Tuesday, April 12, 2016

GPS Speedsurfing at OBX-Wind April 16-22

The OBX-Wind Festival will take place in Avon, Cape Hatteras, NC next week! It will be a fun event with demo gear, a long distance race, and lots of action on the water. It is organized by the folks from Makani fins and Mike Burns, with support from the ECWA, local windsurfing shops and many sponsors.

This sounded like too much fun, so Nina and I decided to drive down for the week, even though we already had a vacation in Hatteras booked for the ABK camps in May (which will also be great!). Several other members of the "United Speedsailors of America" team on the GPS Team Challenge will join us in our house at Island Creek, and other team members had already booked their vacation on Cape Hatteras for this week, so we will have a crowd of speedsurfers on the water!

As part of the OBX-Wind week, we will have a couple of GPS competitions going. One is pretty informal, easy, and "all-inclusive" - just show the speed reading on your GPS to the official on the beach when you come from the water (and also before you go, so we know you did not get the speed while driving in your car!). There are no restrictions for this competition - any windsurfer with a GPS can participate, regardless of the kind of GPS you use.

But we will also have a number of pretty serious speedsurfers there, including several guys who have beaten 35 and 40 knots. For these folks, we have set up a semi-serious competition on KA72.com. Here's a screen shot of what this will look like:

This competition will be on the web at https://www.ka72.com/Groups/Group-Activity/groupid/26 (you need to be a registered used on ka72.com to see the page, but registration is free).

To join the competition, you need to:
  1. Have a GPS device that is approved for the GPS Team Challenge (a Locosys GW-52, GT-31, GT-11, or a Canmore GP-102). Data from other devices, like GPS watches or GPSLogit, will not be allowed.
  2. Register at ka72.com (registration is free).
  3. Join the "OBX-Wind Speedsurfers" group.
  4. Upload your data to ka72.com (after logging in first!). Data should be uploaded the same day, and must be uploaded before the end of the competition on Friday, April 22nd, 5 pm.
The OBX-Wind Speedsurfers competition will score five different speed disciplines, and determine the overall winner based on rank in all 5 disciplines. The disciplines are:

• 5 x 10 second average speed
This is the average speed for the fastest five 10-second runs of a day. This discipline is often considered the most relevant "top speed" category in GPS competitions.

• 100 m
This is the average speed for the fastest 100 meter run of a day.

• One hour
This is the average speed for one hour. Avon is ideal for this category, with 5 km runs out to the reef and flat water. This requires a bit more stamina than the first two "top speed" categories, as well as decent jibes.

• Total distance
This is the total distance sailed during a calendar day. 200 km are almost easy in Avon if the wind is right!

• Alpha 500
This is the most technical discipline: the average speed over a 500 m run with a jibe in the middle; the end points must be within 50 meters. It requires blistering speed on a beam reach, a great jibe, and great acceleration after the jibe.

Most of these disciplines are also used for the GPS Team Challenge. One difference is that we replaced the "2 seconds" top speed category with the "100 m", since the 2 second category is quite prone to errors from spikes in GPS data. We also dropped the "nautical mile" category that the GPSTC uses, since that would have made the competition somewhat too distance-oriented.

If you would like to join the competition, but do not have a valid GPS unit, try to get in touch with me in Avon. I will have a limited number of Canmore GPS units and waterproof armbands for rental. There will be a rental fee of $10/day, plus a security deposit of $60 (since the GPS units can easily be lost or damaged in  crashes). If you don't know who or where I am, ask around Island Creek - folks like Mike, JR, and Dean will be able to point you in the right direction. Keep in mind that I plan to spend most of my time on the water, though!

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