Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nina Likes Kiters

Nina likes kiters. She said so. We had two nice sessions in Duxbury Bay yesterday and today. She liked today a lot better. Perhaps the lack of rain today helped; perhaps seeing many other windsurfers on the water did, too (we both always love it when Bart joins us - so much positive energy!).

But the big thing today were the kiters. She spent most of her time trying Flakas, but she had to turn around on the other tack, too, right? The first time she did a duck jibe (which she does not even consider a freestyle more anymore), one of the kiter yelled at her "Nice duck jibe! I tried them, but never got one!". She liked that. Next time around, she did a push tack - to more applause from the kiter, who even knew what the name of the trick was.  So she got inspired, and did more tricks. She liked it, and so did the kiters. Maybe all that positive energy helped her to almost get he first Flaka - she got to the backwinded part, and messed up when pushing the clew through the wind (probably a tad too early because she was excited). Any day now...

No, I did not see any of that. I did my old boring GPS speed stuff on the other side of the bridge. Well, I did not find it boring.We actually had 4 guys with full slalom gear on the water - Bart, Richard, I, and Chris. Very surprisingly, I ended up with the fastest 2 second speed when we posted out session at the GPS Team Challenge. Usually, Bart and Chris are at least 3 knots faster than I am! But Chris had a late start and then started rigging way to small - by the time he hit the water with the right gear, the wind had dropped a couple of knots. So beating his top speed may have to do more with my skills in getting up early than my windsurfing skills. Why I was a tad faster than Bart was more of a mystery until I looked at the GPS tracks:
 I sailed at least 100 feet closer to the far shore a number of times. That may not sound like much, but it makes a huge difference on the water: I had chitter-chatter flat water, while Bart sailed in 6 inch chop. Blame it on spot experience - this was Bart's second session in Duxbury, but I had sailed there more than 60 times before. I knew exactly how close I could go - I had carefully mapped the most dangerous rocks by hitting them! Once Bart gets comfortably sailing closer to shore, and Chris gets onto the water early, results will look different. But for now, I can celebrate the temporary illusion that I can compete with them! Oh, and a personal best (PB) for the nautical mile, too. My previous PB was at exactly the same spot, but in 5 knots more wind ... set more than 4 year ago. About time to break it!

But all kidding aside, let me give credit where credit is due. This year, participating in the GPS Team Challenge gave me the opportunity to hang out with the two fastest windsurfers in the US for a week each - Roo in Hatteras in April, and Boro just recently here on Cape Cod. Both were very happy to share their knowledge about speedsurfing, which has been tremendously helpful. Roo have very concrete tips about how to set up the gear, and what effect changes would have; he also followed me while sailing, and diagnosed a few issues for me to work on. Boro mentioned a lot of very similar things, with "comfort = speed" being very high on both Roo's and Boro's list of tips. What also helped me a lot was Boro's offer to use his gear while sailing at Egg Island. I ended up sailing much larger gear than I usually would have in the conditions, and was perfectly comfortably. That gave me the all-important confidence to rig large today - large enough for 2 mile long downwind runs. And being fully powered on slalom gear is definitely more fun than trying to play it safe! Many thanks again to Roo and Boro for all their help. And also many thanks for the folks behind the GPS Team Challenge for creating something that helped up get together!

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