Here in SW Florida we get excited whenever there's enough wind to use a windsurfing sail smaller than 9.5 meters squared. So imagine my excitement the other day day when a cold front made it windy enough to use a 3.5 meters squared sail! That's 6.0 meters squared smaller than what I usually use.
It was a weekend that Rhonda's Aunts were visiting from New Hampshire. I felt sorry that the ladies didn't get to experience the mellow, 80 degree beach weather that had characterized most of our "winter" here in Bonita Springs, but at least I got to show off my windsurfing skills for them.
I started the session with an 83 liter Starboard Evo and an old 4.5 Ezzy wave sail that I got to replace the 4.7 Northsail that I busted in the fall. This was my first time using the Ezzy in real conditions, and I was pretty pleased with it. The wind gradually rose during the session as dark clouds approached. When the clouds arrived I got VERY overpowered. I tucked-tail back to the beach and helped some kiters make emergency landings. For a minute I wasn't sure if I would go out again, but the idea of getting a 3.5 session was impossible to resist.
Often using a super small sail like the 3.5 is uncomfortable and "twitchy." You alternate between being annoyingly underpowered and bouncingly overpowered on the steep, short chops characteristic of 30+ knot winds. Somehow, though, on this day at Wiggins Pass, the 3.5 felt just right. I had an awesome time playing in the choppy onshore swells. The very windy conditions seemed to make the onshore wave-riding easier, because there was still ample wind in the sail when turning downwind on a wave. I made a helmet camera video of the session. The 3.5 part is not until the end of the video. The song is by The Who.
PS- Not to knock big sails, I had a great time sailing in sunny flat water at a windsurfing race in Sarasota last weekend. That's going to be my next blog post.