Have you been asking - "When will I see you again?
When will we share precious moments?"

Not 3 degrees - more like 45 degrees

Well the answer is Donegal in September 2015 - yes the imfamous courses are being run again and it's time to book!

And as for the 3 Degrees, well they won't be putting in an appearance but that was the temperature this week when some of us ventured out on the big storm day - but not in the big waves. Read more about this below :

 

TWO DONEGAL COURSES IN 3 PHASES - FOR IMPROVERS AND WAVES - AND YOU CAN DO A BIT OF BOTH

People think of wave sailing as hard - as I can testify since I'm not very good at it - it is. However the courses are set up for 2015 to make it easy for you to dip a toe into the waves if you're interested, or just to hugely improve your general windsurfing if you're not sufficiently ready yet.

To do this, we've split it up into 3 phases :

PHASE 1 - 4 DAY LONG WEEKEND COURSE FOR IMPROVERS

If you can sail at all, you can do this course. You don't need to be very good, just keen. This runs from Friday 25th Sept to Monday 28th, but you have the option of only doing the Saturday and Sunday if you wish.

The prices are £180 for 4 days and £100 for 3 days. Note this year there are no discounts for kids but we will discount a family package for fathers bringing their kids for the weekend.

The improvers course will centre around Downings for good safe and non-wave conditions.

PHASE 2 - WAVES

This starts on Tuesday 29th September ie immediately after the improvers course.

This is where the wave sailors can improve and you do need to be able to confidently water start to be involved. However people of a suitable level who have done the improvers course can stay on for a few days or all of the wave course if they wish. We would encourage people to do this and if sufficient do, then we will even arrange separate coaching for them rather than just fitting basic coaching around the more advanced wave stuff.

This course will be based around Magheroarty although we will drive to where ever we need to be to get the right conditions.

The cost of the wave course, which runs from Tuesday right through to Sunday 4th October is £200. Note that for anyone who is on the improvers course, we operate a price cap of £200. So if you've already paid £180 then the extra cost to stay on is only £20!

PHASE 3 - WAVES PLUS BASIC INTRODUCTION TO WAVES

We know that many people who do the improvers course would like to try some waves - but can't take time off during the week days to do the waves. Well, now you can since we are opening up the last 2 days (Sat 3rd, Sun 4th October) for improvers to try out waves. Again, the £200 price cap applies so tuition won't cost much more than you've already paid.

Gentle waves

THE BENEFITS OF ALL 3 BITS OF THE COURSES

Once again we have Phil and Danielle to provide professional coaching. And big improver here is the video coaching. This means you will be videoed on the water and then have the joy of seeing later what you did - both right and wrong. Phil and Danielle will provide positive feedback so that you can improve quickly.

On land each day they will concentrate on specific aspects and make a lot of use of a similator so you can get things sorted before you hit the water. Fast tacks, gybes and all the basics will be tuned up. While what to do on each day's waves will be explained.

And you will get more coaching on the water.

And Danielle will take excellent photographs (extra cost to buy) so that you can prove to your friends and family that you are (or at least as if you are) as good as you say.

DEPOSITS EARLY OR PAY MORE

So the dates are set and we need deposits in to ensure that the courses will run. And here's the kicker - all of the prices set are only if you get your deposits in by 31st March 2015. Otherwise all prices for all part of the courses will rise by £20.

So get a £100 deponsit to me now. All deposits are returnable until we declare the courses to be running, so you've nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

 

THE REAL THREE DEGREES

So - has there been much windsurfing since my last newsletter? Well, the answer is yes in patches but the wind didn't play ball as much as you might expect especially in November - but it was amazingly warm.

A few incidents of note did occur. Most recently of course was the day of the big storms which made top billing on the local TV as children's playgrounds vanished under 60 foot waves - or so they would have you believe. We don't know of anyone mad enough to go out on the north coast, but back in Newtownards a few of us did go out. Yes, it was Wednesday afternoon and that means the LTD were out.

But it wasn't warm - it really was 3 degrees. However there were a few previous moments and I'm not just talking about in the (lovely hot) showers afterwards. In fact the water wasn't that cold - although it didn't seem like that as I stood in the water discovering I'd a hole in my wetsuit knee and an icy cold dagger was shooting up my leg to parts I would rather keep warm.

5.5m on 105-110m was about right with winds, despite the claims of the damned forecasters, mostly in the high twenties although gusting to around 40 mph in the squalls. It was nice blast and bump conditions except when it rained in which case you needed wipers - and heated eyeballs. Very few gybes were missed as the thought of going into that water had a strong improving effect on technique.

I finished up at 4:30 as I realised that it was becoming difficult to see what you were bumping into. Ming of course declared that there was a good 20 minutes more light and blasted off across the lough. Only to discover that, while he could see on the way out, he was virtually blind on the way back. Sadly he made just as we were figuring out how to divie up his kit....

And actually Ming has another really bad day - the occasion being the sailing club's 50th anniversary dinner. Most people know that Ming has won the annual speed competition for the last millenium. But this year he was being presssed very hard by David Corkhill. So in a last ditch bid to win, he went out on the day of the dinner determined to break all records. He broke something OK - mostly his kit, but nearly his skull.

He was out and going full tilt on the other side of the lough when he misjudged where he was. He hit of reef at speed, knocked off his fin, took the nose off his board and fell hard on the rocks. His head was sore through the helmet he was fortunately wearing - without it he'd be dead.

And if that wasn't enough, David went out and got a better speed and won the prize. Not Ming's greatest day.

On a happier note, there have been some great sails at Whiterocks. Mid October saw a bunch of us out there including Graham, Ming, Wookie and myself. 7.5m on slalom kit and doing some speed in the flat water sections between the various islands. However the amazing thing was the temperature. Graham was in his summer suit and I wasn't bothering with any head gear. Long live global warming!

I'm sorry I can't report on too many of the other sessions as I missed quite a few due to travel and (mild) illness. Suffice to say there have been good sessions at Magheroarty and also Kearney.

The seals sunning on the (White) rocks