Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Plenty of wind

The last couple of days here in Maui have been really windy. I have been sailing a 4.0 m sail on an 85 l board, my lovely wife used a 3.6 m sail and was sometimes overpowered. Yesterday, we also had quite a bit of waves. I got washed by a nice one that was perfectly timed with a hole in the wind - here's the video:

I was still hooked in when the wave got me, and took a nice tumble. Held on to everything, though, and got going again once I unhooked and figured out which direction the air was.

With wind and waves, it was a great day to go to Ho'opika to watch the action. Here are some pictures:

Sorry, don't know the names of any of the sailors.

Back at Spreckelsville later, a friendly stranger walks across the lawn, looking for Craig. I told him he looked familiar, and he said "I'm Matt" - Matt Pritchard! He was delivering rental gear to a customer. We chatted for a couple of minutes - he's a really nice, laid back guy, and actually gave us flatwater sailors a couple of hints to adapt to the waves here ("keep your knees bent and the harness lines long"). That actually helped a bit when I went out later :)

Today, the waves where largely gone, and the water was what counts as "flat" here - "flat" for 30+ mph winds, that is. Nina tried a 74l Thommen board, but got really frustrated trying to waterstart it out where the swell was high - the board was so light that it got turned and thrown around about 30 times. Waterstarts here can sometimes take 5 minutes if the sail falls wrong and the waves mess things up, but I got really concerned when I could not see here anymore, even with a 20x zoom lens or binoculars. It did not help that she had hit the board twice in the previous days - with here shins and elbows, but what if it was the head this time? Just when I was ready to sail out and look for her, she finally gave up trying to turn the board the right way round, and waterstarted with the board upside down. Nice! She had never done that before, or seen the ABK low wind waterstart lesson where this is used.

I tried the same board later, too, but decided to turn around before the big swell. This was the smallest board I have ever surfed (net volume -16 l, or about to -30 l if you count the weight of board & rig). Needed a few technique adjustments and a small walk back upwind - not too bad.

When Nina went out again on my 85 l JP board later, she did another first: waterstarting while in both straps and hooked in, after she had collided with a wave during a chop hop. I caught that one on video:
I'd say the one day of waterstarting during the ABK Cape Cod camp last September definitely paid off! She was a bit frustrated because she had hoped to get great jibe success rates and work on the speed loop. But I'd say she rocks, sailing the smallest boards and sails in the biggest chop & swell she's ever sailed!