Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gear For Sale

Our garage is overflowing. No, not with cars, silly. Garages are for windsurf gear. We have to much, so we need to sell stuff. Here's a list of things we are selling, with pictures below:
  • Gaastra Manic 5.3 HD and 5.7, 2008, $60 each. The sails are in good condition for their age.
  • Mistral Edge slalom board, 92 l, $100. 268 cm x 54.5 cm. This is an older, but amazingly fast, slalom board. It has a working adjustable mast track so newer sails work perfectly fine on it.
Mistral Edge

Gaastra Manic 5.7 (also have a 5.3 that's HD/XPly)
The gear below has been sold already (for the Hawk 95, pending a test sail):
  • Fanatic Hawk 95 from 2006, $250 - probably sold. A great little board to go fast on. I broke 30 knots on it a few years ago, but it has since been replaced with a slalom board.
  • Exocet WindSUP 10, $650 - sold. 175 l, 305 cm long, 76 cm (32") wide. Big enough to learn windsurfing on, and the daggerboard makes getting back to where you started easy. Also fun for more experienced windsurfers. Unlike many other SUPs, this board will plane, thanks to the step tail. This board has a major professional repair near the nose.
  • Maui Sails RDM 400 mast, 100% carbon, $150 - sold. Very good condition, not used much.
  • 400 cm RDM mast, 55 or 65% carbon, $75 - sold. I believe this is a Fiberspar mast.
  • JP Real World Wave 76, $180 - sold. A wave board for the really windy days or for smaller sailors.
All items are for pickup on Cape Cod (Centerville or Kalmus) only. Lowball offers will be ignored. The easiest way to get in touch with me is through the Cape Cod Windsurfers group on Facebook, where most of these items are listed for sale, too. Or leave a comment with your contact information.
Exocet WindSUP 10 (sold)

Fanatic Hawk 95 (sold, pending a test ride)

MS RDM 400 100% (sold)
JP Real World Wave 76 (sold)

RDM 400 55% (sold)

Monday, August 29, 2016

Das Boot

When we started to organize the 1st Annual East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod in 2013, the Barnstable Harbor Master told us: "You need a rescue boat!". For the first three installments from 2013 to 2015, we used a jet ski (kindly loaned to us by Fast Eddie from Cape Cod Windsurfing). But last year, Eddie pointed out that rescuing a windsurfer and his gear with a jet ski might actually be illegal in Massachusetts: you are not allowed to tow anything with a jet ski!

Perhaps many would have ignored that. But the organizers of the ECWF Cape Cod are Germans. Germans know how important rules are. We have no speed limits on the Autobahn because we can rely on everyone following the rules  (well, almost everyone). For example, that you should move to the right lane immediately after passing someone, even if you are going 100 mph, so that the guy coming from behind can pass you at 150 mph. Ignoring rules makes a good German almost as uncomfortable as not being able to get good beer.

But there was another issue of concern: if we should ever get a typical Kalmus "southwest" day, we'd get 25-30 mph wind, and tons of voodoo chop at high tide. Sure, we'd set the course as far away from the shipping lane that the high speed ferry uses, but in such conditions, drifting a few hundred meters can happen very quickly. With more than 30 racers out in challenging conditions, it's not a question of "if" something will happen - it's just a question of "when".

Of course, jet skis can be used to rescue windsurfers even in crazy conditions. But that's if you have someone who has spent a lot of time riding them. That's not me. I get quite uncomfortable on jet skis even in small chop. If I went out on a very windy and choppy day to rescue someone, chances are that someone else would need to rescue me. Yes, there are usually a few windsurfers at the event that have more jet ski experience, but they want to race, not stand around waiting to maybe rescue someone.

So we needed a boat. Small inflatables can be found on Craigslist for less than $1,000, including a motor, but the pictures on these ads did not always instill confidence. So when Jim from Sailworld Cape Cod offered to sell us his Zodiac with an 8 hp motor, we jumped at the opportunity. We know Jim well enough to trust that he would help us with any problems we might encounter.

Problems? What problems? Well, they started out when we tried to register the boat (you must register any boat that uses a motor in Massachusetts). The friendly lady at the registry looked a the bill of sales, and pointed out it has to include the registration number! This required a trip back home, some phone and email exchanges with Jim, and a return trip to the registry. First problem solved.

Our first attempt to test the boat and motor failed because we had under-estimated the time we needed to paint the registration number onto the boat, as required by MA law (with "paint" I mean "draw with permanent markers). But a few days later, we made it to a local lake early in the morning. The initial plan was to make two trips - one trip with Nina and the motor, and a second trip where I'd just put the inflated boat into the van. Good plan ... except that the inflated boat did not quite fit. So deflate it, drive to the lake, and inflate it again. By now, I was getting hot!

But we finally got the boat into the water, and the motor attached. We had forgotten to bring paddles, but were able to anchor close to the shore to get the motor started. Or at least that was the plan. But the motor had not been run for about 2 years, and 2-stroke motors do not like standing around. I pulled the starter cord. And pulled again. And again, and again, .... I think you get the idea. I played around with the choke. But except for a few promising turns early on, the motor just would not start. So a very sweaty hour later, we carried everything back to the van, deflated the boat, and went home again.

Did I mention that this was the first time I tried to start an outboard motor? I have owned a few motor cycles over the years, but they all had 4-stroke engines, which always started right away. A quick Google search showed that that's definitely not the case for 2-stroke outboard motors; many owners run the motors every couple of weeks, just to make sure they turn on again. But I also found one useful tip: try starting the motor with the throttle two thirds open. I hooked up a hose to the motor so the water cooling would function, and tried to start it in the drive way. A few pulls later, it was running! It coughed a bit and stank a lot, but it was running!

