Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fancy Lawnmower

I love Texas. No, not the prevalent political views, or the guns, or the big cars. But I love the wind and winter weather. And they even made a beer for windsurfers like me:
Those of you who sail like I do know what I mean:
  • Go in a straight line
  • Turn around when you have to
  • Go back in a straight line, end up right next to where you started
  • Repeat. Repeat. ...
Sound like mowing the lawn, doesn't it? That's what I do. That what most windsurfers I know do. Watching it is about as interesting as watching someone mow the lawn. Are you really surprised that few people who see us windsurfing want to learn to do this?

I'm not sure about the "fancy", though. Maybe it refers to the pretty colors of my sails and boards? Or perhaps to the GPS I wear? I just got the new Locosys GW-52. It's very yellow - fancy yellow? It works just fine, and costs about the same as the old GW-31. It has a few new things I like (e.g. that is shows the distance in Speed Genie mode, and the touch screen instead of rubber buttons), and a few things I don't like (shorter battery life and recording time, no SD card, and you need Windows to get the data off). Overall, I'd call it a draw compared to the old GT-31, or perhaps a small improvement. That is, unless you're a Mac fan who never uses Windows. But even then, there is hope - future versions of GPSBabel will hopefully support the GW-52, and eliminate the need for Windows.

The GW-52 costs about 3x as much as the Canmore GP-102. Is it worth spending that much more? If you're halfway serious about speedsurfing, I'd say yes. For me, the big difference is that the screen is bigger and much easier to read. I'd also trust the Locosys waterproofing a bit more, based on the experience with the GT-31. But keep in mind that you MUST use both units in a waterproof bag - they are splash proof, not waterproof! I'd strongly suggest to double-bag the units in a small zip lock bag, in case the waterproof armband starts to leak (every single one I have ever used leaked sooner or later). If you want to get your own GW-52, contact Craig Bergh at the Midwest Speed Quest in the US, or your local speed gurus in Australia or Europe.

Back to lawn mowing. In the almost 3 weeks we've been in Corpus Christi, I have mowed the lawn 11 times, with a total distance sailed of 500 km. The most often used sail was a 5.0 - quite a bit smaller than the 6.5 I typically use at home! It's been so windy that we have yet to get our first light wind freestyle session in. I love light wind freestyle, and need it as a confidence boost. Light wind freestyle reminds me that I can do a bit of freestyle. If I go without for to long, any attempts to fancy up my lawn mowing by throwing in a few 360s or push tacks fail, and I go back to not-so-fancy lawn mowing, like yesterday. Yesterday was just not my day, but the lawn mowing was still fun. Nina did the tricky stuff, with a few planing switch duck jibes in the straps, good flaka tries, and a nice Shove It that I actually saw. No surprise she's tired today, after trying one thing after the other for more than 4 hours, without a break!

One peculiar thing about northerly wind around here is that it is so dry that the water on the sails dries in no time. Since the water in the Laguna Madre is extremely salty, that leaves a white film on the sails if you don't fall every few minutes. Maybe that's a sign that we all should work on freestyle tricks? 

I have been playing around with a few different mounts for the GoPro. We did get a Flymount for Xmas, but I don't like that it is pointed to one side of the sail - on the other tack, all you see is the sail. I then got a Masthero-like mount from Shapeways that allow the camera to be centered, and used it yesterday. But the lens also got covered by a thin salt layer in no time, so the image got blurry very quickly again after each fall. I'll have to try this again, but for now, I'll leave you with a screen shot from one of the "clearer" periods yesterday:

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