• Your Christmas Present – Cheap Tickets for A+E

  • Updates on Donegal 2013

  • What Happened to Winter?

  • Nonsense Over at the Club

  • Andy’s Christmas Engagement

  • Windsurfing Transport – Take Two

  • Heaven With the Hobbits

  • Stuff


Your Christmas Present – Cheap Tickets for A+E


You’d think 2013 would put people off. I mean two people in A+E (well, OK one was a lawyer and one was Paddy so perhaps they don’t count) and all that other damage – who would want to book for Donegal in 2014? Well, just about everyone it seems as we’ve been besieged with people asking for details. Wait no longer, it’s here now :

Once again two courses – flat water for improvers and intermediates and waves for the rest

Flat/intermediates course Fri 19th – Mon 22nd September, based at Downings

Wave course Tue 23 – Sun 28th September around the Loch Altan

Cost approximately £165 for flat/intermediate and £200 for waves

Grommet weekend rate £75

Special weekend rate for fathers etc

Phil and Danielle again – with full video feedback

Professional quality photographs available from Danielle

Open to all windsurfers and not just club members


You’ll notice that we’re running the intermediate course first and this is to allow some people to stay on and try their hand at waves. If enough people do this, we will also lay on some extra coaching specifically to help them – over and above the excellent stuff already being done by Phil and Danielle.

And once again we are operating a price cap. This means that once you’ve paid £200, you can do as much as you want to. So for people hopping up from the flat to the waves, the extra cost is a pittance.

This year we require a £100 deposit. This will be returnable until we have sufficient numbers to declare GO on the courses at which point it becomes non-returnable.

And once again we are running Easyjet pricing. So prices will rise once numbers do – so book early to lock in these prices.

So let me know as soon as you can and get those deposits in. The sooner we get the numbers, the sooner it’s all set in concrete and we can notify A+E that we’re coming.


Updates on Donegal 2013

OK - so now you can book for Donegal 14, but just to whet your appetite, we’ve update the photos on 2013 Mincing in Donegal. So go and remind yourself what an epic week it was.

From flathead to waves

And along with this is an update from Alex Dougan about the Magheroarty Classic which was running at the same time as our flat water course.

Firstly it was great to see so many people and new faces at an event (especially ones from Co. Down)! Saturday kicked off with the late arrival of perfect waves and 5.0m wind. Due to the late start we only made it to the semi-finals of the Gold.

Sunday kicked off with Timo, Oisin and me fighting for a place in the losers final and the main final at 08:30. The wind went from a mental 8knts to a more relaxed 2knts which resulted in a few too many close calls against the harbour wall. The event kicked off again at 12ish as we only had to run the next heat to make the entire event count! The wind was just enough to uphaul so we ploughed through and managed to get the remaining heats run.


Somehow I managed to win my next heat, which put me into the final wih Timo and Rob J (no pressure). The wind was merly a breeze at this point but we gave it our best for a 30min heat. Timo 1st, Rob 2nd and my good self 3rd. The event ended with a very fitting farewell to the late Mikey Clancey by scattering his ashes into the sea. Really sad but he will be with us in body and spirit at Magheraroarty now.

Peter Hart handed out the raffle and trophies to round everything up in his unique style for the weekend in the cafe at the harbour wall. Overall it's the best event I've been to and we all owe Tom a big thank you for sticking his neck out and organising everything.

What Raptor fails to mention is just how well he and Fur Ball Wookie actually did. Third was an amazing result and Wooks managed joint 8th - another excellent result.


What Happened to Winter?

If this is Global Warming, bring it on. Twelve degrees in November and December and windy with it. No wonder the Aquarium is in danger of closing. And a good few other businesses may not have seen very much of their windsurfing employees either.


As an example, the first weekend of December saw a lot of action. Saturday wasn’t great with a lot of muttering windsurfers floating about while only Ming the Merciless had enough brains to rig big and shot around on his 9.4m.

But it was all change the next day with good wind and flattish water. Spurred on by the fear of being moaned at (at great length) by Paddy, GPSs were donned just to get some speeds in for the 2014 competition and to keep him quiet. Not sure if this is achievable, but 33 knots is since Ming did this on his 7.8m. Davy Corkill wasn’t far behind with a rather amazing 31. Even I got into the later 20s.

Those out included Davy, Davy, Gary, windsurfer of the year James, Paddy, Ming, myself and even Trevor Pollen – now Trevor being out tells you it was warm!

And we had two bits of drama. The clamp on my boom exploded way out past Pig Island. I can tell you the water is pretty cold when you have to spend 20 minutes in it while desperately trying to tie your boom back on with a bit of left over rope. When I’d managed this and tried to water start I found I had 1 foot of slack rope between the boom and the mast and of course the boom would slide down to the bottom of the luff tube ie to my knees. For some reason it took me a quite a few attempts before I managed to water start and then I had to sail along virtually on my knees because the boom was so low. A quick pit stop at Pig Island made a better job of the rope and I sailed and walked back to the club expecting if not admiration for getting back, then at least some sympathy.

