Sunday, December 29, 2013

Triple Jinx

I jinxed Martin three times yesterday. He ended up with 10 minutes of good wind, instead of 3 hours if he had just ignored me. I had explained it all in much detail ... but the jinxing still seems to be going on, and I lost everything I had written. So if you want to know, you'll have to ask me. But a GoPro video apparently survived:

With just a few barely planing runs, the movie may give a wrong impression about Martin, so here's another one with a couple of tricks he did during the Cape Cod ABK camp last September:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Must work on timing

Timing is important for windsurfers. Good freestylers work on timing in their tricks. Bad timing gives good crashes. I work about 1000-fold slower: I try to time the wind. Bad timing leads to short sessions and good schlogging. I am good at bad timing.

The forecast for today predicted good wind at 10 am, then a significant drop at 1 pm. At 10 am, the wind was good. 10 minutes later, it dropped a bit. Hardie called. I told him that I thought the wind would drop more, and that I did not want to go. So what if it was low tide, and the wind direction (SSE) was great for West Dennis?

Hardie is smarter than I am. He decided to ignore me and go. He called me up and told me so. So I had to go to. The wind was still around when I arrived at WD around 11 am. It actually was pretty strong - averages around 23. Nice!

Of course, this could not last, so I rigged the 6.5, Hardie his 6.3. It did not last. But instead of looking at the water to see that the wind had gone down, I remembered that it had been good 10 minutes earlier, and took my 96 l wave board out. Too small. Back in, get the 110 l freestyle board. Then, 40 minutes of planing on flat water, with only minimal pumping and a few small waits. Nice. Today is still officially Christmas in Germany. I like Christmas windsurfing.

More and more kiters showed up. They don't need much wind, so the wind went down a bit, and we ended our short session.

Had I believed the forecast, I could have had 3 hours of nice wind. The same was true for perhaps 3 out of 4 other windy days recently. But today, perhaps it was good that I arrived late - my back is still bothering me a bit after longer sessions. Maybe my back has fallen in love with the jacuzzi and wants to see it every day. Who am I to argue? But an earlier start would also have meant sailing and de-rigging while it was dry, instead of in light rain. So yes, I should work on my timing.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Almost 3 days

The wind forecast: 28 mph at 10, balmy 52ºF rising.

The smart plan: sail early, before the front is crosses overhead at 1 pm.

The meter readings for Kalmus:

Apparently, I needed my entire smartness to put both boots and the wetsuit in the car. Arriving at Kalmus, we saw Greg going out on a 4.7. Hardie and I started with a nice long walk along  the beach. We wanted to check how much time we'd have to spot the stone wall in the dense fog. Result: at least 3 seconds - plenty of time! Then, we looked at the merits of sailing a new spot (for Hardie) in dense fog with very limited visibility, and a ferry lane close by. Did not find any. Hardie is hardie-core, but not stupid. He bailed. But by then, Martin had arrived. More checking and walking.

Finally, we rigged. Meter readings were still around 30. By the time we hit the water, they had dropped to 26. 5 minutes later, they had dropped to 15. Our 4.7 and 5.5 meter sails and 96-99 l boards were not cutting it anymore. Visibility was perhaps 50 meters, so who knew where we were sailing? We did not. But we have fast reactions times. Turned around as soon as we saw the stone wall. Well done!

Then, a multiple choice question:
  1. Try to schlog upwind with small gear in big chop and little wind, or
  2. Carry the gear back.
We picked #2. Yes, #2. At least it was exercise.

It probably was my fault. I think the front was supposed to stay far away, which would have given us wind all day. But I had to give Martin the boom cam. Every time I give someone else one of my electronic gadgets, something bad happens. Usually, that involves the wind going away. Today, I think the front wanted to check out what Martin had at the end of his boom, and came by to check. That was the end of the wind.

But I am not complaining - at least I got wet. Nicely so, when I got stuffed head over heals into the water. But it was all good - I was getting hot, anyway. And after 10 minutes of windsurfing, 20 minutes of carrying gear, and 30 minutes of rigging and de-rigging, we had earned our beers. Off to the BBC!

Martin was thirsty. The bartender was very attentive. When Marty smiled at the thought of a 3rd beer, it materialized in front of him the moment he looked away. It was good beer - Cape Cod Weizenbock. It would have been a sin to send it back! Martin had to drink it. So what it the alcohol content is 7.8%? That's one of the reasons it was so good!

After that, I could not let Martin drive all the way home through the fog. We decided to put him into the jacuzzi the leach the alcohol out of his pores. It was a very slow process, but Martin was brave, despite the 103ºF hot water. I had to sit outside a few times to cool down, but he hung in there. After a couple of hours, I gave up.

We went inside and looked at movies from the last ABK camp in Hyannis to see why Marty can't loop.  In my case, the answer is easy: lack of cojones and trying. Not so for Martin - he tried, and tried, and tried. In the movie, his takeoff is perfect: the board vertical, the sail luffed and to windward, then turning downwind. But comparing stills with Josh Angulo loop pictures revealed what was missing: getting the body over the boom by pushing down with the front arm. Even if that does not lead to completed loops, at least the crashes are much nicer, a soft float under the sail. Although if Martin really pushes himself up and the nose down, I think he'll have to be more concerned about over-rotating. Especially if the is 6 or 8 feet above the water, as he often is.

