Friday, July 5, 2013

Dani's Famous BBQ

What causes so many boards to lie around on the beach? What made us drive more than an hour to a spot that would get much less wind than our home spot Kalmus that's just 15 minutes away? It's Dani's famous 4th of July barbecue!
The wind took a break so that we all could eat the fantastic food Dani and his friends and family had prepared. It then gave us time to digest and for an afternoon nap...

Nina and I did a little bit of light wind freestyle first, while others tried to plane, with varying amounts of success. After 5 pm, the wind finally increased above 15 mph, enough for an hour of flat water fun on big gear. It was fun to be back at our old favorite spot. But predictably, the thermals kicked in at Kalmus, and averages there were between 20 and 28 mph for most of the time between noon and sunset (with the obligatory break in the middle). As lovely as it was to see old friends again, I think it will be a while before we get back to Fogland...

Since returning from a 10-day trip to the mountains, I have been too busy sailing to find time to blog. We came back last Saturday afternoon, and I was back on the water an hour after we finally got home. I missed the best wind of the day, but had some very nice planing conditions on 6.5 until sunset. The next three days were similar or lighter, so my 8.5 m "summer sail" saw some action again. My freestyling friends may regard it as impossibly big, but once you're planing, the size does not matter - and planing on a large sail is much more fun then trying to plane on a smaller sail. Even though Kalmus is well known for its "voodoo chop" on windy days, the water is flat enough for slalom board fun when the wind is light. Top speeds on a light wind day tend to be higher than top speeds on a really windy bump and jump day. Last Monday was a case in point - my top speed on the 8.5 was 47 km/h; typical B&J speeds are about 5 km/h lower.

During the light wind days, it was cloudy, with an occasional drizzle. But on Wednesdays, the sun cam back out, and brought the strong winds back. The forecasts did not predict much more wind, but with sun, WSW winds, and inland temperatures being about 10 degrees warmer than the water, the sea breeze at Kalmus kicked in and delivered. Here's the iWindsurf meter readings for the day:
We made it to the beach before noon, just as the wind took a little break. By the time Nina had rigged her 4.5 sail, and I my 5.5, the wind had started to come back up, though, and a long day of playing hard started. We first stayed in front of Kalmus beach to play in the chop; but when Dean arrived a bit later, we sailed over to Egg Island for some flat water speed (or, in Nina's case, some flat water freestyle). The last time we had sailed there, the second sand bar had stayed submerged, and we were a bit worried that the fall storms might have washed it away. But after crossing the shipping lane and carrying out gear over the dunes, we saw that it was still there, creating perfectly flat water right behind it.

I quickly discovered that my 5.5 was a bit small for deep downwind speed runs; however, it was perfect for long runs into Lewis Bay. After sailing so much in the chop in front of Kalmus Beach, I really enjoyed the small and orderly swell in the bay. Instead of taking the frequent brakes that are necessary when handling a big speed sail, I just kept sailing for an hour and a half straight, with most jibes being dry, and many jibes on the flat inside planed through. My top speed for the day just barely scratched 30 knots, but it was a ton of fun. Dean, who used a 6.6 m race sail and a board and fin very similar to the one I was one, reached 34 knots, which temporarily gave us a nice ranking on the GPS Team Challenge.

We made the return trip after a couple of hours, when the wind dropped and we were getting tired and hungry. Dean and Nina called it a day, but I wanted to play around a bit more, and took my freestyle wave board (Tabou 3S 96) out. By then, the wind had turned quite westerly, and with the tide still low, we had some nice jumping ramps coming in at almost right angles. I messed up my first jibes, because the chop and slower speeds did not let me get away with some things that had worked well on the slalom board in flat water; but after a few runs, I had made the necessary adjustments, and got around mostly dry. The perfect ramps and ideal wind resulted in some nice and high chop hops. The setup would have been perfect for speed loops, but I took my getting tired after sailing more than 100 km as an excuse to not try any. Just going high and sticking the landing was good enough to end this great day of sailing.

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