Saturday, January 12, 2013

For Mikey.

The sad loss of young Pro Irish Windsurfer and friend Mikey Clancy at the age of 22 this week, whose funeral I attended with many others from the Irish Windsurfing community yesterday in Dublin, has stirred up many memories of my windsurfing days so as one way of marking his passing here on the blog I'll tell a short windsurfing / Bass related story that Mikey would have liked.

One day many years ago I was happily blasting along at my old haunt, Minster Beach on the Thames estuary in Kent, near my then home in England, at a fair old rate of knots, probably 25+ as I was on my full on race equipment. The water was smooth as the wind blew offshore. Suddenly there was a horrible noise and vibration from the board and I knew immediately what was occurring but was powerless to do much about it as it was all happening so fast. The reason for this breach of my windsurfing peace was the 70 cm carbon fin grinding as it made contact with the mussel bank I was passing over as the tide dropped, a bad miscalculation on my part but I'd got away with it. Had I done the same thing 20 mins later the shallower water would have led to a solid impact which at best would have led to the fin being ripped from the board and lost to the mussel bank or even the back being ripped off the board, such was the light construction of it's high performance design. So luckily the drama was all over in a couple of seconds and rider plus equipment lived to sail another day.

Fast forward 24 hrs and here I am again under identical conditions (Windsurfing like Bass fishing is highly addictive and something I did all weekend and any evenings it was windy.) I'm approaching the mussel bank again at speed but there's a big difference, the tide is approximately an hour later and I'm confident that there's plenty of depth to get me safely over the bank this time. So, imagine my horror, annoyance and general sense of deja vu when it all starts going wrong again and fast! So fast in fact that before I know it, following a dull thud, I'm pitched forward into the murky estuarine water, or "catapulted" as windsurfers call it, whilst still hooked into my harness lines that hang from my carbon boom to help channel the power of the sail through the body and into the board to create drive and forward momemtum. I find myself in the water quickly running checks, first on my body then my equipment for damage. All checks come back as good. I'm very relieved but puzzled, how could this have happened? I scan the scene and something alien to me at the time but now very familiar catches my eye. Floating on the surface dead or stunned is a nice big bass laying motionless having paid the ultimate price for being precisely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Hope you enjoyed this one Mikey!  Rest in peace.