Saturday, January 28, 2017

Windy and Fast

Nina having fun. Picture by "Many Miles Mike" Murphy - more here
We've been in Texas for 2 weeks now, and it's been windy. We've had six planing days so far, and are skipping today despite readings around 20 because it's too cold (49 F, 9 C). Well, and we're sore from the last two days, and have to catch up with work a bit.
One of the great things about Bird Island Basin is that it works in any wind direction - check out these GPS tracks:
In the five days for which GPS tracks are shown, we have had SE (purple), SSE (red), NE (blue), ENE (yellow), and WNW (green) wind. Even slight changes in direction, from example from SE to SSE (purple to red), create very noticeable differences in the chop, which keeps things interesting. But since the water is mostly hip- to chest-deep, the chop always remains manageable. Most days, you can find some very flat areas, perfect for speed or freestyle. 
Yesterday (yellow tracks) was windy enough for Nina to sail a 4.2, and be overpowered at times. I took the "new" Falcon 99 out for another speed day, with a 6.3 m sail. This time, the Black Project Weed Speed 38 fin that had seemed a bit small with the 7.0 worked perfectly. I did not find perfectly flat water for top speed, but the chop was mostly nicely organized, allowing for speed runs between the little waves. Closer to shore, the wave direction changed a bit, and in between, a little bit of cross chop could be found. Just perfect to work on control in chop! That's something I need to work on a lot more - when I sailed out a bit towards the middle of the Laguna Madre and the chop got up to perhaps a couple of feet, I felt rather uncomfortable. I have seen better sailors blast through similar chop as if it was not there, so there's definitely room for improvement. When I later decided to stick to the flatter parts for a nautical mile run, I was rewarded with another personal best - 27.07 knots, about 1 mph faster than before. Can't complain about 3 PBs in a week!  I probably also set a PB for 500 m (29.2 knots), but that's not a category on the GPS Team Challenge, so I don't usually check it. 
In about a month, when the weather gets warmer and the days longer, the wind will probably change a bit. Instead of frontal winds, we'll mostly get south-easterlies with a strong thermal component. Maybe then I'll switch to freestyle...

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