It all Started so Well...

View count: 80 | duration: 2:30 | date: 7 years ago on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Then I got a bit too keen...

Basically I went out thumping, but probably went up river a bit too much on my first run (outlined in black). It was going so well, why stop, what could go wrong?

Blown up river

Below is the low down, 30 knots drops to 15 right after I launched - that's about two sail sizes for me.

A Gusty 30kts suddenly dropped off

So the wind died and I was stuck. Hopelessly underpowered, water starting was really difficult. The tide was still coming in and the current was strong and I started drifting towards Riverview. Finally I managed to get going again, but instead of slogging upwind I continued in vain to get the board planing. This only lead to more trouble.

The wind around Riverview is really unstable, and when I fell in I drifted a long way before I managed to get my board ashore. I walked the board back up the shore and then overland. I figured I would have more luck slogging upwind amongst the mangroves where there is less current.

It was cranking

It seemed such a promising morning when I arrived a little after 8am.

River mouth not too rough

High tide wasn't until noon, so I was hoping to get out for a short run before the river mouth got too rough.

The sandbar was rough

As the tide gets higher and the swell breaks over the sandbar and then everywhere gets very rough.

My anemometer read 30 kts

At about 8:15 my anemometer was reading 30 knots so I decided to rig my 5.1m2 Loft 360 for the first time on my Tabout Rocket.

The sea was lumpy

The wind felt like it was getting stronger and stronger, trees were shaking, there were whitecaps everywhere and the surf was really lumpy. I really didn't feel like getting thrown around on a bigger sail.

Only a few people on the beach

I decided to wear my Personal Locator Beacon because there were only a couple of people off in the distance on the beach. Mind you, I would only use it if I had a serious injury, or was separated from my rig out at sea and couldn't get back in. Drifting up river while annoying, isn't something that would warrant sending out a distress signal. (By the way, behind them off in the distance, near those boats is about where I ended up).

Back to the story...

After drifting up past Riverview, making a land crossing and re-launching at the mangroves, I took a short break to get my strength back. My drinking water had just run out - I wear a camel back - 2.5 litres gone, so I was getting thirsty, hungry and sore.

Eventually the wind picked up, but I still couldn't get my board up onto a plane. In the distance I started see other windsurfer sails emerge, Nev and Royce had arrived and had taken to the water with gusto. I also recognised Ivons new 9m2 kite. The tide had also started to peek, so I started the laborious task of slogging up wind. Finally almost 4 hours later I was back at my original launch point. Nev came running down to give me a hand. Everyone was worried - they knew my car was there but had not laid eyes on me for the past 2 hours.

Nev coming in

Nev returning after another epic session carving up waves.

Meanwhile Nev and Royce had been having another stellar session. Royce came back in complaining he was underpowered on his 4.5m2 Ezzy Wave sail - so I had no chance with my weight on my 5.1m2 Loft 360 (Royce is at least 30kg lighter then me).

Ivon and Andrew on the beach

Ivor and Andrew on the beach.

I started packing my gear up and took some photos. Ivon had just come in and was chatting with Andrew on the beach. Royce and Nev decided to go out again for one last run. It was tempting, but I didn't want to tempt fate. I had had enough trouble for one day.

Kaleb and Ray

Then Caleb and Ray turned up.

Lessons learned:

  1. Smaller boards need bigger sails. If I had been on my Starboard Go 165 I would probably have been fine. I have planed with that sail on my Go in those kinds of winds in the past. Its also easier for me to balance on the Go board in rough conditions.
  2. If you start getting blown up river, stop what you are doing and start slogging back. Its much easier to slog a few legs than to wait until slogging capitalises the rest of your session.
  3. Man up! Sometimes you just have to commit to being a bit over powered and go for it. Go for the biggest sail you think you can handle, then de-power with downhaul and outhaul.
Posted by Henry Thomas, 7 years ago on Tuesday, October 12, 2010

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