Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Kiting

After watching kiters for quite a while, I am finally giving it a try. My brother in law, Zinger, has really wanted to try kiting so we decided to take a lesson this week. Kevin Gratton at Windpower Windsurfing & Kiting Center did a great job with us today, and Zinger really took to it. I only worked on kite handling but next time I will get on a board as well. Here are some videos and pictures of our first time out. I'm really impressed by how quick Zinger picked up the sport. We're both excited for the next session!

Zinger on a 12M Naish Ride. This kite worked great for us today!

Google+ Photo Album:
Winter Kiting 27Dec2013

YouTube Playlist:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Robbie Naish and Mowind

Look at this crew...

Almost 20 years ago exactly. This picture was taken at the 1993
Tudor/Mistral Tour Championships in Islamorada, Florida. It was a week
or two before Thanksgiving that year. Several Mowinder's took home
trophies and posed with Robbie Naish, who made a guest appearance for

Front Row: Steve Vande Corput, Mike Derr (he won the snowboard in a raffle), ROBBIE NAISH
Middle Row: Maika O'Rourke (spelling? She is George Konopka's daughter), Melissa Spoerke
Back Row: Arden Anderson, Wayne Anderson, Jim O'Rourke, Kevin Gratton, Dennis Lang

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Modified Mistral Energy

I read a cool post on James Douglass's blog yesterday, and it reminded me of a board modification I did a few years ago. I cut off the nose of a 1991 Mistral Energy CHS and added cutouts to the tail. I did this to make it a better board for gps speed sailing. Check out the YouTube video I made from the pictures I took throughout the project.

In the end the modified Energy was faster, mostly because the high end control was improved. The stock Energy usually started to feel very "nailed down" and unable to deal with chop once speed got over ~30 mph (using arm mounted gps). Top speed I ever reached on gps (with the stock energy) was 33 or 34 mph in very flat conditions at Bird Island Basin.

After modification the board felt much looser even at 30+ mph and I regularly recorded speeds of 34 or 35 mph in choppy local conditions on Lake Winnebago. I think the cutouts reduce the amount of lift generated way back on the board and lets the board ride a little higher angle in the water. It is also more sensitive to slight rider input to get through chop.

The reduction in waterline on the rail reduced the upwind ability, but the board still can get upwind ok as long as it's lit enough to stay on the fin. But definitely worse upwind if only lightly powered.

Overall, the mods did what I hoped - added high wind control and top end speed. It was a fun project and I would encourage anyone with some old gear in their garage to try a similar modification.

Check out these links for another project I did - adding double chicken straps to my Formula HWR:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Enigma Slalom Boom

I just received a Severne Enigma Slalom boom as well. 180-226. It has a slender grip area and large diameter tubes by the extension area. Wide tail piece like the Enigma Formula as well. 8" wide for each of them. 

In the pictures I have the new Enigma slalom boom laying on top of the Blue Severne Line boom I had been using the last few years. I like the camo color scheme. Can't wait to try it out!

Enigma Formula Boom

I just received my Severne Enigma Formula boom. It has a nice slender v-grip in the working area and big tubes back by the extensions. The front end and tailpiece look very nice too. The tail piece is 8" wide. Check out my post on the Slalom boom for more pictures of the tail piece.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Windpower long distance race

After 3 course races Saturday morning in 10-15 mph NW winds, we ran a
long distance race (counted as R4 & R5). We started right off the
beach with a mark set just off the pier at Sunset Bar &Grill and the
RC spotting the line from the beach. We raced upwind to the same
windward mark we used for course racing, rounded to starboard and
tight-reached on port to a mark we set off of Deadwood point. We jibed
that mark and headed across the wind down towards the Fond du Lac
lighthouse where we could choose any channel marker to round however
we chose. I picked the most upwind buoy since it was the closest and
actually chose to tack it since I was in the lead and wanted to
maintain upwind ground to cover Mark, Kevin, Don, and Andy who were
close behind.

After rounding the mark the wind picked up to almost 15 mph and gave
us a nice port reach back to the course windward mark. I jibed that
buoy and started planing downwind as fast as I could since Kevin
Gratton was closing in with the help of some nice tailing puffs. We
split jibes as I headed to the south side of the course on starboard
and he pushed off the wind on port as he passed the windward buoy. I
was able to maintain speed and get to the port lay line to jibe and
head back to the beach for the first place finish.

I attached a picture that we got of the start of the race as well as a
google earth overlay of my gps track.

We had 5 more course races on Sunday in 5-10 mph winds. I'll post more
pictures and results when I get them.

I'm pleased to say that after 4 years away from winning the Windpower
Championships (with three 2nd place finishes during that time), I
finally secured another victory at this regatta with a
(3)-(1)-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 perfect final score.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lake Winnebago Super Crossing 2013

We had a great Super Crossing ahead of the Windpower Championships today. 15-25 mph wind out of the west at the start. I took my Starboard Phantom 377 with Severne Raceboard 9.5. A slalom board might have been a quicker choice (Kevin Gratton sure showed that it was, more later), but I really wanted to do the trip on a course board since I haven't done that before.

