Sunday, December 24, 2006

Deep Hole & Roger Wheeler State Park, Windsurfed, W,NW 5-32, 6.2,5.2,4.2/ Acid94, others

The best and worst of windsurfing in one day. The morning had just about perfect down the line conditions! I’ve never sailed in conditions like that. There was a nice left over south swell from the previous day’s strong south/southeast wind, (they were only listed as 2 to 3 ft but they were clean, well formed), moderate west wind, high tide,(dead high tide is great at Deep Hole- use the Ninigret tide chart on IWindsurf). The waves were in sets so it was easy to get out, by just waiting for a break, and the water outside wasn’t that choppy since it was 5.2 to 6.2 conditions- high teens/low 20’s mph. I was on the Acid94 with the 5.2 with just enough power. There actually seemed to be more power right in the waves, especially going down the line. I only got a few runs in before it switched to NW but I went completely down the line for the first time, feet in the straps. It seemed almost easy in these conditions!

Broken Board; There was a very good wave sailor there who was doing great bottom turns, cutbacks etc. He asked to borrow a bigger board just as I was going out. I let him use the RW 85, and we had a few nice runs together in the waves with the perfect conditions. I went back up to the launch to adjust harness lines just as he was walking out of the water with a broken board- the RW85. The nose of the board was smashed! He swore that he didn’t land on it, that it just got crunched by a big, heavy wave, and that the wave actually smashed the nose. He was very apologetic and offered to pay for it. My new beautiful board! I think I was in shock and denial. So I went back out sailing.

Nasty wind; After the nose smashing incident, the wind had shifted to WNW. It was really bad, offshore, light gusty, shifty wind. It seemed to fit my mood. I rigged a 6.2 but it just got lighter and shifted to NW sometimes, making it very hard just to get back to the launch. I had to uphaul and hold the sail up for as long as I could in the extreme lulls, then drop the sail, rest and uphaul again. I finally got back to the beach. After a few minutes of resting, the wind picked up a lot but with the offshore wind it was probably blowing from about 5 to 35. I went out and had a hard time getting back again but this time I was way over powered whenever I got a little offshore. I finally packed up and went over to Roger Wheeler for about ½ hour of very nice sailing on the 4.2 before it died again. What a crazy day!

Weather; I used the new O’Neill 7mm booties but my feet were still a little cold. My hands were also cold at times with my new glacier gloves. It was around 50 F. temp, sunny.

Picture; Dwight Lecomte at Deep Hole 12/24

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Deep Hole, Windsurfed, WSW 18-32, 5.2,4.2/ RWind85, others

Deep Hole, 12/17/06, unknown sailor

The Third great day in December! Temp was between 51-54, sunny, I was toasty. I used my glacier gloves, a Hot Chillies layer under my drysuit fleece, new O’Neill bootie liners with the Pro-Limit booties , helmet liner. I put the new bootie liners under my drysuit (they’re higher than the NRS bootie liners), booties went over drysuit, and my feet only got a little cold in the morning, then they were warm for the rest of day.

Long day; I sailed from 10-3. I was solo for the first hour and the last ½ hour. There were 4 or 5 sailors and 2 or 3 kiters. It seemed like they started late and left early. The conditions were fantastic. I sailed pretty hard and didn’t take very many rest breaks. I don’t know why I held up for 5 hours in the chop, building waves, and strong wind. Maybe it’s because I was pretty careful to take Advil and I mostly avoided being overpowered or underpowered. The RWind 85 probably helped too, in the rough water. Also, I’ve been sailing a lot this fall. Maybe I’m getting conditioned a little bit. There were tiny, nothing waves in the morning, during low tide, but they got pretty big in the afternoon as the tide came in. They were still floppy wind waves but big enough to start to require some care to get out, on occasion, with 1 or 2 scary high jumps, and some attempts at going down the line- I’m improving at it. I stuffed the board good into 1 wave on the way out. I knew I was going to get airborn when I saw the wave peaking right in front of me. I was fully powered, so I decided my only option was to unhook and go for a big jump. It broke a second too early and it grabbed the nose of the board as I was launching myself up. I left my board and continued going up, doing a nice loop, and landing hard, a little way off from my equipment. Someone was sailing in, right at that moment, and gave me a grin and a thumbs-up and I think he was laughing. The WSW wind direction was nice! It was almost side shore. In that wind direction, the waves change to more southerly right in the break. I alternated sailing right in front, and in the deep hole, (a little down wind of all the rocks). The waves were a little better right in front but down wind was good for a rest- smoother water on the inside. NOTE; I was talking to a local surfer who came to look at the conditions. He said Deep Hole never gets any swell in a W or SW wind direction because Long Island blocks the swell. He said it has to be S to really build up the good surfing waves.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Georges/PtJudith, Windsurfed, W 20-35, others, 4.2,3.5, RWind85

