Monday, December 31, 2007

Boston First Night Procession, unicycled, with Josh, Ben, James, Daniel, chef & lobster.

Not windsurfing fun, but fun- This is the first time me and the boys, (and 2 friends), have unicycled in a parade. We wore Dr. Suess hats and weaved in and out among the trolleys and floats in the parade. We had a fixed space in the line-up but the parade captain told us that we could cruise around. This was more of a kick than I expected, a healthy challenge, constantly turning and dodging, throwing balls to each other & the onlookers, holding hands & spinning, etc. I had one head-on crash with another unicycler, (from a unicycling chef chasing a unicycling lobster), but no damage was done. We both got up laughing. The kids all seemed to have a great time.

If we do it again- Make sure to include Barbara in the group so she will get a parade sticker and can walk along with us as support. She can bring extra clothes for Ben in a backpack, handwarmers etc. We could use simple costumes of some sort. Or a theme like a keystone cop chasing prisoners. The prisoners could steal the cops hat and throw it around, the cop could blow a whistle and make chase, the prisoners could be chained to each other & the cop but let go, prisoners could throw huge key to each other, huge handcuffs. Or clowns with streamers and foxtails (ball with tail), superheros, rock band with inflatable instruments, surfer and sharks, lighted ball, lighted hats. Park at the end of the parade next time. Barbara can drop us off at the start and then take the T back to us after she parks. Eat before we go to fuel up, especially Ben.

Picture- The parade captain told us that we could cruise around.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Cut, Windsurfed, SSE, S, SW, 10-30, with Tucker, Jerry, Outcast, 5.2/ Realwind 85, temp 47.

Birthday gift- O.K. I want to know who's responsible for this warm windy morning on my birthday. I'd like to thank them personally. The wind began to shift to the west and got a little funky shortly after I started but I don't want to sound ungrateful. It was a wonderful gift just to be out on saltwater on my birthday. Age 48, if you're wondering.

Warm, windy, rainy & foggy- a beautiful day at the cut.

Tasty Menu-
The cut dished up a wonderful variety of conditions. I had about 2 hours of intense sailing, planing off and on, playing in the waves- nice sideshore riding and jumping, enjoying the flats around various sandbars and coves, bouncing across the washboard where the 10 knot current meets the ocean on the outer bar, getting washed sometimes. Great fun!

Waves- Maybe the waves were about chest high outside the bar? It's so hard to judge. They were pretty forgiving, although I had my rig pulled out of my hands during one washing. Bad news. It would have been a long swim back if I lost my gear. I swam as fast as my arms could take me to get to it before another wave could hit. At dead low I could stand on the bar in some places. We were out a little past a sandbar island that someone said was new.

Tidal Bore-
The tide was going out for most of the session, amazing current. It had a strange effect on the sailing at times, making the wind seem extra light or extra strong, knocking me off plane, creating patches of bizarre chop, strange waves. Once, when I was trying to waterstart on the outer bar, I got hit by 2 waves coming from completely opposite directions at the same time.

If a shark falls in the forest? It's funny, I didn't think about the great whites once when I was out there. I only thought about the windsurfing. If you don't think about sharks, does that mean they aren't there?

Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

West Dennis, Windsurfed, SSE, 15-27, with Tucker, 6.2/Acid 94, 46 temp, sailed 2-4:30.

Revenge on the skunks! The skunks almost got me again. I went to W. Dennis on the strength of the forecast. Once again, I suited up, rigged, and slogged. But I won in the end. A windsurfing compatriot, Tucker, loaned me a bigger board for a few runs and that's all it took. Skunks be gone! I barely planed, then I easily planed, and then I was cruisin' with power to spare. West Dennis was a sailors' playground with low tide and onshore wind, tiny breaking waves near the Lighthouse Inn, (port tack jump), speed jibes in 1 foot of water near the launch. Jibing seems like a whole new manuever when the water is that flat and I've got that much speed going into it. Lip smacking, elbow flapping, mallard duck jibes? No problem. Revenge is sweet.

Hello 2008- I think this session was a good omen for the new year. I'll face the skunks as they come. Bring it on.

Picture- unknown kiter before the wind picked up. I couldn't make myself stop to get a picture when it was good.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Loon Mountain, Skiied, with Barbara, Josh, Ben, Sam.

Escape from the skunks! Hey, if I'm going to get skunked every time I go windsurfing then I'll go skiing instead. So there. I didn't think about the evil wind skunks once. The skiing was great; no lines, easy drive both ways, and the 2 feet of new snow that fell during the week was in terrific shape all day. Lots of fun for all of us!

Picture to right- Josh, little skiis, big jump.

Ben, will be coming thru the trees when he comes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Plymouth/ Nelson St., Windsurfed, ENE, 10-35?, Solo, 3.5,4.2,5.2,6.2/RW85 & Acid94, sailed from 11:00-2:00, temp- 39 to 43.

Skunks- I went, I rigged, I got skunked. I had about 3 runs, fully powered on the 3.5, jumping chop and feeling lucky to be alive, before the skunks got me. The wind dropped a little, I rigged bigger, then the wind dropped more, I rigged bigger, and on and on into infinity. I planed on every sail that I rigged but not for long. I just couldn't believe that I was getting skunked when the forecast was for winds up to 60. This makes 3 out of 4 sessions in which I have been visited by the wind skunks. Bad skunks! The white stuff is snow, not foam, unfortunately.

