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Owner: Basher

Member#: 165
Registered: 09-03-2003
Diary Entries: 18

8th October 2003
Windsurfing: Brighton
Wind Direction: I wish I knew
Wind Stength: I wish the wind knew
Surf / Sea State: pancake or pizza, then half pi
Air Temperature: pretty warm
Sea Temperature: tried not to notice
Weather: eccentric
Max Speed:
Distance Covered:

This is about food.

My mum is famous for the cakes she likes to bake.
But we're never quite sure what we going to get for
Sunday tea-time. Sometimes it's a light sponge,
other times a more substantial Madeira Cake –
which she does particularly well.
My favourite is perhaps the tiered sponge my mum
does – there are different layers and each is a
surprise, even more so when they mix well
together in the mouth.
My least favourite is 'Fruit Cake' or Xmas Cake –
my mum's version is very traditional, heavy like a
brick and full of lumps and voids. Eat it and you
have to lie down afterwards.
Rather like now in fact.
I'm only moving to reach the telly control, the
keyboard here, and to do hamstring stretches. I'm
totally wiped out after sailing all afternoon in
unexpected wind.
I have to admit that I read the forecast wrong today,
and trusted secondary reports (like 'windguru' – rubbish)
rather than check the run of isobar charts like I
usually do.
But, hey, it's tiring to check every day isn't it? And to
try and give a summary here...
But the barometer proved to be my saviour yet
again – and when it started tumbling before
lunchtime I knew we had something coming.
It's a bit like when I can smell baking in the kitchen,
if you like. We're gonna get cake, but which sort?
You're new here? OK. You may have no wind
outside right now but, as a rough guide, if the
barometric pressure falls at a rate of 1mb per hour
then a force 6 is probable. If it falls by 2mb per
hour then a force 7-8 is likely. You can buy watches
with barometer functions now. Not very accurate
but useful on the beach.
Anyway, back to cake. The wind is like one of my
mum's layered sponges. There's a certain wind
speed and direction at ground level, a different
wind speed and direction one tier up, and often the
upper wind is totally different again. And so it was
Is that bloke who asked about clouds earlier still
here? Well, we had every sort of cloud today and
warm winds blew through Brighton, as a cold front
approached, and then the sun broke through for a
while and tried to mixed the layers of cake all
together (and largely failed, as it does at this time
of year).
Anyone still with me? Probably not.
So it's lunchtime, the barometer is falling fast and
yet we've only got about force 3 on the beach. I rig a
6m sail anyway, and windsurfing friends are
looking at me a bit oddly. (Not for the first time, I
might add)
But they don't head off home.
The wind is side shore (more or less westerly)
and not quite offshore (NW) as forecast, but within
half an hour I'm planing flat out. I'm on a floaty 100
litre board because this is Xmas Cake wind.
Lumpy and full of holes too.
After a while the wind starts to build and I could be
on a 5m at times but then there's another lull and
I'm convinced it may soon go offshore as the (now
building) cloud passes over. This increasingly-
dark cloud is already heading 25degrees OFF the
land , whereas the surface wind is stubbornly
cross-shore. This surface wind is lumpy and full of
holes because it's reached us from several other
beaches where they've all already had a nibble.
The gusts are getting stronger but rather than
change down I decide to switch metaphors.
So the sea was asleep when the cake arrived at
the table so it started off flat, like a pancake. IE, no
waves. But after an hour of two it's more like a
deep-pan pizza, which is ok if you can jump an
olive and can pick an anchovy that's heading your
(Did anyone notice that switch there?)
One by one more sailors appear on the water but
most choose to launch upwind from me, either at
the King Alfred Sports Centre car park, or from the
beach off Hove Lagoon where there are no drug
addicts and they have hot showers. But these
sailors are real handy for me because I can see
what the wind is doing, because they'll get it first.
(Those noisy bastards who now own Brighton Pier
have taken all their flags down again, and it's
amazing how you miss wind indicators when
you've got used to them).
It doesn't actually rain and so we don't get the
offshore windswitch that I'm expecting. It's quite
extraordinary – like the other week, I'm ready to
rush ashore to call the lifeboat out because there
are at least 8 kite-surfers out upwind of me and
they don't know sh*t about weather and they
certainly haven't noticed that the clouds are
streaming off the land whilst we sail in onshore
But in fact nothing happens. The front is weak and
there is no rain.
It's not brilliant sailing in these gusty conditions
and when the wind eases a bit I go ashore and put
the kettle on. Maybe that's it for the day, and I've
had a better than expected sail. With the clouds
now clearing that's the front gone through and the
wind will probably now drop and go offshore
But it doesn't. In fact it continues to swing in 5
minute cycles; 5 minutes onshore, 5 minutes dead
cross-shore and then 5 minutes off shore. I tell my
beach hut neighbour that her shutter – which she
has just leant against a lampost – will blow down
in five minutes. And when it does, she looks a bit
scared. Like I'm weird. Like I'm David Blaine
Anyway, what I hadn't seen on the weather charts
was that a second front was due. Luckily I hadn't
taken off my wetsuit. At about 4.30 the wind swung
a lot more onshore to about WSW and picked up.
I'm just finishing me tea. Crikey, 5m weather! That
umm... really takes the biscuit...
It was still a bit gusty so I go for 5.7m on a floaty
wave board. You can really hang onto those Tushy
Rock wave sails if you crank on the downhaul. The
waves were now like five bar gates or smooth
skateboarding half pipes as the tide pushed back
in, and this was the best part of the day. Everything
comes to he who waits by the stove. (You get to lick the bowl)
The only downside was it started getting dark at about 6pm,
and you couldn't see the waves.
Begrudgingly I packed up.
As I de-rigged there was a hint of a sunset, with
the sky above a cloudy horizon turning ice cream
Maybe that was just the icing on the cake...?

Good winds,

PS. The forecast for the south coast on Thursday
is now looking better by the way.
Chocolate Brownies anyone?

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