Crazy Wind, Cold Water…….. and A MASSIVE Gear Failure….

February 1, 2014 8:09 pm Published by Leave your thoughts


So its the middle of Winter and the winds still blowing like billio……

So Steve and I headed up to Hunstanton for a Winter blast on a Spring Low. Once there we met up with Birthday Boy Andy Holland, the Team QSW speed sailor, who was just about to go out on the speed strip with Team QSW Kiter Jordy Smith. With Andy rigged on a Severne Reflex 5.6 and his Mistral 41 speed board. Jordy headed out without issue but after walking the 1/2 mile across the beach to the channel and starting to negotiate crossing the short span of water heading out to Toppers Bank, Andy crashed into the water and then turned on his heals and headed back to the beach. He returned with a broken mast which gave up the ghost once he sheeted in – So one Enigma 400 masts ruined…….£350!

I rigged my Severne S-1 4.5 and Fanatic Tri-Wave 86 and Steve rigged his Severne Gator 4.7 and Fanatic Freewave TE 85. Steve got out first and when I got to the waters edge Steve reported being horribly over powered. I normally rig 0.7mtr smaller than Steve but I was on my 4.5mtr so was a little unsettled. Once out I actually found the S-1 very controllable – I’m finding the transition from powerhouse Severne Blade to Severne S-1 quiet nice once you master the way you gently feather the power in with the S-1 rather than just crank the power on by sheeting in. Once planing the sail is far more manipulative allowing you to constantly adjust the trim of the sail and in moves like jumping the sail is simply sublime. This year I have made a promise to master the forward loop to a very close windsurf buddy (who has sadly been diagnosed with cancer) and I am sure the S-1 will far better enable me to achieve this. More on this story later……



After swapping sails to try Steves sail setup (we are trying a new rigging setup with gators and to date its really bringing them alive – more on this once we have got all the results). Once adjusted Steve did go the handle bars twice! (this never happens with Steve!) but we know the new setup is more powerfull, more agile, and generally sweeter than our looser leach rig previously.

What we didn’t notice was Andy Holland coming in by foot again covered in blood and with his sail rolled up on his board. Basically when his SDM Enigma 400 exploded he rigged his Reflex 5.6 on a Redline RDM 400 because his spare Enigma 400 hasn’t arrived yet.





In his words:

Once I  got to the speed strip I  went for my first run down the course, got to 39knots……… and then BOOM!!!. I didn’t know what happened next but the sail exploded, collapsed and I went headlong over the handlebars. I found myself in the water with a rig that was obbliterated. The RDM mast wasn’t exhausting the sail properly and the build up of forces in the bottom of the sail overwhelmed the RDM mast and the whole lot exploded!!! My face smashed the boom I think but it was just SO fast.






The damage was extensive to gear and sailor – The RDM mast broke in 4 places and sail blew apart across the whole lower end of the Reflex race sail………………. another £700 blew apart……… and on his Birthday!!

It might have been a pretty bad day at the office for Andy………. but Happy Birthday Andy!!!

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This post was written by James Connor

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