Our leading longbow archer is Alexandra. Alex unusually uses a finger sling when she shoots her longbow, something not common with longbow archers and has a straighter hand, more like a recurve archer, but this leads to an uncanny accuracy, helped by a fabulous custom bow from Adrian Hayes. Although she’s only been shooting her longbow since December 2017, she had reset many county records by Summer 2018.
Alexandra was awarded gold (individual) and silver (team: Elswood) at the 2018 Hertford Open Championships in July 2018. Her silver medal was remarkable as there were four recurve archers in the team and her longbow score was the second highest score for the junior team.
Alexandra has received a Purple medal from Hertfordshire, the first ever awarded to a longbow archer which is particularly great as she is still in the U12 age category.
Alexandra uses a custom made Adrian Hayes longbow (called “Artemis”) with two sets of arrows:
a) an Adrian Hayes set of 27″ arrows 9/32 shafted, with 64gm brass points and 2.5″ parabolic fletchings in purple and white;
b) a home-made set of 27″ arrows 9/32 shafted, with 80gm bodkin points and 3″ shield fletchings in purple and orange, ones that she Crested herself. Interestingly, Alex prefers the home-made set although the points are heavier (by 16g and the 3″ shields have technically too much drag), but the arrows appear comparatively similarly accurate. (In repeated tests at 20m, the home-made set group slightly better, but probably as they have settled more in flight due to the bigger shields, but at 30m the arrows are indistinguishable……. grouping is very comparable, except that the aiming point of the home-made arrows is always further left than the Adrian Hayes arrows. It is not uncommon to have to pull 3 arrows at a time as they’re all trying to occupy the same hole!
So, if Alex likes making her own arrows, why do we buy from Adrian?
We buy because he weight matches and spine matches the arrows.
Spine Matching means that your arrows are matched to both your bow and your draw weight and within 5lbs. Weight Matching means that your set of arrows are matched so that every arrow is within a total range of 30 grains for the set. (If they’re not matched, they’ll be going everywhere). We love the fact that Adrian is so fussy about his arrows because they translate to the accuracy that Alexandra needs at her level. (It also works out at about £25 more per set than having to pay for matched sets at our local longbow suppliers, so by the time that you’ve taken into account petrol, etc, they’re good value from Adrian).
September 2018 – new records and a lesson about checking equipment
In September (2018) Alexandra gained yet another county championship at the Gravesend Pocahontas shoot (and for those that don’t know, it’s called the Pocahontas shoot because Pocahontas died in Gravesend …..something the Disney movie doesn’t tell you!) and missed setting a new national record by just 52 points.
September was a great month as she also got another county record at the Woking shoot, which was a UK and Rose Status and she’s delighted to get a purple Rose awarded – something that she was particularly happy with as she had her worst day shooting for many months (and still can very close to another national record).
Her Woking shoot was particularly good achievement (and explained her worst day ever reaction) as after the event, Alex reported to her coach that she kept getting longbow string-slap on most arrows….leading to a review of the bow which showed that her brace point was out by nearly 2 inches!! (She’d dropped her bow string and didn’t realise that it had unwound).
A lesson for all you longbowers and their coaches –
a) if you drop you bowstring – check your bracing height ;
b) if you’re getting longbow wrist-slap (as opposed to string-slap on your arm), then check your bracing height.
Wrist slap occurs when your string is too loose and can therefore come forward too much whilst String-slap on your arm or bracer is usually archer technique.
c) Coaches: if you’re training juniors, check the equipment properly, however good the archer is!
…….and Judges, we know you have a lot to do but, please, as you’re inspecting the equipment, if the bracing height looks wrong…raise it with the archer in case the coach is asleep (or taking the day off), you could avoid an archer having a painful day!
Longbows bracing heights:
– Usually given by bowyers;
– If not available, a rule of thumb is bracing height is 1/12th of bow length. (We discussed various bows at a later event and for 72″ bows, the bracing height recommended by bowyers was 5.5″ to 6.3″ and most archers preferred the bow set at 6″).