Wight Windsurf Challenge - the search for kit

The most mega of all the cats

Some lesser known facts about Island circumnavigation

IOW point to point crows flies distance: 88km

Menorca : 123km

Mersea Island: 18.5km

The plan is now very much set in stone. We will be profiling the three sailors in future posts and what equipment they have managed to get hold of.

The reality really is that a long board will be best for the job. In a way, we want it to be, to recover a little bit of nostalgia. The other benefit is we don't need to worry about the wind, for us the right favourable tides will be the most important consideration. I particularly would like to reacquaint myself with a raceboard. It has been an unbelievable 20 years since I was RYA national champion and student national champion. Incredibly the last time I competitively sailed a raceboard was 18 years ago. Almost more time away from it then I was alive at the time.

For this reason, my ideal board to do this particular rounding would be my board of choice back then, a much loved Fanatic Mega Cat. The quickest board upwind ever. One of the best feelings in windsurfing was getting to the windward mark before anyone else, hitting the layline perfectly and then accelerating off on a broad reach whilst others looked on in pain, yet to make the mark.

Unfortunately there do not seem to be much around. Gregg "James May" Dunnett, had an idea of doing on a Fanatic Snake 320, because there was one local. Jono and myself suggested that he might struggle to make it out of the bay by the time we got back. Luckily he hadn't bought it.

Getting hold of the ideal kit of choice might be just as tough as the sail itself. There are plenty of nostalgic sails on ebay, however it is easy to forget how weak the kit might be. If we are sailing in excess of 150km, then there has to be some seaworthiness left in the kit.

The raceboards are something of a collectors item. With little manufactured, but demand quite high they seem hard to get hold of. The price of a new one is out of reach. (in context the carbon state of the art racing sticks are still cheaper than a plastic topper topaz new).

There are a few back up plans though. In Jono and Gregg's garage there is an original IMCO hiding away in the rafters. In similar rafters, but my parents barn in France there is a Mistral Equipe 2. A board I never really gelled with, but much more preferable than an IMCO lacking in non slip.

A quick facebook request has come up with a few offerings. Trevor Higbige has volunteered an Equipe XR, with large carbon dagger board, which is right up Jono's street. I've still hope of coming across a working megacat (if anyone knows of the whereabouts of one, then let me know...)

Gregg it seems might still have to go with the snake...

Meanwhile in the land of reality there is hopefully going to be some waveboard wind coming up on Saturday....


  1. Had a bit of luck last night, I went to pick up my Tushingham T bird 7.5, used five times, bit pricey at £139 on eBay, and the seller had a garage full of kit he was selling. Managed to pick up a boom and mast, £20 & £5 respectively. So I'm now just a board short of the challenge!

  2. Cambridge Uni windsurf club has a megacat you're welcome to borrow - drop me an email jjat2 (at) cam.ac.uk

  3. Thanks, will check that mcat out. Gregg, this mast.. It's not plastic, red, and made by rotho is it?


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