- Fri 18th March.
We woke on day one to a 10-15kn NW-NE forecast and overcast conditions. Early morning saw very light winds and there was a nervous anticipation based on the event medium range forecast. An upper level trough was forming over the region and the forecasts were constantly changing, reflecting the unstable nature of the conditions that had presented in the local area.
Even with light conditions we saw a healthy number of competitors sign on. Including competitors that joined us on the Saturday we had 25 windsurfers attend the event. Most had come for the week and also brought family and friends so a small community of over 40 like-minded people had gathered to enjoy the days ahead.
We called for Skipper¡¦s briefing to be held at lunch time and with an eye on the conditions began prepping this years event. As lunch time arrived the light winds had still not developed into a reliable sea breeze so we pushed back the start time to 3pm, hopping we could take advantage of any potential sea breezes strengthening during the late afternoon.
As 3pm arrived the decision was taken to call an end to day one even though no results had been posted. The sea breeze unfortunately had not resulted in any wind of substance and a mid afternoon end to day 1 competition would provide the opportunity for families to spend the afternoon enjoying the local environment. Some choose to explore, go fishing and a few headed out with local windsurfer Ray in the event boat to get a waterside perspective of the course and surrounding areas including Woodgate.
Other settled down into a comfortable position to share a drink with friends. Burrum is the annual catchup point for friendships formed at past events. People head back every year to catch up with friends and talk about windsurfing and life around a bbq or deck overlooking the beach.
- Sat 19th March - Moonageden
Ahh, Moonageden, The day the moon is the closet to the earth in 20 years and a guarantee of storms, strong winds and excellent windsurfing conditions. Or so they say!
Winds for day 2 were again forecast for 10-15 knots NW-NE. It appeared on the synoptic charts that day 2 would be our best opportunity to gain a result for the event and the early morning breezes were strong enough to make us feel that we would in fact see an afternoon sea breeze with enough strength to get some initial speeds on the board.
We held skippers briefing at 10.30 and outlined the days conditions. A positive mood was in the air. A series of squalls were forming to the north and moving south bringing winds to the course in line with predictions. As per predictions we hoped they gained strength as the day progressed. At skipper¡¦s meeting it was agreed to hold till 1pm to allow the land to heat and help intensify any breezes in the area.
After briefing and buoyed by the squall lines coming through, competitors rigged their big gear and waited for the opportunity to hit the water and get some runs on the board. By 1.30 however, it was becoming apparent that Moonageden was not going to produce the winds required. The squall lines had pulled a lot of cloud south feeding it into a forming trough line and this was gradually causing the periods of time between the squalls to become longer in duration.
Some of the competitors hit the water regardless. Knowing that any time windsurfing was time well spent. About a third of the fleet headed out to explore the banks by windsurfer and hopefully snag that special gust to allow a fully planning run down the 4km of speed bank.
The boat was launched just in case and the remainder relaxed in the shade of the trees lining the waters edged with gear at the ready just in case. The ever efficient Michel Van Der Plit managed to find a few small puffs and got some planning runs but with the wind dying it was short lived. Leaving the others to dredge their way back to the launch spot with plenty of time to get a close look at the bank.
We eventually called an end to day two late afternoon and readied for the Saturday night dinner at the local pub. Busses were collecting everyone at 6.30 so there was still a bit of time for some fishing or more exploring. The fishing turned out to be ok over the time at Burrum. Mud crabs were plentiful with both locals and competitors managing plenty of big crabs in their pots. Plenty of shovel nose sharks were also pulled in along with a few stingrays straight off the beach and the hole near the first channel marker at low tide had some of the guys chasing mangrove jack on very light tackle. Light enough that the jacks got a good feed and a few hooks were lost.
By 6.30, and after a couple of bus runs, we had all arrived at the Pub for the event dinner. Time for the traditional Qld pub steak and cold cold beer!!! Everyone was in great spirits and the pub was just the beginning of the nights party. Eventually, sometime late, we were informed that it was time to close, the bus returned and began to ferry us all back to the beach area. (2 minutes away). The majority headed off to Rays for his annual Limoncello tasting night which I think may have accounted for the slow start on day 3 and a few croaky voices.
