Written by Walt Conley
Photos provided by Walt Conley
Cross-posted from Facebook Group
My first post to this group. It's been fifteen years since I have sailed seriously following a back injury in 2002 which was "fixed" in 2012 if there is such a thing. I sailed continuously from 1982 to about 1999 when I tailed off as I got into car racing. Fast forward to ten days ago making a trip down memory lane to sail in Hood River. After paying the spiders ransom to collect my gear out of the garage, it was time to clear my own cobwebs.
I think my newest piece of equipment was made in the mid to late 90s so imagine my trepidation of being laughed off the beach. In reality that didn't happen but I was impressed with the current state of development of foils which were just a curiosity when I last sailed. Fascinating to watch sailboards and kites up on foils everywhere I looked. Especially fun to watch were the strapless kite foilers who seemed magically stuck to their kiteboards. It was reassuring that my old 5.6 Sailworks Syncro on a 9.6 AHD race board were faster than the foils but they just look like such a cool challenge. Old habits returned quickly although my jibes sucked - I just couldn't quite muster the commitment needed for effective execution.
It's taken ten days to post here because two days after sailing I ended up in the Hood River ER with severe back spasms. So evidently after fifteen years a little more pre-conditioning workouts may be in order. 😎
Written by GCM
Photos by Tatiana P. Ruiz
While visiting Vancouver, I had the chance to sail at Jericho Sailing Centre (JSC) for the local slalom series. It was great to sail with more than 20 sailors (plus several windsurfers taking classes and renting gear from local shops). The event was impeccably organized by Linda and her team at UBC sailing with support by JSC and Club Locarno.
At the registration event, we could elect to race one of two courses based on our own difficulty/confidence level. A shorter course was perfect for initiating novices to windsurfing races while staying in proximity to the shore and away from the many sailboats and catamarans.
Initially, the wind conditions looked good with scattered white caps and wind in the low 10s, so I rigged a NX 8.5 and Hypersonic 125/50. To avoid rigging on the sandy beach, I stayed in the sheltered parking lot. As usually, it took a while to get ready. When I got to shore with my gear, it was about time to start the first race. Lined up in the water, I realized the wind had dropped to 5-10 mph and the downwind tidal current had reinforced. This got me worried about making the first mark with a 230cm slalom board to be sailed in displacement mode, so I walked myself up the starting line trying to start as upwind as possible.
At the start, I realized my position placed me in pier's wind shadow, which resulted in proceeding very slowly toward the first mark which I made but dead last. Throughout the course, I was able to catch up on a few sailors even if I missed a mark due to the current and had to tack twice to make it.
As soon as I got to shore, I ran to the car to pick up a longboard I carried to explore the Vancouver coastline, a 1990 Fanatic Ultracat. There was no enough time to rig my raceboard sail 9.5 and make it back for the second start. With a longboard, things went better as I made second behind another racer, Friedrich. Introduced by another sailor as "Friedrich always win these races," Friedrich kept up to his reputation by always being the first out of the block (I really need some practice with these beach starts in low wind) and the first walking (yes walking) through the finish line. As a matter of fact, to complete the course, a racer had to bring her/his gear out of the water and walk through a finish line. Friedrich sailed marvelously a Exocet Warp 380 and a tight-leech Ezzy Race 7.5.
Races 3 and 4 led to similar results. Whereas I was able to reduce the start gap against Friedrich, races were a continuous, and unsuccessful attempt to catch up on Friedrich along the course.
As predicted by some of the other local racers, Friedrich won the event with four bullets. Thanks to one discard, I was able to drop the first race, so I made 2nd overall.
Grant MacDonald also attended and rigged a 8.5 on his Starboard Phantom 320. Grant raced greatly throughout the course against another couple of sailors who were very close. His results were 4/4/3/3. Since the local Dmitry did 3/3/4/4, they tied after discarding a 4th place.
Overall, the wind and tidal conditions on the course affected the results as sailors with longboards did better and were on the front of the pack followed by hybrid boards. Still the many participants on actual slalom boards did not give up (kudos to them) and raced all the events.
