Sept 1-2, Christchurch
July 14-15, Rutland
Aug 11-17, Netherlands

In 2007 new life was breathed into the Raceboard Class by Starboard from across the Atlantic with their Phantom 380 which appeared on the UK racing circuits in 2008. Tushingham and Demon’s activity on the sail front in their development of new 9.5 and 8.5 sails gave the situation a further boost. So we had a new board and new rigs, all that was now needed was to attract some new younger sailors. There were occasional moments when top-notch youngsters decided to sail a Raceboard, and there were several promising Raceboard sailors in the shape of Alex Trickle, Christopher Guest and Andrew Robinson but no young sailor had hit the front and stayed there. RS:X specialist Jamie Ingram stepped on a Raceboard at the 2010 UKWA Open Championships at Weymouth and went straight to the front of the fleet, but remained loyal to his RS:X. However in September 2011 at the UKWA Inlands event at Farmoor Reservoir, Oxford, which was sailed in blistering winds, another RS:X specialist, Matt Brown, tried his hand at a Raceboard and together with dedicated Raceboard sailor Christopher Guest they swept the field and showed the older guys how it could be done. Matt’s primary concern is of course his RS:X, but Chris, who is a full-time university student, finds that he can combine his Raceboarding and his studies as he does not have to put in the considerable time commitment which is required of a national squad sailor.

Meanwhile at the start of the 2011 season 18 year old Harriet Ellis took the decision to put all her efforts into Raceboard, under the tutelage of top sailor Mark Kay. Her dedication paid off as eventually she found herself on the top step of the podium as both Ladies’ and Girls’ Youth Champion at the 2011 Raceboard Worlds in Spain.

Read Harriet’s own story:

"What do you do when you are too old for RYA squads, still want to race and just can't give up windsurfing or simply want to pursue a different route into racing other than Techno/RS:X? Answer. Go Raceboard.

After many fantastic years being involved in RYA squads (I would recommend it to all up and coming windsurfers) I was faced with the decision of what next? Not an easy decision since I still had a trailer load of RS:X equipment. The decision was made easier because I had always been dependent on high quality coaching so having Mark Kay one of the UK's best Raceboarders and Raceboarding coaches on the doorstep made for a smoother transition.

As the new season approached the deed was done. A Starboard Phantom 380 board used and abused by Mark, together with one of my RS:X rigs, popular with a few of the Raceboarders and training began. At first, the doubts. Would I be able to sail the board? How would I perform in this vastly experienced fleet? Bad sessions? Yes, of course there were. Doubts? Certainly.

Mark worked hard to teach me the fundamentals of the new board but he was not on his own and the great thing about Raceboarding is that they are an incredibly friendly fleet of sailors always willing to give help and advice whether it's on the water or off it, although it's not quite as forthcoming if you've beaten them in the previous race.

After a couple of months I was offered the chance to sail a Demon sail. I knew it was going to be different and it certainly was. My first reaction was probably fear. The power in this sail was awesome, but as time went on I knew this was the sail that was going to make me the sailor I'd dreamed of becoming and as each week went by my expectations of myself increased as my confidence in the kit grew.

The great thing about Raceboard is you have choice. Yes, there is always new kit out there for you to spend your hard earned money on, but at the same time you can always find good kit out there to suit your pocket and at the end of the day good sailors will sail well on anything and regularly do.

As time went on, the talk got round to going to the World Championships in Tarragona, Spain. Although I'd been to the Europeans and the Worlds last year sailing RS:X, would I really be ready to go to a World Championship sailing Raceboard?. The decision was made to go and the Brits were well represented by the talents of Mark Kay, Jon White, Chris Gibson, Paul Leone and not forgetting the novice Raceboarder, myself.

Tarragona was fantastic and the Spaniards had put vast amounts of money into making this a truly high profile memorable international event with entries from all continents and facilities to match at the lovely L'Hospitalet de l'Enfant. Superb racing and high quality entertainment running well into the night.

