Friday, July 10, 2015

Jeri Ducks

Nina got her first planing Duck Tack in Jeri. Finally! It took 5 planing sessions, and she was getting a bit frustrated. At home, she often has a success rate of more than 50%.

But things are different here. Based on videos we had seen, we had expected fantastic freestyle conditions. But check out these GPS tracks:

The tracks are from a session where I was barely powered. The wind direction is typical for what we have had here, there is very little variation. It's offshore wind, and the town casts a big wind shadow. The blue tracks indicate schlogging, and I had to get past the point to get enough wind to plane. But once past the point, the swell starts to get big. The farthest I sailed out from the point was about a mile; out there, you sometimes see swell that seems logo- to mast-high. Not exactly freestyle territory!

The inside of the point is flatter, but the wind there is quite gusty. A common sight is to see people sail in at full speed, only to slow down and fall onto their backs when the wind suddenly stops.

Tides add another factor. At low tide, the water recedes by perhaps 200-300 meters, and you have to turn just past the point unless to not run aground.  At high tide, water levels are 2-3 meters higher, and you can sail a lot further ... if you're lucky with the wind.

Of course, we are here outside of the really windy season, which starts next month. On the windier days, I had the impression that the wind inside the bay fills in better. When tide levels are right (that is, high) and the wind is strong, some of the local freestylers come out to play, and show dazzling aerials of the knee- to hip-high waves. We have seen sky-high Shakas, Air Flakas, Burners, loops, and twisty-turny thingies that I can't name. Cool!

But back to Nina's ducks. Her tries had improved every day, and I had seen a few "Gluck Tacks" (that's Duck Tack she really should have sailed out of) two days ago. But until yesterday, she usually sail RRD freestyle sails, which behave quite differently from her favorite North Idols. She also usually was either overpowered or underpowered. Yesterday, she finally got to sail a North Idol 4.5 - brand-new and freshly rigged for her. So the Duck Tack was back on the second try! She also got her first Switch Duck Jibe out of the straps. She had gotten one in the straps shortly before we left for Brazil, but all her tries to jibe out of Duck Tack attempts when the sail came up to far in front had been wet - until yesterday. Nice! Now she hopes that the wind does not pick up so much that she has to use  smaller sail. That may well happen today; it has been very windy all morning long, and there are lots of white caps to be seen. I'd be tempted to run and try to get an earlier session in, but the last few times we tried that, the wind took a lunch break, so we'll wait a while longer before heading to the beach.

Unlike the brave freestyling Nina, I have been mostly mowing the lawn. Based on videos that showed perfect waves coming straight at the windsurfers, I had some hopes for working on the spin loop here; but it seems these conditions only happen when tides and wind are just perfect, which seems rare. Even then, you have to share the water with a lot of Brazilian tourists out for a swim - July is winter vacation month in Brazil. But we still have 7 days of sailing here :-).

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