in the next positions. It was good to see sailors from Auckland, Tauranga and Rotorua competing alongside an increased number of local sailors, and bodes well for future events.
It was great to see wave sailors turn up, most on wave boards, and I'm sure they will agree that a wave board class would be worth running if there are enough entries.
Social evening at the local Bre'd tavern, with tons of cheap pizza made for a great evening.
On the Sunday the competitors met around 10am but the southerly wind was not building sufficiently nor forecast to hang around, so an early call to not sail, followed by the results and prizes allowed everyone to make the most of the rest of their day.
Industry support came from Team 10, T-10 fins, NZ Sailing, Epic Sports, Wild Winds and Gaastra/Tabou. Lucky sailors went away with spot prizes totalling around $2000 including a wetsuit, rigging jacket, fin bags, accessories and clothing.
Local support has always been strong for this event, led this year by principal sponsors Craigs Investment Partners, with regulars Petone Pak’n’Save, Brew’d Tavern, Eastbourne Fruit Supplies, Eastbourne Lions and Eastbourne Sports and Services Club.
Volunteers are essential for events like these, so a big thanks to Alex Dean who managed the starts from the boat all day supported by boat driver Sam Price. On the beach we had Jim Rogers, local Robert Ashe, and others doing the finishes with Mike Burke who also ran the BBQ and does all the awesome posters etc. for this website. The windsurfers that helped would probably have entered so their contribution is doubly appreciated.
Jim Rogers (Team 10) also provided t-shirts for all online entries, as well as a $400 plus race carbon fin as a spot prize.
All this for $25! Thanks to Craigs Investment Partners whose backing made the event possible, and all the other sponsors and volunteers who made it successful yet again ... roll on 2016.
Photo credits: Dave McPhee/WildWinds, Lean van Heerden, Andrew Cathie