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.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Survival sailing is fun!

I was lazy so you get two sessions in one post.

Wow!!! Thursday was a great day for high wind sailing, almost too good at times.

Factory Point was the call Glenn, Bob, Jack, Billy, Tom and I hit it around 10:00. Chad and John C. showed up later. We were treated to steady 60+degree, 25 mph west wind and an incoming tide for the first hour or so. The water had actually warmed up quite a bit, mid to upper 40's, thanks to the unseasonably warm days we have had for the past week.

Most rigged low 4m sails and 80 to 90l boards. Tom rigged a 3.7. I used the Bic Saxo 85 liter for the first time and a 4.1. Everyone was powered nicely.

I had a time getting used to the board. It is very different from my other two larger boards the mast track and straps are further apart which made getting into the straps difficult. When I did get a foot in, the board was a little too loose for my taste. So most of my day was spent sailing strapless. I couldn't really push the limits, but I did find that smaller boards really are so much more comfortable in rough water. I think with 5.5 to 6.0 conditons in rough water this board would be perfect. That is just not what I need so I will likely be looking for a different high wind board.

The wind shifted toward NW and picked up while we sailed, it also became quite gusty. I had started a run out after making an adjustment to my outhaul and got flattened. I assumed the adjustment caused it until I surfaced and got ready to go again. The sail was ripped out of may hand and the board and rig did a cartwheel across the water. I raced for the board and grabbed it. This was when I realized it was a nasty gust that was causing the trouble, the water looked like snow from all the whitecaps and the spray was obscuring the shore on the other side. Now I understand "liquid smoke". I walked my gear back over to the launch area and tried to wait it out in the water. The board kept getting picked up and tossed around from the wind. Thankfully, I had good control of the sail so it didn't get away. I spent 10 minutes waiting for the wind to die down, it never did so I headed for shore. When I tried to grab the board and sail to carry it up on the beach the sail slipped from my hand and went directly at Bob. I instinctively backpedaled into the wind while holding the back footstrap. Fortunately the sail missed him by a couple feet. I thought for sure he was going to get clobbered but he didn't seem phased by it. I made sure no one was even close to me when moving my gear the rest of the day.

I'd estimate the wind was 40mph+ for about 20 minutes. Bob, Billy and Tom continued trying to sail. Bob and Billy had a much tougher time than Tom on his 3.7. The blow did claim a few pieces of gear. Right after I nearly clobbered Bob he made his run out and heard a pop on his way back the subsequent start from the launch made it known the he snapped his universal. Moments later Billy came in with a busted Stainless steel spreader bar.

The wind did drop back down after a while though it did get a bit gustier with the difference between the gusts and lulls getting greater. Glenn got tired of survival sailing on his 4.2 and rigged down. I didn't have anything smaller so I added some downhaul and went back out. I spent a lot of time water starting thanks to all my crashes. I would get going nicely and because the board felt good where my feet were, out of the straps. I'd end up going a little too fast, catch air off the chop and lose touch with the board. If those darn foot straps had been about 10 cm closer to the mast track I would have been much better off. As it was I still had a blast, I learned some things and I found I really enjoy High wind sailing. The moment I realized it was right after getting launched this one particular time. I lost my footing on the board and fell to windward because I didn't let go with my front hand, the clew rotated 180 and dug into the water first, my body contorted and I smashed my hip into the mast. I took a few minutes to walk it off but I couldn't resist getting right back out there. The next couple days I will nurse my wounds, begin my search to replace the Bic with a board that better suits my style of sailing and keep an eye out for the next 4.1 day.

Oh I forgot to mention there was one additional piece of gear claimed by mother nature John ran a ground and snapped both arms on his carbon boom.

The previous Sundays post is below this sessions photos.




Bob Jibe Crash

Broke Boom

Separated Uni


Jump shots

Sunday's post....

York Point was again the call with a 15 to 20 knot SW to W wind forecast. The air was warm 65+, even the water had warmed up considerably thanks to several days of 60 to 70 degree temps. The previous session the water was 37 and today it was 5 degrees warmer. Not bad for February.

The ride out the launch was a little hairy I almost didn't make it and if it weren't for instinctive reactions and lots of practice driving on slippery roads as a teenager I might not be doing much sailing for a while. In my rush to get to launch I accidentally took the interstate off ramp at to high of speed It is a ramp that have used many times so I should know better but I was really anxious to get on the water. well it's really tight radius cloverleaf, fortunately it was pretty smooth and wide. I got off the Interstate traveling the legal speed limit of 65 but I only bled off about 10 mph of speed in the deceleration lane before entering the leaf. The moment I started the turn I knew it was to fast, a second later all 4 wheels started squealing. I knew if I hit the brakes I would just loop the truck into the guardrail so I hung with it drifting 3/4 of the way around the ramp. By then I had bled off enough speed that the truck regained grip. After that hair raising experience I will be sure to put pre-session day dreaming on hold while behind the wheel. There is a little chatter on James' blog about pre and post session driving.