Bondage - windsurfing style

No chance. Everyone was in a lather because Richard Bowman was lying in the water groaning in agony and no one had even noticed my perils! Turned out Richard had crashed and catapulted at speed and badly bruised his ribs. So various people were sailing out to offer sympathy until Wookie sailed out towing Davy like a dead seal behind him. Thus they got Richard, and more importantly his kit, back in.

Rescue in progress

Trevor Pollen of course, being famously short sighted on the water, had no idea what all the fuss was about.

Turned out that Richard wasn’t too badly hurt, just sore (and loud), so it could have been worse.

The survivor

The survivor

For the record, it was a nicely windy day. I was on 6.5m and 110 and later on had to change down to 5.5m on 90. So fun – as long as you weren’t one of the casualties.

We’ve also had some mega windy days. There have been various tales of people out at Kearney and on one Saturday it was pretty near the top of the range at the club. Davy and Noel, who appear to be joined at the hip or possibly some other parts of the anatomy, drove together to watch the carnage at Kearney. They found Andy struggling to hold a 4.2m and Wookie sitting in the van waiting for it to settle.

Heading back to the club (together as ever), they found Ming, myself amongst a few others with 4ms rigged. The wind was very strong, but I would describe it as wobbling. So it went up and down very quickly, like 3-4 times per minute. The wise Emperor took out 90 lts as he figured it was the only way to carry the brief lulls and after struggling with my 78, I joined him on 90 and had a much better sail.

Hats off to the conjoint twins. Davy and Noel rigged their smallest (4.5m) and struggled out. They took a bit of a pasting but Davy was seen to be sailing on the odd run and being brave and trying it is the only way to learn.

There were many other windy days, but one other which stood out was actually later November. Ballyturd was the location in a very cold mid week northerly. They reckon it was 40 gusting 60 and conditions were very difficult. The Wookie did a couple of runs and stopped because ‘it was no ***ing fun’. Davy McC appeared, but without his bosom buddy Noel, decided he couldn’t go out – probably a good call. Big Robert apparently handled the conditions best, he sailed well but since he was on a 3.6m that probably helped a bit too! It was ballistic.

Text of the day came from Ming the Merciless – “Totally insane at Ballypoo, waves over mast height at the far side! Sailed for 1.5 hours 4m and 74l. Actually a bit less volume since took the nose off on the first run! A 3m would have been too big. Bangor Marina showing gusts to 50 knots.”

What a great trimming technique. Board too big for the conditions, no problem just bust the nose off and sail on. Good job he’s got 32 other boards to call on.

Nonsense Over at the Club

Some of you may know that there have been some problems at Newtownards Sailing Club. A bit of personalities, a pile of smelly stuff going around and the ASA pulling out from their base there.

Who knows the truth of who said or did what – and to be honest for most of us, who cares.

The important thing is that the club AGM took place, it was all very civilised and the club is now simply getting on with stuff. The committee is making some changes to strengthen some areas, but the finances are fine and business – and windsurfing – will continue as normal.

These things sometimes happen as clubs, but they come and go. So those of us who like to sail there – especially in winter to enjoy the hot showers and bar – will continue to do so.

So let’s put this all behind us and enjoy our fabulous sport.

Andy’s Christmas Engagement

Now you are probably reading this title and thinking it refers to Andy getting engaged. Well, we’re all delighted (and amazed) that he has but actually the title refers to his excellent idea to get the windsurfers together for some Christmas drinking at the Spaniard last week.

Quite a few people turned up including a smiling Wookie (well, after a few drinks he smiled, once), Ali Todd (his hand is now sufficiently healed that he can hold a pint), Nigella, Graham, myself and of course you can’t have Davy without Noel.

And as the evening rocked on and the drinks got fancier, the entertainment started. All I will say is that Andy was at his most entertaining….

Windsurfing Transport – Take Two

Far be it from us to rub salt in any windsurfing wounds (as if…), we’re very grateful to Alan Yeates for providing us with a twin for the delightful shot we already have of over enthusiastic windsurf driving on sand dunes.


You will recall the lovely shot of poor old Gary when he went over the top at Magheroarty this year?


Well, here’s its twin.


We’re not sure if this is Gary again – perhaps making doubly sure before putting in a rather dodgy insurance claim. Let’s just say that we don’t recommend you try this one at home….

Heaven With the Hobbits

Our wonderful windsurfing instructors Danielle and Phil clearly just live to run our Donegal courses each year. However to keep bread on the table (do Hobbits eat bread, I thought it was exotic nuts from the Shire…) they also run other courses. So Danielle asked me to let you know about a few others courses they have for next year. She says :

In particular a good one for you Irish we think, is the Morocco courses. For those wanting to get into more bumpy/wavey conditions, and those wanting waves, sunshine advanced coaching gin the waves again, there are conditions to suit you all! The country is great too, really nice feel, a lot of culture and great food! Having looked at flights its via London most routes, but not too high price or travel time.

You should have had the dates in our newsletter, but just in case here they are:





P.S. Crete is great, flat water and greek food heaven…flights are similar deal to morocco i.e via London…

If you’re interested get in touch directly through their website.


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