Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sailboat and Sailboard Cruise around the islands

Chris's Baby on a glassy day

Chris wanted some company for sailing in his sailboat and I wanted some company for windsurfing on my windsurfer so we hatched a plan to cruise around Boston Harbor together, each in our respective crafts. The adventure turned out to be a lot of fun, at least for me.

Chris had to stay in the channels and deep water so I followed his boat with my windsurfer, like a fly flitting around a mothership. There were lots of wind shadows and strong funneling gusts between the islands but I loved actually going some place for once. My favorite spot was between Long, Spectacle, and Thompson's Islands, just upwind of the Bridge to Long Island. There was a funneling area with nice peaky chop.

After about 4 hours of weaving around the islands I derigged in his dinghy, passed my gear up to him and climbed aboard for some civilised sailing.

My launch, Snake Island, Boston skyline.

Challenges- I wasn't so good about staying really close to Chris's boat. This made him nervous about losing sight of me or of having to rescue me if I broke down someplace that was rocky or shallow. He kept his main sail down and just flew his jib so he could concentrate more on watching me and could pick me up anytime. I only fell once but it happened when I was at a distance and he lost sight of me for a few minutes. It made him realize that he would feel pretty stupid calling the Coast Guard for help looking for my gear, or my body, blowing out to sea. If we do it again we should probably do it in an E wind.

Gear that really helped- Camelback, tow line to help with derigging process, cell phone to call from an island (I did). The dinghy was necessary for derigging while under sail.

Route-I launched near Winthrop Town Pier, Chris from Winthrop Yacht Club, we met near Snake Island, headed past Deer Island to Long Island, then between Spectacle and Thompsons, around Spectacle and back to Long Island, then back to Winthrop.

Boston Harbor & Islands, Windsurfed, SW, WSW, 12-32, 5.7/ Acid94, with Chris.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm Still a Beginner Kiter

My board belly up, waiting impatiently for it's neglectful owner.

Still a beginner- Yeah, today was a reminder. I lost my board pretty far out in the waves between Chapin and Mayflower at dead high tide. Then I tried to self land to climb up on the rock wall and look for it, hit the edge of the evil dune grass with my kite.

But I had Beginners luck. My board washed up, scratch free, a little while later on the sand between the breakwaters. I was so happy to find it! I even got back out for another 3 hours of kiting, yay! That soothed my bruised ego, except for when my kite went soft and started to collapse from the slow leak I had just created.

Chapin, Kitesurfed, W, WNW, 20-35, 15-25, 10 & 12M kites/ Surf 148, with Gerry, Flo, Brad, Peter, Jay, Rebecca, others.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Dangerous Sport

I had no idea that this sport could be so dangerous! Sometimes you don't find out until it's too late. I'm lucky. I'll live to kite another day.

What am I talking about? Bathrooms. Last weekend the Chapin porta-pot was open for business as usual. This weekend it was gone. So I used the dunes. I've done it before, no problem. But this time there were trucks parked down at that end of the parking lot at 7:15 AM, and footprints leading into the dunes right past my bathroom tree. I hid myself in the bush better than usual and made it out without incident.

A little while later I noticed some hunters leaving, in camouflage garb, like wannabe soldiers. There was 1 truck left. A little while later I heard 3 loud gunshots very close to the parking lot, like just over the little dune where my bathroom tree is. I had been dressed in brown, tan and green when I was back there, deer colors? I looked around to make sure no kiteboarders had gone missing. I checked myself for bullet holes.

I'm glad to be alive. Hunters scare me. They shoot themselves. They shoot others. How can any town in their right mind allow hunting right next to the Chapin parking lot?! Kiteboarding is more dangerous than I thought.

Honkin' Wind- I was on my smallest board and my smallest kite, fully depowered most of the time, and I was close to being maxed out. The gusts/ lulls had about a 20 MPH spread, which made it a little intimidating at first. The waves at Mayflower were fun. Nice 4 hour session.

Nice Tide- The tide chart showed 2 ft less tide than usual, both on the high and low ends. That 2 ft of extra water at low tide meant enough water for kiting in the pond still 1 hour before dead low. It's usually getting dry 2 hours before dead low.

Chapin, Kitesurfed, NW, 23-42, 7M kite/ Surf 148, with Robert, others.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Throw Down #7- Phil's kiting event was blessed with great wind! It was also blessed with an astronomical high tide. For about an hour the shore break was washing right up to the dunes. Parked kites were getting pulled into the water and launching and landing was not for the faint of heart. With the big crowd it made for some excitement. But it was all part of the fun and before and after dead high tide was kiting perfection!

First Gybe- After kiting for 1 year and 3 months I got the courage to try my first gybe. That's where you carve the board thru a turn like a windsurfer and then switch your feet like a windsurfer. Most beginner kiters (that's me) ride twin tips, unlike a windsurfer, a reversible plank that never needs gybing. I'm trying to get used to riding a surfboard. Surfboards need gybing. So Gregor (I think) told me the secret. Switch your feet before you gybe. It works! I was whooping it up. I did a bunch of gybes, some even without crashing. Progress that you can measure is something that is hard to find in life, easier to find in windsurfing & kiting.

Chapin Beach, Kitesurfed, NW 17-29, 13-23, 12M Kite/ Slingshot Surf 148 & Caution Surfboard, with Frank, Jamie, Paul, Skipper, Netto, Ben, Matt, Flo, Amine, Phil, Johnny D, Gregor, Kristof, Chris, Others.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Invasion of the Paragliders

Like a bird- As the wind was dropping off at Chapin today a flock of paragliders set up, launched, and flew off over the horizon. All of us stranded kiters, left on the beach without wind, watched with envy. We were thinking that paragliding is just like kiting except that you have a fan to make your own wind. It's perfect for when we get skunked! Oh yeah, and you're up in the air a few thousand feet... I might have to think about it some more.

Going up please

Up on my toes- Awright! My toeside riding seemed to click today. That doesn't mean it was pretty, or effortless, but I could do it as much as I wanted and mostly not lose too much ground to leeward. The only thing I was doing differently was keeping my power strap set for a little more power than I might normally ride with. It was a killer on my legs though.

Chapin, Kitesurfed, NW, 18-28, 13-22, 12M Varial Kite/ 6' surfboard, 132 Ply Board, Sligshot Surf 148, with Sammy, Andre, Colleen, Skipper, Paul, Gerry S, Others.