Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan
I made it out to West Dennis on the Cape today! It was
really blowing when I arrived with guys getting
overpowered on 4.2s and small boards. I rigged a 4.7,
stuck it on an 84l board, got into my swimsuit&shortie
(the shortie seemed optional to me, but there were guys
wearing hoods, and everyone in shorties, so when in
Rome...) and got back to the beach to find everone
slogging or trying in vain to waterstart on their tiny gear.
There was no more haze of blowing sand on the beach.
None of this was about to dissuade a hungry midwest
windsurfer. I blithely (and easily since it was so small)
carried my gear to the water, beach started and...
hopped right on a plane!
I then promptly fell off that plane and stayed there.
After a few slogs back and forth and miraculously
dry-gybing thay tiny gear I could ignore it no longer
and went back in to re-rig. What to do... A 4.7 is a
wonderful sail to hold in hand, and I didn't fancy rigging
another sail in the parking lot or on the beach so I opted
to use some poor sucker who had been trying to waterstart
this whole time as an excuse to bring out the windsup and
offer him a tow. By the time I got way downwind to him he
had made considerable progress and didn't need any help.
Throw down the centerboard and head up and out
towards a rocky islet where there's a bit of a shelf which
makes the incoming swell stand up tall! It was exciting
to catch the swell with the modest power in the sail. The
power would drop out of the sail as you turn onto the
wave which was a strange sensation. I was able to make
some modest turns while being propelled by the swell,
and a couple gybes which were very easy due to the
lack of power in the sail. A couple hours of underpowered
sailing was enough. I went back in, derigged the 4.7, put
the little wave board away, had a bite to eat and resolved
to try again.
Wind was way down, with one guy doing OK on a 6.6.
Tide was getting low, so long fins were not a good option.
I rigged a 7.5 and went back out on the windsup with the
wave fin I had originally stuck on it. In the meantime the
wind had come back up! Sand was stinging my legs as I
struggled to carry the 7.5 in what was obviously way too
much wind... but why let that stop me? I flattened the
sail as much as i could and boy did I plane! I planed
diagonally, sideways, and almost forward. I've never
before wondered if it was possible to break a fin with
too much sail. The absence of footstraps which had
seemed so nice for footwork in the swell, underpowered,
now seemed to scream catapult, but I kept it under
control and enjoyed trying to keep up with the people
on appropriate gear.
It didn't take long to get worn out sailing that overpowered,
and the sun was starting to get low in the west so I called it
a day, packed up and drove the 2 hours back to Marlborough.
All in all; a success. However, I hope to match gear to
conditions better next time.
Hope you all scored some time on water today!