Monday, November 26, 2012

Partying and strong wind sailing. What a weekend.

What a crazy weekend.

Saturday evening we attended a really nice party at Almere Central Clube and Sunday the wind went crazy and was blowing with gusts of 40 knots. Insane!

The party was really kool, has was to be expected from the great people in the club -- if you want to learn how to windsurf then you won't find a better place than this club. The theme of the party was "mismatch". Everyone was supposed to dress with cloths that don't fit properly or match styles. It's even funnier than a costume party.

Then after a long night a very windy day. Tough stuff, really. The wind was blowing at around 25 knots and then a gust would blow like a blast, reaching 40 knots (with water temperature of 6°C and air at 8°C).

I took my smallest sail, a 5.4m² free ride and went in the water just to be beaten by the gusts. Eventually my windsurf session was more or less saved by Tom, who lent me 4.0m² sail. It was still hard going, still lot's of power in the gusts and somewhat under-power with the normal wind. Tricky. My tiered arms weren't helping also.

The meaning of all this is clear to me: cycling around is not enough to keep your shape for windsurfing. Upper body strength need to be maintained even when the wind is light for months - when with a bit of technique a windsurfer almost doesn't need any strength at all (unless it's a race, then pumping the sail is quite the workout).

Still managed to surf the small knee high waves, do some jumps and two or three gybes. Not that any of that was very well done, although it was getting better the more time I was in the water - I guess I was starting to get used to the strong wind.

Now I have to:

  1. find some nice set of exercises to increase my torso and arms. Hopefully without needing to go to a gym... I'm not a fan of doing exercises inside;
  2. find a good 4.2m² sail for strong winds;
  3. find a 9.5m² sail with cambers for light winds. It'll be heavier but a lot more powerful then my 6.9m² implying more effort on my part, leading to a better workout when light air sailing.

Next time we get strong winds I'll be ready for it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Wicked brilliant South-West wind.. wonderful afternoon.

Photos are worth a thousands words.. so let me share some with you.

Started the day pretty early to do some work. This is the view from my "home" office.

Then we had lunch were there was a scene that reminded me of this wonderful video by Tim Minchin:

A bit tiered of irrationality we quickly moved a bit North and West and to Riactiva for what was looking like a quiet sailing afternoon.

Well... the "quiet" part become a adrenalin pumping afternoon. The South wind picked up getting to around 25 knots so I was well pumped up with my 6.9m² sail (the only one I brought with me).

I'll let you enjoy some photos now…

My gybes are getting quite better. Board is flatter through out the entire gybe, speed is mostly maintained and it feel "safe". Time to move on to duck gybes now.

We windsurfed the entire afternoon. Only the sun setting and muscles aches made us stop.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Surprise wind

You go into the water, thinking that it's going to be one of those lazy evening with 14 knots of wind, just doing some light air freestyle (nothing fancy) and...

A dark cloud approaches, the wind picks up, rain drops start to fall and all of a sudden you're planning like crazy, fully powered with the 5.0m² sail you took to fool around. That's bound to be fun. Except... you didn't bring a harness, the sail is rigged for light wind and you didn't even had time to warm up.

Planning becomes the only option - the sail is a lot lighter when you're not dragging over the water. Still your muscles cry in pain, your hands clenched like hooks fighting to keep the boom.

In front some small shops cries for some hip movement and you can't resit. Timing it correctly you take off, flying over the water, closing your body, feeling the balance. One moment that last hours.

Eventually it has to end. Hands no longer work. Adrenaline surpasses muscle pain only until a limit. The later then returns with a vengeance.

The cloud that brought this episode is also departing. At the west the sun rays of the end of the afternoon shine in between red clouds, in the east a bright complete rainbow shines over a dark background of gray clouds. You open your mouth and a shout of pure joys is release into the air.

What a great way to end the day. What a wonderful surprise.

Hot summer days at Egmond aan Zee

We went a bit to the North of Holand, to Egmond aan Zee, to relax and enjoy the very hot summer days that have been happening here.

The beach was crowded. It reminded me of those very hot days that sometime happen in the south of Portugal, when even the ocean looks lazy and flat.

If you follow the link in the image above and then press the small zoom in button you can have a better view of the beach. I didn't upload the full definition image, but the one at PicassaWeb is still 4096 pixels wide. The full one is 17766 pixels wide... I don't think I'm going to upload that very soon...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lots of wind for everyone!

Well what do you know, it does get windy here in Netherlands. :)

Wind readings of gusts getting to 35+ knots (that's more than 64 km/h) and never less than 20 knots (close to 37 km/h).

And me without a proper sail. My smallest sail is a freeride 5.4 m². It's good for 20 to 25 knots but not so good for anything above that. That didn't stop me. A bit more downhaul and outhaul and on with flying I go. I have a feeling that I was going above the 30 knots mark several times (got to get a water proof GPS to check this feelings).

What did stop me was that after two hours I crashed hard when gybing. Somehow my left thumb lost a not so small part of skin during the crash and the messy going around that happen just after. That did made me stop. Now it's healing time, which I can only hope to be fast.

Enough with the talk, it's photo time.

Fun morning. Now it's time to get back to work

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What a great session

Planning like crazy the entire afternoon, five amazing hours of fun at Muiderberg.

The wind was blowing with 16 to 20 knots (8.23 to 10.29 m/s) which is not much but with my big sail (6.9 m²), a 32cm fin and my new Fanatic Shark 135 it was a question of using the gusts and a bit of pumping to have the board jumping into planning.

Until next Friday it seams there wont be much changes of having another good session. Then the South wind comes again, gusty and strong. Windguru is predicting gusts of 32 knots for Saturday afternoon. That's wicked! I do hope the forecast will remain true. I'll tell you about it next Saturday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Some good wind this past two days…

Last Friday and Saturday were good days of windsurfing here in North Holland. Saturday I stayed and do some work but on Friday it was a really nice session.

The wind was coming from South-West, so going to Muiderberg would not be a very good idea. I end up going to Almere Centraal with my RRD FreeStyleWave 100 litres (2008 collection) (you can see some photos of it here and here and my good old Blade freeride 5.4m² sail.

As in Portugal so is the South Wind here in Netherlands. Inconstant, strong gusts and bringer of rain. Sometimes the wind would be at 12 knots and then a could would move in the sky and all of a sudden it would be blowing at 24 knots with gusts of 28 to 30 knots. I had quite a handful in those moments but also lots of fun.

Good to improve my gybes and tacks on (for me) a small board. And some jumping too. Nice! I mostly stayed at North shore of the Gooimeer but sometimes would travel more South and get close to the South shore (for relaxing the arms a bit nothing like a long stretch of just going forwards.

Then in the evening we had dinner in the club. A nice pizza with the sun shining on us, nice relaxed music playing and very nice company. Life has its very good days.