In the Bleak Midwinter


In the Bleak Midwinter

Donegal 2013 - Booking Continues

Windsurfing Facelift

The Best of 2012

The Usual Plug







Sick of Christmas carols, being nice to your family and watching crap TV - well why not go windsurfing? The answer everyone gives is that it's too ****ing cold - well not this Winter. The Friday after Christmas 12 of us were on the water at the club and a similar number at Kearney  and it was 12 degrees. Positively tropical, so roll on global warming.


There were some after effects of the festive season - Paddy told us all he'd brought a log. Now you can imagine the ribald and typically childish comments about that. So we went to investigate and there it was big, brown and beautiful in the kitchen. Eventually 1 poor soul was picked to try and see if all of our thoughts about its origins held any credibility. It tasted lovely and chocolatey. So then there were even more ribald comments about just much chocolate Paddy had eaten over Christmas to produce this log. Why is that windsurfers are never happy unless discussing wind or bodily functions?

You know who you are ...


Fortunately we also had some wind to talk about and to take our minds off Paddy's bowels. It started as being rather dodgy - so 2 of our most dodgy windsurfers, Robbie and Kev were out in it immediately. They do make a nice couple. Robbie struggled on 6.5m and while Kev struggled slightly less on 7.5. The wind picked up a little and I tried out my currently rather creaky back on 7.5m on 122 while light weights like David Corkill managed on 6.5. The mighty Todd appeared from Todd Towers and rigged a mighty 8m which was of course tempting the wind to come up. And it did.


I was eventually blown off the water when I could no longer hold the 7.5m, despite ample additions to my pie count over the holidays. By this time some of the wise were down to 5.5m. Moving to 6.3 on 110 I then had a great sail.

Wooks Water Winter


There were lots of sails out. The Pope stopped tweeting long enough to have a really good rattle on 6.5m - although he said he was just on the edge most of the time. We just thought he was flying. Robbie Bin Laden appeared and threw himself on the water on 6.5 and had a good sail as did the unfortunate Richard Bowman. He was stupid enough to believe Windguru (which is **it these days) and only brought his small kit. So he had an early lunch and waited until the wind came up sufficiently for the biggest sail he'd got with him - 6.5m. He was lucky!


It's easy to forget just how good the ducklings are getting these days, especially those who were wise or lucky enough to get to the Hobbit course in Donegal. Quite a few are water starting, although sometimes somewhat painfully. I kept passing Mark in the water and eventually stopped to enquire if he was OK. 'Just practising my water starts' he replied through gritted teeth and a lot of water. To be fair, he did get going after some minutes.

Man with a log


Paddy himself, relieved of his log, jetted about with his usual speed. I'd like to tell you what that speed was, not usually a problem since he always wears his GPS. But when he went to show me, he was only showing 5 knots! It was then that he realised that he hadn't actually switched the GPS on before he went on the water. Write your own Paddy jokes here...


Actually he probably did around 27 knots as he and David C were neck and neck (I mean on the water...) and David recorded a hugely creditable 27 knots. Really good in what were none too flat conditions.


The other David was on the water too, which reminds me the other Gary was also out and nearly had to do a long walk of shame as the bay beside the club seemed to have quite a magnetic attraction for him.


And so to Sunday 30th. The forecasts said it would drop, it didn't. They said it would pour, it didn't. Paddy said he'd go out, he didn't. David Miller said he'd have a good day, he didn't. So for those of you who thought 5 degrees was too cold, well you missed a cracking day. Even before I arrived there was drama with Mr Wookie ringing round to see if there were any club members who could get the rescue boat out. 'There's someone in the water drifting along like a big turd'. I immediately thought he meant Mr Tease, but not this time.


It turned to be poor old David who'd managed to pull a tendon while out on the water. He's not sure how he did it, we thought it was the strain of his gybing technique, but he said it just went - just like knicker elastic, clearly he's speaking from experience...


Amazingly Mr  Wookie sailed over to see if he was OK (or to see if his kit was worth salvaging if David didn't make it) and someone called Stephen even swam out to him. David however couldn't put any weight on his leg and so couldn't water start. Time to start practicing the 1 legged water starts I think. However by raising the sail a bit he managed to drift to shore in a controlled manner and by the time I arrived at the car park asking who was in trouble, David was able to walk (hobble) over and explain it was he.

New round the corner gybe technique from Wookie 


Also strange


People started the day on 5-5.5m and certainly Mr Wookie was storming about on 5m with his usual style and distain. By the time I arrived, it had dropped a little so once again I stuck 6.3m on 110 FSW and it was just perfect. Mr Tease floated out on an impossibly small 5.7m and was lying the water muttering as I gybed round him. And Graham was out for a while, however all the car park people didn't stay that late.


At the club, there were a surprisingly small number (4) out, mostly called David for some reason. Most people cleared off by 2 since the forecast said it would drop. Will these people never learn? I had the water to myself for the next hour as the wind grew and I enjoyed perfect 6m blasting. As for the temperature, it wasn't tropical but I've sailed in much colder. With the advances in modern wetsuits, under garments and battery operated vests (although we still don't know where you stick the batteries), 5 degrees is fine especially with hot showers to follow. Ya boo sucks to those of you who weren't there....




As you know, we had a fabulous Donegal in October and we're going to do it even better in 2013.


I can just hear you saying but September is yonks away. Well yes, but places are limited, bookings are already coming in and you need to get your say in now to get off work, wives, or whatever else. So don't mess around.


The format and dates for 2013 are :


  • 6 day wave course Sat 14th Sept to Thurs 19th Sept inclusive
  • 4 day flat water course from Fri 20th - Mon 23rd inclusive (2 instructors)
  • Costs are likely to be similar to this year
  • Both courses are likely to become fully booked
  • £50 deposit secures your place


Quite a few bookings are already in and I do want to stress that there will be a limit on numbers. So contact me for bank details if you don't already have them and get moving. Places in the hotel are also likely to be limited and this is another reason for arranging now.






 pretty-face-shot.jpg (2500×2019) | Jessica simpson hair

Much needed, by most windsurfers of course, but a facelift has finally been put in place. I refer of course not to some of our more venerable windsurfers, but to the windsurfcraic site. Actually the changes were forced on me by the need to upgrade the underlying technology, but hey the TV was crap over Christmas and I only got out windsurfing 3 times - so what else was there to do.


The content has had some small refreshment, but much more to do.


And I'd especially like some input (preferably of the defamatory kind) from the newer windsurfers, duckling and all. I need to populate the windsurfers section with more people - so take a look at the format, dig out some really dodgy photos and dish the dirt on your mates. You just know they'll be doing the same on you....






I thought it might be fun to sum up this year on the water with a few pictures that tell the tale - mostly of the people but also with the odd bit of windsurfing thrown in too. So here goes ....



Windsurfing lunch

Learning in Donegal

School's out

Dressing down for the beach


It should happen to a lawyer

Just fancied a swim - honestly


What it's all about



Backside riding

They finally caught Wookie





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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