While the weather gods have been smiting the Northeastern USA with blizzards, they have been blessing Southwest Florida with great wind and waves.
Friday 23 Jan- Caught the tail end of a warm SSW wind with a 6.4 sail and 106 liter board at Bonita Beach.
Saturday 24 Jan- Big NW wind and waves arrived at Wiggins Pass State Park. I sailed a 4.5 on my 83 liter Starboard Evo, keeping it conservative since I was out of tune after months with no high wind practice. Alex Owens and another windsurfer whose name I can't remember were there on 4.7 and 5.2, respectively.
Sunday 25 Jan- Did the CGT Paddleboard race in the morning. After that I was tired and the wind was light, but I knew the swell was good so I rallied and went to Wiggins to sup beautiful waves on the 10'4" Angulo Surfa. The only thing that was annoying was three @#$%@#$% jet-ski bozos bashing around in the best part of the break the whole time. Unfortunately with just two paddleboarders and no surfers in the water we couldn't really vote them out.
Monday 26 Jan- Big NW winds returned to Wiggins. Sailed late afternoon until sunset with a 4.2 on an 83 liter board. Yeehaw! I probably should have been on my 4.5 for a little more power, but the 4.2 is a newer sail with a much better feel than the 4.5. At some point I'll get rid of the 4.5 and get a quality 4.7 for better spacing- 4.2, 4.7, 5.5
Tuesday 27 Jan- Sailed 5pm until sunset on a 6.4 and 106 liter board in onshore wind and smallish waves. Good times.
I want to say a little more about the CGT paddle race because it actually went really well for me. There was a big turnout, with 30 people racing and a good bunch of spectators and supporters. I got second place overall, finishing in 0:45:00.
The race committee ran the show in a "time trial" format, releasing one paddler at a time and keeping track of both start and finish times to calculate time elapsed. It was fun passing the paddlers who had started ahead of me, especially a few athletic-looking dudes on raceboards who had seemed intimidatingly fast at the starting line.
The winner and fastest racer by far was a 63 year old triathlete named Rand Perkins, who I figured averaged 5.83 mph to my 5.47 mph. We never passed each other going the same direction, but from what I saw he seemed to have an extremely rapid "cadence," meaning he was doing many strokes per minute but the length of each stroke was fairly short. I'm not sure if that's a technique than can work for anyone, or if you need to have triathlete level quickness and cardiovascular fitness, but I'll give it a try. Of course I also checked out Rand's board and asked him about it after the race. He said it's 23" wide, which is a definite speed advantage IF you can manage not to tip it over. To make it more stable the standing area is deeply recessed like in a canoe, with some vent holes in the side to let out any water that splashes in. Rand had custom-dug even deeper holes right under his feet to maximize the low-center-of-gravity effect. As cool as that looked, I'm inclined to stick with my current board and try to make some gains with more fitness and technique development.