In the meantime, Tatiana P. Ruiz took hundred of photos (and got me a cold beer just to re-hydrate before the last race :D) while enjoying the deck of the JSC restaurant/bar (the Galley Patio&Grill). She takes the credits for all the photos included in the post and for the full photo album available on google drive here
Written by Grant MacDonald
Photos by Jessie McLennan
The gradients were looking good for Lake Wenatchee and several windtalk members made the long drive to find sunny weather, cold water and gusty conditions.
Don and Grant, eager to get foiling, rigged small and both attempted the lake on a a pair of Slingshots. Bari and several others went with larger gear which had them blasting most of the afternoon.
With the wind coming up and both feeling a little kicked about the foilers went for traditional boards and made the best of it.
Written by GCM
Photos by GCM
RS:FLIGHT Aluminium Foil - First Impressions
On the Ground Impressions
This week I received the Neil Pryde RS:Flight Alu foil. With exception of the Horue H10 that was sold out in 1-2 days, this foil is one of the less expensive in the market together with the Manta foil. After reading a comprehensive test of various foils on a French magazine here I decided to try to get a Neil Pryde because of its wider wind range. An initial search among US retailers returned a negative outcome, as they are waiting their first shipment later this month. Therefore, I investigated alternative options, and succeeded in finding one in a UK store. The experience was painless as I ordered the foil on a Saturday and received it the following Wednesday through UPS. Given the favorable currency exchange, the total price was only slightly higher than the US price once shipping and taxes were taken into account.
The foil arrived well packaged into a box together with all the hardware and a 2 page assembly and tuning manual (see photos). It took 10 minutes to put it together. The package did not include grease as the Manta's or thread/teflon tape as the Slingshot's, and the assembly manual does not mention anything about it or about maintenance. I am still trying to get direct information from Neil Pryde. Still the British store told me that Neil Pryde suggests to take it apart every couple of weeks and rinse it with fresh water even if all the component are marine-ready. I plan to get some teflon tape anyway to reduce the risk of loosing otherwise difficult-to-find hardware.
Work commitments and a few windless days postponed the water test, so I took a chance to try the foil on a couple of perspective learner boards (2002 Starboard F136 and 2001 Starboard F155). Here are some initial impressions on the board installation and some specific features of this foil.
Differently from other aluminum foils, the head is welded into the mast, which may provide some issues but also save some weight. The first issue is water going into the mast from the bottom, but Neil Pryde took care of that by creating a couple of small drains, one in the bottom of the fuselage, and another on the back of the tuttle head. When I took the board out of the water on my initial test, I realized these drains are there for a reason.
The second, and maybe more serious issue is the threading. Since the tuttle head cannot be separated, it is very important to take care of the threading (otherwise, I am not sure if some local shops could re-thread the head). The British shop repeated me twice to use only the right screws (this foil use US threading, which is unusual in europe where metric threading is prevalent). The board came with 2 x 45 mm screws. I decided to check if I had the right screw to install the foil on one of these boards. Luckily, I have a good inventory of US screws (a previous lesson learned from messing up the threading of some expensive custom slalom fins was to order an almost full set of metric and us screws).
Once in my garage, I had to think how to connect the foil to the board without dropping either one. First, I tried to place one of the boards on two sawhorses and install the foil from the bottom. It was not a good idea. It was quite difficult to find the right alignment. I flipped the board and carefully placed the foil into the box. It was tight so I felt confident it was not going to fall down while securing the screws.
Since the provided screws came with very small washers, I decided to add some wider washers to redistribute the load on the deck. I also added a rubber washer between the metal washer to allow some minor movement. Once I found the right length of screws, I used a permanent marker to note it on the board (it would make easier to secure the foil to the board on the beach).
Once the foil was installed, I decided to remove it. At the beginning I was hesitant on how to remove it (it is not easy to remove a 8-9 pounds aluminum foil that fits tight into a light formula board). I certainly did not want to drop it and damage the G10 wings. I learned that the best approach was to push down the board tail with one hand and lightly hammer the front of the mast with the palm of the other hand. Once the front of the head was a little bit out, I repeated from the back, and so on. It did not take long to unsecure the foil and gently remove it.
On the Water Impressions
Fast forward to Friday, and I got potentially ideal conditions for a learning test. To prepare myself, I reviewed training videos from various sources, including the Foil Academy by Slingshot, tutorials by Horue, a video by Robby Naish, and an excellent tutorial by Hood River's MacRae Wylde. I developed my own checklist and I was ready to go.