Zombie feet- As an experiment to benefit all windsurfers, I tried putting chemical feet warmers inside my booties. With my booties duct taped to my drysuit, water seeps in very slowly, so I thought why not? The warmers fit very nicely in my booties, like insoles, very comfortable. But they didn't heat up. As I sailed I could feel the warmers migrating towards my toes, still no heat. Later, when I removed my booties, the warmers seemed to be gone but there was a smelly, crappy mess all over my feet. It looked like I had been walking in goose poop. Or that my feet belonged to a dead person. I found the paper from the warmers all scrunched up by my toes. I tried to remain philosophical. It was a good experiment. Feet warmers don't work. If this saves others from making the attempt and getting dead, poopy feet, it will have been worth it. Now somebody has to try hand warmers, (Peconic Puffin?).

Nelson St details- ENE is dead onshore, easy to stay in shallow water on a cold day. I left 1 hour before high tide but the water was already very high. It was about 1 or 2 feet away from washing over the rocks into the parking lot. The Plymouth meter was pretty accurate for conditions on the water. The Duxbury meter was off on the wind speed and direction, even though it's just across the bay. The IWindsurf graphs show that some sites kept the wind much longer than others. Pleasure Bay, of all places, was still a solid 20-30 until 4:00.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NWS Taunton, MA Point Forecast: Chatham MA

Hazardous weather condition(s): High Wind Warning
Sunday: Periods of rain and sleet. The rain could be heavy at times. Some thunder is also possible. High near 46. Very windy, with a east wind between 30 and 40 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New sleet accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
(12 to 16 inches of snow expected in ski country Saturday night and Sunday).

To ski or to windsurf. That is the question. It is one that has intrigued and challenged great philosophers throughout history. Pondering it requires complete concentration and immersion. No distractions, please... The answer lies in the deepest recesses of ones heart...

Windsurf. The roads going north might be a snowy, slushy mess. Now, where will it be best...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pleasure Bay, Windsurfed, W/ WNW, 10-25 (mostly 10), solo, 6.2/Carve123, Temp 41, sailed from 2-4

There was a small craft advisory for this afternoon. I was hoping that we would get yet another windy Saturday. When the wind hit 14-21 in Boston I hit the road. No luck. I think that the wind might have been a threat to small craft for about 5 minutes. I did some light air freestyle and planed in an occasional gust. New mitts- I tried my new mitts, Body Glove 5 mil claws. Not bad. They could fit better, would benefit from some pre-curve, and I don't like the split fingers, but my hands stayed warm and the grip was a little better than my 7 mil mitts. My dream of finding the perfect gloves/mittens isn't over but these are an improvement.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fogland, Windsurfed, NW, 17-47, Oliver, Juan, 3 or 4 others, 4.2 & 3.5/Realwind 85, Temp 29 F. Sailed from 10-3.

You know it's windy when- Fogland looks like this. That white stuff is foam not ice, thank you.

Frosty Fogland- Here's something new. When I was derigging I noticed something slippery and white on my sails. At first I thought it might be some kind of tiny jellyfish. Then I realized that it was ice. I've never seen that before. It made it a little harder to roll up my sails. IWindsurf says the temp was 29 for most of the day but I think it was warmer around noon with the sun out. I didn't see any ice then. I can't believe that we had such a good crowd for such a cold day! It was great to have the company. I don't feel quite so crazy when there's a whole crew of guys ripping it up in the sub-freezing temps. Toasty Drysuit- I was cozy warm all day with the exception of my hands. My ski helmet liner was a must for keeping my face warm. I also wore my full neoprene hood and my helmet, of course. Feet were fine with just the 7 mil booties duct taped to my drysuit. A Shifty Character- The wind was a little shifty but it made for some good chop hopping at times. It was alternating WNW, NW, and N. The WNW was straight into port tack jumps, whether you wanted to or not. NW was port tack jump. The N was about equal for port and starboard tack jumps. The chop was surprisingly good considering the shallow water in the cove.

Bottom Picture- Ice angels formed on my board. Click on the pictures to see them large.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Deep Hole, Windsurfed, WSW, 12-25, solo, 6.2/Acid 94, temp 46 to 48 F. sailed from 1:00-4:15

Deep Hole- on fire.

Up and down winds, waves that were small to nonexistant, very low tide (full moon), and 2 kiters for company who stopped when I started. Oh well, at least it was good to be back at Deep Hole. It felt like I was visiting an old friend that I hadn't seen in a while. Too bad my old friend wasn't in a better mood. Maybe next time. It did give me a roaring sunset.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hardings, Windsurfed, W, 12-27, mostly solo, 5.2/RW85 then 5.7/Acid 94, on water from 9:30-3:00, temp 39-43.

Hardings Beach- Nice bumps.

