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, June 24, 2009

Fathers day session. Paying some dues.

Well I spent a couple hours in the morning figuring out what had happened to my truck, Torque converter failure and lots of metal going through the internals. Going to have to pull it and get it overhauled.

The wind was strong so I decided to take a trip down to Ft. Monroe to check out the Sunday sail. I had missed the field trip down to Avon on Saturday thanks to the mechanical issue. I was really looking forward to it but there isn't much you can do about Murphy. The beginners attending Sunday sail had been cautioned that the conditions weren't conducive to progressing their basic skills so there weren't too many expected to show up. 30 mph gusts and newbies really don't mix well.

When I arrived around 3:00 there were only a hand full of sailors and most were experienced. The wind was holey now so I decided to hop over to Factory Pt. to find better wind and see who was there. Being that I was showing up late and it was Fathers day I didn't know what to expect in terms of who would still be sailing. Pete T. and Tom B. were just getting off the water with small 5's and saying it was backing off. I rigged 5.8 and got some nice planing runs on the 102l. The weeds would sneak up and get you every now and again. I almost got launched over the bars on two occasions thanks to some exceptionally thick floating mats. There never was a problem with water depth, even with the tide being at the lowest part of it's cycle there was plenty of water everywhere. Before Pete left I asked him to snap a couple photos of me. Thanks Pete.

The wind shifted NNE and faded a little so I pulled out the 145l big board and made a couple on and off runs with the 5.8. Peter and I were the last ones there we were talking about his gear and his need to get a weed fin for summer sailing around here. We were just about to pack it in when the wind picked back up so we went back out. I stayed on the big board expecting the wind to fall off again, it never did. The wind just continued to strengthen and shift back to N then NNW. It got to where I was way overpowered and the board was just too big. I really wanted to stop and get my smaller board back out but I was tired and I was only going to make a few more runs anyway.

The wind felt like it was blowing in the mid to upper 20's with higher gusts. I kept getting air off each wave peak I hit. I finally decided I'd had enough but I was out in the Long Creek channel heading toward the sandbar when the wind ramped up even more. I new if I tried to jibe or tack in those conditions, on that gear I would blow it and then be stuck in overhead water wrestling the board and rig into position then waiting for a lull to waterstart. Then I thought I could continue on out to the sandbar, I could give the sail some more outhaul and downhaul and sail back in relative comfort.

Lets just say I misjudged where the bar actually was. Too much sail, too big a board and rough water = a slow drift into Long creek a swim and a long walk around the point to get back to the launch. Don't get me wrong I tried to waterstart, did it twice only to end up crashing after about 30 feet. I tried to uphaul the sail. It might as well have been a tied down piece of plywood, the wind and the swell kept me from getting it upright and sheeted in. I did manage to get part of the way across the Creek by uphauling till the mast tip was about a foot and a half off the water and clew dragging in the water. That allowed the wind flow create a little forward motion.

It took me a little over a half an hour of walking and swimming to get back to the point so that I could sail back to the launch. I'll chalk it up to dues paid.

Here are a couple of the pics Pete took of me.

Not in focus but I was flying.

Jibe sequence. Now I can see some of what I'm doing wrong.
In this case I'm not keeping my weight on the carving rail.

Setting up for a waterstart

This guy was fishing near the bar, He had a pretty tough paddle back in after the wind picked back up.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

This can't be good.

That is what is inside the transmission pan on my truck. Doesn't look good!
I'll be turning wrenches the next couple days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nature Therapy

Today started out like any other day get up and get ready to do some work. That's not a bad thing I really enjoy what I do. I did my morning ritual of checking email then the weather and Iwindsurf for the forecast. There was a pretty good chance of wind so I loaded up a couple boards and sails thinking I would finish up @ 3 or 4 and spend the rest of the day sailing.

I started working and in between jobs I noticed I had a small hole in the lower radiator hose. Now I haven't had the best of luck lately, it seems Murphy has a real grudge against me. Anyway when I noticed the hole I restarted the truck hoping the pressure and the leak would subside as the coolant did it's job flowing through the system. That worked so I allowed it to cool for a few minutes then popped the cap relieving the pressure and wrapped the hole with one of the best inventions ever Duct tape. There was enough coolant in the system to safely drive it to the auto parts store and buy the supplies I need. Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to make it back home or to the shop so I had to change it in the parking lot of the store.

On the way to the store I remember thinking this detour would kill any chance of being able to windsurf. I went in and bought the supplies radiator hose, coolant a drip pan to catch any old coolant from the system ( can't have that coolant just pouring on the ground ). I figured I have to wait for the truck to cool down so I could fix it. Then I remembered I had start pulling the engine out of the race car for tech inspection within 10 minutes of bringing it off the track for a race. I could deal with the hot coolant get this done and go about my business. Well I got the hoses swapped and the truck ready to go in less than 15 minutes. With the hour and a half of downtime I could still get everything done, then spend a couple hours on the water and that just what I did.

