Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did Andy jinx me?

Some of my fellow windsurfers see me as a freestyler. I can't totally blame them, since I have taken 10 ABK Clinics in the past 3 1/2 years, and I actually work on freestyle thingies during the clinics. In my heard, though, I and a BAFer (that "Back-And-Force" sailor for the non-windsurfers). Ok, I put on a GPS and call myself speedsurfer, but that seems to be just a ruse, considering that I have not even broken 30 knots yet.

The one thing in my windsurf quiver that's not compatible with freestyle is my 8.5 m V8 sail. With its 2 cambers and huge mast and boom, it's about 3 x as heavy as a nice freestyle rig. I love this rig, but this year, it has given me a really hard time - I am sure that Andy Brandt has put in a jinx to get me to stop using it.

Things started in April, when I hit a fishing line at full speed, and put a big hole into the sail (check the video on YouTube). Fortunately, Gerda from WindFixes was able to fix this, and the sail was as good as new again. But then, the boom snapped during a late summer session. Ok, it was a few years old, and I always wanted to try the Aeron V-grip boom, so not all was bad.

The final  part of my big rig broke last week, when the mast snapped while sailing. I knew I had downhauled it a bit much, the cambers really did not want to rotate - but I was still about 5 cm below specs. Well, the mast was pretty old, too, and it has gotten a lot of use over the years. Still, it made me wonder if I'd been jinxed by one of the freestylers - maybe Andy Brandt himself :)

But within a day of posting about my misfortune on Facebook, two of my windsurfer friends offered me a replacement mast for free. Do you need any more proof that windsurfing makes people nicer? I got to sail my 8.5 today using a nearly new mast with a $559 list price that Dani lent me - thanks, Dani! It was quite a perfect day, too - the 8.5 got a bit big at times until I had sailed up to the flat water at the Kennedy Slicks. Lots of sun, and the air and water was not too cold: Sabah and Nina sailed without gloves and hood today, and were perfectly fine. Dani was in his new dry suit, which kept him warm and smiling from ear to ear for the entire afternoon. Great day! And the forecast for tomorrow is even better! Maybe it's a good thing that my drysuit does not deserve its name anymore - all my clothes were soaked today when I got of the water. Since I had to change out of everything, anyway, I'll probably use my 5-4 semidry wetsuit the next few times I go out. I think the semidry lets less water in than the "dry suit"! I'll have to check this baby for obvious problems soon.

A Google Earth overlay of my tracks from today can be seen here. Once again, looking at the tracks brought some big surprises - I would have sworn that my angles at the upwind runs to the Kennedy Slicks, and during my speed runs at the wall, were much steeper.

I also used the GPS Speed Talker app again today. It worked really well, except that the stupid Android phone started playing music all the time. I think it has a "music" button that got pressed accidentally by the bag all the time. Also, the phone GPS is definitely more prone to spikes than the GT-31: at one point, my speed jumped from 29 mph to 35 mph according to the phone, and stayed around 34 mph for a few seconds. I knew this was an artifact while sailing, though - I may have sped up by one mile, but definitely not by 5 mph. The GT-31 tracks don't show the spike at all. Nevertheless, I found hearing the speed all the time quite useful. The new waterproof headphones I ordered for $16 worked much better than the ones I used before, too - no pain in the ears at all, and they stayed in place for a couple of hours, despite a few crashes and near-acrobatic jibe and tack saves. Now I just have to find the stupid music button on the phone, and figure out how to disable it!

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