Doing loop analysis with me will sober anyone up. Just ask Andy or Brendon! So Martin was finally ready to drive home. He only turned the GoPro on for one run, but of course, he showed a couple of nice chop hops and a sweet duck jibe in that minute. Here's a picture of one of the hops - you can't really tell how high off the water he is because it's too foggy:
Some might say the camera angle is less than perfect, but I think Martin wanted to show off his Skate.

Funny - not much sailing today, but still a great windsurfing day. Apparently, drinking beer and spending hours in the jacuzzi talking about windsurfing counts.


Today was the third day I sailed this week - not bad for mid-December. Yesterday was almost as warm, but not as windy, which meant the wind decoupled everywhere on the south side of Cape Cod. Hardie and I sailed in Skaket, where SW winds are side-shore, and side-off a bit upwind. I got a bunch of planing runs on my 7.0; Hardie planed a bit on his 6.3 on his WindSUP first, and later on his FSW board when the wind picked up. Warm and sunny, a nice day.

But the winner of the week was a short session last Thursday at the Kennedy Slicks. That also was a warm day; after a few days with below-freezing temps and snow, the warmup to 42ºF felt great. Once again it was 7.0 time, but the wind picked up for a while to let me sail my 90 l slalom board:
Nice and flat! I love slicks. Even when the wind drops..
Three days. Three spots. Three very different sets of conditions. Windsurfing on Cape Cod does not get boring. And for those of you who wonder: I was warm or hot the entire time, all three days. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The amazing earth wind map

Want to see where the wind is? Check the interactive earth wind map! Rotate the earth (didn't you always want to do that?), zoom in, check the big picture! Here's what the US East Coast from Cape Hatteras to Canada look right now:
SE winds now, NW winds tomorrow, SW winds in two days. Maybe, just maybe, I'll understand how the wind shifts a bit better after checking the earth wind map every few hours..

Here's a short movie that shows rotating and zooming in:

Many thanks to nw30 for posting the link to the earth wind map on the iWindsurf forum.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Not today

Forecast: 30 mph SW winds. Air temperatures: near 50ºF (10ºC). Very tempting - that's a lot warmer than the near-freezing temperature we had for the last few sessions.

Packed the van (this time with my own wetsuit!), drove 30 minutes to check out a new spot. This is what I saw:
Dense fog. Record high tide. Sloppy and choppy little waves. Not much wind.

No, thank you. Not today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Funny windsurf porn

Porn movies and windsurf movies face the same problem: the audience wants to see the action, but the film makers have to present some kind of story around it. I have to admit that a windsurf movie without a good story leaves me slightly unsatisfied. Right now, though, there is a big grin on my face - I just watched a windsurf movie that's more story than action. Yes, the story is cheesy, even more so since the subtitles are a less-than-perfect translation. But funny it is! If you have 40 minutes to spare, grab a beer and prepare to laugh.

While we are talking about wet dreams - here is what ABK's Brendon has to say about this:

Thanks to bericw for posting the links on the iWindsurf forum.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hardie at Hardings

Hardings Beach today

Addicted I am. Not a problem as long as I get my wind fix a couple of times every week. This year has been good - 132 sessions so far.

But it's been 13 days since my last session. Too much! So when Hardie ask about going to Hardings today, it was a no-brainer. Who cares about the little bit of snow on the ground? Temperatures were above freezing! And it was sunny. The wind scared us for a few minutes when it dropped down to 15 just when we talked on the phone. But it recovered 10 minutes later. So grab a tube suit, jump into the van, and drive to Chatham.

Good to see Hardie again after a long time. He'll be here for 2 months! Nice to have someone to sail with in the winter. I have yet to get a "no" from Hardie if it's windy. He'll do 2 sessions at different spots on Cape Cod in the middle of winter just for fun.

We chat briefly, but we know the wind can be fickle, so we rig quickly - 5.8 and 6.5. As I try to put on my suit, I discover what I meant with "no-brainer": I brought Nina's Ianovated suit instead of mine. She is a lot smaller than I am. Perhaps I could manage to squeeze into her suit, but it's highly unlikely that I would be able to move without busting some seams. My suits are a 90 minute round-trip drive away, and days are short. Bummer! I slip into a depressive phase. I thought my hair was turning grey, but apparently, it is turning blonde.

I stick around a bit and take a few pictures of Hardie:
Hardie going out alone

Taking off
Yes, that's snow on the beach
It was warm enough to sail, but too cold to stand around on the beach and take pictures for too long, so I headed back home. When I got home, wind meter readings in Kalmus were around 20 mph, so I grabbed my suit and went for a session. I could not hear much in my big hood; not feel much in by fat winter boots and mitts; and not see much, since the wind was coming from the west, where the sun was going down. The bits I saw did not indicate a whole lot of wind, but I was planing the whole time. At times, the sail felt too big - had I rigged it wrong? I went to switch to a smaller board, but the wind used my brief absence to drop to non-planing levels.

When I got home and looked at the wind meter readings, things became a bit clearer. The graphs showed a brief spike with 27 mph averages and 31 mph gusts - a bit too much for my beloved 6.5 m  sail. Then it dropped to 14 in less than an hour. Funny how you miss things when you don't see, hear, or feel much!

So perhaps this was not the greatest day, but every day of sailing is a great day of sailing. Withdrawal symptoms are gone, and so are any remnants of hesitation to sail in 33ºF air temperatures - I was warm or hot the entire time. Maybe it was just all the blood rushing to my head for feeling so stupid...