Starboard are supporting this expedition. Having retired my 2009 Phantom that made it round Britain, I'll be sailing a 2017 Phantom 377L round Europe. The refined Phantom has nice features that make it a first choice for expedition sailing. In my opinion it also looks just fantastic.
In short, very reassured to be using a proven race-winning high performance machine for this adventure. Looking forward to receiving the board and fitting a barrel as soon as possible. Pre expedition start I'm training with Phantom 09.
Despite being only 75kg myself, I'll sail the bigger 377L. That will help with carrying a load of between 15-20kg of gear.
The batwings give extra width in the tail - right where I need it to encourage planing with a barrel on the back, also helping to plane broader downwind (I've side by side tested and can confirm this!), and adding to stability. The overall width is relatively narrow, for great upwind performance in light airs, control in windier conditions, and ease of punching through a big sea. Check the video on the Starboard website for a full explanation of all the other features that make this the ultimate racing, cruising and expedition windsurfer.
Severne Sails and rig components
Severne sails are contenders for 'the best available' in all their ranges. I'll be using the hugely versatile Turbo GT on this adventure - size 9.2m. The Turbo GT has a reputation for being easy to hold on to whilst still offering impressive low end grunt.
Severne are very generously building a special edition full-scrim sail that will offer the enhanced durability required for such a long and intensive period of use.
Ease of use is a major factor in choosing to sail with the TurboGT. Two cambers lock in power and shape down low and high up there is plenty of twist when needed. The allround qualities of the TurboGT make it ideally suited for the many days I'll be dealing with force 1 to force 5 - and maybe having to cope with more - on the same day.
Equally significant is the Enigma boom I'll be sailing with. I haven't sailed one yet but I know the value of a stiff, light and well thought out boom and the Enigma ticks all those boxes for me.
I'll be using other Severne components too. Top notch gear that I have confidence in.
Tushingham Watersports Distribution
Tushingham are the UK distribution for Starboard, Severne, Aeron, Red Paddle Radz gear and their own hardware. The whole team are a thoroughly likeable bunch of very knowledgeable watersports enthusiasts.
Stohlquist have supplied their Shift drysuit which is a vital piece of kit to stay warm and safe in a wide range of conditions.
There is no doubt that this would also be a great suit for kiting, windsurfing, SUP, kayak... in fact any activity where cold water immersion could or does happen and where freedom of movement is important.
I'm very happy to be using this suit.
The Stohlquist Shift is the ideal touring / expedition drysuit. Key features are:
- breathable materials designed with salt water use in mind
- waist harness friendly zip position
- standby mode with more ventilation when risk of immersion is low
- slim cut to maintain reasonable agility when in the water
- relief zipper!
- understated styling that looks like normal foul weather gear
- integrated feet, removable hood, generous internal and external pockets, reflective accents etc...
I am delighted that once again YB Tracking will be tracking the expedition. I used their excellent YB3 unit around Britain. It worked brilliantly and I have no hesitation taking exactly the same unit on this adventure. Once I'm underway don't forget to check the tracker page to follow progress!
The YB3 is a reassuringly good bit of kit. The track it records goes direct to the website. The battery lasts for ages (depends upon update frequency but a week is no bother). When it does 'need' a charge that couldn't be easier: top up via USB cable connected to a solar charger / powerbank / mains power. Looking at the track is a lot of fun, but above all the unit is a big deal in terms of safety.
The unit is lightweight, robust and dependable. It comes with dedicated SOS and SMS by satellite functions that work anywhere on the planet, and probably beyond...
To top it all the nice folk at YB are knowledgable, helpful and courteous to a tee.
Iconsports are supplying a set of Thermo Pro pogies for each side of the boom. Pogies are more normally used by kayakers but my testing has found that they are useful for windsurfing too and do a good job of reducing windchill and splashing.
I like the Iconsport Thermo Pro pogies because they are made of light weight but strong aquatherm material, have good openings that stay open for easy hand access, and are soft and insulating. These pogies hardly take on water so the two pairs I need (one set for each side of the boom) add minimal weight even when getting regular dunkings.
In colder conditions I will use the Thermo Pros in combination with neoprene mitts.
Other Expedition Equipment
I carry a small amount of high quality gear. If your company would like to assist with expedition equipment please get in touch.