So far so good. But the next problem was right at hand: the shift lever did not work! I could get the motor to run, but I could not get the propellor to turn. Not so great if you need to rescue someone. Jim did not know anything about the issue, but the motor had been standing around for a couple of years - plenty of time for things to rust into place.

Squirting some WD40 into a couple of places did nothing. I did a quick Google search which indicated that fixing the issue would require removing the power head. That's a bit beyond my skill level, so I went to find a boat mechanics. Every place close by that I called did not work on the brand of motor I had, or had a waiting list of 4 weeks, which would have brought us way to close to the event date. Thanks to a suggestion on the Cape Cod Windsurfers Facebook page, I finally found a place 45 minutes away that accepted the motor. Well, 45 minutes without tourist traffic ... in the middle of summer, this ended up as a 3-hour round trip.

I called the shop a few days later, and got some bad news: the mechanic estimated that it would take 3 hours to remove the power head, fix the stuck level, and put everything back together. With some added time to check out the motor for any problems and the cost of parts, that would bring the bill to about $500! Way more than what we had left in the budget.

I got back in touch with Jim from Sailworld Cape Cod, and he said: "Let my guy look at it". So we picked up the motor, waited a couple of days to find a break in the tourist traffic, and dropped the motor back off. A couple of days later, Jim sent a message "All set - only needed a bit of grease". He later showed me where exactly the grease was needed (a spot I had missed before). About $500 saved! Seems not all mechanics are created equal. Although I did really not get the impression that the other guy had wanted to screw us over - he seemed to be talking about experience from other cases he had seen, where the corrosion was a lot worse than in our case.

Fast forward a few more days, and we are back on the water for a second try. By now, we have a nice dolly for the motor, and a small mover's dolly for the boat, so getting everything onto the water is a bit easier. The motor starts on the first pull! We let it warm up and drove around a couple of miles, bouncing across the small chop on a full plane at times. Not too bad! This is definitely something that's easier to control in chop than a jet ski. And it will even be legal to tow a windsurfer back to shore, should that become necessary! Whether the little boat and motor will allow for tow-in windsurfing if we get a windless day is another story, though - the top speed we measured was 15 knots, although that was in some chop. But chances are that we'll get two planing days for the event this year, thanks to Jay who bought a longboard specifically for the ECWF Cape Cod.

So, once again many thanks to Jim from Sailworld Cape Cod, who sold us the boat at a significant discount, and was very helpful to sort out all the little unforeseen problems we ran into. I hope he and Pam can find someone to tend the shop on September 17 and 18 so that they can make it down to the event! If you are planning to come and play, please register!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

August Fun

According to the statistics, August is one of the least windy months of the year. Fortunately, August does not know that. After sailing 5 of the last 6 days, I'm glad it is not windy today!

Yesterday was great, with a little trip to Egg Island to work on alphas in perfectly flat water. But the best day was a couple of days ago, when SSW wind and low tide created a lovely water playground. Here's a quick video:

Perfect timing to get my freestyling into shape for the ABK camp in 2 weeks. Amazingly, there are still more than 6 spots available, but they can fill up very quickly. If you plan to do the camp, sign up now! Yes, Marty, that includes you!

While I was having fun falling a lot, Chris had a blast on his slalom gear. He sailed 139 km (more than 3 marathons), which included 196 jibes (cleanly planing through more than 100). I kept sailing for a few more hours to back him up, and we got rewarded with a 4th place in the "Distance" ranking for the month on the GPS Team Challenge. Not too bad for a "low wind" month!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Kalmus Goes Off

Computer models predicted 20 mph, but the iWindsurf meteorologist knew better and predicted mid to high 20s. So Kalmus was crowded yesterday:
The pictures shown are from Eddie Devereaux  - check out Eddie's Facebook page for many more!
As usual at Kalmus, the wind played games. It ramped up from 20 mph averages at 8 am to 30 mph shortly after noon, sending to rig smaller sails. Once we were done, the wind dropped down to 13 mph. Ha!

But it came back at 3 pm, and stayed around 30 mph for 3 hours. Lot son fun on the water - every time I looked, someone was jumping. Mike Burns and Chris Eldridge where there to practice for the upcoming East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod, and lots of forward loops, Shakas, Burners, Flakas, and more could be seen. Here are a few more of Eddies pictures:
Crowds on the water
Mike loops
Chris Shakas
Dean flying on slalom gear
One-handed Flaka
Marty takes off
Chris loops

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Meet the Fastest Windsurfer in the US

One question to all my windsurfing readers: do you like to go fast? If you answered "yes", you should join us at the ECWF Cape Cod on September 17-18, 2016 to meet the fastest windsurfer in the US:

Boro in Lüderitz 2015 - top speed: 51.16 knots (59 mph, 94.7 km/h)
That's Boris Vujasinovic, or Boro, in the picture above, windsurfing in the speed channel in Lüderitz last year. With his top speed of 51.16 knots over 2 seconds, and a 500 m average speed of 49.07 knots, he is the fastest windsurfer in the US.

Boro will visit us for the upcoming East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod on September 17 and 18. We plan to have a little "Speed with Boro" session during the lunch break on one of the two days, so come and join us to learn how to go faster! All those who join the ABK windsurfing camp in Hyannis the week before will have another chance to hear Boro - he'll give a guest lecture on speed on Sunday, September 11th. He'll also be around for some actual speedsurfing on or near Cape Cod in the week between ABK and the ECWF - so let's hope we get some great wind! Hope to see you at the ABK camp and the ECWF next month!