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.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What are you thankful for?

Today is the day we all give thanks for the things we have Health, life, love and for some possesion and prosperity. I tend to use this day to be thankful for or all the memories I've acquired through out my life. With each of those memories I can see how my life has been shaped. The family memories tend to be the ones that pop into my mind the most from spending time with my parents, my grandparents and my extended family to spending time with my wife's family. I was blessed to have been brought up to appreciate the value of having a close family and though I have not had much opportunity to spend time with the extended portion of my family since the passing of my grandparents, they are always in my thoughts this time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clearing winds at Factory

Yesterday we had a nice but squally S to SW day with temps in the mid to upper 70's. I didn't get out and from the sounds of it I didn't miss much. The mid 50 degree water temps were just a little too cold to allow the warmer wind to attach to the surface. Unless you were at a launch where the wind was blowing off shore or in close proximity to land upwind of you.

Today the air temp was closer to the water temperature allowing the westerly winds to reach the surface. Unfortunately they were on the gusty side. I arrived at Factory Point just after 11am. I rigged a 5.1 and a 5.8 and sailed both on the 102l Cross. Pete, Billy, Vito and quite a few others were all rigging multiple sails expecting the conditions to change through out the day. Several of us were worried we might not have brought small enough sails, the wind was well above the forecasted strength while we were all rigging.

When I first got on the water with the 5.1 I mounted the board and went to hook in but there was no hook, I forgot to put on my harness. When I got back out after donning my harness I was either way over powered or under powered as the winds were anywhere from the mid teens up to around 30mph. Once I got the harness lines set right I was able to handle it without getting catapulted.

This is the first time I've really spent a lot of time on the Cross and I found it to be a little on the squirrely side at least as it compares to the Hifly. It took me about 10 runs to get a good feel for it. I think I'm going to like the board for moderate winds.

Even though the board makes the entry into jibes feel effortless I wasn't able to hit any, I just couldn't get past the sail flip. I did get a bunch of waterstart practice early on. The water depth was enough that I could barely touch so I made it a point of not cheating while getting the sail and board positioned. I spent some time steering the board in the prone position with both feet on the board. That was really helpful for keeping the board and sail in the proper position for the start. I did make several starts going both directions.

As the day went on the wind dropped off and the peaks and valleys got closer together so I went in and grabbed the 5.8. I ended the day on the 5.8 bagged out and the Hifly. I should have rigged bigger but I just didn't feel like it. I was still able to plane just not as well as the guys on their 6's.

I got to break in my new Promotion 5.3. It was awesome, I was nice and toasty all day. If anyone is in the market for a new suit you should check them out.
I think this suit will work well for me down to the 90 degree rule, beyond that I think it would be drysuit time or don't sail at all.

Almost everyone had on thin gloves and head gear because of the low moisture content of the air. The evaporative cooling was a factor especially changing out of the wetsuit after the session.

Here are the photos.
Click to enlarge

I finally met Bruce the new President of W.E.T.
He was one of the last to milk the dying wind and water.
He had to bring the board in upside down to keep from dragging the fin.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

He's Back!!!!!!!!!!

(Edit, video added 11/4)
Dr. Bob made his return to the water this weekend after spending the summer rehabbing his surgically repaired shoulder. No one really expected to see him out there till next spring but the will to windsurf is strong with this one.

The forecast Sunday was perfect for him to ease back into the cool clear water of the Back River. The winds started out NE to ENE in the low teens and built to the upper teens as the day progressed. The venue was Factory Point. When I arrived there were several sailors there all in support of Dr. Bob's return. Javier had his video camera and recorded the days events for posterity. The fanfare created reminded me of a heroic Knight guiding his steed under the outstretched swords of his fellow warriors on his way out of the castle to slay the dragon. Alright, you will understand when you see Javier's video. Hopefully I'll be able to link to it.

Mid 6 to mid 7 meter sails and floaty boards were the call. Bob schlogged on out and found a gill net stretching across our path of travel. Of course nets and pointer fins don't play well together and he found himself in the drink. Fortunately he wasn't planning as that could have been bad for the arm. Beyond that incident he sailed quite well he looked very comfortable out there. I think it's safe to say he is back.

Here is the video. Thanks Javier.

Doctor Bob Returns! from Javier Garriz on Vimeo.

I think the 7.8 I was on was the largest on the water. So as the wind increased I was able to plane sooner than the others. I even set about chasing down John C on his Ultra Cat. That lasted all of about 30 seconds. He caught the gust I was in and worked ahead of me. I was able to keep up with him for a while and I was starting to feel pretty good about it till he yelled back over his shoulder that he was dragging on the bottom. Once he had enough depth he steadily pulled away. I cranked my board into my first gibe of the day. This one happened to be the opposite direction of the ones I was working on a couple weeks ago and to my surprise I pulled it off no problem, not even a bobble. I wish I could say every attempt felt that way but I was able to complete and sail away from quite a few. Going fast sure makes them easier.

Over the next hour the wind peaked and I was sailing overpowered on the 7.8 so much so that the sail felt really unstable. I went in and took a break and contemplated re-rigging. Instead I just added some downhaul and a little more outhaul and got back out on the water. After the adjustment the sail was perfect again. I lit out away from the launch and encountered the same gill net that Bob had previously warned us about. I too had pointers on so the board went from full speed planing to a dead stop in only a fraction of a second. Needless to say the resulting catapult was quite spectacular. I believe it would have made Catapulting Aaron quite proud.

Billy and Mary M., Tom B. and myself finished packing up just as it was getting too dark to see. We stood around and chatted for awhile Bill and Mary talked about their place in Aydlett, I'm really looking forward to trying it out. Mary also mentioned that it was the first time she has sailed Factory Pt. and now she might have to keep some of her gear on hand locally so she can sail there more often.

I think we ended up with about a dozen sailors out there Sunday. Even though the forecast was off by a couple hours and few mph on the low side, it still turned out to be great day. I think I'm going to have to join the Twelve Month Club just to give me motivation to get out at least one day a month over the winter and continue my progression.

I didn't take a bunch of photos because I spent most of the time on the water. Here are a couple. They are mostly of Mary, she happened to be the last and only one on the water when I finally got the camera out. They aren't very good due to the low light conditions and the long lens.

Clockwise Jibe sequence

John C., Billy M. and Dr Bob