Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two interesting days

A SW storm brought warm temperatures and nice wind for yesterday and today, so I got treated with two more windsurfing days in January. Yesterday was a "dense fog" session with Hardie at West Dennis. Visibility was less than 300 feet (100 meters), so we had to sail really close to shore to have any idea where we were. That worked at first when the wind was straight south, but later, when it had turned a bit, you'd loose sight of shore quickly, and things got scary. The wind played a few up and down games, too - too little for my 96 l board, then too much for the 110 l board, then just right for the 96 l, but only long enough to get me half a mile away from the launch before dropping. The session ended with a long carry back to the car, but it was still great to be out.

The forecast for today looked not too different, except for even warmer temps, WSW winds, and "partly cloudy" skies with visibility "between 1 and 3 nm". My goal was to go to the Kennedy Slicks, the stone pier in Hyannis Port Harbor that creates nice flat water for speed. Nikita had send an email that he was going out for speed, too, so we had a good chance to improve our standing on the GPS Team Challenge, where we were on the last spot in the monthly rankings. Jerry also called and said he'd come down for a short session, since he had work in the area, anyway.

When we got there, it looked really windy, with white caps forming just a few meters past the stone wall. Readings were still at 35-37 mph averages, so I thought it was a great day to see what real speedsurfers feel like when going out with a 5.8 in these conditions. Nina wanted to try her new 3.4, which would have been big enough for these readings, and Jerry rigged 4.2, after laughing about my size choice. He hit the water first, while Nina had to drive back home to get her Ianovated suit, which we had left there due to some miscommunication.

As I hit the water, the 5.8 was the right choice for easy sailing, since the wind soon dropped down to 26 mph. I did not realize this at first, and was a bit surprised that I did not get speeds near 30 knots. Jerry soon changed to a 5.2, and I switched to a bigger fin as soon as Nina came back. I told her to rig big, which she did - and that was enough for the wind machine to turn back on, with averages in the low 30s. But since Nina wanted to sail instead of just rigging the whole day, she took out the 4.5, and was nicely overpowered for the next couple of hours. 

Jerry had to leave when Nina finally made it onto the water. I was pacing myself a bit, since I wanted to sail with both of them, and so I played around a bit with trimming my gear. After a few adjustments, I finally felt that I had decent control in the 40 mph gusts. Towards the end of the session, I had the bright idea to finally test my Black Project Fins Weed Speed "28" (which actually has a depth of just 23.5 cm). The fin felt just perfect for the conditions, with plenty of grip and absolutely no desire to slip or spin out, even with significant pressure and small chop. With it, I finally saw 31 knots on the GPS twice. The session ended up being my third-fastest ever - not bad for a January session! I also improved my alpha 500 personal best by more than a knot. Nikita had, once again, a faster top speed than I did, so we were able to jump up a few spots in the GPS rankings. What a great day! Did I mention it was warm? Yesterday in the fog in West Dennis, my hands quickly got really cold when I had to swim after my gear; but the storm had warmed up the water by a few degrees overnight, and today I was able to sail with my fingers out of the open-palm mittens most of the time, and also took my hood off a lot. I still liked that I had my Ianovated wetsuit on, and used the tubes to warm my hands at the beginning and in breaks.

Here's a little GoPro video from the last run of the day:

Based on Jerry's suggestion, I used the dive housing today, which sheds the water drops a lot better than the original housing. Can't wait to take it snorkeling (and, of course, windsurfing) in Bonaire!


  1. Ok, you are slowly getting me to the point where I might try this winter insanity. I had fun on the amazing warm weekend of Jan 19/20. Next I'll attempt to break the 40 deg air temp barrier.

    See you on the water (maybe)

  2. John, I hope to see you on the water soon on a nice windy winter day. I'd suggest that you pick a sunny day to start going below 40 - it's amazing how much difference the sun makes. The air temperature was very similar both days, but the first day with fog felt a lot colder than the second day. A few more degrees in the water temperatures on day two were also nice, although that really only mattered when swimming after my gear in the open palm mittens.