Wednesday, August 29, 2007

August Trip Report: Saturday

As tradition demands, most of us ate at Agua Java for breakfast. Unfortunately Jason didn't feel well. He dozed through breakfast despite a wake-up call. He still made it out for windsurfing though.

At the beach the wind ran 18-25 MPH. Perfect weather for planing. Jason decided to purchase his own harness. I believe he got a DaKine Nexus. Meanwhile Alex took the introduction class. Chris, Matt, and Karen rented boards and just fooled around.

On the water I scored lots of planing action. I'm getting better control over the planing process and steering. Still, I occasionally drop out of plane for no good reason. I suspect that I am unintentionally sheeting out or maybe cutting too close to the wind. Despite this, my comfort level really increased over the course of the day.

For the most part I resisted the urge to wrestle with the boom as I skimmed along. Instead I tried to lean back in the harness and relax. Of course, this is hard when you're having fun going faster than ever before. Blasting along at power boat speeds on a tiny sail-powered board is insanely fun.

I still need to improve my steering, but my new challenge is dealing with chop. I have trouble maintaining direction and speed in the larger chop that the wind occasionally kicked up. The faces of the waves bump the nose of the board around. When I get launched off the bigger waves and catch a little air, I tend to sheet out. I have no idea if this is the right move or not. I suspect that getting into the foot straps might help, but I'm still a little nervous about them. I worry that I'll get catapulted while my feet stay behind.

Speaking of catapulting, I think I had my first serious launch off the board. A giant gust hit me when I was standing far too upright on the board. Next thing I knew, I was shooting down and off the top of the sail like a slip 'n slide. Surprisingly it was a lot of fun. A quick inventory revealed no damage to myself or the board, but from the shore it probably looked like I bought the farm.

Jason and I both experimented independently and attempted a few water starts. Although I managed to get on the board, it was a real trial and error sort of maneuver. More often than not, the board would steer into the wind or sink as I tried to get up. When it did work, it felt surprisingly graceful, easy, and lucky. I think I'll take the water start class next. I'm guessing that some actual instruction on the topic will help significantly.

Jason apparently still didn't feel well, and after a few hours rode back to the hotel wedged in the back of Matt and Karen's TT coupe. After a couple more hours on the water I returned to hotel to decontaminate. Jason had been napping, but seemed ready for some food.

Matt, Karen, Jason, and I met at Aka Sushi for dinner. Alex and Chris opted for the Executive Surf Club instead. I ordered a spicy beef hot bowl and shared in the sushi with the rest of the table. The beef bowl arrived in a big smoking-hot stone bowl. Resting on top of the food was a partially cooked egg. I gathered from the waitress's vigorous stirring motions that I was to mix the egg into the food and let the bowl finish cooking it.

Jason must have felt a lot better. He devoured his own meal in addition to a share of the sushi. I agree with the sentiment. Although I was previously wary of the wasabi-colored sushi restaurant, I really enjoyed the food there. The 80's music they played was pretty cool too. Yet another good restaurant within easy walking distance of the hotel.

After dinner, we all wandered downtown to Smokie's Bikini Bar. Now, the idea of a bikini bar seems sound to me. Until I visited this one, I even never suspected that you could go wrong. Silly me. The service wasn't too great, and the main attraction could have been a little more attractive. Understandably there weren't many folks hanging out there. The place seemed new -- perhaps they will get the hang of it later.

After abandoning Smokie's, we walked to Havana. Most of us ordered the (expensive) mojitos. Jason opted to make up for his missed breakfast by ordering an "El Infidel" sandwich. He seemed surprised that no one else wanted a second dinner, but wasn't too concerned. While he ate, the rest of us constructed swizzle stick sculptures and joked around.

We looked for more trouble after leaving Havana. Not finding any, we decided to call it a night.


WindAddict said...

Once again, the photo for this post was taken by Chris. You can find his photos on flickr here.

PeconicPuffin said...

Sounds like a good day! A few thoughts for maintaining planing speed in general...they will also serve you to keep control in chop.

You're correct in that you're probably sheeting out. It's also possible that you're also oversheeting, in which it feels like you have power in the sail but you don't speed along. Once you're hooked in and planing, beware of bending your front elbow...that's the same as sheeting out. It's a common reaction when you're afraid (ie blasting into chop, "maybe if I just loosen up a bit everything will be smoothing" but what actually happens is the sail reduces power, the mast base nas less pressure on it, so you bang into the chop more than skip over it.

Re oversheeting, a good way to avoid it is to try sheeting in not by pulling with your back arm, but by pushing out with your front arm. It's a more subtle way to trim the sail, and it will keep you dialed in if you stay sensitive.

Have fun!

dmlandry said...

I can really identify with that last bit of advice!

I am nowhere near planing-level skill, but I did spend that Saturday pretty frustrated with myself. I think my steering control was severely hampered by a combination of stepping too far back on the board, and oversheeting.

The next day was far more successful after John's advice to move my rear foot more forward, and I was definitely getting some good power by... I guess I would describe it as more of an upper-body rotation than a specific pull with either arm.

Oh, and I got a spectacular over-the-mast launch or two in that day. There must have been a gallon of water crammed into my ear canals! Good times, good times.

WindAddict said...

I think I am guilty of oversheeting too. That sounds exactly how I was reacting to chop. Thanks for the insightful advice peconicpuffin.