Weymouth Speed Week – 7

This is it!  The last 16 shots from Weymouth Speed Week.

I hope that some of you have had time to follow the links that I put into my last post on the Speed Week.  If not, then it may be worth it, because these links show how Speed Sailing has evolved since 1972.  In those days, Speed Sailing was dominated by large multi-hull boats, but today Kite Surfers and Sailboards have taken over.  Crossbow I had an overall length of 60 ft, and did not rely on ‘planing’ as today’s contenders do, instead working on the principle that a higher length to breadth ratio would do the business.  This worked, with the Sailing Speed Record being set at 26.3 knots in 1972.

Here are the last few photos from this series.

Thanks for sticking with this series, particularly if you’re not really interested in sailing or ‘boarding’.  I might revisit the subject one day but there will be something different for the next post.

Weymouth Speed Week – 6

Sorry, but this series has stalled a bit while we were away for a short break.  We’re back, so I’ll bore you with a few more of the multitude of shots taken during the Speed Week.

In the last post of this series. I provided links to the Weymouth Speed Week website, where a lot more information on the event could be found.

I have still more images for a couple more posts but, you will be glad to hear that I am nearly finished.

While I was poking around on the Speed Week website, I was reminded of some of the boats that were competing for the Sailing Speed Record back in 1972.  In those first few years, large ‘multihull’ boats dominated the competition  In that year, ‘Crossbow I’ took the record with a speed of 26.3 knots.  ‘Crossbow I’ was built in a ‘proa‘ configuration and was 60 feet long.  A photo of ‘Crossbow I’ can be found at Dave Culp Speed Sailing, together with photos of some of the other boats from that era.  If anyone comes across any other images of this boat, I would love you to let me know.

Just one more post should finish this series.  I hope you will check it out.

Weymouth Speed Week – 5 (A bit more information)

My thanks go out to anyone who has followed my series on Weymouth Speed Week.  It has been a bit of a marathon, and isn’t finished yet.  Some of you may have followed the link to the Weymouth Speed Week website on the internet, and as a result may well, already have a better understanding of this Speed Trial’s history and organisation than I have.

For anyone who hasn’t followed the link, I thought that I should try, as best I can, to say a little on the subject.  Everything that I write, apart from a few distant memories, has been gleaned by reading up on the internet, and I may not always have understood what I was reading correctly, so no claims of accuracy are made.  Indeed, I would welcome any clarification from those that know better.

I used to race sailing dinghies when I was much younger and around about the time that I started sailing, I remember the first Weymouth Speed Sailing event being held in Portland Harbour.  According to the Weymouth Speed Week website, this was in 1972, making this event the oldest Speed Sailing competition in the world.  This page gives some history of the event and also a description of how it is run today.  The following summarises some of the main points.

  • The courses are 500 metres in length.
  • Courses are set according to the prevailing wind conditions.  More information can be found here.
  • If the course is open, competitors can take as many runs as they want.
  • Good runs can take less that 30 seconds.
  • Individual GPS data loggers are now used to record the position of each competitor throughout the day.  See this link for a detailed description of the process.

As already mentioned, I started sailing back in the early 70s.  Before I joined a sailing club, and while I was still teaching myself to sail, I used to launch my boat into Portland Harbour from one of the beaches.  I remember seeing a ‘prototype’ dinghy, with what was in those days a pretty novel rig, parked in a local garden.  I believed at the time that this was a potential contender for those Speed Trials.  The ‘background’ link on the Weymouth Speed Week website provides some interesting information about the way speed sailing has developed around the world.  It has become apparent that although boats, sailboards and kiteboard entries are all accepted, sailboards and kiteboards now dominate the competition, at least in Portland Harbour.  According to the results, this year, the first boat came 71st, with a speed of just over 22 kts, compared to the winning kiteboard speed of over 36 kts.

In more recent years, the focus for Speed Sailing has moved to other parts of the world.  Boats, kites and sailboards are all competing fiercely for the Speed Sailing records, and the current Outright Record stands at 65.45 kts.  This is held by a boat and was achieved off the coast of Namibia.  A cracking photograph appears on the ‘background’ link above.

It is a pity that Portland Harbour cannot now provide the conditions to achieve outright records, but it is great to see the Weymouth Speed Week continuing to flourish.  Perhaps the locals of Portland are very happy that suitable conditions do not occur here regularly, since high winds can take their toll on a coastal community.

Don’t think that you aren’t going to get any more photos, this is, after all a photography blog.  The set of 10 for this post follows.

I really must finish by thanking the Weymouth Speed Week organisers for providing the entertainment for both competitors, spectators and photographers, and also for their website, which has enabled me to learn more about how the competition is run today.  I hope the organisers do not object to the links that I have provided in this post.