There was a decision to be made about where to launch and talking to Glenn about Buckroe's shore break made my mind up. I showed up a Factory Point around 5:20 several guys were on the water Billy, Dr Bob, Pete T. Javier and Larry. Glenn had arrived fresh from Buckroe to say hi and Marcy had just left with a most contented look on her face. Billy, Bob and Pete were all on the outside past the sandbar. They were all well powered on the sails they had, every now and again you would see somebody launch a nice jump off the breaking swell.

I went to set up my board and I saw that everybody was coming in. I walked back over to chat and see what they were on so I could select the proper rig. They were all dialed in on low to mid 6 meter sails and 100l boards. I figured I could get away with a 5.8 and 100l as I'm lighter than most of them. Once I rigged I headed out solo. The combo was perfect I made a bunch of runs out and back hitting little jumps off the swell breaking on the bar. I'm going to have to get some pointers on jumping it seems when I really try to pop the board and get air I just skim over the top of the ramp. It's when I don't really try that I can usually get a little bit of air. I just don't understand how it is done. It is nothing like trying to jump a wakeboard. Though I did get some air on 2 jumps in quick succession. The first one my back foot came out of the strap but I still kept going the second one both feet came out, the board flipped and I came close to landing on my fin.

I had to come in for an adjustment on the mastbase once to settle the nose down on the speed runs and I had to come in once again to tighten my fin screw. I could actually tell that it was slightly loose because of the way the board was feeling. Other than those two instances I spent 2 1/2 hours on the water. I worked on my jibes at each transition. I'm so close but I keep fumbling the foot switch and or the sail flip. I'm going to do a little dry land simulation to build some muscle memory so my feet land in the right spot when I make the switch. I was also able to figure out how to get some speed out of the board in the flat water and how to surf the swell breaking on the bar. Mind you these weren't even what most would call waves maybe 2 feet but I could feel the acceleration on the face, I could sail out ahead of it and cut back to it. I know it isn't much but I figure it will help me prepare for the real thing.

I sailed up until the sun started to set. I didn't have any of the stress left in me from earlier in the day just an nice dull burn from the days work and the windsurf session plus a permanent grin on my face from the fun I just had. One of the crew likened it to an orgasm and I can understand the analogy.

It is not often you get a day this good so close to home, usually you have to go to Hatteras for these conditions. ( steady around 20 from SE ) The best part is there might be more on tap for tomorrow.

No action photos. But here is the sunset that ended the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Sunday sail of the summer at Mill creek and more....

Wow it's been a long time since I have posted anything. It's not like I haven't been sailing it's just that I've been to busy to post. Since I last posted there was a great weekend trip to Billy Mckendree's in Aydlett. A day trip to DR Bob's, a session at Dave Kashy's place, a nice high wind day at Factory Point and finally today a nice rare June NE day at Mill Creek.

Let's go in chronological order starting today.

6-14... Today was the first Sunday sail of the summer at Mill Creek. The Sunday sail is a planned sailing day sponsored by W.E.T. so the new sailors who have taken the Intro to Windsurfing Class can continue to practice the sport. It is set up so there is at least one instructor and a beginners board there for use by the students. Other Sailors are encouraged to show up and join in, give pointers and if they have extras, loan out gear. It is also helpful for the newbies to see experienced sailors out there doing their thing.

The wind was great it started NNE and light, built to @ 18 mph and ever so slowly backed off into the low teens. This allowed the students to get a real taste of what it is all about. I came out to loan out my gear and give pointers. I rigged up a 7.8 for me to use and a 4.0 and 5.8 to loan out. I brought the Hifly and my new acquisition an old circa 1990ish Fanatic 370 long board. Becky, visiting from Germany for the summer had her sight set on using the Hifly so I set her up with the 4.0 first then the 5.8. She has some experience sailing in the Canaries so the 4.o was just too small for her. The 5.8 worked much better, I still think she could have used a half meter more.

I sailed the 370 and 7.8 combo. I originally had a long board when I started sailing but I sold it to buy the Hifly because I thought it was limiting my progression. Turns out it was me limiting my progression. The 370 sailed quite nicely. I learned more about sailing a long board in those few hours than I had in the 6 years I owned the previous one. I had it flying across and down wind. Chugging upwind dagger board down and railed up I even tried to coax it through a few planing jibes. If it wasn't for the sail flip I would have nailed them. At the end of the session Bruce counted 5 students 4 instructors and a handful of experienced sailors.

Once the windsurf gear was stored Javier, Bruce, Pete, Becky and myself did a little bit of Stand up. Bruce had his RRD longrider and Javier had a Starboard SUP. I was able to ride both. the RRD was good but the SUP was smooth and stable. We finally called it a day and headed over to Marker 20 for dinner. Nothing better than ending great day with a cold beer excellent food and good company.