The session was nice the wind was up and down. Two other guys came out to sail the launch with Dave an I. Pete T. and John G. a fellow blogger who has been on hiatus. Everyone was using larger sails 7.5 for Pete well downhauled and 6.7 for me with minor downhaul and 140 l freeride boards. John and Dave were on Formula with 9.5 and 11.5 sails respectively. There are two places that the wind backs off on a run in the SW and W direction. I don't know if it is just detaching from the surface in those areas because of the cool water or if a feature on the opposite shore is messing with the wind. Maybe it's a combination but it has happened in the same places the last couple sessions.

Pete did nicely on his kit. There were a few lulls that slowed him down but all in all he planed consistently. That's really no surprise, he is a very efficient sailor. Dave was flying all over the place.

John, well he had a rough day. He busted two downhaul lines while rigging his race sail. Dave loaned him a length of the "white line" so he could get out on the water. Unfortunately his run of broken gear wasn't quite over yet. He brought his board down to the waters edge and went back for his sail. Just then a strong gust came and picked up his board introducing it to one of the pilings on the pier. A nice 4 inch ding was the result of that introduction. I told him not to worry that was his third strike for the day so the streak of bad luck was over, plus I had a barely used thing of Marine Tex in my gear bag. He was out on the water with the rest of us in no time. The gusty conditions were a challenge for him when making the transitions but he was riding pretty well otherwise.

Since I was the last to rig and the wind seemed to be building. I figured I'd be ahead of the game on a smaller sail and just adjust outhaul and downhaul as the conditions changed. I should have rigged 7.8. I could have planed with that sail all day and easily handled the gusts. Oh well, live and learn.




Dying winds (This one looks better enlarged)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Board envy?

How would you like to find this stick at you local surf break.
I guess this captain likes to surf. I can here him now "I couldn't miss an epic day at my favorite break for sea trials, dude! Hope I didn't ding my fin."
Any one else got a funny caption?
Read story here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February sailing at York Point.

York point has turned out to be a great cold weather SW sailing site. When the tide is right you can sail in waist to chest deep water for nearly a mile. If it's low you can sail the channel and pretty much parallel the shallows. That was a real benefit Sunday, the air temp was in the upper 50 to low 60's but the water was around 37 degrees.

Dave and I hit it just after high tide. The winds were anywhere from 14 the 21 knots. Dave rigged up a 6.7 race sail and grabbed a slalom board. Even with the shallow water I wasn't real keen on spending much time in it so I grabbed my 140 l board and rigged a 5.8 and a 5.1.

Dave was pretty well lit, there were a couple areas where the holes were pronounced and we had to schlog through but for the most part we stayed powered. It took me a few runs to get my harness lines right. I can't figure out why they were so far up on the boom. Their position gave me fits in the early gusts but once they were in the sweet spot it was smooth sailing. Dave went out sans gloves so frequent breaks to warm the hands were in order. I sailed with full protection, the Glacier gloves kept my hands nice and toasty so my breaks were due to fatigue.

Toward the end of the session we got a half hour or so of stronger wind in the 18 to 25 knot range. I was still using the 5.8 and blasting on the edge of control in the strong gusts. That is until I hit a piece of chop wrong and got pitched. I often wonder just what I look like as those crashes occur. It has to be hilarious because I was laughing the whole time I was flying through the air and skipping across the water. The only part that wasn't funny was that cold water. After that I went in and swapped out sails. The 5.1 was better suited for the gusts unfortunately it was like hitting the brakes in the lulls.

I offered use of the 5.8 to Dave but he said his sail had so much range that he will usually go from it straight to a 5.0. He was right he handled it no problem. He looked like a rocket skimming the water. It would have been interesting to see the GPS speeds if he'd had one on.

I forgot to bring my camera so there aren't any photos.

After my last run I did come in and grab my cell phone hoping to get a little video clip of Dave coming back in. I was successful capturing the video and it looked pretty good on the little phone screen but on here it's not so good. The clip shows him completing a nice jibe around a channel marker then Murphy says hello on his way back out... Darn sand bars.

I know it's terrible. A video camera is on my wish list. I hear there is a new waterproof one coming out. I am available for product testing if someone wants to send one my way. If only I could get so lucky.

This coming weekend and part of next week we are looking at a string of 65 degree days. Might get a couple more February sessions in short order.