Friday, March 14, 2014

Sails hate martial arts

I love martial arts. UFC is my favorite thing to watch on TV. I spend more than a decade trying to learn some martial arts myself - first a few years of judo, then many more years of karate. Did that long enough to wear the master of the dojo down - he eventually realized that giving me a black belt would be the only way to get rid of me. Nina joined me for a few years doing the karate-thing.

Since returning from Tobago, I had not sailed for a couple of weeks. Maybe my aging mind got confused. When I hit the water again two days ago, I must have been thinking karate. How else would you explain that I practiced knee strokes to the sail? Ok, just one stroke, but one too many for my favorite sail. Perhaps I was angry at the wind meter that showed 22 mph winds. I think the West Dennis wind meter is a kiter wind meter - it measures the wind 20 meter above ground, where kites fly. I barely got planing at all - only with help from waves pushing me, and desperate attempts to pump. And then the wind dropped.

Today was Nina's turn to practice karate on sails. We had much better wind in Kalmus. The meter said 25 mph, just 3 mph more than the West Dennis meter had said. But the Kalmus meter understates. It tries to keep the water empty, instead of luring tons of kiters like the West Dennis meter. That worked - Nina and I were the only ones on the water at Kalmus today. Hard to understand - it was a beautiful, sunny day. Air temperatures even made it above the freezing point in the afternoon, after starting the day at 20ºF (-7ºC). The water was ice-free - what more can you want when it is still technically winter?

We had a great day. I took the lower-than-normal temperatures as an excuse to mow the lawn. Nina remembered ABK Brendon's instruction: a lawn must be mowed and watered. So she practiced duck tacks, hoping to finally nail her second planing one. She even got really close on one that I saw, until the sail reminded her of her watering duties and pushed her of her board.

I found it quite amazing she even went for duck tacks. I was very nicely powered on a 5.5 m sail and a 96 l board. She was on her 100 l Skate with a 4.5 m board, and quite overpowered. But it was low tide, and the water was reasonably flat (or so she said).

We will never know what happened then. Maybe Nina got angry at the sail for throwing her off so much. Maybe not consciously, but sub-consciously. Or maybe it was just one of those catapults that happen even to advanced windsurfers from time to time to keep our egos in check. Whatever it was, Nina ended up practicing her elbow strikes on her favorite sail. It was an HD sail, but one strike was all it took! The sail tore, and when the rest of Nina followed her elbow, it tried to open up wide enough to let her through.

So we learned something this week: sails are not good objects for practicing karate. Sure, you are smart and would have guessed that much, but we now have solid experimental evidence. My sail can probably be repaired, but Nina may just have to get one of these Idol sails that make freestylers do crazy tricks. Anyone wants to bet against her learning a Shaka-Flaka in a few years?

For my lawn mowing, GPS loving friends, here are my GPS tracks for the day:
There was lots of fun to be had today. So come out of your winter hiding holes already and join the fun!

1 comment:

  1. Kudos to Nina for working on moves in the cold! I think cold air temp has a huge impact on how easily sails rip. But that's just the cost of doing business I guess, and clear tape has never failed me.