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Army Championship 2012

Army Windsurfing Championships Hayling Island 9 - 13 July 2012

By Jon Metcalfe

A total of 44 competitors entered the Army champs this year which I think has to be the best turn out for a few years, 16 sailors in the open fleet, 16 sailors in the free race fleet and 12 Novices made the journey to the week long event which was run from the Inn on the Beach at Hayling Island.

The decision was made at the Forces Open in May to continue to concentrate on the free race fleet and Novice fleet so the intermediates raced in across the wind disciplines only rather than joining in with the open fleet course racing discipline and the novices concentrated on figure of eight courses and triangle courses. Both these fleets are developing well with nearly all the free race fleet now planning in the footstraps which makes for some exciting slalom racing and the novices showed great promise as a lot of the sailors who entered the Forces Open were in attendance again and by the end of the week some were fully powered up in the harness.

Major Steve Jones (RE) The Army Champion 2012The open fleet still compete in all disciplines and start racing at around 12 knots on formula equipment though a lot of the open fleet sailors now opt for more slalom based equipment which reduces the formula fleet some what so those sailors who compete in all disciplines stand more chance of winning overall titles. The stand out sailor this year has to be Maj Steve Jones (RE) who dominated all racing during the week. Steve took a total of 15 first of places over the week. And he was Army Champion this year.

A round up of the week.

Bit of a mixed bag of weather this year with light winds in the morning to freshening breeze most afternoons and thunder and lightning with heavy down pours so this made life very interesting for the race team as sending sailors out in thundery showers proved to be a little risky and played havoc with completing racing. The novices completed a total of 27 races over the week which was a achievement in its self, coaching was delivered in the mornings concentrating on technique then at least 6 races completed each day, the novice fleet is pretty much not a beginner fleet anymore with a lot of the sailors using the harness and using sails up to 6.5m so having re structured the way we support and coach the fleet its definitely paying off as some of the sailors will make the jump up into the free race fleet next season. The Gunners were fairly dominant with Gnr Roy Castle and Gnr John Morris picking up overall first and second place, Spr Mark Barrett (RE) placed a well deserved third overall with a steady set of results over the week.

The free race fleet now concentrate only on across wind racing, and all the fleet use only free ride equipment ranging from boards form 155 litres to 9.0m sails, this equipment is best suited for blasting and the fleet is aimed at having a big “fun factor” to try and keep the sailors motivated and developing more so they can have an easier transition into the open fleet. With a total of 16 sailors in the fleet this is the real development pool and we will be applying more support and resources to them next season in the form of more video coaching and technique sessions. Stand outs during the week were Capt Joe Vernon (RE) who has appeared on the windsurfing scene this season but is unfortunately leaving the Army, a real shame as he would have stepped up to the open fleet next year and was being tipped for great things.
LBdr Josh Pearson (RA) sailed well all week and came second overall with LCpl Olli Squire (AAC) a solid third place.

In the Open Fleet Maj Steve Jones (RE) dominated the racing all week setting the standard in course racing, and slalom disciplines, as i have said earlier the formula fleet seems to be shrinking a little as a lot of the sailors now opt to wait for the minimum 15 knots rule to switch to slalom. Despite this Formula is still firmly in the racing format and was proved again this week as it enables sailors to race in 10 – 12 knots of wind. It also illustrates the best all round sailor who competes in all disciplines. W02 Ian Beaton (RA) sailed consistently all week and secured second place overall with SSgt Rob Hickley (RS) in third. In the inter corps competition the Royal Engineers were pretty dominant with Maj Steve Jones and Lt Col Gareth Baker taking first and second place and Capt Simon White (AAC) in third. In the team competition again the RE placed first with the RA second and the AAC in third.

For a full round up of the results for all fleets will be posted soon here on the website

In summery another great week of racing and a big thanks to all the race crew who made the week work so well, the next event is the Joint Services programmed for the 20 – 21 Oct, Location Weymouth. (RAF Organising)

2011 Army Championships


Army Windsurfing Contact

Jon Metcalfe

Jon Metcalfe
ASA Regional Coach
(Windsurfing & Kite-surfing)
ASA Coaching & Inspectorate
Building 100, (Top Floor),
Fort Blockhouse, Haslar Road,
PO12 2AB

Mobile: 0044 (0) 7768 988258

Civ: 02392 765290

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