Once on the beach at Browns Point, I found wind 8-10 knots with gusts around 12 knots, which seemed ideal and safe to try my new toy. For my initial session, I used the Neil Pryde RS Flight ALU foil on a 2001 Starboard F155 and a Naish Cruz 7.0 (freeride sail without cambers). I am 155-160 lbs. I think the longer and heavier board contributed to keep the bow down and reduced "foiling out" to 3-4 instances [Note: Foiling out means foiling too high with the foil getting out of the water reducing ability to control the board].
In my initial runs, I aimed on a reach, placed the foot in the front strap, started pumping, and then pressured down with the back foot to facilitate the take off. I was able to "fly" the foil, but I was not ready to it as I did not know where to place the back foot and how much to pressure it. Results: a couple of falls. Also, I am not used to sail without harness, so my forearms were getting tired. Still the initial falls showed to be manageable, and provided me comfort in taking the risk of using an harness, so I returned to shore and wore a waist harness.
In the meantime, the wind had dropped to 5-6 knots. I decided to continue sailing while waiting for the breeze to return (per forecast) and to assess the board/foil combo behavior when schlogging. I kept going for 1.5 hours with just 1-2 short water breaks. While underpowered, the combo glides well and point much better than the same board with its 70 cm fin. This should guarantee a return to shore as long as the wind does not totally die on me.
After a water break, I noticed some gusts in the bay, so I launched again. After I had spent almost 2 hours on the water, I was not much more comfortable with foot pressure. I was able to go and fly. Still, I had a doubt: am I foiling very low or just planing? Except few 30-60 ft long runs at mid-mast (mostly downwind or upwind), I was mostly planing (or low foiling?). The NP foil is very stable and I need to dig my heels into the rail (especially back foot) to speed up. Certainly, this is not a foil for standup/freeride posture. It seems more prone to slalom as stated by the French magazine, but it is quite easy as a freeride foils is expected to be.
Going back to the initial impressions, while planing/low foiling the water noise was much less than usual. I felt I was flying just 15-20 inch above water between chops. Once on each 1-2 ft chop, the leeward rail at the tail and the board under the front footstraps were touching the water.
Damage/fall assessment: I foiled out only 3-4 times over a total of 4 hours and ~19 miles (mostly schlogging) and had 3-4 rough touchdowns but nothing serious. No damage to gear or sailor.
Shore interest: This is a eye catcher. Several people approached me to ask what I was doing, and many other on the beach were watching me closely especially after I foiled out a couple of time close to shore. I guess they had noticed the board 3+ feet above water and me crashing. Once resting at the end, an man in his late 60s got close to my board on the beach to observe the foil, and introduced himself with "I built a hydrofoil as my high school project." We had a long chat about foils and their evolution. He is a local keelboat sailor, and has cultivated a lifelong interest in foil evolution. I did not know about the recent push toward windfoiling in windsurfing.
Most notable feeling: While schogging, I started a jibe and the board started to react lively. It was not feeling a schlogging jibe. Halfway into the jibe, I realized I was almost 2 feet high. That affected my concentration :) so I touched down 2/3 into the jibe but managed to not fall.
As described by other, foiling provides the same initial feelings that we felt 10/20/30 years ago while learning windsurfing (in my case 31 years ago). However, we carry all the muscle memory from years of windsurfing and windfoiling is exactly like windsurfing (until on the water). It becomes something different at take off, which will make some unexpected falls to happen until a new balance is acquired. One of the great things is that this can be done with a much smaller sail (on yesterday conditions, I would have rigged a 9.5 on my longboard or a 11 on my formula). The smaller rig and some additional safety measures (no back footstraps, impact vest and helmet) reduce the risk of injuries. Ideally, no harness would be best for the initial runs and falls, but I felt comfortable to wear an harness after the initial 30-40 minute practice runs. Certainly, it is best to learn in a 8-12 knots wind range and small chop as falls are slow motion and less brutal.
Written by GCM
Photo Credits: Mandy Hampton Fitch
We had a sunny and 50/50 breezy/windless night at city league.
