Windsurf: UKWA Speed Championships, Weymouth, Dorset report

Words and pics: Pete Davis

The annual pilgrimage to Weymouth for the speed freaks among us took place October 8-14. The forecast was not favourable at all with easterly winds all week. This meant the course was set in the middle of the harbour in choppy seas. With only a small window of good wind Wednesday and Thursday didn’t raise much hope for a counting round for the UKWA sailors taking part.

This did not stop over 80 competitors turning up – 30 of which were UKWA members. The reality was competition on the water every day in beautiful sunny conditions, but did we get enough wind to make it a counting round for the UKWA you ask?

Weymouth Speed Week men's podium 2016

UKWA run their annual speed competition (sponsored by Hey Dude Shoes footwear) under the umbrella of Weymouth Speed Week. They then take the results from each day’s racing and if the speeds exceed 28 knots by 20% of the fleet then it becomes a counting round. If it was going to happen Wednesday and Thursday were going to be the days.

Wednesday was looking good with wind over 20 knots and the guys were achieving  twice the wind speed earlier in the week. The result was so close to counting but the fifth person required to make the round a qualifier only managed one (not the two required) 28 knot runs.

It was down to Thursday to save the day. The wind was due to drop at lunchtime so all the players were out, bang on 10am when the course opened. They need not have worried as the round easily qualified but at the expense of five times winner Kev Greenslade. His old boyhood rival, Simon Cofield, who was making a comeback at the event, pushed Kev into second place. Third place went to Jim Crossley.

Weymouth Speed Week 2016 women's podium

The upsets did stop there. Zara Davis won the ladies fleet ahead of Jenna Gibson in second and Sarah Jackson in third. Zara, however, was creaming a good chunk of ALL competitors (men and women) and came in seventh place overall, taking some big name scalps in the process.

Some competitors were also taking part on foil boards. Not featuring at the top of the leader board this year yet it does look like they could be a threat in the future.

All in all a great competition which despite the wind from the wrong direction all week, provided some great speed racing.

See you all next year.

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