Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What a rip-off!

Another beautiful, sunny and windy day today. Solid 5.5 to 6.0 conditions for most of the day until....I hit the water! As you see from the wind graph, about 30 mins after my board touches the water at about 4:30 pm the wind speed steadily declined to almost nothing. There was little for me to do since I left the bigger sails at home. I rigged the 5.5 thinking the wind would last until the sunset but I completely missed it this time. It turns out that I overestimated the wind strength going out and the 5.5 was too small, I only had a few planing runs and then intermittent planing and then schlogging. Lately I went from rigging too big to rigging too small. I think that my "slightly underpowered" experience is over. I ended up practicing my tacks and hoping for a miracle that never happened. I am sure everybody else had a great day on the water today.

(The best time to go windsurfing and get skunked today was the one I chose indicated on the graph by the black arrow)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The perfect summer session

Last Friday was the epitome of the perfect summer day. Sunny, hot and windy! 5.5 to 6.0 was the call (look at the nice twist and little belly of my HSM superfreak 5.5) but going up and down at times. Two days a week like this and the summertime on LI would be perfect!! Nice to see all the people at the beach enjoying the fine weather. Up to 6 windsurfers at Shirley beach. The only negative note was that I damaged my board in a stupid fall. On the last run late in the day (when the wind was dying) I was schlogging when a gust caught me unprepared and I catapulted like an idiot. It really does not happen that often to me (as a matter of fact the nose of the carve was pristine) and when it does I try to let the mast fall a bit downwind to save the nose. This time it slammed right in the middle of the board and this is the end result:

The compression shock has caused a 4" crack near the rail. It doesn't look like there is a lot of water coming out of the crack but I will try to vacuum bag it and then l fix it with some epoxy filler. The carve '04 wood is a sweet board that reminds me of a woman a lot (I won't be more specific...): light, nice curves, lively and fast but very delicate and high maintenance. I'll be using the AHD 92L for a while. Is that cheating???

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finally some solid wind

When the insanity of LI windsurfers was reaching alarming levels and some of us had even entered a state of delirium wishing hurricanes would hit the island, today another cold front brought us juicy 6.0 conditions. They said the front was weak but frankly I have seen weaker than this...
Anyhow we were blessed with beautiful sunny skies, temperatures in the eighties and complete absence of thunderstorms.

This post is about how useful a mast cam can be if you wish to improve your jibing. These shots were taken with my trusty Canon, not that GoPro toy.

the entry; ok that's easy but I should have moved my right hand further back

the carve; not too crappy

the mast moves to the outside; at this point my left foot should be out of the strap and about to step on the inside rail (it is not)

about to flip the sail but my left foot is still hanging on the center of the board and I haven't moved my right foot forward yet. What the heck!!!

I conclude that my slow footwork has screwed up this jibe. I have to move that foot earlier! Note that the footwork was slow but did not necessarily stall the board (a 111L). Fans of the "flip the sail first" like my compatriot Giampaolo claim that switching the foot first increases the chances to stall the board when you are learning to jibe on smaller boards. Hhmmm not so sure about that. "Giampa" likes provocations but I doubt he reads this blog.
In any case there is no chance to get planing exits without an efficient footwork. But practice (and a mast cam) makes perfect.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thermal winds

In his or her quick descent to insanity caused by lack of wind, the summertime LI windsurfer has only one hope: thermal winds. In between cold fronts when high pressure builds up and remains over the island for several days, the chance is that a SW breeze will blow from midday though early afternoon due to the temperature difference between the land and the ocean. These thermal winds are the only thing that can get our boards moving these days. This is more or less what happened yesterday in the South Bay.

As you see from the wind plot, the thermal builds up in the morning as the land warms up reaching about 15 mph by midday (gusts are more representative of what you get on the water). It's not a lot but it can get me on a plane with my largest sail/board combination pictured below:

It's an Exocet Speed Slider 135L with a big weed fin and a Goya FXR 8.0. I launched near Bellport in a spot I never checked before close to a few really cute summer houses right on the beach. There were at least other 2 windsurfers in the area one of whom lunched with me around 2:30 pm when the wind was weakening. He gave up after one hour I think while I stayed longer. Later the wind picked up and I could plane in the gusts. In these days you realize what it takes to be a Olympic class windsurfer....
I have to say summertime thermals are not as strong and consistent on LI as on other places (notably the Southern Mediterranean) where I used to sail. But that's what it is. The best one can do is getting the most out of it!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Missed it!

Very nice, "sail-able" day on the island today. Cloudy but relatively dry and a nice easterly breeze around 25 mph. Unfortunately I missed it (yeah, I do have a full time job) but I suspect the Puffin & Co. have scored a good session so let's wait for Mike's report from the East end....
In the meantime, let's close our eyes and imagine we could jibe like this:

(Bora Kozanaglu - PWA Alacati 2009)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Josh Angulo's insight into the Fuerteventura Slalom race

I recently made a post about a spectacular slalom race which took place at the PWA event in Fuerteventura. In that post I have been wondering about any differences in the sail size used by the winner Antoine Albeau and Josh Angulo who finished second. Now Josh gives us some insight in to that race.

(Josh Angulo in Fuerteventura, image courtesy PWA-John Carter)

Q: Hi Josh and congratulation for your performances in Fuerteventura. The final when you were leading but later you were passed by Antoine (who eventually won) was spectacular! I was really curious whether Antoine was rigging a bigger sail than you. Can you tell us what size were you rigging versus Antoine and your special insight into that race? Again congratulations and good luck for the rest of the season.

A: Howzit Tonywind, Antoine and I were both on 5.5's and the wind was gusting over 40 kts. That was a pretty sick race. I had a good start and committed down the first leg, had the speed and took it into the 1st mark and remain in 1st up through the 3rd mark, after the 3rd mark Antoine passed me and to be honest it was soooo windy and gnarly sailing, that before the race I told myself just to sail my race, and part of sailing my race was just to survive and in surviving I got second behind arguably the best slalom sailor in the world at this moment. I also had another second , a third and a 1st in other finals that week, so it seems that things are coming together. Next event is Turkey, which is a completely different animal, but I'm thinking the 8.4 and my Magnum 83 are gonna be the key tools there and they are a sick combo.

So, the conclusion is that Josh proved to be extremely competitive not only in wave (were he's currently ranking 1st) but also in slalom. Antoine is simply a race machine capable of amazing speed especially in the most challenging conditions. Try holding a 5.5 on gusty over-40 knots winds! Undoubtedly the number 1..