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TOPIC: Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 3 months 1 week ago #49

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Today, I squeezed a session in Winnebago between 2 meetings during an extended lunch hour. Launch at WindPower. When I got there, 7.5 conditions then by the time I was ready to launch 8.5 and when it was time to go back to work 6.5-ish. My head's spinning in confusion. I ended up rigging the 8.5, always edging for big to make sure I get something out of my hour of sailing and put the 124L on the water. Love my job!

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 3 weeks ago #50

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Yesterday, Friday 22, I took a day off to sail across lake Winnebago. This is part of the annulal Wind Power Championship that's happening this weekend. A bunch of friendly windsurfers racing long boards with +10.0m2 sails get together to see who's the fastest, the most skillful and tactical sailor. I don't have that kind of equipment (neither the skills!) but thought I could join the casual crossing of the lake event the day before. My Lightwind Falcon plus a 9.4 cambered sail would be good enough to keep up I though. Well, not quite because I realized that an old Mistral racing board is far more nimble than I remembered: it goes downwind and upwind in ways that the Falcon isn't capable of. So in sub-planing conditions I couldn't keep up but as soon as the wind came to 11-12kn with nice gusts at 13-14kn, the Falcon came alive and propelled faster than anything else on the water. So instead of participating to a traveling journey around the lake, I ended up with a local friend crossing the lake over and over our own way.
After Wednesday's fiasco on Lake Michigan, this Friday that predicted a poor and boring day on the water turned out to be a blast. The water was flat, the gusts powerful enough to get the French Toast on long-lasting planing stretches (that's how I name the Falcon since it resemble one, in proportions at least!). Don't have a gps to know how many miles I sailed yesterday but from 1:30 to 4:00 it was uninterrupted fun going upwind and downdwind, experimenting with the sail trim and the board's planning capabilities in lulls. Oh, and no wetsuit required: water 71 and air 87! A perfect summer day of fun. Drove back home with probably a slightly idiotic smile on my face, remembering the day, the chats and the beers on the shore!

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Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #51

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Now becoming a habit, I sneak out of this office for an extended lunch "hour" and head somewhere windy. Today was Winnebago - again. For some reason, Lake Michigan has been less than predictable with SSE wind lately. Maybe the water is still too warm and affects surface winds, who knows?...
This time the spot was Deadwood Point on the southeast shore. 5 windsurfers on the water. Wind was gusty and probably over 24kn at times and lulls as low as about 14kn. So I rigged a 5.7 and mainly sailed the 124L and a little the 100L. I just wish the 100L was a 110 or 115. The extra buoyancy would let me cork around while waiting for a gust. At 100L in fresh water and with my weight, my only option is to be patient till I can waterstart... Anyhow, the session was short and good and no one asked for me at work, ha!

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Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #52

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How does the new /in/ fottstraps setup feel? Still uncomfortable? You know I realized that my feet are rarely static when sailing my 94. In any case moving in and outboard much more then when I sail the 4 footstraps 110-especially my back foot.
As for 100L being small, I thought so about my 94 until I saw what Jacob and Patrick were doing on 80ish liter boards-this guys blow me away! I guess the wind hasn’t been enough for 5.7 sail. You are doing fine underpowered on a big board, but on a small one is a lot of work. I avoid using the 94 on lakes with gusty winds unless it’s nuking and even then the constant in and out of the footstraps is energy sapping. The last couple of times at Greenwood I might have been able to use the 94 if I had a bigger wave sail -6.2 or bigger, but I can’t afford that now so I resorted to the big wave board -the windsup in my case-instead.

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #53

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Yeah, the new straps setup on the Starship is much safer and comfortable. I have a safer range of lateral motion inside the straps (being spaced one extra hole apart) and no longer feel stuck for good in-there. So this is all good now. But I'm so accustomed to sail outboard that sailing in-board requires some getting-used to. Next occasion, I'll try to set it outboard and see the difference...

I sailed with Jacob at that same spot (I think he was there when I busted my knee earlier this year) and indeed he is a powerhouse on shortboards. ...Younger, more athletic, obviously more skillful and maybe a bit lighter makes a difference. I saw a few of his vids on-line and you can really see he is working the rig and board in a very dynamic way. Very impressive.

Yes, coming in and off the straps and wrestling a sinker + rig in the lulls are just way too tiring and frankly not that fun. As I'm mostly a weekend/evening windsurfer, I don't always get to take advantage of all the suitable conditions for this board. I sailed 100L in Bonaire earlier in the year and that didn't seemed to be such a workout then. Consistent wind, flat and 84 degree water, and waist-height depth clearly present a lower level of difficulty compared to our Midwest conditions. I also noticed that in Sheboygan, there's a wind shadow for about 50 to 100 yards off the shore, so passing the swell and shore break under-powered is a huge workout and gusty-Winnebago has most of the time too much lulls to make this a fun option... I need to loose weight or get 10 more litters to take advantage of what I have here at my level.

