Sunday, April 5, 2015

6 out of 7

I like wind sacrifices. Large numbers of windsurfers from the Boston/Cape Cod/Long Island region have fled the cold weather towards Cape Hatteras. So of course, it has been windy! I have windsurfed 6 out of the last 7 days. They say 2 out of 3 ain't bad. 6 out of 7 is tiring!

It was a nice mix, too. Three sessions at Kalmus, mostly at low tide. The session from April 2nd got an A+ for perfect wind and water structure, with sun and warm air (well, what we currently call warm - something in the 40s). I sailed three boards to mix it up - some freestyle (switch jibes), some slalom (tried & loved my Black Project 35 cm speed fin in the XFire 90), some lawn mowing (my usual idea of fun). Yesterday's session was at Skaket, with northwest winds that for once were warm. However, they also were very up and down, so that session gets only a B. Finally, there were a couple of sessions at the Kennedy Slicks, one of my favorite spots.

The first Kennedy Slicks sail got interesting when the wind dropped. I sailed the board for a little while as a submarine; with the winter fat and all the neoprene, the water at times reached my hips. But when I let the nose dive too deep near shore in almost no wind, swimming it in seemed like the easiest choice. It took only 15 minutes, and I stayed warm since I was overdressed for the occasion, with an extra layer of neoprene under my Ianovated suit. It's nice to know that swimming and pushing the gear back to shore is no big deal, even though it's still a tad chilly. But the water is getting warmer!

As nice as the swim was, I had little desire to repeat it today, when WSW winds in the mid-20s and sunshine dragged me back to Hyannis Port Harbor. So I brought my big slalom board. The wind gods must have been watching, and figured they'd have some fun with me: they turned up the wind to 32 mph, gusting into the high 30s. It took me about 10 seconds of sailing to figure out that a 117 liter board was a bit too much for the wind. The small slalom board was safely tucked away in the garage, so the Tabou 3S 96 came out. Much better! I did not reach any impressive speeds, but the board jibes like a dream, and I love nothing more than going into a jibe at full speed on perfectly flat water. Between the strong wind and the flat water, it was almost impossible to not plane out of a jibe. Indeed, it took me almost 10 tries before I laid down my first wet jibe. Here are the GPS tracks:
Here's a short movie that shows the flat water near the wall that creates the jibing paradise:

According to my GPS, that actually was my second-best jibe ever, judging by minimum speed (12.6 knots). Still plenty of room for improvement, though - I lost more than half of the speed I had going into the jibe. Interestingly enough, by best-ever jibe with a minimum speed of 15.0 knots was just a couple of days earlier at Kalmus. Here's a video with the GPS track and speeds for all my geeky friends:

You may noticed that I got lucky in this jibe - just after  I flipped the sail, I got a nice little swell that I could use to re-gain speed. Now if I only could figure out how to repeat that...

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