Monday, March 25, 2013

Back in cold water

Two days after returning from two weeks in Bonaire, I just had to go sailing on Cape Cod again. No way I'll get the little bits of snow on the ground deter me! Air and water temperatures, after all, are above 40º F (5º C) - plenty warm! So what if Bonaire was 40ºF warmer..

I hooked up with Hardie, the one local windsurfer who is definitely even more addicted than I am. He hit the water in his back yard before I got there, and was zooming along nicely on his 5.8. That fooled me into rigging my 5.5, completely ignoring that (a) his sail has a lot more profile and power, (b) I have a few pounds on him, and (c) that I was going for speed and should have rigged bigger, anyway. So I ended up schlogging most of the time, getting going only a few times in big gusts, and with too little sail for downwind speed runs. It was still fun to be out in water that was definitely flatter than in Bonaire. My Ianovated wetsuit kept me nice and warm, as usual, and the water did not feel quite as cold as I had expected.

Back to Bonaire. I think I've been going to the same spot too many times in a row. This being the first two-week vacation there, I had come with high hopes on improving and learning new tricks. But in high winds, I struggled with simply things like duck jibes and 360s that I had done decently before, and did not learn anything new. There were a few annoying gear issues - week one was overbooked, so when I had a late start after a lesson and looked for a 6 m sail, my choices were either 4.9 or 7.5 - everything else was on the water. Maybe I have simply gotten too spoiled; after a couple of years of buying decent new and used gear, I'm now used to light sails, carbon booms, and 100% RDM masts.  So getting aluminum booms like this one did not brighten my mood:
Sorry, but I do not like holding on to a stripped boom. Nor do I understand why $2,000 boards or $800 sails are new, but $200 booms, $80 mast feet, or $1 lines are old, to the point of failing on the water. Or why I get told "you cannot have this board, we need it for teaching", only to find exactly the same board still standing in the shed when I get back to shore an hour later. Or why one of two identical sails feels great, but the other is rigged on the wrong boom (with 18-24" harness lines on one side, and 22-28" lines on the other side), and feels like a heavy piece of sh*t on the water. And no, it's not just me who had these problems - other sailors (who had no problems adjust outhaul, boom height, and harness lines) had the same issues. This year was also the first year that Jibe City did not allow to reserve gear the evening before. That hurt the ABK campers, since the best gear was in use by the time the morning lessons had ended. The list goes on, but I think you get the idea. So if we go back, it's probably time to bring our own gear, or perhaps try the Bonaire Windsurf Place (although the mast deflectors they use can be a real pain).

But on the bright side, it was nice to see lots of familiar faces, and meet new people like fellow blogger Carl, the German racers Manu and Rainer, and many others. I also discovered a new piece of equipment I liked a lot (the NP Wizard 5.4 m 4-batten sail). Light wind sailing in week two was a welcome change, and I picked up a couple of new cool tricks. The SUP sailing excursion to the reef with Andy, and a second trip with Nina, was just great. The waves on the reef there are easy and gentle, great for kooks like me even if they are waist high - and the reef below is just beautiful. Snorkeling in the mangroves was another highlight (even if "earned" by a very long kayak trip) - how different the world can look from below! I hope to have some video footage in one of my next posts.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, the session heading up to play in the waves on the SUP windsurfers was a highlight!