Weather; Temp was between 47-49, sunny, water temp 47. I used my glacier gloves, (palmless mittens weren’t quiet warm enough), and a poly layer under my drysuit fleece, bootie liners, helmet liner. The gloves, my new large ones, worked great.
Another great day in December; I stopped at Deep Hole first, at 11:30, but no one was there. Everyone was at Georges- 4 or 5 windsurfers and 4 or 5 kiters, although most packed up early. I sailed from 12:30 to 4:00 at Georges. For the last 1 ½ to 2 hours I sailed with no rests with one other guy just inside of the opening in the breakwater. There was a big swell coming in and the wind seemed strongest there. Sometimes the swell would rise up and crest. What a great place to sail in really strong winds! There is swell, chop, dead flat water inside the little breakwater at the launch, and small breaking waves with sideshore wind if you sail downwind on the beach- really nice in a west wind although a little gusty, very different at different tides. My hands got a tiny bit numb during that last long session, no warm up rests, and my feet got quiet numb. It took about an hour for my left foot to warm up afterward. At least it didn’t hurt when it warmed up. I should find a better system for keeping my feet warm, maybe really tall liners that I could put inside my drysuit leg. Once my feet get cold they don’t warm up quickly like my hands do so it can be a problem for the rest of the day. Just downwind from Georges Restaurant is a launch I’ve never tried- Roger Wheeler State Park, still inside the rocks. I should try it sometime. I’ve heard it’s also O.K. in a NW. I tried a few runs on the Acid 94/4.2. It was a rough ride in the chop sections and it made it feel like the wind had just increased by about half a sail size. The RWind85 planed up slower than a bigger board and dropped off of plane quicker but it handled the rough water better. Most guys were on bigger sails again. A couple of guys were on 5.0 when I was still on the 3.5. I wonder if I should be on a 75 liter board with a bigger sail on these big days.
NOTE; try Deep Hole in a west wind! It looked like the waves wrap around for down the line sailing on the inside but face more westerly on the outside so it isn’t constant jumps on the outside. Mitch said the wind is clean enough.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Chappy, Windsurfed, WNW 10-35, others, 6.2,5.2,4.2, RWind85

Great day! Temp was between 48-50, sunny, water temp 50. I used my palmless mittens and a poly layer under my drysuit fleece, bootie liners. It was just right. I started on the 6.2 for a little, and then swapped off between 5.2 and 4.2 for the rest of the day, mostly on the RealWind85. I sailed from 10-4, sunset was at 4:15. The wind had a spread between gusts/lulls of about 10 to 12 mph for most of the day but at times it was probably 20 mph difference, shifty direction too. It was challenging but I found that switching sails/boards when the wind changed helped me sail all day. I also took Advil at 7:30, 11:30, 2:30. I got some cramping in my arms in the afternoon but I stopped, ate, took Advil, and it never progressed to Charlie horse. I took lots of rests, often after just 1 run. Very challenging sailing- waves (often with lighter wind in the break), very confused chop on the outside with pretty strong gusty winds. I can’t believe I lasted all day in those conditions. I met Jeff from Boston who seems to be at a similar sailing level. We were comparing notes on our jumps. We both had some good ones. He said he sails at Pleasure Bay in Boston sometimes- it’s good on SW or any East, not very good on W or NW. He also said he has sailed there at night due to streetlights and light from Boston, moonlight can help too. I was surprised that for most of the day others were sailing bigger sails. Sometimes much bigger and they didn’t seem overpowered. I would be flying along with the 4.2 and Jeff was on his 5.5. He switched to a 4.7 for 1 run but he couldn’t plane and had to walk it upwind. All that time I was out there fully powered sailing right past him. He only weighs about 20 pounds more than me. Gary showed up, rigged a 4.6 and slogged and complained. I was blasting by him on my 4.2. Maybe I was just lucky, hitting the gusts and resting during the lulls? Maybe my seat harness, as opposed to waist harness, lets me weight the rig differently? That could be good and bad. Also, Jeff wasn’t resting as much as me and didn’t seem as tired. Can't figure it out.
Picture; Chappy with strong gusty winds, 12/2/06

