Saturday, July 21, 2018

Foiling at Kalmus

Everybody seems to be foiling these days. I have tried to stay away from foiling - the chances of hurting yourself on the many large sharp surfaces seem to high! Just look at Vincent going out at Kalmus:
Even if you manage not to kick the foil trying to waterstart, the foil can push the board almost a meter out of the water. Sudden crashes from this height look rather dramatic!

But many things happened to slowly erode my resistance to foiling. The German Surf magazine had plenty of reports that foiling on new beginner-oriented gear is much easier than on earlier gear. Coach Ned, who has 15 years on me, recently started foiling, and seems to love it. I prepared myself for hard crashes by doing a few Grubby tries; in the one where I actually pushed the sail forward as I'm supposed to, I got catapulted so hard that a panel on the sail broke from hitting the water. So when Vincent first borrowed Nina's 4.7 to foil, and then made Nina try foiling, which led to a few short rides and no big crashes, I had to try it, too.

By the time I got out, the wind had dropped to around 16 mph, so waterstarting with the 4.7 was quite tricky. The chop were still high thanks to high tide and 25 mph winds earlier, which made getting out quite tricky .. until I finally swam the gear out an extra 50 feet, so that I had enough time to uphaul before the shore break pushed me back into shallow water. Fortunately, the Fanatic Blast 130 had plenty of volume and stability for uphauling, and the Fanatic foil only added stability. The long mast made slogging upwind to get past the swimming area buys easy; but it felt like I had been out for half an hour before I was far enough upwind to try to get on the foil.

Vincent had given me a few helpful pointers, and I could feel the foil pushing the board up as soon as I pointed a bit downwind, weighed the back leg, and pumped a little. For the first try, I put the front foot into the footstrap; but after having just met Kim, who popped a few tendons in a bad foil fall, I recalled some advice not to use the straps at all  initially, so I tried that next. A couple of crashes later, I was glad I did! As soon as the board got out of the water, it developed a mind of its own about where to go, and seemed to change its mind quite quickly. Just as I thought I was about to have a slightly longer ride, the board seemed to head straight for one of the swim area buoys .. a quick dismount seemed advisable. Another time, the board pitched me forward into the sail, which might have been a bit awkward with a foot in the straps. In the end, I got a few very short rides which ended with gently touchdowns rather than crashes - enough to make we want to foil again.

I never was on the foil long enough to get the "flying" feeling (or any resemblance of control), but I liked the very different way the forces on the board felt. Much to my surprise, the foil seemed to push the board up out of the water at low speeds, well below the planing threshold (it seems .. I did not wear a GPS). For many windsurfers with regular jobs, one main attraction of foiling is the promise of more sailable days. That's not much of an issue for me, since my job is flexible enough to go windsurfing whenever it's windy, and also because I like longboards and light wind freestyle. But foiling may well be the thing to do at high tides at Kalmus in the summer, when freestyling can become tedious due to chop, waterstarts, and crowds near shore. In WSW wind, we can escape to Egg Island, but in recent years, SSW-SW wind seems to be much more common, and Egg Island does not work as well in these directions.

Vincent foiling at Kalmus. Pictures by Eddie Devereaux.
Vincent foiling at Kalmus (and Nina trying) generated quite a bit of interest. Many of the "hard core" windsurfers have their own foils by now, but most windsurfers are still curious bystanders. If you're in the "curious" category, mark your calendar for the East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod on September 15-16! We plan to have a foil clinic and foil demos (plus windsurf demo gear) available this year.  If the wind and weather forecast looks too bad for September 15-16, the event will be held one week later. Since September usually has plenty of windy days, there should definitely the the opportunity to try some new gear!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Round Bottom Fun Ahead

It's round. It's long. It's more than 3 decades old. It's the new water toy:
It is a Magnum 390 we just picked up. I always wanted a longboard with a round bottom! Last time I sailed one was in the 1980s. It will need a bit of Marine Tex and some glue, but should see the water within the next few days. Good that the water is warm - there'll be plenty of falling when trying to sail downwind :-).

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Windy Welcome

Maybe the wind missed me. Or maybe it's just coincidence. But while my wind sacrifice did not work quite as well as some hoped, I received a nice windy welcome when I got back from Germany. Within 12 hours of being back on Cape Cod, I was sailing nicely powered on a 4.7. Here are some pictures that Eddie Devereaux took at Kalmus yesterday:
Warm means freestyle
Nina working on Flakas
Chris looping