Monday, September 19, 2011

Going for distance

Yesterday was a great day for windsurfing in Duxbury Bay. I have rarely seen more windsurfers in Duxbury before - we had speed surfers (Dani, Sabah, Fred, and I), ABK alumni and trick surfers (Nina, Martin, Graham, Jeff, Jonathen, and Jeynaba), and quite a few folks that I did not know, including beginners, folks working on getting into the straps, and several advanced windsurfers. Nice showing!

The one thing that did not show quite as I had hoped for was the wind:
Averages remained between 16 and 18 mph for most of the day, and gusts remained below 22 mph. A bit low for the trick surfers, who often had to schlog or pump - but enough for the speed surfers on big boards and big sails.

Here are Sabah's GPS tracks from yesterday:
Sabah started out a 7.5 m sail and a 122 l board, and was a bit underpowered. He also had problems with  seaweed and seagrass, which slowed him down a bit from time to time. Even so, he got a top speed that was about 30% higher than the wind speed, and sailed a total of 74.2 km (46 miles). Sabah set 3 personal bests for 1 hour (11.35 kn), nautical mile (19.38 kn), and total distance. On almost any other day, that would have scored on the GPS Team Challenge - but not yesterday.

Fred also went out on a 7.5, and was underpowered a bit- but that did not keep him from setting personal bests for the nautical mile (20.28 kn) and total distance (44 km). He "only" sailed 2 1/2 hours, while the other speed surfers sailed for 5 to 6 1/2 hours.

Dani was on fire yesterday, planing all the time. His low weight was a huge advantage in the light winds, and his fast board and (relative to his weight) big sails certainly did not hurt. Here are Dani's tracks:
Despite some problems with seaweeds, Dani set personal bests for 1 hour (12.37 kn), nautical mile (20.48 kn), and distance (96.73 km). Every single time I saw Dani on the water, there was a huge smile on his face. Gotta love the attitude!

Nina refuses to even think about speed while the water is still warm, and worked a bit on vulcans and other tricks. The wind was a bit low for her 5.3, but at least she had other trick surfers to keep her company, including Martin and Graham. Last fall, Nina and I often were the only windsurfers in Duxbury.

I was on a mission yesterday, so when I saw that the wind was a bit lower than I had promised, I rigged my 8.5 m V8 sail onto my new Aeron V-grip boom and hit the water at noon. The wind direction was perfect for crossing the entire bay length-wise - that's about 5 km (3 miles) each way. On my first run, I snagged up some seagrass, so I went back in to switch to the my Select Weed Eliminator L fin. That turned out to be a mistake - the fin was just to small for the marginal conditions, and I had a really hard time going upwind without falling off the plane. It took me an hour and many tacks just to get back were I had started.

While switching back to the 44 cm slalom fin, I chatted a bit with some of the new arrivals, but soon was back on the water. I had a good idea now where the seagrass was in the water - it was mostly limited to one stretch in the middle of the bay. Finally being able to kick the fin again felt so good! After another hour on the water, I finally needed to eat something. When I checked the trip meter on shore, I saw that I had sailed 93 km already - and it was only 3:35 pm, with the wind just picking up a bit! So I went back out for another 90 minute sessions, which was enough time for 4 complete and 2 partial bay crossings. By now, it was 5:30 pm, and I was starting to get just a bit tired. My hands also started to hurt a bit, mostly because this was my first time sailing the V-grip boom, and different parts of my fingers made contact than on my other boom. But back at shore, I saw that I was only about 10 or 15 miles away from sailing 100 miles - so back onto the water it was!

I just did 2 1/2 more crossings, and then stopped so that I could use the remaining daylight to derig and load the trailer. Here are my tracks for the day:

Overall, I spend 5 hours and 20 minutes on the water, with an additional hour of breaks in between. My average speed was mostly around 20 mph, with just a few minutes of schlogging, and a few faster downwind runs for fun. I set new personal bests for 1 hour (17.92 kn) and total distance (163.51 km). That's more than 100 miles, and 52 km more than my previous best. Together with Dani's 1 hour and distance, we pushed the Fogland Speed Surfers up a few ranks in the GPS Team Challenge rankings, and got into the top 10 for the distance ranking (albeit only for a day - we're down to #11 today).

It was great to see so many friends in Duxbury yesterday. Everyone I talked to who sailed there for the first or second time loved it, despite the somewhat light wind. I really appreciate the efforts of the team mates on the water yesterday - seeing Dani, Jeff, and Graham sailing late really helped to push through the last few crossings. This was great fun, and we should do this again soon - maybe with a bit more wind! Maybe we get lucky and get real northeast wind next time, like mid-20s gusting to low 30s. The water would still be wicked flat, and we could work on short distance, nautical mile, and alpha.

One day later, I'm very happy with yesterday's effort. I pushed myself further than I had before, and had a blast doing so. Ok, walking up the stairs yesterday evening was a bit slow, but with all the Maui training, my body has learned to recover quickly, and I could definitely go for a repeat tomorrow if the wind played along (and there was not this thing called work which keeps me from windsurfing every now and then). It's been a big ego booster when the friendly folks at the GPS Team Challenge site pointed out that I now hold the US record for distance traveled on the site. So ok, there are only 13 windsurfers from the US registered, but that includes a few wicked fast guys: Roo, who's hit 40 knots in the Gorge and helped develop the GT-31; Dean, who's hit 36 knots in Hatteras, after sailing out to the reef for a couple of miles; and Boro, who holds the top spots for 1 hour, alpha, and the nautical mile (with 30.72 knots - I have yet to hit that speed for 2 seconds!).  The international rankings illustrate that the US is not exactly a hot-spot for speed surfing (yet): there, my 163.51 km put me on the 95th spot. Not that I am unhappy with that ranking - but I got 5 more disciplines where I need to climb up the ladder :)


  1. Keep up the good work Peter, great to see the enthusiasm from your neck of the woods.


  2. Nicely done Peter. I love seeing the tracks. Thanks for the effort. Hey, is this the Roo who shapes speed skegs for Curtis? I'd like to find a US distributor, do you have his e-mail?

  3. Thanks, Roo and Dean!

    Dean, check your Facebook messages for a response.


  4. Peter,

    Next time you see Dani and Sabah, please thank them for going out of their way to come over and introduce themselves to my daughter and I (we were some of the beginners at Duxbury Beach last Sunday) and helping us with "how-to's" and "what-to-do's" regarding windsurfing in Duxbury Bay.

    We really appreciated their effort and comradery. Now if we could only windsurf like them!

    Judson and Catherine Chase

  5. Hi Judson and Catherine,
    Thanks for the nice massage.
    We are glad to have a new comers.
    Good luck will meet again.