Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trip Report 1-3 May 2009

Jason and I rode down to Corpus Christi in the Orange Toaster, my tangerine-colored Honda Element. For the first time, we stacked boards two high on the roof rack.

On the bottom, we strapped Jason's 160 liter board directly to the rack. On top of that, we used another set of nylon straps to secure my 145 Liter board to the car. Between them we stuffed Jason's rack pads and then cranked down on the top straps. As a failsafe, we tied the excess strapping to the two board's footstraps.

The stack of boards worked, but had a noticeable impact on the Toaster's fuel economy. We probably used 1/3 more fuel to get from Austin to Corpus that Friday. The car also stood a bit tall with a pile of surf boards on top. No low bridges for us.

At Worldwinds, the anemometer spun like a helicopter blade. The winds were blasting in the 20 to 30MPH range. I quickly decided that my 6.5 meter sail would be unmanageable. Since I only own one sail, I rented a 5.3 meter sail from Worldwinds. I kept my 145 liter x-cite ride. Jason opted to stick with his personal rig, the 160 liter x-cite ride and a 6.3 meter from Maui Sail.

Needless to say, neither Jason nor I had any issues with water starts. Not unless you count getting flipped to the other side of the board. But playing human catapult is half the fun, right?

My first sailing session was fun, but I realized that I was sailing too cautiously. Instead of rocketing with the gusts, I sailed like a big wuss. I tended to over-sheet and aim upwind to the point of stalling.

For my second session, I was determined to get over it. I hooked in, strapped in, and let 'er rip. The second session was much faster, more fun, and surprisingly relaxing. Speed isn't scary unless you try to fight it.

After windsurfing, Jason and I desalinated and grabbed dinner at Waterstreet Restaurant.

Jason RacesSaturday's beach weather was crazy. The highest recorded gust hit and insane 42 MPH. Otherwise the winds bounced in the high 20's and mid 30's. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see my 145 Liter board and 6.5 meter sail wouldn't be much fun. I rented a Fanatic Hawk 123 Liter board and a 4.5 meter Ezzy sail from Worldwinds. Jason rented a similar rig.

Like Friday, waterstarts were easy. My tacks, however, were a different story. I might have completed one tack successfully that day. Maybe not. Otherwise the wind and choppy water always dumped me off the board.

Necessity is the abusive parent of invention. I invented the following Windsurfing trick:
  1. Achieve an overpowered plane on a too-large board
  2. When you've gone as far as you like, turn upwind and begin a tack
  3. As you nose upwind, let the chop flop you off the board
  4. Finish turning the board from the water -- extra points for using the sail
  5. Water start and sail away in your new direction
I call this the "Falling Tack". Be sure to give me credit.

For dinner, Jason and I feasted at Aka Sushi.

On Sunday, the wind calmed down to the 18-25 MPH range. This meant that I was finally able to use my own 6.5 Meter sail and board. It also meant that I was able to tack and waterstart with ease, although I do admit that I missed the 123 Liter Fanatic a bit. It was a fun little board!

The more relaxed weather was the perfect conclusion for our three-day weekend. After a few hours of sailing, Jason and I made the long drive back to Austin.

2 comments:

PeconicPuffin said...

You certainly got good conditions! If you can't "board down" then put on a smaller fin to calm the ride down a bit.

John said...

Thanks Peconic, I haven't heard the smaller fin trick before. Very cool!