Loop shenanigans; O.K. I had a good week and I still went for some loop attempts, just not as many as last week. I had one where I came all the way around, landed on my back, almost in a water start position. I thought hey, maybe I can really do this! Then I realized that my board didn't come with me. I guess I forgot to wear it like a glove. It was all pretty painless, once again, which means more attempts are probably in my future. Unless I come to my senses before then.
Hardings; There were some curvaceous little bumps at dead low tide, great for jumping and loop messing around. As the tide came in, the bumps flattened out, looked more like lumpy mashed potatoes with gravy. Decent ramps became hard to come by, although it was still bumpier than Kalmus. Lobster hands; I used the warm-water-in-the-cooler-trick for my hands. It kept them a nice pink color. White fingers aren't pretty. It's definitely the quickest way I've found to revive withering digits. Next time I'll bring a thermos with some hot water to replenish the cooler, (the warmer?), as needed.

Bottom Pictures; Entertainment in the parking lot provided by James Lamb- riding,

Jeff Brown- Remote sailing. I've been told that this model holds the surface record on ice, 39.3 MPH!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chapin Beach, NNE 15-30 building to NNW 20-38, 4.2,3.5/RW85, solo start, then with Gerry, Gary, Scott, others, solo end.

A proper state of mind for windsurfing? I had a lousy week at work. So when I heard the gale warning for this weekend I thought it could be just what I needed to take my mind off of it. If I sailed until I dropped I would have to feel better, in a way. I had the passing thought that this might not be the best state of mind for getting behind the wheel of a windsurfer. But then, I thought, I'll be fine, and I might be able to use this to my advantage. I've been toying with the idea of trying a forward loop for some time and I decided that this might be a perfect opportunity. All I'd have to do was to channel my weeks worth of pent up frustration into throwing myself into the loop. My natural fear of maiming myself would be no match for this powerful sense of release, I hoped. did it work? Yes and no. I didn't make any loops. I did make a lot of attempts, until the wind picked up. I didn't break any equipment or body parts. And I do feel a little more philosophical about my week now that I'm thoroughly wiped out. I may never actually complete a loop, of course, but I feel that I've done the hard part, conquering my fear of throwing myself over the handlebars. It will be interesting to see if I can throw attempts with such abandon after I've had a good week.
Boring details- Temp was in the low forties. I wore poly shirt, t-shirt and fleece under my drysuit. It was just right. Glacier gloves for my hands, pretty cold at times. Thick booties duct taped to my dry suit, was fine. Full hood, (also protected my eardrums on the loop attempts). I could feel some wind chill at the end with wind into the upper 30's. It was fine as long as I stayed active. Tide etc- I sailed from 9:30 to 3:15. Dead high was at 11:20. I don't know why it was still sailable 4 hours after high tide. Even when I stopped there was waist deep water in many places inside the sandbar. I could have sailed a little longer. 85 liters big- I started to feel a little overpowered just before I stopped for lunch. I was on the 3.5, which was O.K., but the board was flying off every little piece of chop. After lunch, the wind actually got a little stronger but the water flattened out, lower tide, and I felt better. The water was generally smoother out in the waves, except for the waves. Just goes to show that 85 liters is too big for gale winds with chop. Probably way too big. This is 2 weekends in a row in which I should have been on a smaller board than my smallest. Not sure what to do about it though.
Picture- Chapin receding tide, my board is wondering where all the other boards went.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Plymouth/ Nelson St., Windsurfed, NE, 28-55?, Gerry, Tony and a few others, 3.5/RW85

Too much of a good thing? When it comes to wind I'm almost always looking for more. I usually want it to blow stronger, last longer, more. Not this time. For once, I had plenty of wind and then some, thanks to the remnants of hurricane Noel. The wind built gradually through the morning, moderate in the beginning, to 55 MPH gusts by noon. I was the, "wind dummy", (first one on the water to test the conditions), but a small crew of hardy souls showed up not long afterwards. A few hours after we stopped there was a gust to 68 recorded at the Duxbury meter. This was not a day for casual sailing. This sailing involved adrenaline. Stranded upwind- Tony and I made the strategic error of being pretty far upwind when the wind cranked up a couple of notches, midmorning. We had a few very long power runs before we had to start heading off the wind to get back. That's when I started to feel that I might actually have more wind than I needed. It was kinda challenging to control my speed and keep my board down on the water, flying downwind over the chop, overpowered. I still had my 3.5 set for moderate conditions so that didn't help. It made for an exciting ride though, doing short runs off the wind, sometimes just sitting on my board to rest, letting the gale push me downwind. When I was sailing, I had the funny feeling that there was extra weight in the sail, but it wasn't weight that pulled down, it was weight that pulled horizontally. Tony seemed to be doing great. He attributed his smooth moves to being on a fiberglass board, which is heavier and rides a little lower in the water. Skill could have something to do with it too, Tony. More wind- After I got back, I had lunch and added that extra inch of downhaul the sail needed to get really floppy. What a difference! Unfortunately the wind was continuing to build so I was still overpowered in the gusts, which was most of the time. Everyone else took off by noon. Some were complaining about the 20 mph spread between gusts and lulls. Everyone was complaining about being overpowered. I sailed a little longer in the shallows mostly just working on jumps. I wasn't getting the huge floaty jumps that I knew were possible given the wind strength, but I was landing most of the jumps that I went for, and I didn't break anything. Any run is a good run- Overall I didn't feel like I was sailing at my best. I blew a lot of jibes, and I knew I was holding back a lot, trying to avoid the body-slam-catapult, but it was fun just being out in such strong winds. It would have been nice if the rain stopped for a while so I could have put my glasses on to really see what I was doing but you can't have everything. Any run without damage, in that much wind, is a good run. And next time I'll think twice about complaining that I don't have enough wind... Nah, probably not. I just need to get a smaller board.

