Saturday, September 15, 2012

ABK Clinic Cape Cod, Day 1

The ABK Clinic in Hyannis started yesterday, and we had a fantastic day. The camp was sold out more than a week in advance; at least 5 windsurfers had to be turned away. We have 20 students and 4 teachers (Andy, Brendon, Tom and Ed); several of the student had never windsurfer before, and decided to start with an ABK camp. Definitely the right decision - in the video review at the end of the day, they all looked fantastic sailing.

The weather was wonderful, with sun all day and temperatures in the 70s. The wind was light in the morning; only two guys on huge sails planed some of the time, everyone else was on small sails. I sailed my new WindSUP 10 for the first time, and it is an excellent board for light wind sailing and freestyle. When the wind picked up to 15 mph in the afternoon, it planed up quite easily with a 6.5 m sail. Andy took it for a brief spin and seemed positively surprised that he could catch the little wind waves easily. I had some fun with it, but then switched to my Skate 110 so I'd practice tricks instead of just mowing the lawn. The Skate 110 does plane early, but not nearly as early as the WindSUP - I had to work harder to get it going, and sometimes had to wait out the lulls.

I did not work on anything new yesterday, but rather tried to reproduce stuff I had done before. The duck jibe came easy, but the 360 took 20 tries or so. I fooled around with the jump jibe, and early slow tries were fine. When I decided to do it with speed, I had a few more problems that got worse when Andy gave me pointers - but I know know what to do, and I just love the move.

Video review was funny, as usual, and I re-learned a few basic things. Then, Martin, Graham, and Jonathan followed me to our new house, where we ordered pizza and warmed up in the jacuzzi - nice. Dani stopped by for a visit later. It was really nice to have a bunch of windsurfing friends over to talk about windsurfing and drink beer the whole evening :-)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Quick update

Just a quick update - there are some readers who complain if I don't write for too long...

Things are still quite busy here - lots of boxes to unpack, gadgets to hook up, cable company phone calls to do, and so on. I still have not found the time to prepare the jacuzzi for use! Well, the wind is partially at fault - I did get three sessions since the last blog entry 6 days ago. Nina was with me for the first session - Kalmus in light rain, but fantastic winds (4.5 & 5.5 m sails). But two days ago, she had to fly to Germany on a family issue, so I had to sail alone on Saturday and today. Saturday was nice, sunny, full power on 5.5 (which still feels small after sailing 8.5 all summer long), with a Sea Street Beach start. 90 minutes of fun; lots of other Fogland Speedsurfers where out, too, and set several new personal bests.

Today's wind forecast looked questionable, with just 20-21 mph N-NW predicted. NW can often be funky here, coming in lower than expected - but not today. I had to do a bit of work and run some errands in the morning, but then drove 35 minutes to Skaket, where Ron had promised to show up. When I arrived, the wind had dropped to 14, gusting to 19, so I rigged my 6.5 and took my Skate 110 with a big fin. Well, the wind picked up again before I made it out onto the water, and I was planing from the first moment on. Ron soon joined me, both of us sailing in long wetsuits, since the north wind felt chilly after all those hot summer days. Lots of fun - Skaket is just a great B&J place. In today's wind direction, long runs parallel to shore were possible. I kept mine at 2 km or less, but 5 km runs would have been no problem. A great spot for distance surfing!

I somehow had not rigged properly, and my sail felt too big as the wind picked up into the low 20s, gusting to 30. I switched down to a smaller board (Hawk 95) which helped a bit, but the chop also got higher and more chaotic, so I called it a day after less than 2 hours. Back home and some more work...

No wind in the forecast for the next couple of days, which I like, since there is soo much to do. Thursday may be ok if the wind comes in above forecast, as it has done a lot recently. There is some hope for the ABK clinic weekend along the same lines, but it's still a few days out, so things can still change. However, it looks like we'll have three days of sun and decent temperatures :-)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cape Cod!

We finally did it last week - we moved to Cape Cod. Our new house is in Centerville, smack in the middle of Cape Cod: 15-20 minutes to Kalmus and the Kennedy Slicks, 35 minutes to the northerly beaches (Chapin, Mayflower, Corporation, Skatet), and 40 min to our old flatwater NE favorite Duxbury.

The move went smoothly, without any significant problems. There still is a lot of unpacking to do, but we managed to get the garage cleared out yesterday so that we could put the trailer in - just in time before the rain. We have been so busy that we have not yet found time to use the jacuzzi - maybe tomorrow. We even missed one day of almost perfect wind - SW 28 last Thursday afternoon. Well, we got some more of the same the day after, when we were fully powered on 3.7 (Nina) and 4.5. A very nice day, with lots of windsurfers on the water. There even were a few kiters out, but they were very well behaved, trying to stay out of the way and sailing predictably - no problem sharing the water with them. Lovely Nina did some duck jibes and was surprised to find them easy in 30 mph winds and chop. Graham showed up and proved that he had learned a lot during the summer in Hatteras - I saw several nice Flaka attempts, and a spin loop right next to me that was very impressive. He did not complete any of these moves I saw, but it did not matter - they all were very impressive, and definitely very close, in the "should have" category.

Today, we missed another windy day, with 20-25 mph winds in West Dennis, because we went shopping for a windsurf van. The timing of our move was very fortunate: the real estate market in the Boston area is strong again, and we were able to sell our house within less than a week for above asking price. But on Cape Cod, house prices had dipped further, and not yet recovered, so that we were able to find a beautiful house with 6-person outdoor jacuzzi for a lot less money than what we got for our old (albeit slightly bigger) house. There are still lots of unpacked boxes in every room, shelves to put up, etc. etc. - but we absolutely love our new house.

We decided to finally get a windsurf van for several reasons:
  • So we can put fully rigged sails inside when we have several windy days in a row
  • So we don't have to change outside in the winter
  • To have more of our boards "at hand", without having to swap boards on the trailer or tie them to the roof of my car
  • To be able to get onto the water faster, and sail longer
We decided to go with a Nissan NV high roof. Like a Sprinter, it is more than 6 feet (1.85 m) tall on the inside, but it's about $10-20K cheaper. With the amount of money we had to spend, that meant getting a one-year old van that's still under factory warranty, instead of a 6-year old van. Also, I vividly remember the time I owned both a German and a Japanese car - the German car (Audi A4) was newer, but needed twice as many repairs, which typically cost twice as much as the repairs on my older Civic.

So we did a bit of online research, called a couple of places to see if the vans we saw where still available, and went to the nearest dealer (about a 30 minute drive). Nina had volunteered to negotiate, since she had gotten a lot of practice when living in Africa, and boy she did! Let's just say I would have said "yes" a lot earlier, and still thought that I had gotten a good deal. Maybe we would have saved even more if I had not been around - but as it is, I am rather happy with the price. The van is less than a year old and has only 10K miles, and we got it for about 2/3 of the cost of a new one. It's pristine on the outside, with a few minor scratches on the inside - nothing it would not get within a few weeks use as a windsurfing van. Now I'll be busy for a few days planning the racks and building them!