Bloody Sail

Donegal for Everyone

Blood on the Water

Northerlies and Stuff

Mastbreaking at Millisle

And When the Wind Doesn't Blow

Kit for Sale

The Usual


It's been talked about for a while now, but we've finally got Donegal sorted out. And this year it's very different and it really is for everyone and not just the waveheads. Here's the headlines :

  • Windsurfing Freeride Course with Waves
  • Week commencing 15th October
  • 6  days again, Mon - Sat most likely
  • Instructors Phil Richards and Danielle Lucas
  • Expert video feedback every evening
  • Professional quality photographs and videos, available for low extra cost
  • It will be 1 or 2 people instructoring depending on the numbers
  • If it's one, then we split mornings/afternoons between flat water and waves
  • It it's two, we run in parallel
  • Instruction cost £170 pp
  • Good quality accommodation available at the Loch Altan Hotel

This year we want to really open up this wonderful venue to everyone and so this is not a wave course. Ideally if we get enough people we will have 2 expert instructors, Phil and Danielle. Last year they were immense and continued the supportive, gentle but expert instruction style of Jim Collis. Jim incidentally was unable to join us this year as he's back in full time study.

If we have 2 instructors, and that's down to you, each day we will split into 2 groups. One will work on flat water, gybes, tacks, slalom - in fact whatever you want. The other will give instruction on the waves. If numbers dictate only a single instructor, then the split will be morning/afternoon. In this case when your group is not under instruction you'll be free to simply sail and enjoy. In all cases each evening we will have the expert feedback based on the videos shot that day. You will improve massively.

So if you're an improver or an intermediate, sign up and improve your flat water skills. You will also have the opportunity tp cross over and enjoy some early wave coaching if you wish. And if you're a wave head, I don't need to tell you how good it was last year. Sign up and get more of the same.

The price has been held low this year to encourage numbers. £170 per person for this level of coaching is fantastic. So sign up and get your mates to do the same, this is a numbers game and the more people the better it will be for everyone.

To be totally clear, this course is open to everyone. It's not just NSC members and of course it's now open to a much wider range of abilities. And of course we'll welcome windsurfers from anywhere including Ireland and the UK.

To join in, let me know and I will provide you with bank details to transfer your £50 deposit. This is returnable up until we have sufficient numbers to ensure the course will run. After that it's non-returnable so if you have to drop out you'll need to find a mate to take your place.

6 days of expert tuition suited to all levels, video coaching in a fabulous location. It just doesn't get any better. Sign up now - or Andy will be paying you a visit...



Those of you who live and breathe Facebook, will have seen the photographs of the mystery windsurfer who was generously donating blood to Strangford Lough. I published the shots of his bloodshot sail and invited 2 questions - who was it and who do you want it to be? And my thanks to those of you who replied unanimously to the second questions wishing it was me...

However just to prove that there is a god, I can now reveal the full story and the fact that it was a lawyer!


Bloody Lawyer

It was January and on an unseasonably mild day quite a few of us turned up at the club for a blast. Ali Tourettes Todd graced us with his presence while taking up a large part of the car park with his latest gas guzzling Chelsea tractor. Out he went and on his second gybe crashed. Nothing unusual there, in fact most of us saw it and had a good laugh. It was only when he was slower to come in that we thought there might be more to it. And so, accompanied by a torrent of interesting words, Ali came in looking like something out of a Hammer horror. Actually he often looks like this, especially after a late night out, but this time the blood was streaming down his face.


Running repairs

We took him inside and the good doctor Shipman examined him and pronounced stiches were required. Ali, being the true man that he is, said he was damned if he was going to A+E after only 5 minutes on the water and he demanded to be patched up. Between us we managed a few tiny bandaids and a lot of duct tape. The pictures say it all really. Especially the look of delight on the various faces as he is made up to look like the Mummy Returns and sent back out. If you're reading this on e-mail, go to the website and enjoy.


Doctor enjoying his work

Apparently when he eventually got to A+E the nurses complained of the fishy smell..



As usual, the forecasts were saying 'don't bother'. And as usual they were wrong.

The first indication that there might be more than the 10mph which was forecast was an early morning text from Mr Wookie saying he was stacked on 6m at Whiterocks. Sadly we all missed the text as we are wise enough to sleep at dawn on a Saturday. But gradually the penny dropped that there just might be some wind. And so the long drive started.

