Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Windy New Year

When driving through the rain in 43ºF (6ºC) weather to go windsurfing, I sometimes almost understand those who question my choices. Perhaps even more so when rigging in the rain and warning my fellow addict about the dog poop on the small grassy area, only to discover that I had just put my boom into a big pile of poop.

But things get better once you get out, you say? Or do they? I knew that the shape of my sail looked bad, but could not figure out why until I was on the water. There, I noticed that the bottom camber was not on. How do you spell "dahh!" again? But it was not all bad. I had to switch mittens, anyway, since the open palm mittens that I had just "improved" by removing some stitches now did not stay on my fingers anymore, and my fingers started to hurt. Meanwhile, Jerry was having fun on the water. Wave gear is so much easier!

Eventually, I made it out with a properly rigged sail and open-palm mittens that kept my fingers warm. 15 minutes later, we had made it to the speed strips right behind some dunes. The ocean on the other side was very angry, but the inside was nice and flat. We started the back-and-forth sailing - Jerry with nice jibes and duck jibes, me with lots of stops to check the speed from the last run. Again and again, the GPS watch would show only 28 or 29 knots - 30 seemed unreachable. That was a bit of a surprise, after just recently hitting 30 knots in almost every run at the Kennedy Slicks, in 5-10 mph less wind! Playing around with mast foot position and outhaul did not help; I barely managed to get one run with a 30-knot reading. Considering that I had perfectly flat water, often caught nice gusts in speed runs, and (for a change) did go deep enough downwind in half of my runs (130º), I should have gone at least a couple of knots faster.

So obviously, I need to identify a culprit. It is absolutely inconceivable that it was my fault that I was slow! Seriously - I did feel like I had things under control most of the time.

One potential cause is the current. One the top end of the runs, it was quite strong, probably several knots. But at the bottom end, it was barely noticeable, so that only explains (at most) half of my slow runs.

So I'll blame the sail. One speed guru told me that it's the wrong sail for me, and perhaps he is right. It's also 8 years old now, and had a few repairs. I lost one of the cams a while back, and replaced it with a random one that seems way too loose and a bit too big. Maybe the correct cam would help? After all, "cam" is short for "camber inducer", and the "inducing" refers to the profile in the sail (of which I did not have much, even with almost no outhaul). Time for another "dahh"?

But all the little problems aside, it was a real fun session. The water felt a lot warmer than the water in Cape Cod Bay or Nantucket Sound, and it was shallow at both ends of the runs, so taking breaks was easy. Jerry and I had big stupid grins on our faces most of the time.

Here are today's GPS tracks:

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