Why Opposite End Windsurfing?

Long Island, NY
I really,really like to windsurf. It is my favorite thing to do, except for teaching kids about physics, that is. The only problem is that I am not so great at windsurfing, at least right now. Several people in my area have created windsurfing blogs, but they are really, really good at windsurfing (and not too shabby at blogging). So, I've decided to give a perspective from the opposite end of the windsurfing skill spectrum, hence the name Opposite End Windsurfing for my blog. In it, I will share the experiences of someone who is trying to become a really good windsurfer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Night

Hi there! I know it's been over a year since I last posted, but alot has happened in the past year. I lost my father at the end of September (can't really talk about that, still having a hard time dealing with it) and then in December my former band teacher/director, the very famous Clem DeRosa, succumbed to cancer. There was a memorial held for him a couple of weeks ago. As a teacher myself I can't believe how many lives he touched, and how many former students of his became professional musicians themselves. I know my love of the baritone sax (still play) and big band jazz came from his tutelage. It was one of the great joys of my life to have had the opportunity to play in a band again under his direction several times in the past few years. It was like closing a circle.

Anyway, on to windsurfing-related matters. Quick update: I still haven't accomplished a full planing jibe. I am beginning to think, no, I am sure, that there is some mental block about commitment that I have to overcome before I finally complete one. Maybe I have to finally get married or something, I don't know. Also, I picked up a few new boards since I last posted. I am now the proud owner of a '90s-vintage Fanatic Megacat that looks brand new, a Fanatic Ray 130TE, and a Fanatic FW 102 TE. All sail sensationally well.

Back to the Megacat. Well, over the past few years, I had spurts of glory at the East Coast Windsurfing Festival at Heckscher State Park sailing my Exocet Pacer 300. Last year, though, I finally realized that I just had to get a genuine longboard in order to have a chance at doing anything in lighter wind racing, my over 40 years of sailboat racing experience (including an East Coast regional championship in Hobie 14s, the 1988 Sonar NA Championship and numerous small and big boat wins including a top 12 steering a Farr 41 at the IMS World Offshore Sailing Champs in 2000) notwithstanding. I thought that my sailboat racing knowledge would help me jump to the top in windsurf racing, but that has not been the case. Seems that one first has to have complete confidence in one's windsurfing ability in order to implement real racing strategy, as well as the right equipment. Hooda thunk it?

So, I picked up the Megacat last year to help with the light air speed. It helped alot at the ECWF this year as I ended up placing third in the 7.5 m2 class. Which was great, but I was often right near the top at the windward mark, and in one race fell twice on the downwind leg and went from 2nd place to about 8th. If I could have stayed up on that one leg, I may have taken 2nd place for the event, but I am fairly satisfied with 3rd given my lack of windsurfing experience compared to the competition. However, I do know that I am fast upwind in lighter airs, just like I was in sailboats. Interesting. I even beat some of the open class competitors to the windward mark, esp. in the first race on Sunday woo-hoo!!

One thing that I was a bit disappointed about is that I basically had no chance to get 1st as Pete R. found himself a Div. 2 board. But, I did just about beat him to a windward mark. Instead of crossing him, I should have tacked beneath him and beaten him to the mark, but I am still not confident enough in my windsurfing skills to use them to execute tactics, as I stated above. So maybe, just maybe, the Div. 2 is not the total answer (didn't I say that about longboards before I got one for myself?).

Nevertheless, skill is growing and if I can just gain more confidence, I am sure I will find that I am not as bad as I think I am. I also need to remember and practice all the skills that I have learned from Andy and Tom at the ABK race clinics.

The ECWF, as a whole, was a smashing success. Thanks again to Mike and Chrissy B, Thom H. and the whole crew for a very well run event. Everyone that attended had a great time.

That was actually my second windsurfing trophy, my first was a 2nd place in the novice class at an event held by the old Olympic Windsurfing Shop at Heckscher State Park over 20 years ago. I still use the cooler I won that day. This new trophy will go next to all my sailboat racing trophies.

So, time to get back to practice, practice, practice and hopefully learn to plane all the way through a jibe and to comfortably tack the Ray 130  in case the wind is up for the ECWF in 2013.

All in all, it was a great weekend and I even had a great planing session (that's the first time I've used that word, been feeling self-conscious about it for the past few years as it's a word that "real" windsurfers use) on Friday evening at Tanner Park with Jim M.

(PS I am sorry I used the "I" word alot and tooted my own horn alot, but this IS my blog).

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