At 5:30pm, a mid 10s breeze was blowing at Des Moines. We could see scattered white caps in the Sound. A total of 11 windsurfers attended the event.
Once we were ready to start, the wind had dropped and we were barely moving. Due to the risk of the wind dying, several individuals decided to fun sail but not race around the course. Others (Darius and I) started late because we were not close to the starting line, and it took forever to get there. We only had a race and was highly technical. After this race, we called the day.
The cumulative score to date suggests we will have some interesting races on the last scheduled date as the top 2 racers are within 4 points after 7 events and 18 races.
Written by Greg Mejlaender
Photos by Andrew Jacobs (to be posted)
Scoring by Rick Martin (to be posted)
Ok... City League #3 DID happen... 5 races were run!!
We had a GREAT fleet with 10 racers, "thanks to all that could make it". We missed a couple regulars and couple newer sailors... if they had been there, it would've really been an epic night for participation.
The wind was sail-able, but was not epic. As my late morning update suggested, the Des Moines evening wind forecast was dropping. So we did not even get 5-10 mph wind. We did have an evening of approx. 3-6 mph breezes, lottsa 4-5 stuff. So there was less hooked-in and leaning-back sailing... and a bit more pumping (hey, it's good exercise :)
Anyway, the evening weather was decent enough... no rain, not cold, mostly cloudy but with a bit of sun poking through at times.
The 10 there for CL #3 were...
We didn't have a Race Committee... so we did a modified timed countdown, and I handi-capped the fleet based on sail size and sailing experience. My goal was to start the folks who were newer, and or, had smaller sails FIRST to give them a "head start". Then the main fleet would start, the goal being to have a big group of sailors together, for a longer section of the race compared to what happens in a normal race start. And again THIS was successful... for example Bari has the least experience, and has the smallest sail... yet she was right in the thick of things, in many of the races. This is more fun for her, cause she gets to be in the main pack for a while, observing what those with more experience are doing. And it's fun for the experienced group, as they try to catch her!!
Written by Greg Mejlaender
Photos by Wilson Sosa Padilla, Lee Church & Erica M. Jackson
Scoring by Rick Martin
City League #1 was Epic FUN !!!
Most all the forecasts were quite pessimistic for any wind at Des Moines this evening... and most everyone believed it. However, the close-up mm5 showed wind at Des Moines for the evening (after a very calm, late afternoon). I figured there was a good probability of it happening... but the issue was timing. We're supposed to start sailing just after 6 pm. And last night's map models said, wind there at 6. However today's maps said wind at 7 pm. And I knew that, when I said "let's go" for tonight. I hoped we'd get enough to sail for an hour (or maybe 2, if we were lucky). And I knew there was a chance it would not happen... however the evening weather forecast was to be very warm (it was the warmest day in Seattle since early Nov). And blue sky and sunshine!! Therefore, even if the wind did not show up, we'd still have a VERY nice and pleasant evening enjoying great scenery and chatting sailing :)
Wind speed? I'd guessed early in the day (below) that we'd get 5-10 and hopefully a bit more than that, for the evening.
And well... we did get MORE THAN THAT... we had 10 to 18 mph (lots of 12-16 primarily, with whitecaps) wind from 6:30 till dark.
I started rigging at 5:45 when it was dead calm and others were out SUPing. By 6:20 they were back and rigging... we all hit the water after 6:30... we got the first race off just before 7 pm.
We ALL rigged our biggest sail... and tuned them for light wind... with less than usual tension on downhaul and outhaul. We all had full and deep draft jumbo sails... with the leech and head, as full and taut as we could, to catch the expected light breezes.
And we all would've been fine with a solid 5-10... but by the time we were all out at the Pier we had some whitecaps and 10-15. And for the 2 races we did, we had a solid 15+, LOL
Suffice to say that I and many others wished they had a different sail when it was 13-17 out there. I mean it was fine, and it was fast.. but it was a lot of work :)
We had a small fleet, with some of the usual's not there. Six sailors braved the weak forecast, and showed up... and as it turned out, everyone was REALLY happy to be there!!