Remember to click the photos to enlarge.

A few shots of the WET hirarchy.

Are we having fun yet???

Javier and Pete making it look easy.

Becky cruising along.
What's this a rare photo of me!
I don't want any comments on my form

5-17... The Factory Point session was a strong north wind day in the 23 to 30mph range. It was supposed to be day 2 of the WET regatta but the high wind and frequent heavy rains canceled the competition. A group of about 9 diehards did sail, figured what the heck we were going to get wet anyway. Among those were John Q, Contos, Jack, Tom B, Chris L, Keith, D-man, there were a couple new faces to me as well. I can't for the life of me remember their names. I rode the Cross 102 and the 85l Fanatic with a 4.6m sail. I got plenty of jibe and waterstart practice the waterstarts are getting to be fairly easy now especially on the smaller gear and I made 3 or 4 jibes. No photos due to rain.

5-9.... The York point session at Kashy's was a late afternoon power hour session. I was on the 102 and a 5.8 and Dave rode his Formula to start with then then switched to his slalom gear, a 106l and 5.8. No photos.

5-3... This was a Sunday day trip to Dr Bobs. It was a classic Rodanthe type day just a nice steady SW wind that kept building throughout the day. I rigged 5.1 and 4.1. I made a couple runs on 5.1 and 102 liter, it was too much. Come to find out most were on 5.0 even the bigger guys. Bob was the only one on larger. Bob, you can hold down more sail than you think... Anyway, I went to the 4.1 and new to me 85l F2 style. I sailed that combo for about an hour till the wind got even stronger. My hand held anemometer was sustaining 29mph with gusts to upper 30's and lulls in the mid 20's. I decided I wanted to go again before I packed up. Most had pulled out their 3.7 and 4.0's, since I was already sailing my smallest combo I had to ride what I had.

I have sailed wind like this before but not in big water. The terrain is much different and the wind more steady so you really have to be on your game. There was no time to get comfortable and relax. Had to concentrate the whole time. Up wind was fine and I could stay in control. The off the wind runs were scary fast so I avoided it as much as possible. About every third or fourth reach you really didn't have a choice it was either a hair on fire down wind run or a reverse walk of shame. All in all I handled it pretty well got in a few small jumps and didn't hurt myself. Except for some non-skid burn on the shins. It was an incredible day, actually the wind blew like that for a better part of a week.

Look at everyone enjoying the 20 mph breeze.
About an hour later all but the best kiters were blown off the water

4-25/4-26..... The Weekend trip to Billy's place in Aydlett was a W.E.T event consisting of Fun races, camping, horse shoes, Foosball, a board toss, an excellent BBQ dinner and good company.

I arrived late on Saturday afternoon. The crew was out on the water running the fun race that was planned. I rigged up but by the time I finished the wind was all but gone. The social festivities commenced soon after the gear was stowed for the evening. John G, and I got spanked playing horse shoes. Food was ordered from Currituck BBQ and it was outstanding. The Mosquitoes starting getting pretty bad so the gathering moved inside it garage for more socializing and a game of darts the the Foosball tourney started. I thought I remembered being able to play a pretty mean game but I looked pitiful against everybody go I relegated myself to the gallery. The final event of the evening was the board toss. It was a heavy unbalanced old board but I held the mark for the longest throw through several rotations till John G. came out and managed to get it about a foot further.After a couple more attempts my shoulder let me know it was time to quit and John went down in the record books as the first Aydlett fun race board toss champion. John C, John Q, John G his sister and myself all set up our camping gear and turned in for the evening.

The sun rising over the sound was a beautiful. We were treated to a pancake sausage and fruit breakfast by our gracious hosts. The wind was squirrely and off shore most of the morning but it did finally get to where we could sail big floaty gear. I used my 7.8 sail and I took the opportunity to try out several different boards a Prodigy, Kona style and a Fanatic Ultra Cat. I spent most of the time of the prodigy and was able to get that thing moving at a pretty good clip I was even able to keep up with Mary on her S Cross. It certainly wasn't easy she is fast! The differences between the Kona and the Cat were numerous but each board worked as it was designed the Kona is more surfy and sticks to the water till it planes up. The Cat was light and stiff a bit harder to maneuver but much faster. Over all I think the Cat and the Prodigy were better for the conditions that day. John Q rode his formula and was flying all over the place Billy took us out on the boat and we followed behind John for a while and got a sense of just how fast he was moving. The day ended as the wind shifted and fell off.
There wasn't a whole lot of wind but there was enough to make the trip fun. I look forward to the next one. Billy, Mary, Barry, Robin and Steve thanks for the hospitality.

Hey Billy this is great

Cheering section
Robin giving it her all.
John accepting his prize