Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When I grow up I want to be ...

.. like Jerry. Here are some pictures Eddie Devereaux took of him yesterday at Harding's Beach in Chatham:

Well, at least I got to sail with him:
That's Jerry high up in the air, and me far in the background. At least my sail is about as colorful as his.  I even tried to copy Jerry's straight jumps, with limited success:
Hardie was there, too. This picture of him gives a good idea how the waves were:
Nina did her own thing, once she got used to sailing in non-flat water. 40ºF temperatures and full power on a 4.0 seemed just right for her to work on Shove-Its:

You have to realize that Nina almost never sails waves. When she later saw the pictures where Jerry jumped off the wave, turned downwind in the air, and landed back on the wave, she said "Oh, I should do that!". Yes. Wait until next time!

You might ask: were we cold? NO! Jerry complained about being hot, and took breaks on shore to cool off. Nina used open-palm mittens only for the first few runs, and then sail without gloves. My stupid hands acted up a bit, but were fine when I used my old open-palm mittens and the tubes in my Ianovated suit. No, really, they were fine! Even when my board got away from me, and I went for what seemed to be a very long swim. The GPS tracks later showed it was just 3 minutes.

A great session it was. Warm we were. The wind was strong and super-steady:

But my inner chicken won. I was not happy about that. Of course I have excuses. It took me a while to get used to the waves. I rarely sail my 4.7. I did not see 9 of Jerry's 10 loops. When I finally saw one his loops, I was really tired. And so on. Stupid chicken! Hardings often has perfect loop conditions, and yesterday was no exception. Did I say I hate that stupid chicken in me? It's in me, and comes out at the worst times. Don't know where it comes from - I'm a vegetarian!

Chances are Nina will loop before I do - and she has no desire to do so, at least not before she can Flaka and Shaka and Vulcan and Kono. But she also has no fear. Enough power for 4.0? Great, so much easier to duck! Does not matter if for a regular duck jibe in 45 mph winds, or for a duck tack in 35 mph. Her inner chicken either does not exist, or it is mute and invisible. So I maybe I revise my first statement: when I grow up, I want to be as fearless as Nina or Jerry. But my mother thinks I'll never grow up, and she may be right.
Many thanks to Eddie for taking the pictures, and to Jerry for demonstrating many loops. It was not Jerry's fault that I was usually looking the other way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

First Encounter

In west to northwest winds, the iWindsurf meter that consistently shows the strongest readings is the "Hatch Beach" meter. It's a great mystery why it's called "Hatch Beach" - the beach it is on is the First Encounter Beach in Eastham. It you think of Cape Cod as an arm sticking out into the Atlantic that is bent at the elbow, the beach is darn close to the elbow pit. No surprise the wind likes going there!

First Encounter is a kite surfing beach. Windsurfers usually go to Skaket, or to places with better waves. But we tried First Encounter once, and Nina had a great session there. So when we got a wind forecast that promised straight onshore winds at Skaket, but side-on winds at First Encounter, that's were we went.

We arrived near high tide, and the water looked rather uninviting. "But it was so flat last time" said Nina. Well, the tide was about 4-6 feet lower then. With a 10-12 foot tide, the differences in water state are quite dramatic. We dawdled a bit, but eventually made it out onto the water. The Hatch Beach meter often overstates the wind a bit, so we rigged big - 4.7 for Nina, 6.0 for me. Nina ended up a bit overpowered. I like power and was just fine, thank you very much.

Here's a video from the session:

I won't blame you (much) if you call the video boring. I tried a few Carve 360s, but that was it, and those did not work. Otherwise, I was perfectly happy going back and forth. Since the water was quite bumpy at the start, I diverted from my usual straight ways and wove some curvy lines into the water. A little more than a mile out, there was some rather lovely swell for such "wave play" (although, admittedly, calling the swell "waves" is stretching it a bit). But for this straight-line flatwater surfer, it counted as serious fun, and kept me occupied for a while.

After an hour or two, the tide had fallen more than a meter, and it got flatter. I took this as an excuse to sail in a more linear fashion. If anyone had asked, I would have pointed to the GPS on my arm and called it "speed runs", but nobody asked. Just as is started getting really flat, my inner chicken reared it's ugly head and send me scrambling to shore. The water was still mostly more than knee-deep, but there were some shallower areas and shell fishing cages, and I was not sure were exactly all these were. Nina, who was a bit safer on an 8 cm shorter fin, came in shortly afterwards. After we had de-rigged, we took a final look at the water:
It had gotten buttery smooth, and I was a bit jealous of the kiters. Maybe I should order a 15 cm Delta Wing fin from Maui Ultra Fins...
For all the history buffs among my readers: the name "First Encounter Beach" reflects that this is where the Pilgrims first encountered Native Americans,  a little while prior to their settling in Plymouth. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014


20: days sailed in October.
Includes 2 weeks in Hatteras, one day with sessions at two different spots on Cape Cod, and 3 light wind days.

Hatteras Sunset

28: wind averages (in mph) when we decided to go windsurfing today, despite the rain
35: wind averages when we rigged
41: wind averages when we sailed
49: wind gusts when we sailed
3.4 and 4.0: our sail sizes today. It's rare that we get to sails this small - maybe 1-2x a year. Even rarer that we are overpowered on these sails. Happens once every few years. Tomorrow will be even windier.

24: top speed (in mph) today in 41 mph winds
28: typical top speed I have on a day when wind averages are 20 mph

6.7: distance (in km) I sailed today
52: average distance I sailed per day (with planing conditions) in October
138: maximum distance I sailed on one day in October
270: maximum distance I ever sailed on one day
742: distance (in km) sailed by Dennis Klaaijsen when he set the 24-hour windsurfing record.
He jibed 395 times, falling 5 times (98.7% dry rate).
Skaket Beach, Orleans, Cape Cod

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Andy and Caesar movie

At the ABK camp Cape Cod in September, Andy Brandt and Caesar Finies gave us a little demonstration what light wind freestyle can look like. Conditions were not ideal, with gusty winds from 5-20 mph; furthermore, both Andy and Caesar were on unfamiliar boards. That did not keep them from putting on a great show - here is a short video:

It's interesting to see the rather different styles in direct comparison. Andy does a lot of "old school" tricks like fin-first upwind 360s that are technically quite difficult, but take 10-15 seconds to complete. In contrast, many of Caesar's tricks are sail-throws or sail-body movements that take only a second or two. In the 10 seconds that one of the "old school" moves takes, Caesar strings together a whole bunch of different moves, often mixing simple ones like sail-body 360s with hard ones like Jaw Breakers and Ankle Biters. Andy's style is super-clean and very technical; Caesar's is fast and furious. I'm just glad that this was a demonstration, not a competition where we had to pick a winner! Many thanks to Caesar and Andy for showing us what you can do on a windsurf board in light winds.