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Duxbury, Windsurfed, WSW 12-25, 20-35, solo, 6.2,4.2/Acid 94

Warm, high temp of 64 F, no need for gloves. I had to take my fleece off because I was too hot in my drysuit. I got my first planing duck jibes! The steps that seemed to help me to think about were, 1- move my rear hand back on the boom, 2- lean my hips to the inside to carve, 3-lean the sail to downwind and oversheet like a regular jibe, 4- duck it before reaching half way in the turn- pretty early- but keep carving. It was a surprising feeling to stay up on plane through it. It felt great! It was easier on the 4.2 but I started getting them on the 6.2 first. Duxbury exploration, I sailed up wind of the launch to explore. It was about 1 ½ to 2 hours before low tide. I could sail for a very long way right behind the ocean beach. There is a channel behind the ocean beach with an occasional sandbar or gravel bar upwind of the channel. Way up wind there was 1 sandbar exposed but there were others that I had to walk across when I tried to cut out into the bay. I did see 1 rock that was just below the surface of the water making me realize that it is a little risky up there near low tide. When I headed back I discovered that the water right in front of the launch is deeper than almost anywhere else I had been, except for the channel behind the beach. At dead low I was hitting the fin a little when I went upwind out in the bay but when I sailed right in front of the launch I was fine. The deepest water at dead low, in the main channel, was waist deep. Dead low is nice there, right at the launch!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Chappy, Windsurfed, WSW 12-18, solo/2kiters, 6.8/Carve-123

Warm, close to 60 F, but light winds. I planed less than half of the time. Needed gloves off and on but otherwise I was hot in the dry suit with its fleece, nothing extra. It was almost an onshore wind, port tack jump. West would be onshore. Wind felt lighter than IWindsurf said again. One of the kiters thought it was about 10 for a while, but the gusts were probably 16 to 18.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Duxbury, Windsurfed, NE 12-20, solo, 6.8/Carve-123

Early morning session- on the water from 8:00 to 11:30. I sailed about 2 hours on each side of high tide. It was all very deep water over the sandbar north of the bridge. Wind felt lighter than IWindsurf said. Maybe it was just too full of holes. I only planed about half the time. High temp was in the upper 40’s. My hands were pretty cold even with light gloves. I had a polypro layer under my fleece on upper body, warm enough.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Cut/West Dennis/Duxbury, Windsurfed, SE 35-55, 2 others, 3.5/Acid

