Saturday, November 6, 2010

Missile surfing

Last week in Hatteras, I finally had an opportunity to sail my F2 Missile speed board for a few hours. When I bought the Missile a few weeks ago, I had no clue if I could actually sail it - with 62 liters, it's 12 liters smaller than the smallest board I had ever sailed.

I had gotten just a couple of runs on the board in where I was in both footstraps and harness before leaving for Hatteras. We put the board inside my Honda Civic for the trip, together with 4 booms, 2 sails, and our luggage. The other 3 boards we brought were on top of the car, together with 5 masts and 5 more sails.

I finally sailed the Missile in Hatteras when we got a day with 25+ mph winds. I first sailed it with the stock fin, which inevitably led to spinouts from seagrass on the fin after a few hundred yards. The next windy day, I bought a 28 cm weed fin, which however required an hour of sanding to fit into the tuttle box, so I first tried sailing the stock fin again (my Skate was in the shop for repairs). I also let a few others try it, including Meredith and Andy.

After finally switching to the weed fin, things got a lot better - I could finally do nice long runs. The hardest thing about surfing the Missile was starting it, especially in the lulls. With a weight of 90 kg and only 62 l volume, I needed a bit more wind to get going on it. Once it was planing, it was easy enough to sail, albeit rather lively in the (small) Hatteras chop. Both Andy and Meridith used "scary" when describing the ride. I think it gets less scary after a while.

My top speed on the Missile was not great, only about 30 mph. I blamed it on the chop, but it's probably more due to my lack of skills. Here's a short video:

While I thought I was doing ok, Andy easily beat my speed on his first run on the board, without using the harness lines. I started using longer (30 in mono) lines in Maui, and kept using the long lines for my freestyle board. For speed, they are way too long; my form is more like a 'C' instead of the '7' that it should be. Meridith, who did not use the lines because they were so long, has a much better form in the video. As a result, the board bounces around a lot less.

Still, riding the Missile was a lot of fun, and easier than I thought. When powered, going upwind was no problem at all. I did not try any deep downwind runs because of the chop. I can't wait until I can try riding the Missile in really flat water with shorter lines and a better stance!

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