Ray Smith was the fastest at the AWA Windsport Festival

November 17, 2009 | Windsurfing
AWA Windsport Festival

The AWA wind sports festival got underway last Sunday. The day started off with the promise of 15-20 knots from the SW from met service. The sun started to make its mark on the water in front of the Bayswater yacht club early morning as the grass area adjacent started to fill up with sailors. Kites were inflated and sails were unfurled.

Gaastra/Tabou and Carbon Art staked out their patch with new seasons gear and Pete Smith from the Auckland Windsurfing School relocated his school trailer from Pt Chev to the Northshore, relieved the rust repairs held together.

Thanks for bringing all that demo gear for people to admire and try out and making the effort to support the event.

Tim Wood and the trusted RIB directed the show outlining the two races being run. The first was the 1-hour race.

A figure 8 course for windsurfers and a similar course just downwind for the kiters. Each lap being counted towards points scored for the race. The second event was a relay team's race. Downwind “slalom” on boards as wide as they were long.

Forty people registered on the day. And proceedings kicked off just after 11 am. Unfortunately, the wind did not cooperate and provided only enough power for the occasional planning run. The guys on formula gear excelled.

Their 9-11m sails and fins barely clearing the bottom meant that they planned in less than 10 knots of wind.

The rest of us on slalom and freeride gear spent most of the hour groveling.

Pete Smith came out on a tandem board that planned surprisingly early and provide a few sailors an opportunity to cadge a ride on the nose. Especially each time the monster came around a gybe mark, scooping up anyone in its way.

The kites have less luck.

The lack of wind and lack of volume in their boards meant most had to pull out of the 1-hour race though Lukas Walton still managed to make it around 4 times.

The frustratingly light winds meant that the fun factor came out. Tim Wood nearly getting tackled by Anton. Dave Brookbanks being chased by Dan Thomas who decided that swimming was a quicker way to get around the course.

In the end, the most laps went to the guys in the formula gear. Ray Smith going dizzy at 13 laps. Freeride sailor Jeff Gallichan doing 8 laps. And Josh Nixon getting to a very respectable 10 laps on slalom gear.

After a break, a few beers, and sausages, it was onto the team's relay race. Split up into 6 teams of 3 and in merely 8 knots of wind, the race got underway on boards with centerboards and any rig that competitors thought would work. Some went out on freeride sails.

Others rigged big.

In the end, it didn’t seem to matter. 6 times around the downwind slalom course with a final leg upwind to the le-mans style change-over at the boat ramp.

That sorted the fleet out. Team Grievous Body Rammers (aka GBR) taking out (literally) first place. Well done Tim, Pete and Dave B.

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