Darius, Jonathan, Andrew, JohnM, me... and relatively new sailor, Plamen (who again surprised us with great longboard sailing with a big sail, in windy and wavy / swelly conditions). We all had sails from 9 to 11M. It's very difficult to sail downwind with a sail a bit too big for the wind, and in very choppy water.. but this crew has been working on that, and it showed.
Andrew and I were on Kona One Design boards. Plamen on a Mistral Prodigy. John on his Bic Bamba, Jonathan on Fanatic Mega Cat. And the coolest board there was Darius' new (only slightly used, looks perfect) Starboard Phantom 373 L raceboard (297 Liters of pure beast).
We also had a nice bunch of windtalk visitors there to hang out with us - Erica Church (Lee's wife)... Wilson (and family)... DanO and Kelli :) And I think we might be seeing some pics in a few days... that brave Erica and Wilson took, while standing in wind, out at the end of the pier.
So yes... we only got two races run... because of the late start... and because we were all worn out, after 2 races in more wind than our sails could handle comfortably. After the 2nd race most everyone stayed out, beam-reaching back and forth (BAF)... which is much easier than racing up and down wind. We were all fully laid out, over the water, and in the back footstraps on our longboards, reaching BAF !!
Two hours of great, fully powered-up sailing... awesome sunshine and blue sky with great views of Mt. Rainier and the Olympics... and the warmest day in 7 months!!
Written by Glenn R
Fri Mar 10, 2017 - Browns Point report
I got there about 1:30pm and rigged 7.8m/130L/44cm because it looked very windy. By the time I got to the beach to launch, the wind had backed off and it looked to be not enough wind. I launched anyway and I schlogged more than half the time while I was wishing for a 9.6m. I did get a few rides on the plane. I came in about 4:30pm when it looked like it was not going to get any better.
Written by Greg Mejlaender <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wed Feb 1, 2017 - Dash Point report
Strong east winds are rare for the Puget Sound area. I have an uneducated reason why this is, but it would take too long to try and explain. Anyway, on Tue Jan 31... I happened to spend time analyzing the mm5 wind model maps.. and I saw their forecast for strong ENE wind, for the next day (Wed) for the south Puget Sound area. The rest of the area was forecast to be light to marginal wind (2-15 mph) ... but the area from Sea-Tac to Tacoma was supposed to be strong (15-30 mph). And even more remarkable, it was supposed to be WINDY all day long, from dawn to after dusk!!
My next thought was... Where would be a good park for windsurfing, in that south Sound area, with the forecasted ENE wind?
With windsurfing we generally want some variety of "side-shore wind". We don't usually want an "on-shore" or "off-shore" wind. Therefore most popular windsurf beaches around here, are oriented to take advantage of the usual north or south winds that are most common. So I looked at a map, trying to find a beach park in the south Sound area, that had a shoreline running more east-west... instead of the usual north-south orientation we usually look for.
Dash Point park looked perfect !!
Wed morning arrived and all signs still looked positive. With this kind of winter weather pattern in Puget Sound, it also means that it'll likely be very cold and clear. The "mostly sunny and clear part" is VERY good. The "very cold part" is NOT good... but sometimes we windsurfer's will do, what we have to do, LOL
Anyway, 4 hardy local windsurfers got wet at Dash Point that day. We waited till after noon, to get the most warmth, and air temps were between 40 and 46 degrees between noon and 5 pm. The blue sky, sunshine, and Puget Sound views (including snow-capped mountains) were awesome. The wind was mostly side-shore... and was probably from 20-30 mph with a few higher gusts.
And Dash Point Pier Park was great. Mid-winter and a mid week day, meant easy parking. We parked right by nice grass for rigging... and a very short walk to the water (easy and short, whether high or low tide). Nice bathrooms (open even in the winter) were right there. There's public parking and public beach on both sides of the Dash Point Pier... we chose to launch and land on the downwind side of the pier. It didn't make any noticeable wind shadow... and doing this was safer. The beach was very nice, soft sand with small gravel... we didn't notice any hazards or obstacles. There were really nice big swells, which were fun out sailing... but made launching a small challenge, for those who don't have much experience with it. Of course, if the wind had been 10-20 instead of 20-30... then the shorebreak and swell sailing would've been less.
I will keep a look out for the right "wind direction and strength" for this place... as I'd like to get more experience with it.