What a day! I only got a few runs in and I spent most of the day chasing wind, a fool’s errand as it turned out, but not for lack of wind. I took a few wobbly runs at the cut while there were 2 other guys there. It was gusting over 50. I felt pretty over-powered on my 3.5 with extra downhaul. The cut was fantastic in a SE. Too bad I was so overpowered. We were well down wind of the breakers on the outside. There was a wave that was peaking right in the middle of the run that was manageable and fun. One run could take you all the way to the tip of North beach, although I turned in the middle where the little wave was. The current was coming in and the wind was blowing in, same direction, but I had enough power to stay upwind as long as I didn’t spend too much time in the water- fast waterstarts. There was a rock wall with waves directly downwind. The sand blowing down the beach really stung! The next day there was a photo of one of the guys, Jerry Evens, doing a loop at the cut, on page 2 of the Boston Globe. I saw him do a loop in front of a camera man while I was rigging. I leave voluntarily- When they quit, I packed up and headed off to West Dennis. I didn’t want to sail by myself, overpowered, with the chop, waves and current at the cut.
Interviewed & kicked out of W. Dennis- There was no one sailing at West Dennis so I rigged to sail on the inside. I had never seen the water so high there! I was just about to step on my board when the environmental police showed up to say that they were closing the beach because water was starting to wash across it and into the road and it was still 1 ½ hours before high tide. The part of the beach that I was on was might be cut off. As I was packing up, channel 4 news arrived and asked if they could interview me. (Apparently, they played a clip of it on the 11:00 p.m. news and the 5:00 a.m. news, I also found it online.) On the way out, I turned in at the Lighthouse Inn parking lot to see if the waves were getting close to the hotel. Some water was starting to wash across the beach just to the right of the hotel, where we rig sometimes, and into their lot. I hope the Hotel didn’t get much water damage. Kicked out of Duxbury- I decided to stop off at Duxbury on the way home for a brief session before dark. I was rigging there, almost done, when the harbor master drove up and asked me to leave because I didn’t have a sailing buddy. Damn!!! It looked like it would have been great. The waves were rolling in on the lower parking lot, up above the signs. I tried explaining that I had left an open ocean site, because I didn't have a sailing buddy, to come here where it was enclosed and safe. He didn't betray even the slightest hint of sympathy.

Kiteboard Construction Notes

First Board- 152 x 44, Plywood, "Close to the Edge" 1/2" Baltic birch, planed down on edges & tips (on top only), to reduce weight, increase flex, and create thinner rails. I used a hand held power plane to rough it out, then small belt sander to make smooth. Covered the top with putty to fill grain and voids and sanded with random orbit sander. NOTE- next time sand more to thin rails to 1/8" or 3/16" all around for better grip in the water, less weight and added flex.

Cost of wood- $25, (half of a 60" x60" sheet). I taped off the edge and sprayed several coats of flat waterborne paint on top, left bottom unpainted, applied graphics, brushed on 1 coat of epoxy on top and 2 on bottom. NOTE- next time seal bottom with clear spray on finish and topcoat with 1 coat of epoxy to save weight, (1 coat of epoxy over bare wood isn't smooth enough).

Inserts for handle & footstraps- brass, from McMaster & Carr.

Holes for fins drilled big, filled with epoxy, redrilled.

Fins- $40. $10/ea from New 10-24t two hole mount Kiteboard Fin - 2.0 Flathead Gloss
. I tried smaller home made ones but they were slipping out. These work much better.

Handle- mahogany, pattern drawn on with magic marker, cut on band saw, sanded on stationary belt sander.

Pads, stick-on, $20 for pair. Straps- Dakine windsurfing straps from an old board.

Graphics- "Close to the Edge", digital file from Internet printed on water slide decal paper. Rolling Stones mouth- sticker. I tried rice paper made for surfboard graphics, looks good but it requires about 3 coats of epoxy to cover it. Note- next time, for clear decal, use clear matt label paper, put a layer of sealer or epoxy down under the decal.

Epoxy- 8 ounces per coat, clear boatbuilding epoxy, $10.

Update- How did it ride? It was O.K. in flat water/ light winds. It really went upwind well! Problems- no flex, heavy, no rocker, wide tips. Symptoms- I had to use a lot of back foot pressure to keep the tip up in any chop at all since it had 0 rocker and wide tips. I got a lot of thigh burn using this board, same muscles as skiing. It splashed in my face a lot. Retired after about 1 year.

Second Board- 132 x 41.5, Plywood, "Storm Chaser" 2 layers of 1/4" birch plywood glued up with 1/2" of rocker on each end, planed down on edges and tips (on top only). Cost of wood-$0, I used scrap from the shop.

