It's very nice to hear an impressive tale once in a while to help inspire us to do more outdoors things. Is that not the path to happiness?
Philosophy aside, I thought it well worth sharing this. I was given a heads up a week or so back about a successful attempt by James W. Leeming and Simon Cave to windsurf around the Isle Of Wight. I actually personally attempted this same thing with my brothers a couple of years ago but we didn't make it. So hearing this is great. The icing on the cake for the Big Salty team is that James & Simon used Big Salty Weather for their research and planning the attempt.
Thanks to James Leeming for sharing these questions with us and congratulations on the achievement! Inspiring stuff:
What research did you do and what weather conditions did you look for?
We watched all the beaches around the island over a long period of time to get a feel for the differences in wind strength N to S
What way did you go round?
We went round anticlockwise starting at Calshot, having notified Harbour Masters of Southampton and Portsmouth and coastguard with all the required risk assessments (paperwork ugh). We also had a rib kindly supplied by University of Southampton just in case.
What was the wind direction and strength?
The wind was forecast 10-15 knots from the West and according to bramblemet in the Solent it varied from 10-20 knots moving to wnw and then to wsw. Uphauling a 9.5 in waves and 20knots after 5 hours sailing was almost too much, my trusty spare piece of rope made a makeshift easy uphaul, which I will be buying tomorrow (essential). Wind direction started w moving to wnw and then to wsw to ensure we had a tough 5 mile beat in.
What kit did you use?
2 completely different choices. I choice (cos that’s all I have) a Kona One with a 9.5m. Simon Chose a Formula board with 9.5 rig. My choice much better upwind in the lighter wind, Simons formula much better down wind in the higher wind and waves of south Wight where I struggled.
Did you time it with the tide?
We made a 7.20 start to try and get to Needles at slack tide (we arrived early but that’s not a problem). We had a spread sheet combining tides estimated times and sunrise and sunset to help us plan windows of opportunity throughout April and May. April we could not get safety cover but with all our planning we were fortunate and keeping flexible to go when all factors matched we managed to complete at our first attempt (well Simons 2nd as he was part of the Forces challenge last year).
What did you find most useful about the Big Salty Weather service for the trip?
As well as the tides, we found it really useful for the months before in analyzing the weather stations around the Island to get a hang of the wind variation from Solent to St Catherine’s Point using the ‘on watch’ for the weather stations below:
- Hayling Island
- Niton, Isle Of Wight
- Compton, Isle Of Wight
- Ventnor, Isle Of Wight
In addition, here is a link to an online log of the time / distance and speeds: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/8521 … c37b48%2C0
Get me some more waves...