Wednesday, August 15, 2018

ABK Camp Hyannis Questions

The ABK windsurf camp in Hyannis is coming up less than 4 weeks (Friday 9/7- Sunday 9/9/2018). This post contains some of the questions we are often asked about it, and (more importantly) the answers.
  • Is an ABK camp right for me?
If you are a windsurfer who wants to get better or learn new things, or if you want to learn windsurfing, the answer is "Yes!".
  • Will it be over my level?
No! ABK camps are for windsurfers at all skill levels, from "never before" beginners to experts working on freestyle moves and loops. There are typically 5-6 groups of different skill levels, and you'll be in a group with windsurfers of similar skills. There is usually  at least one group that works on jibes and tacks - be it to learn how to jibe without falling, or to tack a smaller board, or to plane through jibes.
  • What are the temperatures like? 
Typically, air temperatures are in the 60s early in the morning, and in the 70s during the day. It may get a few degrees colder if we have northerly winds, or on occasion reach the low 80s. Water temperatures are usually in the low 70s or high 60s (currently 75-80ºF).
  • Do I need a full wetsuit?
You may not absolutely need one, but it's probably a good idea to bring one, especially if the weather is on the colder side of the range. It may be warm enough for board shorts and lycras, but keep in mind that students typically spend time in the water in the morning and in the afternoon. Also, you may fall more often than usually since you'll be working on new things!
  • Will it be windy?
September is usually a pretty windy month on Cape Cod, so chances are high that you'll get at least one day with enough wind to plane during the three-day camp. In 2017, we had 2 windy days (5 m sail for lighter sailors, 6 m for guys like me). In 2016, we also had planing conditions on two days; in 2015, one day; in 2014, two days.
Note that there's tons of stuff to learn even in light wind that will help your high-wind sailing. For example, my lovely wife learned how to get into the back foot strap on a light wind day.
  • How big are the waves?
Kalmus has a reputation for being choppy, especially on very windy west-southwest days around high tide. However, the ABK camps usually use several options to allow campers to learn in less challenging conditions. Depending on wind direction and skill levels, some or all groups will often sail on the Lewis Bay side (which is not available for windsurfing in the summer, but becomes available after Labor Day). More advanced groups sometimes sail across the channel to Egg Island, where the water can be perfectly flat even in very strong wind - perfect for working on jibes, 360s, Vulcans, and more.
  • What can I possibly learn in 3 days?
That will depend a bit on you. Typically, windsurfers with less experience or those working on brand-new skills can progress more quickly than windsurfers who have sailed for many years without instruction, and then have to unlearn bad habits. I am a slow learner who falls into the second category, but nevertheless, I learned to plane through my jibes within a couple of days during my first ABK camp. My lovely wife, who learns faster and had fewer bad habits to unlearn, learned these things in her first ABK camp in Hyannis:
  1. The light-wind helicopter tack.
  2. Consistent water starts. She had done a few before, but usually would be totally exhausted when she got up. The ABK camp fixed this for good.
  3. Planing in both foot straps (she had learned how to get into the front strap at a previous ABK camp in Bonaire).
These skills were pretty solid - she had no problems sailing in 30+ mph wind on Maui and in the Gorge a few months later. As I said, she is a fast learner, and other campers may learn less, but usually, everyone goes home happy with new or improved skills at the end of a camp.
  • How many windsurfers and teachers will be there?
Typically, there are about 20-25 students in the ABK camp Hyannis, and 4-6 teachers.
  • How about food at the camp?
The Kalmus snack bar is right at the camp site, and offers surprisingly good food at reasonable prices. Theoretically, you'd also have enough time to drive 5 minutes into town, but I don't recall ever seeing anyone doing that.
  • When should I register? 
Register now! The ABK camp Hyannis usually fills up. Since the student-to-teacher ratio is fixed to ensure high-quality learning and teaching, Andy often has to turn people away who try to register in the last days before camp or on-site. But if everyone registers early, it is often possible to get another ABK teacher to come and to add another group. So register now! See you at the camp!

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