I haven’t finished yet!  Please keep looking.

Weymouth Speed Week – 4

And still more shots from Weymouth Speed Week.  Previous posts can be found here, here and here.  It is probably best to view them as a slide show by clicking on the first image and then clicking through them.

I’m afraid that I am still going to post a few more from these Speed Trials.  I do understand that they may not be to everyones taste and might be a bit sameish.  Don’t worry.  I will run out of images eventually.  I’m short of time today, but hopefully I will be able to say a bit more about Weymouth Speed Week before I finish the series.

Weymouth Speed Week – 3

As threatened, here are a few more shots from Weymouth Speed Week.  Previous posts can be found here and here.  It is probably best to view them as a slide show by clicking on the first image.

Sorry, but there are still more to come.  Show me your stamina.:)

Weymouth Speed Week – 2

I’ve taken a couple of trips to Portland Harbour in the last week, to see what was going on during Weymouth Speed Week.  The first visit was a lovely sunny day, with a mild, but strong wind.  Ideal for the Speed Trials I would think.

I posted a few shots in Weymouth Speed Week – 1, but those were only a quick selection to prove that I had attended.  It is time that I posted a few more.  I have a few just about reasonable shots, though none are great when I compare them with the efforts of a few others that I know.  Here are the first ten in a little slide show.  Open it by clicking on the first image and then view them at your own speed.

There were a number of things that struck me about these speed trials.  The first was the apparent chaos on the water.  I was surprised that there were no serious accidents, with these sailboards and kite surfers thrashing backwards and forwards, reaching across the prevailing wind.  I was also impressed that many of the competitors could reasonably be described as quite ‘mature’.  I suppose that I was a little disappointed that there were not more of what could be described as ‘sailing boats’, but that is how it is today.  Wind surfers and kite surfers rule as far as speed is concerned.

I’m probably going to bore you by posting a some more shots from the Speed Week over the coming days.  I hope that you can stand coming back to see them.

Weymouth Speed Week – 1

Weymouth Speed Week runs from the 18th – 24th of October.  As there was a good wind today, I thought that I would have a look.  I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get decent shots, but most of the sailboards and kites stayed pretty close to the causeway side of Portland Harbour, so I had plenty of ‘reach’ with my 70-300 mm lens.  I haven’t been having much success with this lens recently, so I wanted to try to correct some bad technique.  I think I have made a little progress, but there is still more to do.

Here are a few of the shots taken today.  I’ll look for some more when I get the time.

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Portland Bill – Bike Trials 3

Today, it is the turn of Neil to have his Bike Trials skills featured.  Of the three lads that I photographed last Saturday, it is Neil with whom I have been corresponding and embarrassingly, when I look through my images for that day, I find that I have far fewer shots of him.  I’m sure that this isn’t due to anything other than my own inability to look in three directions at the same time, and I can only apologise.

Some of Nick’s and Bo’s skills are shown here and here.

There will almost certainly be more posts of this shooting session in the future.  If you are interested, then please come back for another look.

Portland Bill – Bike Trials 2

Portland Bill – Bike Trials 1 showed a young man called Nick practising his Bike Trials skills on the large rocks in the area.  In this post it is the turn of one of his friends Bo, to demonstrate his ability in this sport.

I’ll show some shots of Neil in the next post.  Please come back and take a look.

Portland Bill – Bike Trials 1

Last Saturday, while Dee was shopping in Weymouth with her friend Susanne, I headed for Portland Bill to take a few photos.  It was a lovely day, which made me think that Spring had arrived.  The downside was clear blue skies, which were not ideal for photography.  When I arrived, I started with a few regular shots of the area but I wasn’t inspired.  I was about to give up and move on, when I spotted three young men riding bikes over the large rocks in the area west of the lighthouse.  I watched them for a few minutes and thought that just maybe there were a few photos to be had.  Having asked whether they would mind I started firing off a few frames. Their names were Neil, Bo and Nick, and they were practising the skills needed for the sport of Bike Trials, much like the Motorcycle Trials that I used to watch when I was much younger.  The idea is that the only thing that should touch the ‘ground’ when riding over obstacles is the tyres of the bike. I was impressed and spent a while firing off about 150 shots before realising that I needed to go and collect Dee and her friend.  Rather than bore you with a whole series of shots in one post, I’ll pick just a few at a time.  Sometimes things were happening so fast that I had trouble keeping up and framing correctly.  None of the shots were posed. First a couple of shots showing Nick getting some air under his tyres.

There will be more posts in this series so Bo and Neil will have their time.  Please come back and take a look.