Basically the usual suspects in their rather suspicious vehicle trawled up and down the Irish sea coast of the Ards Peninsula looking for wind and sails.

Cloghy, sunny and windless. NSC barren and dead. Millisle and Portavlgie, dead. Ballywalter - a few desolate tea-baggers. But Ballyhalbert had some wind. It also had Pat, David Corkhill, Raptor, Robbie Bin Laden and Davy. But they were all slugging in saying the wind had died and 7.5m wasn't enough anymore.

However, even as we contemplated the brown waters of Ballyturd, the fickle wind picked up again. Bin Laden took out his 8, Paddy jumped back on his 7.2 delighted to be able to sail his new wonderboard and even Raptor was on his biggest sail - mind you that's a 5.7m. Actually it was his first time out in 4 months, having knackered various unimportant parts of his body like his leg and his shoulder. Clearly past his prime at 27. Come to think of it, he's so old now that he's almost caught up with Andy's age. Odd to think of him as older - we still see him as the 14-year old looking lad sandwiched in a van between Big Robert and Jarleth about to have the ride of his life - to Magheroarty I mean.

Wookie and I rigged 7.5m on slalom kit and immediately had a good sail. It was the first time I'd sailed Ballyhalbert and I suspect many others haven't been there. The wind was northerly and the launch was from the small harbour to the south of the village. A few weed beds at low tide, but generally very clean and clear. Today there wasn't much in the way of waves, but as the tide reached full quite a few smaller ones formed between the harbour the small beach. Raptor, who's almost a local, reckons it can be quite good at the right tide for waves. The general sailing line in a northerly was from the village out past the harbour and then gybe before the rocks. It was relatively flat, but still with some good swells and the water state near the harbour was a bit crazy. Swell and waves coming in from the Irish sea would crash on the outer harbour wall and reflect back on the incoming waves. Physicists amongst you will recognise this as standing waves, but I can tell you that on slalom kit it was a bit bouncy and interesting.


The long wet arm of the law


We were all very impressed to see Max, not because he sailed excellently which he did, but because he sailed all day and yet somehow managed to have his girlfriend with him sitting tamely in the car for hours on end. We can't figure out if she's still at that first truly, madly, deeply in love bit - or he's promised to spend an awful lot of money on her. Either way, Wookie was keen to get a few tips on how to manage the fairer sex.

The biggest plonker of the day turned out to be Davy. He only managed to lock his keys in his car. Fortunately a friendly (and windsurfer) policeman turned up offered him his truncheon. This is clearly code for something we don't really want to know about. Anyway, instead of smashing his window, a lock smith was called and eventually a rather embarrassed Davy and his keys were reunited. All that and when asked about how his windsurfing went he replied I was rinsed over there, and over there and .....

Bin gybe

The sun shone, our hands went blue (northerly and rather cool), and we all had a ball. Oh and Max had a cold bottom as he'd 'ripped his arse' - we didn't dare ask for any more details. And Wookie tried out his new 90ltr slalom board which he says is awesome.



We've had some nice northerlies recently, you know the ones which have the great unwashed complaining that it's cold for April. Their pain is our gain - unless of course it's a north westerly in which case we might all be catching Strep in Ballyturd. Still, at least the bacteria and brown things tend to warm up the water.

A few Wednesdays ago a number of us headed for Ballyholme but found too much east in the wind and so it was flat calm. Many phone calls later we assembled at Millisle awaiting 25 knots. The sun was out and most people rigged around 6m although the annoying Mr Wookie was planing on 5m. Andy and I headed out on 6.2 and large FSW boards but were badly underpowered. However, knowing the wind was due we just let off the down haul and prayed. It worked and soon we were all planing in the waves. Fanta Pants came out (of hibernation) and was joined by Mr Yeates, Ronnie, Ming and Davy. It was particularly good to see Alan Yeates out as his back went, alegedly in the most innocent of circumstances, and this was his first time on the water in 5 months. He celebrated by not dropping a gybe - clearly he's had lots of time to forget all his bad habits. He had however acquired one of Andy's habits and had a big whole in his wetsuit in the gentlemen's area. So he didn't stay out too long - or for that matter stay on the water too long.

Do you think it's windy?