Top Photo- I'm overpowered and hunkered down, trying to avoid catapults, Thanks Gerry for the pic.

Bottom photo- Gerry heading out, unknown sailor in the air. Click on the picture to see it large.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

West Dennis, Windsurfed, S, 15-30, a few others, RW85/ 5.7, 4.2

Sooo Good! I've noticed lately that if the last part of a session is great the whole session seems great. That happened today. Things got off to a slow start, but who cares? It ended great. The start- I spent about 1 1/2 hours driving around Chatham looking at wave access sites- The Cut, Claflin, Scatteree, and waiting for the fog to thin and the wind to thicken. No one else was on the water. I finally gave up and went to West Dennis, put a 5.7 on 85 liters and got wet. The wind was switching off and on gradually, like a light switch with a dimmer. There were weed issues, fog issues, but I'll skip that and get to the good part. The end- The last hour or so was perfect! I was on my favorite kit- 4.2 with the RealWind85 with power to spare- no light switches now. The south wind was a ball. In one run I could sail all the way from the normal launch, to the Inn, and way past it to a RV park near the far point, experiencing a variety of conditions along the way, probably about 2 or 3 miles. It was knee to shin deep in front of the launch, mid tide, for super flat water speed runs. Little chop waves were breaking in front of the Lighthouse Inn and on various sandbars on the other side for practising wave moves and jumps. I was going too fast for the weeds to get hold of my wave fin. I was easily making moves that I sometimes struggle with. Everything just felt great- equipment, wind, tuning, warmth, my arms, my brain. So what that the day started a little less than stellar. In fact, maybe that made the end seem sweeter. Start to finish, it was a very, very good session. Picture- The Cut, looking in, with fog, marginal wind, better to go elsewhere.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kalmus, Windsurfed, WSW, 18-28, with others, 5.7/RW 85

Egg Island- Another sunset session, this time at Kalmus. It was pretty nice- well downhauled 5.7 with 85 liters, a little overpowered sometimes, a little underpowered sometimes. I sailed at, “egg island”, with the freestylers for awhile. That’s the flat water run that’s across the channel and just downwind of the little sand spit that sticks out from the other side in Lewis Bay. The wind was surprisingly clean coming across the sand spit. The water had the tiniest of ripples that made a fast washboard rhythm with the board. I felt like a beginner compared to those guys whipping off spocks etc. I guess that makes me the egg. I was working on my flat water jumps. I could get the board off the water but just barely. I'm not sure how to get more height without a ramp. Anyway, it was fun to try a new spot at an old familiar launch.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fogland, Windsurfed, NW, 10-22, 1 other, 6.2/Carve 123

Sunset session- I squeezed in a short session after Ben's Little League Fall playoff game. Ben had a good game, they won, and I had a good session, everyone's happy. I sailed in the shallows in the cove at Fogland. It's great for freestyle in a NW wind, mostly knee to waist deep. It was close to low tide. Next time I would park at the spaces at the bottom of the cove instead of driving around to the farthest point, which was a little upwind of the shallow part of the cove. This was the first day I needed my palmless mittens for my hands. Too bad. There was a beautiful sunset as I was packing up. I had that satisfied, recharged feeling that I get after a good session, even though it was only 2 hours in up and down winds. Must have been from the sunset.

Top photo- unknown windsurfer with sailboat.

Bottom photo- packing up in the sunset glow.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Block Island, Andy's Way, Wndsrfd, with Barbara, Tony, Margie, Michael, W 10-25, Carve123/ 6.2,

