Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sun is overrated

Yes. Sun is overrated. When it's sunny, it gets crowded on the water. If you put on a 6 mm wetsuit because the water is getting cold, you end up sweating a lot. This late in the year, the sun does not really want to rise anymore. So if you're windsurfing and going towards the sun, the only thing you see is glare on the water.

Fortunately, sun was not a problem today. We had a perfect 100% cloud cover; rain that was "heavy at times" to keep spectators away; and plenty of wind. Most spots around here had wind averages gusts above 50 mph in the afternoon. That's a bit much for my taste, so I went in the morning. Alone. I guess I like rain more than the average winter windsurfer. Or perhaps they do not have a Gath helmet with an adjustable visor that keeps the rain out of your eyes.

The GPS tracks tell the story:
Gusty it was. Underpowered one second, overpowered 5 seconds later. And that's on a 90l slalom board with a 5.8 m speed sail that loves a lot of wind. I sailed at East Bay in Osterville because it's close to home, and because it's flat and perfectly safe. That's a great spot in east wind. But in the ENE wind we had today, there are two kinds of areas in the bay: areas with good wind; and areas where the water is perfectly flat. Unfortunately, these areas don't overlap, except once in a while when you catch a lucky gust.

But I had fun - lots of it. I windsurfed faster than I had for almost 5 months, and ended up with the third-fastest session of the year. Going into a jibe at full speed on flat water is just an amazing feeling. Who cares if you end the turn in a lull that makes it impossible to plane through most of the time?

I stopped when the wind picked up. Sure, the chop in the middle was fun. Fighting for control is always interesting. I even ignored my inner chicken that told me to slow down; slalom gear wants to be sailed at full power and speed. Feels good! But today, alone out in a rain storm, was not the day to push the envelope.

Did the rain bother me? No, sir! It kept the boom nice and wet for a better grip (ok, so my falls did that, too, but doppelt gemoppelt hält besser). I adjusted the visor on my helmet so that I could see underneath it, but put it low enough so that it kept the rain out of my eyes. Oh the luxury of being able to sail with both eyes open!

Some guys around here have stopped windsurfing for the season because "it is cold", but I think that's just plain silly. Air temperatures today were in the high 40s; water temperatures don't matter much if you (a) can stand every time you blow a jibe, and (b) you wear a thick wet suit. I admit that it was a great day to own an Ianovated suit - blowing warm air onto your hands while windsurfing is a wonderful thing.

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