Saturday, August 4, 2018

Summer Heat and Winds

Stupid weather. It completely ignored the so-called president's declaration that there is no global warming! It's been hot, even on Cape Cod. Temperatures have been in the 80s for weeks now, with humidity levels around 70-80 percent, going up into the 90s at night.

The southerly wind pattern that pushes the hot, humid air north has been good news and bad news for the wind. The good news: we got quite a few windy days. The bad news: the wind has been unstable and unpredictable. Here's an example that shows yesterday's wind at Kalmus:
For a couple of hours, we got nice and steady wind around 25 mph. After that, it dropped to anywhere between 15 and 23; if you look at lulls and gusts, it's 11 to 29. I had some fun with a 6.5 on my old F2 Lightning and with a 5.6 on my Skate; but since they both rig on the same mast, I still found myself without the right gear size on the beach a few times.

The day before was similar, except that the strong wind was in the morning, from 8:30 to 11:30. We got at least some of that for a 5.0/4.0 session, though. As soon as it got really warm on the beach, and hot in town, the wind dropped. The wind patterns can be quite localized: when I tried to escape the crowds by sailing less than a mile downwind to Egg Island yesterday, the wind there was at least 5 mph lower. Bad idea...

Today was different. Clouds and an incoming rain front meant steady wind of 19-22 mph from 8 am to 1 pm, when the rain arrived. This coincided with low tide shortly before noon, which made Kalmus into a lovely flat water playground. A big soccer tournament was going on which used up most of the parking spaces, but fortunately, the lovely parking attendants had reserved a number of spots just for windsurfers - big thanks for that! The GPS tracks show how steady the wind was:
I was nicely powered on 6.0 the entire time. Water temps around 75 F (24 C) and air temps near 80 still made we want to fall a lot, so I did a bit of old-school freestyle, which does the trick of getting me wet. Fun! I sailed until my GPS watch battery was exhausted (it still had not fully recovered from yesterday, where it also died on me). Just as I wanted to stop, Drew told me to try his Blast 115, which I eagerly did. I even went and got another GPS to see how fast the board was (it felt plenty fast), but the wind had dropped a bit, so I did not get a good comparison in the few runs I did. The initial impression was (once again) that Fanatic managed to create a board that combines fun and excitement with comfort and plain "easy" in the Blast. I definitely want to try it again! Since the Blast was not an "outstanding winner" in the tests in the German Surf magazine, I'd also be curious to try new shapes from other companies. Hopefully, we have at least some demo boards at the ECWF Cape Cod on September 15-16!

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