Gone fishing- Josh, Ben and I had the ambitious idea of getting up at 5:00 am to launch the boat and get out fishing before the 6:00 am sunrise. First problem was that the wind was kind of strong where we had the boat pulled up at Andy's way. We could see the foam blowing up on the beach with our flashlights and we didn't feel like getting soaked with spray in our pre-dawn sleepiness. So we drove to the Coast Guard Station and fished from the shore. Second problem, no fish, no bites, no sign of anything from pre-dawn to post-dawn. Third problem, we were all pretty tired for the rest of the morning. Josh was so exhausted and teenager-like that he stayed in the Hotel for the rest of the day, coding a computer program to calculate voltage, current and resistance for any given variable, and missed a good windsurfing day.
Flat water day- Barbara got out on the 5.2 but was a little underpowered. I think the wind was in a slump for a few hours during her session. I got out later, in about 10 MPH of wind, but got lucky when the wind cranked up to full-on planing for a while before dropping off again later in the afternoon. Ben was too tired to windsurf but we had a lot of fun tidal-pooling while Barbara sailed. The day started out with rain but turned into one of those beautiful, sunny, summery days when it feels like you're sailing in a postcard picture.
Fond farewell to the Surf- We were all very sad that this was the last weekend that the Surf Hotel will be open, at least in it's current state. Loraine and family are retiring and have the hotel up for sale. Most of us have been going on this trip, twice a year, for 15 or 20 years. The Surf, with its quirkiness, informality, and old Victorian charm, has been the perfect location for our motley crew of boardsailors, bikers, and birders. We have all become very attached to it and it's owners. There was a farewell party, put on by many long-time guests, with lots of joking, singing and picture taking. Renee wrote a lyric, (I contributed 1 verse), to the tune of, "Thanks for the Memory". All the AMCers sang it during the party. It got lots of laughs and a few tears. Two memories that sum it up for me; the luxurious feeling of a hot shower in the hotel right after a stormy, frigid NE'ster session in the Crescent Beach waves; listening to the howl and whine of a strengthening wind mingle with the sound of surf through the open window of our room during the night- it all sounds so loud when the waves are crashing on rocks almost directly beneath the window.
Top picture- Surf Hotel at low tide,
beachside- Crescent Beach.

Bottom picture- morning view from the
harborside porch.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Block Island with AMC, Crescent Beach, Windsurfed, with Tony & 1 other, NE 10-28?, Acid94/ 6.2

Rest Day, Saturday- The first day of our mini-vacation was a warm, light wind, heavy fog, biking, fishing, boating, playing on the beach kind of day. Kaz and Bob, from the AMC crew, got planing with sails in the 7.5 to 8 range but I held out for a better forecast on Sunday.

Wave Day, Sunday- The wind went from 5 to 25 in about 60 seconds. Tony and I had a great morning session in the suddenly fresh winds in front of the Surf Hotel. The water had been glassy smooth, but nice, although small, waves formed in just a few hours. Even in the sudden onset winds, the waves were nicer shaped here than at Chapin/ Mayflower. They are more of a surfing wave like Deep Hole, Horseneck, or The Cut. The wind was pretty up and down, with some light stretches, so I stayed on the Acid 94 and 6.2 for the slogs. The meter posted 15 to 30 for wind but I don't think it was that much. I'm sure my arms would have been creaking in their sockets with a 6.2 in 30. I did have to move my harness lines back at first, a sign that I was in the upper range of my sail in the gusts, although I didn't really feel overpowered. Picture- Tony, carving like a Ginsu knife, on the outside at Crescent Beach.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Freestyle Action from Kalmus C/O Chris Eldridge

Chris sent me these video clips taken at Kalmus on 9/25/07. Congratulations Chris, you make it look so easy! This could inspire me to try working on jump jibes and willy skippers again. It looks like Chris still has both of his ankles. From top to bottom the moves are spock, grubby, grubby 540.

Chris's lowdown on conditions and equipment- "I use the JP Freestyle 100 whenever possible for freestyle. I select the board based on the water conditions and not wind speed. For 2008 I will have the JP freestyle 90 and 99 so I can stay on the freestyle board even longer. It was a tad on the bouncy side getting over to the lagoon at lewis bay but once we got there the water was dead flat so all is well. I was on a 3.5 pryde zone which depowers very nicely and the wind was upper 30s to low 40s. Needless to say, the tricks I typically do effortlessly became much more challenging at those speeds. Once I got used to coming in that hot I was okay but it def took a while."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mayflower, Windsurfed, with Gerry, NNW, Mostly18-28, Mostly 4.2/RealWind 85

A good workout- The wind started at 10-20,(5.7), built to 18-28, (4.2), blew hard for 3 or 4 hours, then dropped off just before my arms did. The stronger wind kicked up the waves a little. It was almost a straight onshore wind direction, starboard out. It made for some fun sailing, but tiring. At high tide there was even a little shorebreak developing. I really appreciated the RW 85 when I switched down to it. It's so much easier than the Acid 94 for quick steering around whitewater, over whitewater, and the frequent little hops and unplanned jumps on the way out. I was surprised how quickly the waves died after the wind exited. It just goes to show that these are chop waves not swell waves. Picture- Gerry, going up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

AMC weekend with Petra Kanz day 2, Windsurfed, NNW, 5-15, Barbara, Josh, Ben & AMCer's, others,

Another Great Beach Day- The wind was stronger to start the day. The early birds got the planing. Josh, Barb and Ben got out there but josh was first so he got the best wind, although he reported that it was very gusty. Ben did great tacks and jibes. I think the follow the leader exercise that we did yesterday helped him. Petra held class both on and off the water at Ninigret. The water got glassy around noon so most of us packed up a little early. Ben and I went for another swim on the ocean side before departure. It was hard to leave the beach on such a sunny, warm, beautiful day, wind or no wind.

Top picture- Ben nails a tack, Ninigret.

Bottom picture- A slacker wind chases everyone in for lunch on the beach.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

AMC weekend at Camp Fuller with Petra Kanz, Windsurfed, SW, 3-10, Barbara, Josh, Ben & AMCer's, others, 5.2/white board

Nice day for a clinic. This was probably the warmest weather we've had on this trip in over 20 years attending- high in the low 80's, partly sunny/misty, warm water on the pond side at Ninigret, light wind, no neoprene. Ben and I swam on the ocean side to cool off! Petra Kanz worked her magic for the clinic. Josh, Ben, Barb and I all had some time on the water. Josh especially was craving more wind but we all had fun.

