Tuesday, September 25, 2018

ECWF Cape Cod: GPS Racing

It's been a couple of days since we completed the sixth annual East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod, and it's just beginning to appear possible that we might have it again next year. A longer report of the event will follow, but for now, let me talk about the GPS Racing.

The best wind of the weekend was last Friday, so I decided to hand out GPS units to anyone who was registered for the event and would take one. That included several Kalmus regulars (mostly non-speedsurfers), as well as PWA slalom pro Marco Lang. Since we all wanted to go to the event party at Inland Sea in the evening, we all had to stop early, just before the wind picked up, so most of the results were from 19 mph or lower wind averages. Here are the results:
Speeds are in miles per hour.  Everyone went faster than the average wind speed of 19 mph. Marco beat everyone by at least 4.5 mph (4 knots). Check out this picture of Marco flying on the fin:

The next group of three (PR, AR, and CE) all reached about 31.5 mph. Two of them (PR and CE) sailed exactly the same equipment as Marco; one (AR) was on slalom gear with a larger sail. Weight also plays a role in speed, but two of the three weighed in roughly the same as Marco - so the 4 knot speed difference is entirely due to skill.

The next sailor, NS in 5th place, stands our in a group of her own with 28.4 mph. She was also on full slalom gear, sailing happily along with Marco:
The last group of three sailors with speeds around 24-25 mph was on freeride or freestyle gear. Going just a bit of the wind is usually faster, as JSh's speed shows. All of them looked quite fast, and were going about 5 mph faster than the average wind speed.

All the speeds were from the Friday before the event. Since we never got enough wind during the event to run a GPS race, we used to top speeds from Friday for the GPS ranking at the event. Congrats to the winners, and many thanks to all who competed - and to Marco for showing what real speed looks like!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Marco Lang at the ECWF Cape Cod!

It was a bit of a bummer that we had to move the ECWF Cape Cod back one week because of very light winds, but it had one great side effect: we will have a "special guest" again! This time, it's Marco Lang, a top-level PWA slalom sailor from Austria.

Marco finished 7th overall on the PWA slalom last year, and won the PWA slalom in Sylt. He is sponsored by Fanatic and Duotone, which also sponsor the ECWF.

To pay for Marco's flight to the US, we started a fundraiser on Gofundme - please feel free to help with a donation! Five local windsurfers have donated $420 in the first couple of hours of the campaign, but we still need more contributions to reach the goal of $1100. What would you give to be able to get tips from one of the best windsurfers in the world, and to ask him questions about speed, racing, or freestyle?

Here are a couple of more pictures from the Fanatic Team website:

For more pictures and videos, check Marco's web site or his Facebook page!

Big thanks to all who have contributed to the fundraiser, and to Vincent Lindauer for inviting Marco! I hope to see you all in Kalmus on September 22nd and 23rd!

ECWF Cape Cod Now September 22-23!

In view of a forecast of very light winds for this weekend, we will use the "no wind" option and move the ECWF Cape Cod back one week, to September 22-23. Here's a graph that shows the wind forecast for Sunday noon:

Sunday forecast from Windy.com (European model)
The forecast from iWindsurf.com looks pretty similar:

Wind forecast from iWindsurf.com (US model, GFS)
Unfortunately, the European and US computer models agree, so it is very likely that there will be no wind on Sunday morning - not even enough for longboard racing! Both days, the wind will most likely to light for planing races or to test the demo gear that several sponsors will bring.

We do not yet have meaningful wind forecasts for the weekend of September 22-23, since wind forecasts are very unreliable for a week or more out. However, days with as little wind as shown in the forecasts above are quite rare on Cape Cod, so it will probably be windier.

To see what the event participants thought about moving the festival, we send out emails to everyone who had already registered, and posted a poll on Facebook. The response was an overwhelming vote for moving the ECWF a week later:
In the poll, 14 windsurfers said they would only come on the second weekend, while 3 windsurfers can come only on the original weekend. The (fewer) email responses showed a similar pattern.

Therefore, the East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod will take place on September 22-23.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

So Much Fun

"I don't know why this is so much fun!" That's what Nina said during and after a windsurf session a couple of days ago. For a bit of context, here's what the wind meter readings looked like:
We sailed from about 4 to 6 pm. The wind was about 10-15 mph, with lulls down to 6 and gusts to 18 mph. That's not wind where most "sane" windsurfers would even bother to go sailing, but Nina had a big, fat grin on here face the entire time.

The reason? She was on a 30+ year old "round bottom" longboard, the Magnum 390. She was fast the entire time, even in the lulls, with a 6.5 m sail. She also snapped the board around on a dime when it was time to turn, and I don't think she crashed at all. We started at Kalmus in offshore wind, and sailed across the shipping channel where the wind was a bit steadier. When I dragged my WindSUP across the sandbar to see if the water in the "baby bay" at Egg Island was flatter (it was not), Nina sailed around and met me a few minutes later.

Why was it so much fun? I can only guess. I think a big reason is the excellent glide of the Magnum, which either is a D2 board, or at least quite similar (the back end is a bit flatter, and the nose is not quite as pointy, as other D2 boards). The board reaches about 8 knots speed in maybe 5-6 knots of wind, which feels almost as fast as planing on a shortboard. Another part of the fun may have been that the board is not that easy to sail, so it may have required a bit of concentration .. can you say "zone"? I also had fun working a bit on my back-to-back in gusty conditions, but the girl sure had more fun.

Things evened out a bit the next day, where I had a fantastic session in 10-20 mph wind on my F2 Lightning in Barnstable Harbor, while Nina stayed home. It was a beautiful day, and planing near the dunes on the far side, with miles and miles of water just for me, was just about perfect. I did not even mind the little swim when the mast foot came loose and the board started to drift away. Perhaps my conversion to a standard single-bold mastfoot needs a bit of a refinement...