Sunday, April 21, 2013

Company on the water

I'm a bit tired after 3 days of windsurfing in a row. Maybe it's Friday's fault - with Dean having plenty of wind in Hatteras, I tried to do my part in improving our Fogland Speed Surfer team ranking on the GPS Team Challenge and sailed 100 km. We went to Kalmus, where low tide, south winds, and warm temperatures attracted a crowd - Nina, Ron, Marty, Dani, Drew, and Bruce were all to out there. Nice to have plenty of company on the water again! It was, however, rather foggy:
I sailed a new fin for the first time: a 35 cm Type S from Black Project fins. As a speed fin, it's not supposed to go upwind really well, but I still was a bit disappointed. I ended up practicing a lot of tacks just to stay upwind; but perhaps the fog was also to blame, since picking landmarks for orientation was not possible most of the time. Besides seeing lots of friends on the water, the great thing about Friday was that I finally was able to sail without a hood and gloves.

The forecast for the weekend had not been great, with only 14 mph SW wind for Saturday. However, the fog was gone, and we saw a little bit of sun from time to time. The air was a bit colder, but still warmer than the water, so we got a nice little sea breeze enhancement in the afternoon that kicked the winds up above 20 knots. A lot of the same sailors came back to Kalmus, now also joined by Steve. Nina did not sail; instead, she rode her bicycle down to the beach, and took a few pictures:
Martin doing a one-handed downwind 360
Dani going slow. Most of the time, only his fin was in the water.
Sailing the good old Hawk again

Steve

Another 360 by Martin
Besides being a bit colder, another big difference was the chop. With SW-WSW winds, there was a lot more of it than the day before, when the straight south wind has created nice and orderly little rollers. I tried to escape the chop by cruising up to the Kennedy Slicks, but timed it so that I arrived during and extended lull, where even my 7.0 and Dani's excellent 38 cm Vector Volt fin did not alway get me planing. When the wind picked up a bit later, I took out my Hawk to try a new 30 cm MUF Slalom Weed fin. This was quite an amazing fin - it provided plenty of lift, something I rarely get from weed fins, and was almost impossible to spin out. But it was also the first power box fin I ever used that did not fit the box without sanding. It's quite normal that tuttle box fins need some sanding to fit, but all of the perhaps 10-15 other power box fins I have fit without sanding. I went out without bothering to fit the fin, only to discover that it actually was able to move a bit from side to side. Even more amazing that it worked so well, then!

For today, the forecast predicted some N-NW winds in the upper teens for the morning. Since Dani was still in town, and the tides were timed perfectly, I convinced him to try a new spot: Barnstable Harbor. We had a lovely 100 minute session there, starting just as the tide dropped low enough for the marsh islands to come out, and stopping when the wind dropped too low. Dani sailed without gloves and needed to take a bunch of breaks to warm up his fingers, since air temps were only around 42ºF (6ºC). Nevertheless, we had tons of fun, and Dani absolutely loved the spot. Sailing full speed on water where the "waves" are about one inch high is just a wonderful thing. We were a bit underpowered most of the time, but still managed top speeds around 25-27 knots. The nearest wind meter in Chapin showed averages around 12 knots, and gusts up to 18 knots, but we probably did get a few knots more where we sailed.

With three sessions in the last 3 days, I have now windsurfed 11 of 21 days in April. The forecast for the next 2 days also looks promising, and Nina is eager to sail her Falcon tomorrow. With sun predicted for tomorrow, but rain on Tuesday, we might actually not go sailing on Tuesday...

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