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, September 23, 2009

I have been a SLACKER lately!

Not really!!!

I can't believe it's been two months since I've posted anything. It's not that I haven't been sailing I have, I've been taking tons of photos too. It's just between work, a drastic change in my home life and recreational activities I'm too drained to post anything. Facebook hasn't helped any either. So for those of you who have been asking for some content and some picks here you go.

I don't know where to start. I've had so many sessions over the summer with significant things to blog about. If I did my normal thing and talked about each session in detail, I'd have to write a novel. I just can't bring myself to torture any of you with crappy writing and poor sentence structure for that long so I guess I'll just touch on the highlights.

Here we go.

I spent a good bit of the summer sailing weekends with few odd can't miss weekdays thrown in for good measure. I sailed quite a bit locally and made a couple trips down to NC to sail at Rodanthe, Avon and Aydlett. I was glad I have extra gear because most of the weekends I had an instant sailing buddy. She ( yes I said she ) is from Germany and had done some sailing. While here she progressed quite rapidly, She learned beachstarts in one day and the next session a highwind day in Rodanthe she started making some waterstarts.

My accomplishments over the summer included hitting about half my Jibes ( though the last couple sessions I seem to have regressed) low volume shortboard tacks, making jumps and I even ventured into the waves out on the bar at Factory Pt. Unfortunately I still struggle with the sail positioning while trying to waterstart. I also have to get the obligatory catapult out of the way the first 20 seconds of a session.

The memorable moments consisted of.....

A vacation in Avon with an old friend from high school where I took my first ride out to the reef 2 miles out behind Island creek. The wind direction wasn't ideal for waves out there but I now know what to expect getting there.

A session at Factory point where I managed to Jibe dry most of the day until Javier pulled out his video camera. I think I did make a couple that were caught on tape maybe even a couple small chop hops. It was strange because the last time Javier brought out a camera was the first time I ever made a Jibe, now he pulls it out and I regress???? When I get the link to the video I will put it up on here.

Another was my first small wave session with Pete out on the bar at Factory Pt. It was a 5.8-100l day with little waist high wind driven waves breaking in the shallows. I had a bit to much power with my sail so I wasn't able to stay on the waves but I did learn a little about how to get over them. Made a couple jumps while pinching upwind and I was able to catch a wave from behind, de-power the sail and use the wave to gain momentum. I even managed to catch 2 or 3 by using the wave face to jibe off of.

The Rodanthefest at Bob's was where Becky started hitting waterstarts. She impressed me so much with handling the higher winds and her progress. A true natural. To give an idea she started on a 4.6 and my big board in 18mph winds and ended with the same gear with it blowing steady around 28mph. That's significant because she can't be a pound over 100. It is amazing that a few tips here and there from someone as unskilled as myself and she is able to make it happen. I started out the day riding 5.8-102l and stayed on it all day. The last hour I was insanely overpowered. At the end of the day when Becky was done I took the 4.6 and went back out on the 85l board. Even then I was over powered. I still can't believe she was able to hold it down. She should have been on a 4.0 or 3.5.

Now for the Present....

The last couple weeks we have had a persistent NE flow. That's very unusual for this time of year, there was a 5 day stretch where it blew 20+ every single day. I was able to get out on the best of those days for an after work session. 4.1-85l in upper 20 to low 30 mph NE wind. Unfortunately I forgot my boom as I hurriedly loaded that morning. Glenn saved me from not being able to get wet by loaning me one of his. But the damage was already done. My head just wasn't in the game so I floundered in the swell trying to waterstart and get back to shore. It didn't help that I completely screwed up rigging my sail and over downhauled the crap out of it.

We also had a bit of a rescue take place that day Peter B. was sailing along on his 6.5 and 100l board when all the sudden he blew up on the water. It was taking entirely too long for him to get underway and we were starting to get a rescue party underway thinking something must have broke, that's when we heard the shouts. Apparently the mast base wasn't tight enough and had come loose from the board so Peter was stranded rig in hand and the board heading downwind. he decided to ditch the rig and swim for the board but he couldn't swim fast enough to catch the board. So he was out there with no board, no sail, no wetsuit. Normally that's not a problem at Factory because the water is shallow enough that you can pretty much walk in from near where he went down. But because of the 3 previous days of NE wind the tide was running around 5ft so everywhere was overhead.
Keith who was out on the water at the time also heard the shouts spotted the board and spotted Peter swimming. He sailed over and grabbed the board and kept it stationary by holding his own rig in the waterstart position. I didn't realize you could essentially hover in one place like that. About the time Peter made the swim to Keith and his board John had finish preparing his Kona for the rescue. Seeing that Peter was safe John set out to find the rig which we were all sure was now settled on the bottom of the boat channel he crashed in. Amazingly John sailed that beast of a board out in 30mph+ conditions. What was more amazing he spotted the 2 inches of Peters sail that stayed above the surface. He tied it onto his back footstrap and drug it back to shore. The whole thing turned out well.... Windsurfer safe, gear recovered and nothing broken.
While John was searching for the sail it was interesting that the experienced guys said Peter should have stayed with his rig and waited for help. Their reasoning was that with the wind direction, the enclosed space that the Back River is and knowing there is really no way to catch up to a free floating board in 30 mph wind, He was at more of a risk of losing the rig to the bottom than of losing the board. The lesson of this story is don't go out in heavy wind without making sure everything is tight. Plus it is a good idea to think about what you might do for any given problem you may have taking into account the location, wind direction, currents and speed of rescue. A secondary observation is a 2 bolt base would have prevented this.

I too had a rig separation at a little fun race we were having just three weeks prior but mine was due to a mast track failure on my long board. I immediately went after my board and caught it after a 20 yard hard sprint. I paddled back for the sail and secured everything well enough and sailed back in without any trouble.

Current Week......

I was able to get in three sessions at 3 different venues. A nice after work NE 6.7 145l session at Dave Kashy's. Dave was on his formula gear with a 10.6 being that it was lighter winds. The water was 3ft above normal so I got plenty of waterstart practice even in the areas where it's typically waist deep. Because the water was so deep I also took some nice photos of Dave sailing near the dock.

The next was a short lived 5.8 102l session at Factory, again out on the sandbar playing in the waves. The wind went from nothing to to 18 to 20 and dropped back down to the low teens in about 2 hours time. IWS predicted it perfectly except for the timing, fortunately several of us kept an eye on the actuals and watched the wind band slide down the bay. We timed it just right and were able to catch the sweet spot. Once it lightened up I rigged a bigger sail 6.7, after about three runs it was even too light for that. Peter let me ride his kit, a 148 Techno and 8.5 retro which I was able to zip back and forth on. I did get a bunch of shots that day. It was great to have 16 of us sharing a great day at arguably one of the best multiple terrain launches in the area.

That's all for now I'll post up some photos I'm torn between posting the best ones. I've been getting better at using the camera so I'm starting to get some decent shots. Shots that might one day look good in print. Well they are as good as I can get with an inexpensive telephoto lens.

Better photos require......
Better lens = more $$$$ or
Extra $$$$ + upgrade gear = more fun.
Life is full of trade offs.

Here are the photos captured as video slide show.
The first one has shots from July and August. The second has shots from the beginning of September.

Very basic.

This one has music.