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WASZP Class Northern UK Division rallies at Dalgety Bay and Derwent

by Keith Bedborough 9 Sep 2020 11:15 BST

In line with the spirit and ambition of the class, the WASZP Class Northern UK Division have been extremely keen to get back on the water with their foiling buddies as the lockdown restrictions gradually allow a return to the sport.

To this end two informal WASZP rallies were recently organised which have been a huge success and show that the class is thriving and well-positioned for further strong growth once our national and international circuit events again become possible.

On 22/23 August Derwent Reservoir SC played host to Round 1 - and a blustery force 4-6 greeted the two local Waszps joined by four visitors from Scotland. After a short socially distanced briefing (/pre sale banter catch up) over coffee and bacon rolls it was down to the boats for rapid rigging and out for some fantastic foiling fun on the flat waters of Derwent.

There were quite a few swims as the lockdown lack of practice and gusty breeze took it's toll but everyone had a brilliant session and came off the water buzzing. It reminded us there's nothing quite like foiling downwind with a group of your buddies, trading gybes and waiting to see who will be the first person to come off the foils.

A socially distanced BBQ followed in the evening and the WASZP band made a brief appearance - with a ceremonial bottle of Limoncello despatched in respect to the sadly cancelled Waszp Games at Lake Garda. Prego.

Sunday dawned grey but with a slightly less punchy westerly which provided for another excellent 3 hour foiling session. Particular note goes to new pilot Ross Hunter who was rapidly scaling the learning curve and displaying great sustained flight skills and the makings of some smooth foiling gybes.Many thanks to Derwent Reservoir SC for playing excellent hosts and for very effective Covid-ready club management.

Building on this success Round 2 was swiftly organised at Dalgety Bay SC two weeks later for 5/6 September and 6 visiting boats joined the 4 local boats to be greeted by bright blue skies and a shifty Force 4-6 straight down the Forth Estuary with some great wind against tide action. In true Waszp spirit we agreed to send the four most experienced pilots out to see how the fared - at which point three of the "more senior" members rigged extremely slowly whilst international rock star Jamie Calder eagerly bounded down the slipway.

Jamie rapidly demonstrated that a) a Waszp can easily outrun a RIB in anything above 15 knots and b) it was actually extremely windy with some spectacular wipeouts - much to the delight of the shore-bound observers but of more concern to the senior proper blokes. However and as if by magic the breeze gradually eased off as the afternoon progressed allowing all boats to launch and sailors of all abilities to enjoy the supportive and inclusive environment and on the water coaching being provided by SailingFast supremo and WASZP UK Dealer Duncan Hepplewhite.

It again proved that the best way to learn the skills of foiling is with other boats around - and the sailors all naturally share experience and tips in line with "the WASZP spirit".

Man of the match this weekend was Paul McCombie from St Andrews - this was his first road trip with the WASZP and he displayed a rapid improvement in the challenging-at-times conditions on the River Forth. Local Laser lad Iain Duncan was also given a demo sail and came off the water with a big smile that was even wider than usual - we hope to get him out again soon and possibly even welcome him into the swarm. We eventually came off the water after 6pm -extremely tired but stoked from another great sesh.

A takeaway curry was extremely well received in the evening and it was only appropriate that another bottle of Limoncello (prego) accompanied the tall tales and WASZP Band performance to ensure the social side of the WASZP spirit was appropriately upheld. Special mention to living legend David Lilburn who was back in the country for a short break from his Caribbean superyacht - and nailed both his foiling gybes and his AC/DC vocals once again !

Sunday was a much more gentle affair - starting with a socially distanced BBQ breakfast courtesy of head chefs Ewart and McLellan. With the lack of forecast breeze and unseasonably Scottish wall to wall sunshine - the class took to SUP boards for a surfing safari around the bays and inlets of Dalgety Bay, which was a brilliant way to chillax after the adrenalin stoke of Saturday. Fish and chips from the local chippie (but no deep fried Mars bars this time) fortified the visitors for their journeys home (or rock star Lilburn heading for his private Learjet) - and rounded off a great weekend.

With another container load of boats arriving imminently and several new candidates lined up to join the WASZP Class Northern UK Division we expect to go from strength to strength as more second hand boats come onto the market - and the buzz of foiling in an easy to maintain one-design boat continues to grow!

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