Weymouth Speedweek 2016

Why bother to travel 44 hours to a windsurfing event and back home just to sail for a few days? Well Weymouth Speedweek is special. Very special. To begin with, it has been running for 44 years. Imagen 44 years back. That is A LOT! Probably it will run for another 44 years. Weymouth Speedweek is the backbone of speed. The only even that goes on and on. 

In the perfect condition this also is a very good spot for speedsailing by the way. My very good friend Anders Bringdal proved that in 2008. But in general the Portland harbour is a devil in disguise. The chops or the waves doesn’t look or feels like no where else. It is hard to describe the conditions but lets say that it is always challenging to go faster than 30 knots. When the wind is from the east, like 2016, it is harder than a 43 knots run in Luderitz for sure. The run is about 120 seconds long, a line up of 60 seconds, an entry of 20 sec, the actual run 30 sec and the exit when you decided if you should go upwards or downwards of the course, on the way back.

All the competitors are all very happy and never complains, even if the course could have been a lot flatter if it have been on port tack instead of starboard. - It’s the same for everyone, they all are saying.

The Portland island/peninsula is also worth to mention. I have spent 5 weeks on the island, but I keep finding new experiences. It is one of the most spectacular places in England for sure. And thanks to the format of the event, there is always some less windy days that I can spend myself. In early October the weather is always mixed here, this year was an exception with no rain and no freezing cold. 

But normally during a week it is summer 2-3 days, autumn 2-3 days and maybe also a day of winter. Cold temperature doesn’t sound good, but with more density in the air the better push in the sails. So I those days are also good, just bring the right wetsuit. Finally some words about the academy. The Weymouth Portland Sailing Academy is an extremely nice place to hang around at. It looks like yacht club, but it is really all about sailing. 220 kids in ages around 10 years, pass through a program every day. The builds rafts, windsurf, sails, paddle canoes and longboats. At the same time all British Olympic sailors are practising and a national 470-event goes off, as the same time as 80 speedwindsurfers are competing. And it all runs seamless.

And not to forget, the speedweek people: Elderly men with boats/rafts, kiters with foils, moths, all levels, ages of windsurfers and the organisation team (Big Thanks by the way for the boatride). It is like a huge family, where everyone has different roles and characters. Must be experienced. Hard to describe. But everyone are happy and no hard words.

Myself in this years event. Well with a flue and no power in the body, brandnew boards and fins, it was a fight to be on the water every minute and at the end get a 7:th place overall was more than good. Congratulations Simon Cofield to win the Weymouth Speedweek 2016! But I have beaten you before and I will try again, but it is harder when you are on the Loft sails! Here is the final result.

Reflections from the Speed World Championship 2016

To start with, the organization of this event was perfect. They ticked all boxes so to say.
  • Race officer that started heats in exactly the right moments and held us on wait when the conditions not where stable
  • Very big tent for storage, with a security every night
  • Huge hotel 600 m from the event area, with breakfast and dinner buffet
  • Warm welcoming ceremony

  • High level prize-giving ceremony at the beautiful cave-lagoon-pool area
  • GPS-timing team that made their loads of work smiling
  • Live-timing with a screen on the shore
  • Merchandise shop, self cost for competitors
  • Top photographer
  • Sub-sandwiches for lunch
  • Cold water and Red-Bulls
  • Boat and jet-skis on the course all days
  • Course that where adapted to the conditions
  • On course judges
  • A rental wind/kite/SUP-centre that help me with gear
  • Et cetera 

About the spot Matas Blanca at Costa Calma Fuerteventura.
It is an OK spot for this kind of event. A bit from perfect, but it works well. The forecast all days was 15 knots, but around noon the thermic wind picked up to 20-30 knots. Sometimes when cloud came the wind suddenly disappeared or swung around 100 degrees. It was gusty but rather gusty than no wind. The temperature was around 23-26 C and 21 C in the water I guess. Perfect for  shorty.

About the sailing. To be honest I have not been so many days on the water the last year. And 90 per cent of my days have been with 8.6 or 9.2 m2 sail. My idea was to fly down a few days earlier to tune the 7.0 and the 7.8. I have only used them for a few minutes this year. But Air berlin managed to keep my gear at Tegel airport those days. And when the event went off I took the sail I know, the Loft Racing Blade 8.6 in all heat except of the first. I know that it is a bit slower in acceleration and top speed but I also now that I have done 39 knots with it and I like it. It also carries me easy through the lulls and easy is never wrong. As I see it speed in 20-30 knots wind could be done in two ways. Either a big sail (7.5-8.5), a big speed board (100 l) and a small fin (30-32cm) or medium sail (7.0-7.8) a medium slalom board 85-110l) and a bigger fin (36-38 cm). The latter set-up works better today, since the fins have become so much better than five years ago. Some participants only brought a few sail and a small board, Björn brought a 6 tonnes truck. For a World Championship I would say bring what you need. It is not the race officers concern if the participators have too small equipment.

