Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dusting off the 3.5 Sail!

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.

Wiggins Cold Front 16 Feb 13 from James Douglass on Vimeo.

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.


Jeff Schultz said...

Looking good James, thanks for sharing the video! Whenever I'm sailing in 3.5 wind, I often question my sanity.

Dave Zajicek said...

Very cool video! There is something about the gopro lens. You can be on top of another windsurfer and he looks 20 yards away. Also really rough water just looks flat.

Jennifer said...

If it weren't for the temperature that day (as warm in Naples on that February day as it was in NH!), I would have been pestering you to show me how. Take me to the 4:14 minute mark!! Things happen for a reason and you would not have had nearly as much fun teaching me as you had playing in the surf.

"Excited" doesn't describe you on that day. You were practically vibrating by the time we arrived. I'm glad you were able to get there (and smart enough to bring your own vehicle so when we were cold watching, you could stay and play!)

Thanks for sharing - the video and your home and weekend with us!! We had a blast!

Rhonda's favorite Auntie Jen

Jeff said...

Awesome video and a fantastic ride!
I love your music selection too, very fitting as you literally "take a bow for the new revolution" and I'm sure you did "Smile and grin at the change all around".

Thanks for taking the time and effort to record, edit and post.