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Escape to Rarotonga

Now, Rotorua's not a bad place and I'm not knocking it, however when you get a chance to swap a winter there for three months in the balmy climate of Rarotonga you'd have to be a bit of a masochist to turn it down. It took a fair bit of preparation to make the exercise viable like, for instance making a recce trip earlier to inspect the proposed teaching spot and negotiating a deal with Capt. Tama to use his business as a base. It also meant preparing 7 windsurfers plus spares to go with my trusty old Kiwisi prototype which has given me 5 years of service at Rotorua. These all had to be packed ready to go into a container to arrive about the same time as I did.

By some miracle all this stuff plus my own toy, the Mk IV ZUD came out of the container undamaged.

The most hazardous part of the journey was the ten km to Muri Beach on the back of a very short deck 'ute. Fortunately I had help in the form of Capt. Tamas man, Danny. After an abortive attempt to tie this mountain of gear onto the 'ute we resorted to the simple expedient of me driving very slowly (quite the norm on the island) while Danny, with great agility, clambered around preventing items from escaping.

Eventally all the gear was assembled at the beach in front of The Pacific Resort at Muri Beach, the Kiwisi was set up and the show was on. Cook Island TV very obligingly did a full feature on the new operation as part of their local news !;(it's all local news there!) and the tourists started coming forward for lessons and hire.

By far thegreater proportion had tried windsurfing unsuccessfully before and so were quite relieved to be told that they would not be expected to perform on the water in full view of the others until they were quite confident on the Kiwisi. We, (by now I was training the selected trainee instructor, Chris) found that the average novices took about 35 mins of intensive drilling and practice on the Kiwisi to be able to sail to and fro without making an exhibition of themselves.

Mostly the weather was good for initial instruction. Just occasionally there was a day with so little wind that nothing happened and there were two weeks of 'instructors' perks!- winds in excess of 15 kts when although we didn't make much money, only hiring to the few experts coming through, were great for demoing the Mk IV ZUD. A well-known NZer joined this queue, Andrew Blewitt, also the 'pommy instructor' ,Dodger who risked his honeymoon (actually staying in the villa right next to the w/s hut!) enjoyed a few hours on it. All together about 30 visitng experts sailed this narrow version of the ZUD and not one could fault it's handling or performance. If you don't believe me ask Andy or Dodger!

Whilst on my favourite subject, I had encouraging news from UK that the ZUD Mk III had cleaned up in the Joint Services Open Champs held at Portland earlier this month so now the interest is all on again. I now believe that the ZUD concept is the way forward for developing shorter, wider boards that handle properly.

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