ICE MING - JUST WHAT YOU NEED IN JANUARY

So Christmas is over and most of you are huddled up in your warm caves waiting for the warmer weather to return so you can windsurf again.

Well, shame on you. For real windsurfers have continued to sail and indeed we've had some amazingly warm (well, relatively) days in December. 13 degrees over the holidays and quite a few people out at various times. 4.5m and 13 degrees - not a bad way to see in the new year - except for me as I had to do a relatives run and missed it.

It just looks cold...

This last week however was not so warm. We'd all been watching the forecasts and Wednesday had been shaping up to be good for ages. And for once the figures didn't drop as the great day approached. Facebook was filled by calls to go to Kearney and in the end quite a few did. Only to find that the wind wasn't what they expected and there was too much west in it.

Some headed for Ards but gave up when that didn't look good either. However the Ltd (you're a long time dead) were more determined and Ming, Wookie and I headed out on around 5.5m. We had a  good blast without our fingers actually turning blue and came in as the wind started to drop around 4pm. Minger of course wasn't satisfied with this - not with at least 30 minutes of rather dark daylight left. Think of all those poor sore mouthed patients he'd run away from to windsurf - he owed it to them to do more. So he stuck on a bigger board, ignored our advice that the wind was not coming back and headed out.

To be fair, he did get 1 long run up the lough. But was this worth it for the 30 minutes of failed water starts, long slog back and the Hell of getting past the jetty? Judging from the expression on his face when he did get back in the dark, I don't think so.

Then came Saturday and 3 weather warnings. Yes it would be windy but 3 degrees max but feeling much colder in that wind - plus widespread snow was forecast. One by one, the hardy crew said the equivalent of nuts to that, I'm not going out. There is a limit and this was well below it in temperature terms.

In the end no-one went out. Except Ming. OK he's got one of those battery operated vests - and no, we still don't know where he puts the batteries - just don't buy it second hand from him...

He went out at Cultra and sailed for 2 hours. Not even at the club where at least there are changing rooms and hot showers. He's clearly mad. 5m and a good sail if you're interested.

So now, if you want a 99, ask for an Ice Ming. What a man....

The other type of ice cream

Sunday was twice the temperature. And a lot more people out. With his wife having run away for the weekend (can't think why), Ming was first out. By the time we arrived we just had to marvel at him holding a 5m down in winds which were both gusting up to 40 and sometimes falling to the teens.

Wookie, Ali and I went out on 4.2-5m. The first couple of runs were 'OMG, I'm not going to try and gybe in that' but after a while we got our nerve and actually sailed a bit. The wind died around 3pm which the other read correctly and came in while I sank somewhere around Pig Island and had a long walk back.

Yes it was cold, but not that cold. So what's stopping you?

 

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. 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.

 

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.