We all know Portland Harbour and its surrounding area is one of the UK’s true Meccas for our beloved sport of windsurfing. Safe and useable in any tide state and wind direction, it boasts the best wind stats of the south coast. And with the new road system in place, it’s much easier to reach the harbour’s launch-spots than ever before.
Weymouth Windsurfing Association (WWA) is the local windsurfing club, headed by a team of fanatical windsurfers who are out on the water whatever the weather, so long as there’s a breeze. We’re very proud to be associated with the WWA and have come up with a few local events and challenges with them that we are keen to host throughout the year.
For more information, call 0121 288 9965 / 07817 717904 or click on the WWA logo on the right to be directed to their site.
The Harbour Dash
The Harbour Dash is a fantastic local event that has been running annually in memory of Brian Matthews, who died in January 1986, the day after his 60th birthday. Brian learnt to windsurf around 1979, having being taught by Phil Gollop at his original set up of a few lock-ups at the end of Old Castle Road. The concept of the Harbour Dash came about because Brian was always the first for a bit of a seafaring adventure, sailing from the harbour to Overcombe or Ringstead regularly. The event has been cared for and nurtured by Norm Petty for the last decade, the prize for the winner being the Brian Matthews Memorial Cup, pictured on the right.
The format of the event is quite simple. It’s a race from Overcombe to the harbour, where you dip inside the wall via the north shipping channel, and back out into the bay via the east shipping channel. It’s then a quick zip back to the beach, finishing the same point that you started.
Whilst stuff of legend, the event has always been quite a low-key affair. The title for the fastest time has been held by local champ Adie Bugler for more than 20 years, and is crying out to be challenged. The ideal wind direction for a fast run is said to be west to north west. Will this year prove to be the year where the record is finally broken? We shall wait and see…
The date for the event is yet to be confirmed, but one thing is for certain – it will be a great day out for all, and not just those taking part. For more information, get in contact.
The Old Kit Open Day
Everyone who is reading this either HAS loads of ol windsurfing kit lovingly stowed away at the back of their garage, or knows of someone who has. Well, this is the event to dust off that kit, make sure the mice haven’t attacked your sails, and bring them down to the harbour once again to prove that this “modern kit still doesn’t have the legs to beat the old faithful”. So tighten the straps on that Mega Jag, slot the centreboard back into that Mistral Equipe or find the fin for your Sputnik, and bring them down for a relaxed comedy day out where you can line up against others with equipment you used to long to own. Date for event TBC.
These are a number a fun, light-hearted challenges that will be running from The OTC throughout the year. Many of them would not be possible without the fantastic sponsorship of Tris at GPS-Speed.co.uk. The GT-31 is the GPS system used exclusively at world speed events and we have two that can be borrowed (subject to conditions) to compete in the challenges below. The challenges are available for anyone to have a go at, at any time, so decide which one you fancy and get in contact. If you can think of another challenge that you’d like to see run, just let us or WWA know.
The Speed Leader Board (GPS)
Those of you who have failed to watch the Top Gear and their Fast Lap Leaderboard will not know what I’m going on about … but for the rest of you, the Speed Leaderboard will run in pretty much exactly the same format. Simply come down and borrow one of our GT-31s and blast along the harbour speed course to hedge your bets against your peers.
Harbour Dash League (GPS)
Exactly the same concept as The Harbour Dash event, but the challenge allows you to give the record a go whenever the forecast is right. There are certain rules that must be adhered to, (namely the start-finish line being in line with the 30mph sign of the Preston Beach Road by the Oasis Café, and the challenge must be done in pairs), but the introduction of the GPS has made a record run much more possible. Wait for that ideal forecast and come give it a go.
OTC Dash (GPS)
In much the same vein as The Harbour Dash, but this challenge will appeal to those of you who like to test your upwind capabilities as well. Again, the rules dictate you must compete in pairs for reasons of safety, but on this occasion, you start at The OTC centre, blast downwind to one of the shipping channels, out into the bay, back in the other channel and back to base camp. It’s an all-new challenge – which wind diection do you think will be best? Northerly … southerly?! Time will tell…
The most simple and straightforward challenge of them all! When there’s a good forecast luming, why not give a little purpose to your cruising around the harbour? The OTC Team will use the UKWA Weymouth Slalom mailing list to let you know that some evening slalom might be on the cards, and confirm it by putting some bouys out and trying to round some sailors up using their rescue boat, flying the biggest flag that can be mustered. Come along and have a laugh blasting with your mates round some marks in this super informal form of racing.
The Windsurf – Bike Biathlon
I’m sure many of us have always thought it would be a great event to compete in, but have never heard of one being arranged… Well here it is! The windsurf – bike biathlon could be called on a good forecast and would involve a windsurf race downwind from OTC to Bowleaze Cove or Overcombe, where the competitors switch their kit for a road bike and race their way back to the start-line at the WPNSA. We could of course go one further and include a run around Portland to make it a proper triathlon, but those who we spoke to seemed less keen on this idea! Get in touch and let us know if you’re interested in this sort of event, so we can pencil in names and provisional dates.