Sunday, February 1, 2015

Top 5 session

I admit that I was a bit skeptical about our trip to Texas to escape the winter. But looking at recent images from Boston:

and comparing them to pictures from Texas:

I have to admit that I am glad we are down here. Sure, this is not Bonaire - our temperatures are only in the 60s or low 70. But for me, being able to walk around in shorts and a T-shirt is good enough, even if I have to wear a wetsuit while windsurfing :-).

Talking about windsurfing: we took a break today, after sailing 3 out of 4 days before. Yesterday was a light wind day, but it was nice and warm, and I really needed to practice a bit with the bigger sail again. The first day in the series also started out with light wind, but then the wind picked up enough to let me plane on my magic 6.5 m sail. The real treat, though, came last Friday. We had NNE wind in the low to mid 20s, which is a fantastic wind direction here. This picture shows how flat the water was:
For the first time since we arrived, a bunch of other sailors were out, but with miles of open water, there was plenty of space for everyone. After playing around on my Skate for a while, but not finding any decent ramps for loop tries unless I sailed more than a mile away from shore, I switched to what I like to call "speed mode" (less generous souls might use terms like "BAF" and "lawn mowing" instead). Here are the GPS tracks for the day:
After a couple of hours of excellent fun on the Skate, I took a break, and then switched to the 90 l slalom board. I followed a local windsurfer, Mike, to find some even flatter spots - not quite speed slicks, but smooth enough to let the board run a bit. You can see in the speed graph that it took me a while to get dialed in on the slalom board; going fast in small chop and unfamiliar territory is a bit different than blasting on perfectly flat water at your home spot. When fatigue replaced some of the fun after 4 hours, I called it a day; Nina had stopped half an hour earlier.

Looking at the GPS tracks back home, the numbers confirmed that this was an outstanding session. Of the 150 sessions I had since the start of 2014, this one ranked between 2nd and 5th in every single one of the 6 GPS Team Challenge disciplines. Total distance sailed was 108 km (67 miles), and top speed was 28 knots (32 mph). The unusual thing is that the ranking in all categories is high - usually, it's either the distance categories (nautical mile, hour, total distance) or the top speed categories (2 sec, 5 x 10 sec average), but rarely both. Also, I sailed the entire time with a camless freeride sail (Gaastra Matrix 6.0); a cambered race sail is typically good for 2 knots higher top speeds.

Tomorrow promises to be another good day, if wind comes in as predicted (so far, the forecast has been astonishingly accurate). So we took it easy today, taking a road trip to Port Aransas to visit a brew pub, and stroll along the beach. Watching dolphins and sea birds made for a lovely and relaxing afternoon, before the obligatory stop at the German bakery on the way home.


  1. Awesome! I'm enjoying your Texas stories. Maybe this will be the place you break your speed record or have your best jibe ever.