At this event I had my 250 m runs around 33 and 35,5 knots in most heats, and best top-speed about 37 knots.  Would I have done it different when I look back, probably I should have taken the 7.0 or 7.8 in the last heat. That was the heat that I discarded, and it would have been fun to see what a smaller kit could deliver. 

And some words about the competitors. I have raced with very many people in the world and know what standard everyone has. The top-riders in this event is for sure some of the best speed windsurfers in the world. No one at this event could just put the feet on the board and cash in a heat.

I am also very happy that we finally see some younger riders on the top. Aaron and Twan where really fast and consistent. I think we soon will see some change on the very top on the major events.  I was a bit reluctant to the open format with kids and amateurs on the same course. But must say that if it is room for that, that is very good for the sport. You see so much joy in their eyes and the routine they get here will help the in the future to become very good competitors.
So again, thanks for a great event. Thanks Markus Emanuelsson and Marcus Richardson  for joining me from Sweden. Thanks all other competitors that made all days, evenings and breakfast so nice. Thanks to my sponsors; #Hertz #Tenson #LoftSails #Carbonartwindsurfing #Ackert #Equipewindsurfing

Congratulations Björn Dunkerbeck and Zara Davis, you did it again!

Next big event for me is the Swedish Championship and then Weymouth Speedweek!

Weymouth Speedweek 2015

It is time to put Weymouth Speedweek anno 2015 to the archives. First of all, I am impressed by the team of organizers that keep on working and improving this event year by year. The self service GPS check-in, the real time data logger, always 3 "marshall" boats on the course, results every night or morning etc etc. World class!

Also the place, Portland is something very special. The Portland rock, the view from the Heights, the quarries, Portland Bill, the Chesil beach and the WPNSA-facility cannot be beaten by any other venue. And the english weather, the last day 26 C in the afternoon in mid October!

The social activities every evening including the Weymouth Pub´s are also very unique experiences in more than one way...
If you are in Weymouth you should check some back-yards, and watch up for pigeons...

(c) Photo: Pete Davis
The sailing itself in the Portland harbour is a challenge. The wind is often gusty, the water is choppy, the course is long in that way that we need to sail almost 2 km to do a run. When you look at the speeds that we often achieving, 32-34 knots, it may look slow, but I can tell that they are often more tricky and harder than a 45 knots canal run. But it is the same for everyone, and the over 80 participators all do their best to deliver. Also the format, that the course is open 7 hours a day make this week very special. I always ends up with different kits along the very long beach. A lot of walking and carrying every race-evening.

The icing on the cake this year was to meet Paul Larsen, his team and experience the legendary top speed 68 knots Sailrocket 2 IRL. Great to meet and hear the stories and the theory behind, maybe the fastest sailing craft I ever will see in my entire life.

I hope to come back soon again, hats of for Kevin, Patrick, Jim, Keith and Simon that finished ahead of me this year. But next time one or more of you will end up behind me (again) ;-)

Back in Weymouth again

It feels great to back on the holy ground of speed again. Since the interest from my mates in Sweden to join me was cool, I decided to fly instead of bringing my car and trailer. The downside is that I had to prioritize what gear to bring. Big or small boards, number of sails, wetsuits etc. Right now it is full summer here and I am a bit concerned about that I only have a 5/3 wetsuit and that will not work well when it is 25 C and sunny... And about the boards, it look like will have pretty much wind later in mid week. I brought my medium kit, perfect for 15-25 knots of wind. Let see how that turns out, anyway this is a great event, and a very spectacular place to sail at. Everyone should attend Weymouth once in a lifetime!

Back in Business

This blog have had some hundred of thousands views the past years, but for a period it have been on hold. What happened after Luderitz was that I travelled a lot with my family, USA, Asia and Europe and then bought a new house.

But the house was 20 years old and needed a major restoration, but also an upgrade to fit my needs. It is located at the best flat-water spot on the west coast of Sweden. From my new garden I have done +38 knots runs this year. I like to do construction myself but I also have spent months coordinating building people with different skills. The project is far from ready, but good enough to spend more focus on speedwindsurfing again. And I must admit, ’oh speed surfer-God I have missed you’.

The house-project have been a mentally disaster, but the trip to Karpathos this summer and the time with all speedy friends from all parts of Europe where fantastic.
Even if the wind was not turbo-charged this year, I still got a super boost.

