26 Oct The 2018 Mauritius Masterclass – wow!
I wouldn’t say faces were glum exactly when we arrived – how can you be glum when on Monday morning you get handed a colourful cocktail and sit down to sip it while staring at a turquoise lagoon caressed by 20 knot trade winds – but some were … how might you say … a little concerned.
“Have you seen the forecast?” One said.
I told him I’d given up looking at forecasts of Mauritius, and especially of the Le Morne area, long ago. I could do a better job with a blindfold and and a pin. Apparently we were to get one day of wind and then nothing.
As it was we got 7 on the trot, followed by a grateful day of biblical rain, and then finished with a couple more 5.3 days. Such is the way at this corner of the island – it has its own climate which few can predict, not even the local Windies.
Indeed, the Mauritius 2018 Masterclass was another classic. It was my 13th clinic year on this jewel of an island. Nowhere in the world is the wind guaranteed but this place comes pretty close. In the 13 years I’ve staged clinics there, we’ve been blessed every time apart from 2. And on those 2 occasions the waves were spectacular.
Brought together by a common love of water and cocktails, the group bond was tight and immediate. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of ‘all inclusive’ resorts – however, the Riu Le Morne is some thing special – and being able to order 15 cocktails for the team as you step off the water and not get a bill for £150, is a definite bonus.
The group was wonderfully diverse comprising 6 nations and a variety of standards At one end you had Charlie busting out Spocks and speed loops, and working on that ever elusive duck track; at the other you had a group working on carve gybes, small board tacks, early planing – and some heading to the waves of Little Reef at the first sign of white water. I’m not trying to big myself up, but everyone improved out of sight – as is bound to happen when you get such a run of friendly conditions.
I say friendly … the wind varied from 15- 25 knots – and with a high tide came the chop, just to see if you really did have the carve gybe nailed down!
A highlight of the masterclass day is the evening video analysis – this year made even more spectacular by a new, turbo-powered projector. By fortune, the side of the hotel by my room was white, meaning we could display the action as big as a football pitch- there was nowhere to hide!
It’s one of my favourite centres. The Fantatic North/Duotone kit is fine – but it’s all down to the staff who are uber friendly. No-one breaks anything on purpose. Some places make you feel terrible about it – but in Le Morne they smile, ask you if you’re OK and get you going again.
When it comes to kit, there were differing attitudes to the ‘Stubby’ outlines that feature in Fanatic’s free-ride, free-wave and wave designs. Some loved them, others took a while. There were spin out issues. On the freewaves especially, everything – straps, mast foot etc – is brought back, which caused makes it easy to overload the fin, especially if you tend to sit of the back foot.
The more they learned to sail off the front foot, the more they liked them, especially the snappy gybing, but it did take some getting used to.
All being well with health and the world in general, I will be returning to Mauritius in Nov 2019.
Dates and details to be released very soon.
If you want to put your name on a place, contact Sportif 01273 844919 or me on firstname.lastname@example.org