This board was lighter than my first and had some flex but otherwise had many of the same problems as my first board, not enough rocker, tiring on legs, spray in the face. Retired after 1 year.

Mad Cow- 180 x 60, Pink foam, fiberglass, plywood bottom, twin tip surfboard.

This is the ultimate light wind cruiser. It works down to 10 MPH with 17 meter Zephyre, or 8 MPH with Flysurfer 15 meter Speed 2. Very light weight board but extremely delicate, not enough layers of fiberglass cloth on top (1 full layer with second layer under footpads and handle). Plenty of rocker. Fun sometimes. Pink insulation foam is cheap but outgasses when it heats up. This causes delamination bubbles on the board if left face up in sun on beach. Still in use until it breaks.

Plywood skimboard

This board has rocker and concave. I'm still experimenting with it, want to try it with small fins for better upwind grip. It has almost no flotation, which makes waterstarts hard. I think that's why most kite skimboards are made out of foam.

Link for Wooden Surfboard, made from scrap, with hollow chambers-

May 21, 2011
Scoopers Home for Wayward and Delaminated Boards- I took Jean's broken foam core Mako into the shop to give it some TLC and to save it from the trash can. I know this old board has some stories to tell. I'm hoping it will whisper them to me the next time I take it out in some wind. Here's how I tried to bring it back to health- Click on pics to see large.

Prep- I cut the ragged edge of the old foam to make a clean edge, and removed a few small pieces of foam that were left around the fin holes. I sanded the fur left from the foam on the top and bottom sheet but it was coming off slowly so I mostly left it.

Making Parts, Edging- I glued up Versatex PVC board to make a blank for the new edgeing. Traced the shape from the board and cut it out, sanded it by eye to get the taper on the edgeing.

Foam- I used Last-A-Foam, from Fiberglass Supply, to make a new foam core section. I traced the PVC edge onto the Foam, cut it out, sanded the foam to the thickness and concave by eye. Used a knife to cut out the hole for the old fin hole reinforcement block, (which looked like solid thickened epoxy).

Glue Up- I glued the whole mess together, old top and bottom sheet, new foam, new PVC edging, old fin hole block, with lots of West epoxy. It was more floppy than I expected so I put small clamping blocks on the place where new edge meets old edge to get rid of sag there while it dried.

Fiberglass Reinforcment- I have low confidence in the strength of the repair. After all, the original construction wasn't strong enough and the repaired board will always be less strong than the original. So I sanded the bottom, put 1 layer of cloth over the bottom of the board, 3 coats of epoxy. I tried to wrap the cloth around the edges but it didn't work, should have used thinner cloth. You can see the texture of the cloth if you click on the picture to see large.

The Result? It looks almost as good as new, feels a little heavier. I know it will work but not sure for how long. One session? Stay tuned.

Follow up- The board is probably a little heavier and stiffer than the original but has worked great as my main board in waves and chop for almost 4 years. The other end just started to delaminate. I reglued it and it's back in the rotation.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Mitch Report

Mitch's Weekly Report covers the windsurfing, surfing, kiting, and SUP scene in the Pt. Judith, R.I. area and neighboring vicinity. It's brief and concise, with a weekly picture, water temps, wave heights, the best action of the week, and any other important stuff that's on Mitch's mind.

To sign up to receive Mitch's Weekly Report send an email to with "Sign me up" in the subject line.


New England Windsurfing Journal
Windsport (Canada)
Boards (UK)
Boardseeker Online Magazine


Local Shops

Sailworld Cape Cod, Windsurfing, SUP; Buzzards Bay, MA
Inland Sea Windsurf Co., Windsurfing, Kiting, SUP; West Dennis, MA
Wind's Up, Windsurfing, SUP, Kayak, Sailboat; Vineyard Haven, MA

Gatoworks- kite repair

Gatoworks- All types of kite repair. New England. Local to Boston. 603-380-3383 Rodrigo.

Bladder repair is $30 plus $1/hole.