The past month I have enjoyed more time on water, and the construction of the surf-storage is almost ready, except of an outside shower.

And last weekend the Swedish Speed championship took place on the other side of the bay. Light 15-22 knots wind, but still a good fight with Markus Emanuelsson, and it ended up well. Second time Swedish Champ! That gives me even more positive speed-karma and I am looking forward for Weymouth Speedweek next week. And one more thing, I have a new contract with Loft Sails and Unifiber for 2016 that states some Social media presence so why not start blogging again! 

Greetings from a High Speed Daddy

We soon is closing this year, and to all of you who pop into my site, Forever Speed and a Fast New Year. I made a little video to make the winter go a little faster here in Sweden.
If you have kids, you might also choose this song as the soundtrack of your life!

High Speed Daddy.

Luderitz reflections

Loft Speedblade 5.6 2014 - a very beautiful creation!
The trip to Namibia was a true experience for sure. The mind-set was to go down there and participate and get home alive and not with too many damages. I was prepared for a few, but not to be a cripple when returning home. No 50 knot musts! I had prepared myself as well as I could and in equipment ( e.g. I brought 15 masts) I only missed an SDM-mast for the smallest sail, (which I did not use anyway). In general we had a great time. The international speed windsurfing scene is a very friendly community and has an open and positive mind-set.

With all participators we had many great moments around the canal, at the trailer back to the start, at the Nest Hotel breakfasts, in Diaz Coffee shop and at the dinners at various places. We, the Swedes did also a series of Web-TV (will be subtitled soon) and a few episodes with Patrick and Antoine.

About the sailing. I did only had one really powered up day. That day I felt a bit like a rookie and it was more about getting into the feeling of making the way through the canal, rather than trimming the equipment and catching the speeds. This was my first day ever with a smaller board (less than 44cm) in combo with a sail less than 6m2. (I am really only used to 8,6 and + 60 cm boards).
Getting rid of the ghosts and fear about crashes etc. The runs went better and better during the day. Started with 42 knots, 42,5, 42, 43,5 44 and 45,5 knots over 500m. Peak 47,7 knots or 88 km/h. 5 knots faster than I ever have sailed. It was super gusty and I had bad luck with the gusts, except of once, but I did not dare to sheet in that moment... I guess that was my chance to break 50. But I thought this was only the start for the next 3 weeks...

I listened to some advice from Anders Bringdal, to lower the boom quite a bit; it resulted in some better speeds but ended up in a HUGE catapult in the middle of the course in 45 knots.

The sailing challenge in Luderitz is to get on the board quickly in gusty low winds, be quick into the harness and straps and do the corner with good acceleration. I never managed to do that all well in the same run…

And the hardest part then was to find a stance and some wind down the 150-160 degrees course. Most runs I felt very underpowered with my 5,6 in about 30-35 knots wind. To stop was easy, since I am used to the Karpathos reef. I wished we had some more days with 35-45 knots wind to get used to the trim and stance.
I had brought 5 boards, 15 fins, 7 sails, 15 masts, but ended up only using 2 sail, 2 boards, 2 masts and 2 fins…

We all survived this year, and arrived home alive!
What I did not like was the level of the water in the canal, about 50 cm too low, the sailable width  was in some parts less than 2 m and very shallow.  To have a wall that is 2-3 m high on the leeward side did not feel good either, if a fin broke we would been mashed or nailed into the wall. And the almost empty so-called ambulance was something from a surplus sale from the mid eighties. I expected a modern, fully equipped ambulance with a team of paramedics…
When Sophie crashed it became obvious that the wall and the rescue-team was the weakest part. When she crashed we all did our best and I do hope she will recover very soon and will be back in business.

To wrap it all up. A true experience. We cannot do anything about he winds. I am satisfied with my runs during the given conditions. I might return back another year, if the event team could guarantee a full canal, no high walls and a trained rescue crew. And I also think it would be wise if maximum 15 riders participate the same time. To avoid waiting lines for 30-40 minutes. I belive if this event will come back, they have to make the setup different.
Cheers - Luderitz 2013 mission completed.

I would like to thank some people a bit extra that made this trip special; Patrick Diethelm who helped me with the SDM-masts and boom-adaptation and Anders Bringdal for your mental support and my traveling partner Daniel Borgelind. Jeroen and Brad who drove the trailer when the official timing was down.

I also am very thankful to all partners that supported me with ultra high quality equipment and services; Hertz, Tenson, Loft Sails, Carbon Art, Mistral, X-Booms, Gasoil-, Hurricane- and Black Project fins.