This is a diary so to speak. Documenting the outdoor activities I enjoy. Currently I'm trying to master windsurfing so that subject will be covered extensively. If you read this don't expect award winning writing as it was never really a strong point for me. You may however find a cool photo or two.

Most photos can be enlarged by clicking and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

WET introduction to windsurfing

In SE Virginia we have a great windsurfing club called Windsurfing Enthusiasts of Tidewater. Today was their second Introduction of the year. Sunny skies, 90+ degree air and SW winds at 10 to 15 mph greeted the 20 students that were about to get their first taste of the wonderful sport of windsurfing. Two of the "Newbies" were there at my urging, my daughter Kristen and my surrogate daughter Rebecca, Kristen's best friend.

You could see a little uncertanty on the faces of some of the attendees but after the instructors skillfully took each student through the land simulation they were all eager to hit the water. The winds were a bit stronger than ideal for learning but once they got the hang of tacking and getting underway they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I saw a few students flitting about getting some real good speed, of course ear to ear grins followed. I reminiced back to that feeling I had when I first started windsurfing. It's what got me hooked on the sport. You know when your moving along steadily getting a little faster, the sail starts to feel light in your hands and your beginning to get that sensation of speed even though your not quite planning. That feeling that makes you want go even faster. Then you have a moment when you realize your getting this sensation just from the power of the wind. Awesome!

All in all I'd say it was a very successful event. There were a few times that some of the students were blown down wind and needed corraling there were also a few reports of jellyfish stings. Safe Sea Sunblock is a wonderful product to keep those critters from ruining your day.

My daughter was a little dissapointed that she couldn't do more. She was one of the lightest sailors out there, even on a 3.5 the wind was a bit too much for her. I have to give her credit she hung in there. She didn't get discouraged and I think that's great. She told me on the ride home she definately wants to try again with either a smaller sail or in lighter winds.

I was able to ride an original Kona for the first time. Nice board..... when powered up with my 7.8 it sailed so smooth and gliding through the holes was effortless. It did suprise me how loose the board felt transitioning from gliding to planing. Once I figured out the trim with proper foot placement it wasn't a problem. I was even able to keep up with James on one of the new Kona 11.5.
Needless to say the Kona just got added to my wish list.

Here are some photos of the event.

Beginner boards and rigs provided by Beach Sports

James showing my daughter the fundamentals

Is he teaching windsurfing or playing "slaps"

Working hard to get the sail up.
The water doesn't show it because the wind was side off
but it is averaging just under 15mph.

My daughters friend making it look easy.

Tina preparing for the Gorge.

Newbies getting their sea legs.

A slide show of the rest.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Crap!! Denied again

I'll let the photos speak for themselves................

James finishing derigging and smiling because he beat the storm.

Or some other reason, close encounter of the coed kind, maybe?

Preparing for lift off

Afterburners kicking in

I arrived at York River Seafood. Took a couple shots of James while determining what to rig. I headed back to the truck and mounted my fins on the board. Started pulling out my 5.8 when James stepped around one of the buildings carrying his gear. He was wary of the storm so he got off the water. I told him that when I had left home the general motion of the storm was away from the launch. So he decided to wait it out. After 10 minutes we could tell the storm was getting closer. The wind died, the temp dropped, the clouds boiled and bubbled. The motion in the clouds was quite ominous, you could definitely tell atmospheric war was being waged.(too bad I don't have a video camera). Once the wind started coming from the opposite direction we knew it was over. He quickly derigged and I secured my gear.

That storm was 20 miles NW of and slowly moving NE away from the launch when I left home. I can only guess that the seabreeze and the storms outflow combined causing it to build southward while I was driving to the launch.

I started to head for another launch Messick Point but the storm was taking away the wind. Half way there I gave up and called it a day.

These late afternoon seabreeze sessions are proving to be quite frustrating.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Oh Well

I had been hoping today would be a good one for some TOW. Well mother nature threw a curve ball. The forecast had been looking good for a SE thermal to develop at what is fast becoming my usual spot.

This morning I get up and check the IWS cast and the computer models still show what looks to be a promising forecast. Then I check the live update and her forecast is much less promising. Well I loaded the gear up anyway and took it to work with me all the while monitoring the actuals. Sure enough the model was dead nutz the wind was clocking around from west to east, the sun was shining and the band of clouds associated with a trough had come and gone. Ideal conditions for the SE thermal to build.

Around 1 pm I alerted James to my intentions. At 2:30 I checked the actuals again, the SE shift had happened about an hour ahead of schedule and had already built from 2 to 10 in less than an hour. At this point I'm getting excited I'm thinking by 5:30 when I expect to finish my work it should be 5.8 conditions. About 4:00 another band of clouds settled over the area and that thought of 5.8 conditions vanished.

I finished work at 4:45 and checked the actuals again, steady E at 10. About that time James called to confirm my suspicions.... Not looking good for sailing today. I found a few more things to do to buy time for the traffic to lighten up. Finally finishing up @ 6:00 I decide to check the actuals one last time and disappointment set in, SSE at 8, all thoughts of sailing today fizzled. Time to head home.

Wouldn't you know 20 minutes after heading home the wind came up. Not as strong as I hoped but sailable none the less. Would have made for a relaxing 7.8 sunset session. Oh well, sights are now set on Sunday.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lesson learned

I learned two lessons today. First…..Thermal winds will turn on and off like a light switch. Second….. always go through your mental checklist when hitting the water or else you will forget something.

I met James today over at York River Seafood. After spending the early afternoon checking the computer, watching the wind sensor nearest the launch, the wind finally started the shift from SW to SSE. In a span of 10 minutes it went from a fluctuating 5 to 8 mph to steady SE @ 18.

By the time I got to the launch James was in the water preparing for his first run on a 6.6. He recommended we get it while we could as a storm was brewing to the NW. I quickly rigged my 6.7, grabbed my harness, checked my lines, made sure my mast base was secure and double checked that my uphaul was attached at the mast base (I have forgotten that before). I made my way to the water as fast as possible, beach started and immediately something didn’t feel right. On the run out I could only plane down wind. If I turned upwind the board would immediately drop off plane though I could still make upwind progress. I ended up schlogging back in and started the ritual of making one adjustment at a time. Harness lines make a run, mast base make a run. It wasn’t till I completely spun out and fell in that I discovered the problem. As I was swimming the board into position to sail back in I hit my shin on one of the fins. The strange thing was the familiar sharp pain my brain was expecting a millisecond later never happened. The fin was soft. My very next thought….. Duhhhhh you forgot to remove the fin covers, Idiot!!! That solved the problem but by that time the wind was dying and the storm was getting pretty close. Once off the water and derigging the wind dropped back to around 5 mph and shifted 180 degrees, again in less than 10 minutes.

I should be angry with myself for spending the $22 in gas and tolls to get a frustrating 45 minutes on the water but just being out there after two weeks of no sailing was worth it.

2 foot swell to this in the time it took to derig.

Sun peeking through the storm

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In the beginning

I've been reading various blogs for several years and finally decided to do it myself. My writing skills are lacking and I generally live an ordinary life so I am doing this mainly to keep track of what is going on around me. I may post any random thing but my main focus will be on recreational activities. Windsurfing will be a hot topic as I am progressing into the intermediate stage of the sport.