Poor man's tandem- I tried tying the tail of 1 white board to the nose of the other, leaving some space in between, to make a tandem substitute. I was on the lead board, with Ben following. It worked surprisingly well. We sailed, tacked, jibed, fell, no problem.

Top picture- misty sunrise at Camp Fuller.

Mid Picture- Follow the leader at Ninigret. You can't see the rope between the boards but it's there.

Bottom Picture- Dry land class at Ninigret.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Horseneck, Windsurfed, NW, 5-28?, Gerry, 5.2/Carve123

Side-off wavesailing without the waves- The wind did exactly as predicted, (thanks to IWindsurf for the accurate forecast), but the waves didn't hold up their end of the bargain. They were 1 to 2 feet in the morning, at high tide, and we expected them to increase as the tide went out. Instead, they completely disappeared. Oh, well. Gerry and I had some nice flat water side-offshore sailing. Going with the wind- we started at Horseneck State Beach. It was a little gusty at first, so we took a few runs then decided to move our cars to the causeway and do a downwinder. Jeff gave us a ride back to our gear but he decided not to sail due to the absent waves and a cold that he is trying to kick. The wind increased and filled in as we started downwind, so even where we started from was getting pretty good. Down at the end of Horseneck the NW wind was pretty much sideshore, maybe a little cleaner. Overall, I was surprised that once the wind filled in it was more steady then I would have expected for a side to side-off wind. I was planing about 80% of the time. It could be pretty nice here with a NW wind and a swell coming in but I'll bet it doesn't happen all that often. Waist harness fixes everything? for a change Gerry and I were on the same sail size, 5.2., and we both seemed happy with the size. He almost always sails 1 meter larger than I do. Maybe it has something to due with the fact that I used a waist harness and Gerry used a seat harness? I was a teency overpowered at times but it was fun in the relatively flat water. I used the Carve 123 to get through the lulls more easily. It was a perfect set up for the conditions. Picture- looking at the launch on Gooseberry Island, and "the big rock", from the end of Horseneck Beach where we ended up.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Kalmus, Windsurfed, WSW, 15-25 mostly, 5.7/RealWind85, with Josh, Gerry, others

Another beauty day! Warm & windy, no neoprene needed. Josh came along on this one. It was great to have him out on the water with me, although he didn't sail for too long. He was tired from excessive unicycling the previous day and staying up late at a friends house. He's a teenager. He seemed to have a good time anyway. I got a long session in. I think the waist harness really helped my endurance.

Top photo- Josh catches a rainbow in his sail.

Bottom photo- I almost get beached.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Horseneck/Gooseberry, Windsurfed, SW, 18-28, Jeff, Ron & a few others, 5.2/RealWind85

Waves Again! I finally got to try Jeff Bulls famous wave-sailing spot, sailing from Gooseberry Island out to the waves at Horseneck Beach. This is not a place I would want to sail without some local knowledge, of which Jeff, and his friend Ron, graciously shared. They really went out of their way to show me all the places to avoid. Thanks, guys! Nice, Nice Waves; These are real swell waves. None of the chop/wind-waves like at Mayflower, (although those are fun too). They are spaced far apart and when they get big enough the water smooths out in between them. The rocks are real too, and plentiful, but there were about 5 or 6 sailors out there avoiding the boulders.
New and improved wave-sailing stance; I think I had a breakthrough with my stance. It's as simple as this- use a waist harness, shorten the lines, maybe raise the boom a hair. The result is that I stand more upright and can hold my arms and legs straighter, keep my butt dryer and generally experience a lot less fatigue. By the end I had everything tuned perfectly and I just didn't want to stop, even though everyone else had left a while ago. I finally took a wave-ride that brought me well inside of a surfer, and I had to fight my out again through the waves. I decided I should quit while I was mostly together. Boring Launch Details; I parked in the lot on the island, even though it was full when I got there. I had to wait about 15 minutes for a space to open up. At high tide the preferred launch spot is- from the broken concrete slab near the lot, go to the water and launch between the 2 big rocks that are very close together. At low tide you can come and go a little downwind where the rocks are frequent but smaller. At low tide don't sail too deep into the cove towards the causeway, rocks may be shallow. The rocky causeway is the wash up spot in the cove. It looks bad but the word is that it has some backwash, so it isn't as dangerous as it looks. I still don't want to go there. One huge rock marks the end of the cove and the beginning of Horseneck Beach. It is all sand on the other side of that rock. Upwind of the rock is one more submerged rock which can be an unpleasant surprise at low tide for a long fin. You may not see the rock but you can probably see the waves breaking over it, although I sailed, (nervously), near there and didn't see it. Wind strength is often significantly less as you get close to shore at Horseneck. Rig a little big. Wind is usually the average of reports from Beavertail and Neds Point. Best in SW, S?
Top Picture- Taking a ramp in the cove.
Mid Picture- Same spot at low tide, bigger swell.
Bottom Picture- Jeff and Ron near the large rock at the end of the cove.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Mayflower, Windsurfed, N, 12-24, 5.7/Acid94