Comparing the 124L and the 100L yesterday, I have to say that when powered, the 100L is a much more manageable and easy board to sail in +20kn in chop and swell. The 124L felt was going to flip on me at any moment... and it almost did at a few occasions.
For sure, using the right gear for the right conditions is half the battle.

If I find someone willing to give me a decent price for my like-new 2017 100L Starship, I might say good-bye and get something in the 110-115L range instead. Got to think this through a bit more...

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #54

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I think a bigger wave sail would be a better solution then bigger board at this time. I’m dreaming about a 109 Kode sometimes, but with the purpose of replacing the 110 Atom . In that case my 6.5 and 7.5 Retros will have to go too and then I always come to the conclusion that it’s not a good idea . For my 167 lb weight a 86 and 103 combo would be optimal for wave playgrounds, but then I’ll still need the Atom for flat water/lighter wind and that would be one board too many so I’ll stick with the 94 for the foreseeable future as a compromise. The windsup is fun enough for light wind be it waves or flat.

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #55

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SAT. OCT. 07, 2017:
Big South wind day. I went just a stone-throw away from my home on North Beach in Sheboygan. Wind was anywhere between 14 and 30kn. North Beach is a bit protected by the jetty from the direct hit from the Lake Michigan waves so the shore-break is organized and predictable but the windshadow for a 150 yards out requires a bit of a floaty board. So I went with my trusted Atom124L and I rigged a 7.5! Yes, big sail but I wasn't going to sail there for ever and wanted to squeeze a short but fast session. I pulled on that sail as much as it seemed reasonable and off I went. Alternatively underpowered and excessively overpower. I could have rigged any sail sizes and they would have all been wrong anyway. The swell was impressive: In the lowest part, the horizon disappeared until I came up the wave again. It had to be 5 to 6 feet deep. The fun part was the return runs down the swell. Also, about 20 surfers had joined to catch a few 3'-4' waves at "the Elbow".

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Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #56

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SUN. OCT. 08, 2017:
Today was sunny and warm except Lake Michigan that has dropped to a bone-chilling 53 degrees! This time I sailed the Falcon Lightwind with the giant NP 9.4 V8. Unexpected SE wind came up and culminated at around 3pm: 13kn to 15kn fairly constant. It has to be one of the best session I had with that kit this year. The usual local Kite crowed showed up. Chasing kites, chat and beer on the beach made for a perfect 'summer" day.

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Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 2 months 1 week ago #57

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I was surprised myself how cold is the water up there. It’s 68 F at Chicago shore as of yesterday-a big difference indeed.

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 1 month 3 weeks ago #58

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Friday, Oct. 20
An other unexpected SE afternoon on South Beach in Sheb. Great 90 minute session with a few kites. 124L and 8.5. Water has not warmed up but that session was a warm-up for what was about to come the following day!

Saturday, Oct. 21
I spent the hole day at the beach! SSE. Started at 11am with a 7.5 on the 124L which became rapidly too big. By noon, I switched to a 6.5 still on the floaty. Swell and shorebreak started to be big. Wind picked-up a few notches - don't really know - at least 20kn gusting 25-ish. It became more gusty but it filled up nicely near shore. Switched to the 100L still with the 6.5. The parking was full: There was 2 other windsurfer and at least 14-16 kites on the water. No traffic control but no damage or drama. The swell/waves at times had to be 6-7 feet with pretty steep faces. If I didn't care busting my left knee, my right elbow or my left shoulder again, I would have tried to push the board up high in the air on one of those waves. This looked perfect for jumps: Sideshore wind and almost onshore waves. Experienced wave riders would have probably took advantage of that with gusto! I got a few crazy runs down the waves at full speed without much control and scared the sh*# out of me. Fun. The end of the session wasn't too glorious though: Wind picked up a few more knots and got me totally overpowered, This time the 6.5 was too much and I couldn't go downwind anymore. Running out of juice, I landed upwind wherever I could, I ended up pushing the kit downwind in the shorebreak towards where I started. No arms, no legs, no nothing, but happy! No pics this time cause I got lazy and didn't hookup the camera.

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 1 month 3 weeks ago #59

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Starting to get a taste for wave riding, aren’t we? Be careful, it’s addictive!

Sheboygan Chronicles - 2017 1 month 3 weeks ago #60

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For sure!
Every aspects of this sport is awesome!
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