Tuesday, July 4, 2017


My windsurfing talent is limited. Sure, I may get planing 360s every now and then, but learning these moves took me many times longer than others - even other guys my age. Until recently, I thought that the one thing I am good at was sailing for a really long time. But now, I discovered that I have another talent: destroying windsurf gear.

Waves don't count - everyone can destroy windsurf gear in waves. No, I'm talking about just sailing back and forth, and soft little crashes. What - you don't believe me? Check out this picture of my Skate 110:
I am not talking about the big hole that exposes the styrofoam on the inside, either - I am talking about the air gap between the foam and the sandwich layer above it. The area had been soft for a while, but Hatteras board repair guru Donnie did not want to repair it - he said I should just keep surfing it. So I did, until I saw bubbles coming out of the foot screw holes. Then I got curious and looked inside.

On the cutout pieces, it's easy to see that the top layer of the styrofoam bubbles has been compressed. This is the area around the front foot straps, so the likely cause is slapping into the famous voodoo chop at Kalmus too many times. I sailed this board more than 250 sessions and more than 10,000 km (6,000 miles for non-metric thinkers, or the equivalent of 250 marathons for runners). That's not that many sessions for one board, and there is no visible fault in the construction - I obviously have destroyer talents! Since Donnie called the board a hopeless case, I'll keep using it to practice board repair skills. I ordered PVC foam and a vacuum pump to do a proper sandwich repair. However, the soft area has gotten rather large, so I'll also do some pour foam injection in the surrounding areas, and  I may have to also practice putting foot strap inserts in. I think this will keep me busy for a while!

But the board is not what convinced me that I must have extraordinary destructive talents - no, it's the sails. Just a week or so ago, I very gently fell into my favorite sail, a second-hand North Idol 5.6. Here's the result:
There's a huge rip going through the largest panel and into the lower batten pocket. The two pieces of sail repair tape from previous repairs are a sign that this panel was getting close to dying. However, the repair tape was on just one side of the sail, and the rip includes a previous largish rip. It's quite possible that this might not have happened if I had just remembered to also tape the other side of the sail when I got home... always tape both sides, and be generous with the repair tape!

On the bright side, this little mishap forced me to finally build a sail drying rack in our backyard that my lovely wife had requested, so that her precious sewing machine will not get exposed to salt from unwashed sails. That was today's little project:
Some of you will still doubt my destructive talents - perhaps rightfully so, since the sail was pre-damaged. But only yesterday, I succeeded in damaging another sail, with even less force! I fell on top of my sail at the end of a 360 try - very gently and softly, absolutely no force involved! But when I just touched the sail with my finger,  the monofilm split - a brand new 5 inch long tear. For once, this was not a  Karate move, more a gentle stroke. The sail was less than 2 years old, used fewer than 40 times, and looked like new .. well, until yesterday. Now that's destructive talent!

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