Fantastic Morning Session! Should I say that? I probably just jinxed the wind for the next month. The waves were small and mushy, onshore wind, but after an 8 month dry spell for waves, they seemed great to me. They were big enough to practice wave-riding technique. One thing that seemed to help with my turn attempts on the wave, to avoid bouncing out, was to really lean my sail to the inside of the turn. I think it helped pressure the inside rail. I guess that's pretty basic, but I seem to have to relearn it now and then. Mayflower was packed. Somebody said that they counted 45 kites in the air at one time. There were only a few of us old fashioned windsurfer types. You couldn't get a more beautiful day, sunny, dry, 70's. At low tide the ripple patterns in the sand stretched off endlessly towards the horizon, interrupted only by the occasional tidal pool. I'd like to hardwire a few mornings like this into my memory banks for when I need them.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kalmus, Windsurfed, SSW, 10-20, 5.7/Acid94

A great forecast that didn't happen; Iwindsurf was calling for wind in the low/mid twenties for the afternoon. I had a feeling it wasn't going to happen. For one thing, it would have made 2 windy Saturdays in a row. That goes against all laws of probability for New England in the Summer. It was good wind in the morning, which I missed, then light wind all afternoon. The wind finally picked up around 5:00, accompanied by fog, and I had a blissful 1 1/2 hours of planing before I had to pack up and high tail it over to a Barby-Q for Ben's little league team, (being held conveniently in East Dennis). Never mind that I had planned on stopping at 5:00 and that I was 1 1/2 hours late for the party. It was worth it. I guess that Iwindsurf wasn't that far off on the forecast. It just came in a little later and lighter than expected.
Air Time; I got the usual chop hopppers when the wind picked up. I hit one jump that was better than the rest. I was up in the air long enough to notice that I was there. The thing that strikes me during a jump like that is the silence. One minute the board is slapping across the chop and then it's in the air and everything is quiet. It's like a freeze frame in time. One long silent second. Then the board smacks down and normal time resumes. But it's that frozen second of hang time that stays with me. It's what I'm thinking about when I'm driving home, and when I'm drifting off to sleep at the end of the day.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lake Quanapowitt, Windsurfed, NW, 0-32, AMCer's, 5.2/Acid94

Lake sailing; Massive holes and gusts, dramatic wind shifts, and a water surface that can be dead flat one run and jumpable chop the next, good ol' lake sailing. This was an AMC day trip to West Dennis that we changed to Lake Q due to the forecast for light NW winds. The NW part was right. I was surprised to get a lot of chop-hopping in for such a small body of water. One minute I would get some jumps on starboard, then there would be a wind shift, and the jumps would be on port. It felt soo goood to plane again after the recent drought of weekend wind. My arms really cramped up after about 2 to 3 hours of sailing, not sure why. Maybe from the jumping. I may be pulling myself up too much with my arms to try to get higher. I always prefer to think that any body part failure is technique related rather than age related. Picture- unknown sailors lining up at Lake Q.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nahant/Lynn, Land-boarded, ESE, 0-10, 5.2/landboard

Great Location for the land-board in an east wind! Wide, hard, smooth beach, crowds weren't too bad down at the far end. I got there fairly late in the day to catch 2 hours before 6:00pm low tide, only $3 to park. Somebody told me there was a sign saying NO LAND-BOARDS and that the police sometimes enforce it but I had no problem. There were 2 guys out on "landboards?" with kites. The lifeguards were so far down the other side of the beach that I couldn't even see them. Wind was light to very light with some stretches of complete calm. One of these days I'll get out in some decent wind again. Just to the north was another beach that could be good for the land-board, Kings Beach. There are no lifeguards, on street parking. I'd also heard that there are tidal flats on the inside of the causeway at Nahant, starting at the boat launch. There are some bars there at low tide but they are not very accessible or very big. They didn't look land-board friendly.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Crows Pasture, Landsailed, N 10-15, Solo, Landboard/4.2

Dry Land sailing; The winds were light this weekend so I had the bright idea of heading to Chapin, low tide, for some land sailing on the tidal flats. The only problem was that Chapin was full by 10:00. So was Mayflower and Corporation. I ended up at Crows Pasture Conservation Area, parking on the side of a dirt road and walking my gear in. The smoothest and hardest sand was all the way across the bar to the waters edge, more walking. There were numerous soft spots and areas with deep ripples but it was still sailable, boardable?. Next time I could try letting some air out of the tires for the soft areas. I went for a long cruise to Cold Storage Beach and back. There were plenty of little tidal inlets that I had to cross. When I hit them at speed, the water splashed up in a shower. By the end the board was completely cemented with wet sand. I got some "planing" duck jibes on the hard smooth sections. Had a long walk back after the tide came in because I had to go where the sand was too soft to roll. It turned out to be a lot of effort for a pretty short session. The Cape beaches are a people magnet on a hot summer day. The 4-wheel drive crowd at Crows Pasture was amazing- probably 100 to 200 cars spread out on the beach. They all had to bunch together when the tide came in. Picture- salt marsh at Crows Pasture.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Duxbury, Windsurfed, SSW, 10-15, 6.8,5.2/Carve123