Racing most days began any time after midday when the wind had stabilised, the highlight of the week being a 20 mile long distance race. Fortunately the wind got up to about 20 knots on that day otherwise we'd still be racing now.

Conditions out there were relentlessly hot and 4 hours regularly on the water in temperatures of 32 degrees plus was really testing. I quickly realised that my Demon 8.5 VG7 sail in these mainly light wind conditions was really working to my advantage and after leading the fleet from the first day was able to sustain my performance for the remainder of the week leading to unexpected success in both Women and Youth Women Fleets. The men's fleet was outstanding with truly magnificent racing. All the Brits performed really well with Mark Kay achieving an outstanding fourth in the Men's Fleet, 2nd master and 1st non-full time sailor.

So, yes. Go Raceboard - Enjoy new, fantastic opportunities in the sport you love. Friendly, helpful sailors always ready to exchange banter with great racing and enjoyment top priority!!" – Harriet Ellis

That is the story of one young lady who had a shot at Raceboard - there IS an alternative to RS:X and Formula – which is particularly worthwhile if a large slice of your windsurfing takes places in the more fickle winds on inland waters - and it need not be an expensive one.

You should be able to pick up a second-hand raceboard for considerably less than £400 - something like an Equipe Two, an F2 380 or a Fanatic Cat, all of which are still very competitive and will enable you to cut your teeth. If you decide against it, you could probably re-sell the board for what you paid for it! A brand new Phantom, which is now in its third phase of development as the Phantom 377, with some interesting looking "wings" which work surprisingly well - would set you back around £2,000 or so, although a second-hand market is now developing in the earlier two models. It is also possible to pick up second-hand Tushingham and Demon race sails.

For over 18s the maximum sail size for men is 9.5 and for ladies, 8.5, but to encourage Techno sailors to give Raceboard a try there is now a 7.8 division for which they can just plug in a 7.8 Techno sail, so the cost is minimised. It’s even possible to arrange to borrow a Raceboard for the odd event! Throw your prejudices to the winds and arrange to borrow a Raceboard a try! You might surprise yourself!

As of this moment, in mid-season of 2012, younger Raceboard sailors are coming to the fore. Jamie Ingram took first place in the Raceboard Class at the UKWA Stena Line Cup Event at Mumbles, South Wales and Chris Guest was third behind Mark Kay, who is a Master. Harriet Ellis continues to enjoy her Raceboard sailing and took 7th place overall. After three events in the Series, Christopher Guest is in 4th place overall and Harriet Ellis in 6th. (Jamie is carrying two discards). Other young sailors trying their hand at Raceboard in both Regional and National events include Andrew Robinson, Aidan Liddy, Emily Kent and Jenna Gibson.

For more info on trying Raceboard please email us at: info@raceboard.org.uk

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    Test Drive the Championship winning Raceboard kit from Tushingham and Starboard.
    Posted On:  23/03/2010 22:52:56

    Starboard and Tushingham Sails are helping the UKWA by offering the association two complete Raceboard sets to racers wishing to compete on their circuit. Dave Hackford, marketing director of Tushingham explains why. "It was a great year for Raceboard racing last year - the fleet nearly doubled in size and amount of new faces on the circuit was encouraging. I attended eight events in 2009 and at each someone asked if they could test a board or even borrow one for the following regatta. So we have put together two complete 2010 packages. That’s the Phantom 380, The XR race 9.5m and mast and boom to suit"

    The UKWA will handle the distribution of this equipment, but the process by which the kit is allocated is simple. It will be 'First come First served'

    So if you fancy trying out the kit that won the 2009 National Championship - for free, then please log onto the UKWA website and tell them which event you would like to race. The kit will be travelling around the UK, so a test drive at any of the UKWA eventsshould be possible.

    Contact: http://www.ukwindsurfing.com/

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