We went out at ful tide and so the waves weren't wonderful, but as the tide dropped they got bigger and some very munchie sets came in. Andy took over my role as being magnetically attracted the rocks. Pushed in towards the reef by a big set he found himself fending off the reef with his feet and yet somehow came away without damage to himself of his kit. Not so lucky were Wookie and Ming who came together (their words...) on the outside. The general story is that they turned together and Wookie didn't get away as quickly as intended and the next wave pushed Ming into him. The nett result was a big hole in Wookie's sail. But he took it like a man (or a large hairy thing from a galaxy far far away) and they agreed it was just one of those things. Ming then left as he had an appointment with a masseuse. Actually he said he and his wife had an appointment with a masseuse - so clearly things are still swinging in South Belfast.


Most people have moved to skinny masts, but I haven't since my set of normal diameter masts have been going for years without incident. Until today. I dropped a very innocent gybe on the outside head a loud crack. Clean break in the mast just above the boom. Since it was totally unsailable I had to lie in the waves and be pounded until they decided to spit me out on the shore. I then had a long walk carrying all my kit in the sure and certain knowledge that my 'friends' would be lined up to meet me. Laughing. They were.

As I left to find a friendly bank manager more troops appeared including Graham whom we haven't seen for a while.

And the winds continued. Saturday was a wipe out for most people, but against all forecasts Ming and Wookie went out at Ballyturd on big slalom kit. They raced each other and the result is that wookie is going to get a nappie - not before time some would say. I think he means a seat harness.

But Sunday was the big day and a big crowd went back to Millisle for some more kit munching. And it didn't disappoint with Grahame scoring a spectacular sail bust. It actually looked like someone had gone across his sail from the mast to the leach with a knife. So instead of 1 sail he had 2 - a  top and a bottom sail. For some reason he didn't like this windsurfing innovation and decided to rig something else. Wookie meantime was on his 5m which after Wednesday was sporting a big pile of duct tape.

Loads of people out on 4.7 - 5.5m, many on small boards. These included Raptor, Tim, Ming, Mark, John Adrain, Big Roberts and  Ali Turrettes. No further damage was done and most people had a good sail in quite benign waves and nice sun - although it was not warm. No one particular disgraced themselves, just the usual generous supply of missed gybes, face plants and general crashes. Don't you just love waves.

Paddy turned up with his dog having hurt his back (that's Paddy's back, not the dog's) which he is now nursing as the club Dahab trip is only 3 weeks away.


Ming explodes



Most of you know that Wednesday afternoons are a regular feature for the medical/dental profession at NSC. The plan is to always be there and to do something on the water. Well recently we had a windless afternoon and so Tony, Ming and I decided to try some tow surfing and a bit of waveboarding. The pictures don't record some of the explosions, but it was a bit of fun.


Lord of the Waves

The funiest bit however was when Ming daintily slipped off the side of boat and left a 3 inch chunk of his wetsuit on a hook on the side of the boat that he hadn't noticed. We're used to seeing him punching his board or his sail, but punching a wake board is a new one for us...

Ming on his Wake


Many of you may have wondered that happend to Marilyn, our blonde dentist and Simon (who isn't blonde). The answer is kids with the added pain of having to examine my teeth at regular intervals.

Clearly traumatised by this, they've decided off load their gear :

HI Alan

Myself and Marilyn are looking to sell all the windsurfing gear including trailer in a job lot. Can you put it out to members of the club to see if anyone

wants it.

We would do a great deal for the whole lot to go so this is what we have.

Trailer. Able to take 6 boards

1. Mistral 144 explosion
1. mistral 278 screamer


4.3 North Sail infinity
5.0 Fanatic freeway
7.5 Ezzy infinity
3.7 north sail instinct
4.0 Neil pryde Raf Cam
5.7 north sail Rave
6.5 north sail
3.2 hand made lodey


150-195 Fanatic small
130-180 Concrete
165-215 north sail progression


470 IMCS curve. stiffness 23 Glass Epoxi
430 Tushingham carbon 30
370 Fiber spar
230carbon 20

selection of fins, extensions mast foots adaptors etc.

Contact Simon 07710571577

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Usual Plug

You're receiving this because you registered on the / site, you can stop at any time, just follow the links.

You can also register your mates, just fill in their e-mail address and the system will e-mail them and check if they're happy to receive my meanderings. Why not share the pain with them?

And we're always looking for reports, ideally with photographs, so if you want to share the craic with or dish the dirt on your mates - just drop us a line!

These newsletters are about the people who windsurf - anywhere in Ireland. But a lot of the action takes place at Newtownards Sailing Club - probably the largest windsurfing club in Ireland. For lessons, great beginner kit, to join or just to sail there as a guest and try it out, see the website at