Mostly non-planing light wind stuff. It was a little choppy for such light winds, probably due to the outgoing tide, ingoing wind. I thought for sure that I would plane with the 6.8 but not quite. So I rigged the 5.2 and messed around with the usual moves. It was shallow and perfect for that. Picture- unknown sailor at Duxbury.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Plymouth/ Nelson St., Windsurfed, NNE, Marginal, solo, 6.8/Carve123

Light wind, sunny, beautiful morning on the water. Last time I was here the wind was ENE, almost directly onshore. This time, with NNE, it was side onshore. I'd love to be here for a strong N wind. It would be sideshore, probably take just one run to go straight out to the ocean side, maybe find some waves.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kalmus, Windsurfed, SSW, 18-30, with Gerry & crowd, 4.2,5.2/RealWind85

Southern Exposure; Long session going late in the day. Strong SSW wind coming almost directly onshore at the launch. Had to do a few runs upwind just to clear the lifeguard area. Gerry and I took a run over to Great Island looking for small waves but in the more southerly wind it was sideshore over there, no waves at all, nothing. I had an extra fin along in case we sailed upwind towards the rocks at the point but it wasn't worth it given the wind direction. I still managed to whack a rock, in front of the condos at high tide. Later, at dead low tide, when there are usually some small waves on the sandbar right in front of the launch, there wasn't much. The wind seemed strong enough but maybe the wind direction wasn't very good for building chop. Still, it was a good day, lots of small chop hops and it was fun to sail my smallest board. Picture- Chris Eldridge at Kalmus 7/15.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Bonaire, Windsurfed, SW, 13-18, 6.5/Carve122

Picture- Mike, from Framingham, racing against team Josh & Ben.

Last day; my back was pretty sore from all the windsurfing this week, so I took a few runs on a 6.5 and, when that wasn't big enough, I stopped. Josh was planing on an 8.0/ 133 liters but he couldn't quite get comfortable on a sail that big. Ben had a great time with a Starboard Start and a 2.1. He got his first light air jibes. He loved the stability of the board, and it turned well for him too. The 2 boards that he liked the best this vacation, the Start and the RRD Evolution 360, have center fins. Barbara was getting some good practice for non-planing jibes with a 5.5. In the afternoon Josh took an intro to scuba class. He was the only student and it turned out to be about 15 minutes of class time, no pool time, and a long reef dive in front of the hotel, 40 ft depth. He loved it. Barbara, Ben and I went to the National park but we got there a little after 3:00 and it closes at 2:45. I wish we had known. We still had fun driving around the north side of the island and looking at Indian inscriptions, small caves, lots of cactus and coral everywhere.

Travel Hell; Sunday 7/8, we got bumped from our first flight on American Eagle due to a, "weight restriction". I guess they had to bump somebody because they had too much weight on the plane, but if we were there earlier then it would have been somebody else. We checked in 1 hour before departure time, which is pretty late for an international flight. We ended up paying for tickets to Aruba on DAE, American Eagle gave us vouchers but we realized later that they are only good for a discount on future AA flights, essentially worthless to us. Then the flight that they promised would take us from Aruba to get home was overbooked. I think they had just made false promises to get us out of their hair. We ended up staying in San Juan at our expense. After 5 flights we got home Monday afternoon. It added close to $1000 to the cost of our vacation. Not fun.

Bottom Picture- High five for a successful tack, then fall.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Bonaire, Windsurfed, with family, 20 to 28, 4.8/Carve111, 5.0/RRD Freestyle Wave 90

Picture- Ben handles the strong winds.
Very windy Day! Probably mid to upper 20's. It was a little shifty and gusty at times so we used slightly larger sails than we might have otherwise, then it was great. With a 5.0 I had power in the lulls and tons of power in the gusts. With this much wind there was some decent chop-hopping out in the deep water. We spent almost the whole day at Lac Bay, 10:00 to 5:30. Everybody had a good time, windsurfing off and on, hanging out on the beach and in the water, the person in the water doing high 5's when Josh or I sailed by at speed. It's fun just hanging out in the sailing area, waist deep water, while family members are zipping by, stopping to rest and talk sometimes. Josh and I were on the exact same board and rig for most of the day again- 5.0, RRD freestyle 90. We both got a lot of sailing in. By the end of the day I noticed that I was no longer leaving Josh in my wake. Somehow, since yesterday, he increased his speed so that we were now just about matched. I gave him a waterstart lesson and he picked it up very fast. It was still hard for him to get the sail into position if it fell in just the wrong way, but that's tiring for anyone. Ben had some frustrations but there was one stretch when he was doing great, even with the stronger winds and more chop. Barbara was having a good time.
Hands; My hands were pretty calloused from windsurfing, work, exercising before the trip. I was starting to get a blister on my ring finger part way through the vacation but I took my ring off and it got better after a few days. Josh's hands were tough from flying on the trapeze. I think that Barbara and Ben sailed a little less so their hands were fine.

Bottom Picture- This is what a full day of windsurfing does to a teenager.