For those that have never done it, sailing in Hayling Bay in a South Westerly breeze is a must do thing. From 2 hours before High Water the tide in the Bay is going West, so you spend the whole time wind against tide giving a really big sea, and with 15+ Knots of breeze it never disappoints.
I have spent many an hour out there in my Finn playing in the waves, but have yet to try the D-One in those conditions.
Today looks perfect, SW Breeze, forecast to be around 15 knots with gusts. Getting up to 25 knots by tea time.
Launch from Mengeham at 12.30, sail down to HISC, Kite up to check it’s all working, around the corner and out along the HISC shore to the RNLI Station. Very light and tricky along this sheltered shore. Down to the Southerly tip and a good constant breeze Hits me. Very strong tide around the corner, out through the inshore channel (affectionately known as the swirling vortex of death) nice gentle swell rolling in. 10 mins of close tacking up the shore gets me out clear of the tide, breakers and sand bank.
Bum over the side and away. Nice breeze now, big gusts for a South Westerly, definitely going to build. Settle down on Starboard Tack and see how we go through this chop. Bow lifts nicely through most waves, traveler down a bit to help me foot, pumping the downhaul through the bigger gusts. As they hit the boat leans a little but accelerates well. Get one wrong every now and again and get a face (and spinnaker chute) full of Solent. Good fun and a lot less work than the Finn !!!.
Now about a mile out, Tack onto port and aiming towards the Golf Club.
Gusts are getting bigger and more powerful, not sure I should be out here on my own with no rescue cover !!!!!!!
Now level with the Golf Club, That was relatively quick, impressed with the way we went through this steep chop. Sails through the waves and gusts beautifully. Now ready for a 2.5 mile run back to the Harbour. Tack, bear away, heading out to sea. Kite up, sheet in and let’s go !!. Wow, what a rocket ship, huge speed, big bear aways in the gusts changing angles by 20 or more degrees, come up in the lulls, watch the waves. This adds another dimension. Steering the gusts and the waves is quite tricky but very rewarding. The D-One bow does a very good job of coming up over the wave, and as long as you can trim the kite quick enough to keep up with the speed changes it all works well. I settle down in to a good rhythm and the hesitation in me goes and a broad smile is on my face. A big gust hits at the same time as the bow hits a wave and we slow down, I fear the worst as the nose buries and the boat starts to heal, but I hike hard and the rig bends forward and depowers its self, I collapse the front of the kite and the nose pops back up, sheet in and away. Now I am really smiling, or is that a cheeky Grin? Half way home, ready to gybe. Get up to speed, pick a flat spot, gybe, across on the other wing, kites in and away. Perfect. Acceleration is incredible (memories of my 49er) – must keep my focus to avoid being left behind!
Now aiming straight into the harbour, but the corner of the sand bank and the “Swirling Vortex of Death” are right in front of me !!. Power up, Hike hard, play the waves, soak low in the gusts, this is awesome !!.
The gusts are getting bigger, the speed is increasing, I approach the corner of the sand bank and the Surfers swell grows around me, I surf down one fully powered up. Too much speed and I hit the back of the swell in front, the nose drives in, Its going, I know it, Hike hard, Kite mostly flogging, but the rig bends forward, depowers and she comes back up !!!, Kite in and away, I don’t believe it. Another gust, catch up the swell in front, its enormous, must be the height of my second batten, its breaking on the other side, I don’t want to overtake this !!, I get a gust and go low, massive speed and I work my way down the back of it. I get around it and harden up slowly, hike hard, speed up. I can hear the wave breaking behind me and now I am accelerating away from it. Approaching the Harbour entrance. I see a 40ft Sunseaker coming out and head straight for its wake, max speed, up up !!!! Wow. Landed and away.
In the Harbour entrance, can’t believe I got away with that, its was Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. Gusts are now well over 20 knots, best stay in the harbour. Go and find Dan who’s out in his Contender and I know he wants a Burn Up !!!!. – Adrian Brunton