Saturday, June 8, 2013

Thanks, Andrea!

The remnants of tropical storm Andrea brought two periods of great wind today. The early-birders who where not afraid of the rain and a predicted drop got two hours around 30 mph winds, gusting to low 40s. Then, the wind briefly turned NW and dropped for a few hours. But when the sun came out and the wind switched back to WSW, Kalmus got  4 hours WSW winds with averages in the upper 20s - significantly more than the computer models had predicted. The wind was very localized - other decent SW spots like West Dennis and West Falmouth showed substantially lower readings.

My forecast for the day turned out to be partly wrong - I had expected the strongest winds in the early afternoon. The turn and drop in the morning was a bit of a surprise, although some of the computer model runs from this morning showed it. I guess Andrea chose a slightly different path than predicted yesterday.

Well, whatever it was, we got some lovely winds today. The afternoon crowd at Kalmus included perhaps 20 sailors, with about 10 on the water at the same time. Martin was fully powered on 4.7; I was on our 5.3 Manic, and sailed it quite open at times (one thing I love about the Manics it that they let you choose anywhere between 0 and 100% power, without any antics). Lots of jumps were seen today, and Martin did a few nice front loop tries. Not getting around yet, but there is hope!

I had forgotten my surf bag with my GPS and my booties at home, so I sailed barefoot for the first time in years. The feeling was a bit weird at first, and I sailed very conservatively. But I noticed a few things that I never noticed wearing booties - for example that my front foot often does not point far enough forward. After watching Martin a while, I ended up trying a little bit of freestyle, mostly duck jibes and jump jibes, with a planing upwind 360 try thrown in for variety. The coolest-feeling move of the day was an involuntary back loop attempt, though. After taking of with decent speed from a sizable wave, I was hanging too far back on the board, which took off vertically. As I was hanging under the sail, mast tip pointing down into the water (or so it felt, at least), the board started turning back towards the water, just like I had seen in many back loop videos! I had nowhere near enough height and crashed, but the feeling was pretty cool. Maybe the back loop will make it onto the list of things I'd like to learn sometime.

Most days when I windsurf, I go for speed and sail fully powered and pretty hard. Today was rather different - my main goal was to take it easy and sail with minimum effort and maximum fun. So what if the sail was wide open and I was going slow! Easy can be a lot of fun, too. Together with sailing barefoot for the first time in years, this session felt very different from many recent sessions. You just have to love windsurfing, where little changes in gear and attitude can lead to such different experiences!


  1. Seriously, you never sail barefoot? I'm not saying you should all the time, but you get *much* better feedback from the board in bare feet. You should totally sail barefoot, and not too infrequently. It will definitely improve your, or anyone's, sailing.

  2. Thanks Andrea! I was the early bird. Sailed 3.5 hours on a 4.0 and got off the water before the winds precipitous drop. Which I predicted would happen at around 9.