Phil Horrocks Takes on Rhosneigr in 58 knots

On the 17th April, Phil Horrocks travelled to his local break of Rhosneigr for an incredible session in storm force wind and waves. Boardseeker catches up with the man himself to find out more about the eventful day

This forecast was pretty well predicted a fair way in advance, in fact it came off the back of a few windy days before so i had been sailing a fair bit and was into the groove.  But I didn’t expect it to come through that strong!

Normally when it blows strong in Rhossy it gets to 3.7m weather, but it is still quite manageable, this day it was at a whole other level; the wind was so strong it was chopping up the waves and making it super hard to keep the thing on the water.

One of the pilots from the neighboring RAF valley gave a phone call through to the weather tower where they were reading a steady 58 knots whilst we were sailing.  That’s pretty scary windy!  It’s not like the Canaries where it’s warmer and some how softer, this was a full blown cold wind storm!

Because the day before had been a classic 4.7 day, wall to wall sunshine, and would have been great for filming, I decided that today, with the odd ray of sunshine at my house 30 minutes away would be the same.  I somehow managed to talk my girlfriend Maike into coming with me, I said, it’ll be just like Cape Town (!!!) where she’s done sterling jobs behind the lens on many occasions before. I advised her to wrap warm as you never know with British weather and so on….. Knowing full well there was a front pushing nearly 60 knots ahead of it!!  Add to that the fact that she is six and a half months pregnant and has a stomach like a bowling ball, needs a bathroom every 10 minutes and had to negotiate my way out of antenatal classes for that evening, I thought I did a pretty good job to get any footage at all!!

The sailing was hard work, you know it’s strong when the seaweed is blowing along the beach.  I rigged my Gaastra Manic 3.7 and my Tabou Pocket Wave 75, that was the smallest gear I had; the sail felt pretty good in the hands despite the fact that I was getting my arms pulled off! I could always point it where I wanted it to go, I just couldn’t always sheet in with it! It’s rare but days like this is when I need a 3.3! Every jump and piece of white water I found myself unhooking and quickly my forearms got pumped, add to that a few bottom turns and I had arms like Popeye in no time!

I couldn’t really do too much, there were some big backloops but even they are super tricky, you pass through the apex of the wind and there is still bags of pressure in the sail, so you accelerate down towards the water and the landing has to be spot on or it’s an explosion!

I managed to squeeze in a few pushloop tables but the thought of going over the front into a forward was too much; no way!!  I think if you go for it like that everything has to be perfect, otherwise you sheet in and anything could happen!

If nothing else it was good practise ahead of the first rounds of the UK tour in May, it’s unlikely but you never know we may get something like that for the event here, how crazy would that be!  After Rhosneigr it’s Ireland and as we’ve seen before anything can happen there.

See you all there! Phil

As always Boardseeker will be providing you with podcasts from all of the BWA events, thanks to our film maker Alfie Hart, so stay tuned to Boardseeker for all the latest footage. You can also keep up to date with more info on the BWA on our sister site and the BWA website here. 


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