Every night prior to the following days competition I filled the event blackboard up with all of the relevant information pertaining to the forthcoming days events, including weather conditions, skippers briefing times and any other relevant information.
By the night of Day 2, Day 3's board read,
the wind strikes back,
20-30 kn SE winds,
briefing at 10.30.
I may have exaggerated the 10-15 knot SW, SE, NW, NE forecast slightly but it was time to stir up the wind and with a possible SE change on the cards I was hoping to encourage some type of windy outcome.
Day 3 - Sun 20th March - The wind strikes back!
When day 3 arrived, we woke to clear blue skies and dead calm conditions, not the 20-30 knots I was hoping for.
At this point, the decision was made to give the day a fair run till lunch time and then make the hard call to cancel the final day of competition if things didn¡¦t improve. We hoped the clear blue skies were a sign that a SE change may be on it's way however by lunch time this was proving not to be enough. The change did arrive mid morning but did not bring any intensity with it.
At 12 noon we held final briefing, advised of the cancellation of the final day and held thankyou speeches to all for coming and to the sponsors for their support. This left time for those to travel home for school and or work commitments on Monday and those staying longer to enjoy the rest of their holiday commitment free.
End of event - the wrap up
Over the last 5 years of running the Windfest this is the first year of no wind. It seems that what is usually a windy time of the year for Qld this time resulted in a large high near the east coast of Australia producing calm conditions from NSW to north Qld.
This year¡¦s event did however see a good turnout none the less with competitors from as far north as Mackay and as far south a Port Macquarie making the trek to experience the Fraser Coast Region and hoping to score some of the now ledgendary windsurfing conditions Burrum Heads offers. Although the later was not the case this year, the Windfest has become an annual holiday destination for those who enjoy what the area has to offer and the company of those attending the event. It was very satisfying again this year to see that everyone had a great time in Burrum heads and enjoyed their holidays including trips to the family water park, trips to hervey bay, plus fishing/crabbing and stand up paddle boarding.
There a lot of people once more to thank for this years event. Especially all of the competitors and family but also the event sponsors.
Firstly the major sponsors this year. Both KA Sail and NXS sailboards have been sponsors since the events birth and are both partly responsible for the events creation.
This year KA once more offered their full support providing a KA sail to the event prize pool. Additionally, NXS sailboards provided a board giveaway prize to the event lucky draw. Between both KA and NXS they have supplied over $10,000 worth of prizes over the preceding years.
I would also like to extend my thanks to local business Elders Realty Burrum Heads and Burrum Sands Holiday Units for their continued support. Burrum Sands provided a weekends accommodation to the prize pool this year and allow us the use of their facilities.
Elders Burrum Heads again continued their support from last years event by provided a $1000 prize for the first person to break the Australian Nautical Mile record at Burrum heads. This last prize was won 2 weeks prior to the event by Brisbanite Brad Anderson. Burrum Heads and Brad now hold the Australian Windsurfing Nautical Record at 38+ knots plus the QLD peak speed records at 43+ knots. Both Elders Burrum Heads and Burrum Sands have signalled their hopes to continue to support the windsurfing community in the future and showcase their local region and local support.
Thanks should also go to Windsurfingsales whom attended and supported last years event and this year provided a gun boom to the prize pool to continue their support.
Further Thanks are extended to KA72 speedreader for their support and IT/software implementation so critical to a GPS event. Dylan every year donates his time to upload and check all tracks lodged as well as provide full coverage of his software used in analysing the data.
Thanks to Unifiber as well whom joined the list of sponsors this year adding a nice supply of shirts, hats and other merchandise to the prize pool.
Also thanks go to Jordan Boats for their support of the prize pool donating merchandise for competitors to win this year plus for attending the event.
Plus thanks to local Hooray for once more assistance with rescue boat duties and allowing us the use of his inflatable for the event.
Finally, this year I was approached by the local progress association who are very keen to see the event grow and have offered support with facilities and future event sponsorship connections.
Once again thanks to all involved and I hope to see you all next year again.