For the uninitiated, the Super Crossing is a long distance race that takes place the Friday before the annual Windpower Championships. It generally crosses Lake Winnebago on a reach, so a "true" Super Crossing is a SW to NW wind that allows us to reach from Windpower in Fond du Lac (south end of the lake) to High Cliff State Park on the north end of the lake. It is roughly 25 miles between the two points.

In 2010 several kiters made the trek in 30+ mph winds, but no windsurfers made it - including myself as I got spanked trying to use a 6.2 on a slalom board.

I made the trek solo in 2005 on a Formula board with a 9.0 in about 2:15 hr (about 1:20 there since a bit upwind, and about 0:55 back since a bit downwind). The wind was around 20-25 from the WNW that time.

This year was lined up great for a course board, so off I went. It was great being fully powered and I was able to hold a lead for about 5 miles until we were approaching Pipe, when Kevin Gratton started reeling me in. I was semi-relieved to see that he was on his trusty Naish 114L slalom board (instead of his Equipe2 course board), so I could feel a little better as he walked on past. I think he was on a 7.0 Naish sail as well.

Even with the equipment difference I didn't want to see him win without a fight, so I continued to pick my way through the swell and eventual get close to him again around the 8 mile mark (I had my gps screen display distance traveled the whole way) as the wind had backed down some. However, the wind ramped up pretty hard as we left the Pipe bay area and Kevin took off. I barely could see him by the time we got to the Brotherton point.

But at least we caught up to the kiters by the time we got to Brotherton (they had departed a bit earlier), so that gave me a nice target to focus on. Ed and Jeff had very good speed and I really had to chip away to get close to them (although Kevin was able to fly past pretty quick).

The wind and swell ramped up to their highest levels of the day as we passed the last point before the bay opens to show High Cliff State Park. It was a welcome sight since my legs were burning from holding everything together the last few miles in the steep chop.

When I got near shore I saw Kevin standing there, all smiles. I congratulated him on his speed up the lake, and told him I was going to sail back. I got to cruise back through the chop to the point just south of High Cliff and relax a bit since it was more of an upwind track that way.

Once I got around that point, the wind lulled and I sailed most of the remaining time until approximately Pipe in 10-12 mph wind. I was able to sneak into the footstraps sometimes and ride the fin, but usually got pushed towards the east shore and then would drop the centerboard and rail my board back upwind away from shore, as you can see in the gps tracks. Once I got near Pipe the wind picked up and I was able to sail on the fin most of the way back to Windpower.

It was a great day of sailing, and I'm looking forward to the races at Windpower Saturday and Sunday.

Summary Info
Start at Windpower

Get to High Cliff

Elapsed Time, North Trip = 1:21:45

Start Back
Return to Windpower

Elapsed Time, South Trip = 2:14:58

Total Trip Time = 3:36:43
Total Distance = 57 miles (this includes a bit of sailing prior to the race starting)
Peak Speed = 26 mph
Fastest Mile = 20.8 mph (indicated on 2nd picture below)
GPS Summary

GPS tracks laid onto Google Earth

GPS Data: Path with color indicating speed on top. Speed vs time on bottom.

Friday, July 19, 2013

33.6 knots

7.0 Reflex3 on isonic97 with 32 cm fin. Choppy but not bad if I could
stay in the troughs. Heading back out for round 2.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Saylorville Dam Jam

More wind at the 2013 Dam Jam: Slalom sailing on a 7.8 Reflex2 with 75cm wide iSonic
* Photo by Steve Callaway

The Saylorville Dam Jam had great wind again. We had 10-20 mph winds Saturday and did 7 course races on a triangle course. I sailed my new Phantom 377 with the Severne 9.5 Raceboard for all the triangle races.

In the lighter winds in the morning my brother, Adam, was able to post a 2-1-1 on his 270L Mega Cat 380 and Kevin Gratton posted a 1-2-2 on his Equipe2 and Raceboard 9.5. I was able to nip at those two a bit, but they usually got too big of a lead off the start line due to some poor tactics and pre-start planning on my part. So I ended up with a 3-3-3 in the morning, needing to rely on good downwind speed to get into third place after windward roundings in 4th - 6th place.

After lunch the wind increased and I was able to grab a bullet in R4 with Adam (2nd) and Kevin (3rd) in hot pursuit. Kevin was right back in it for R5 and sailed a great first upwind to run away with the bullet and I was able to maintain a 2nd place ahead of Adam in 3rd. Don Altmyer, Alex Monroe, Niles Book, and Wayne Anderson continued to mix it up for the next several spots.

In R6 I was finally able to sail a solid upwind leg and round the windward mark in the top three. A quick first reaching leg got me out in front and I extended the lead early in the 2nd reach leg. But then the wind backed off and I ran the rhumb line low to the leeward mark. But Kevin stayed higher with his later rounding and used a puff from the top of the course to ride down on me and overtake me at the leeward mark. After a tight rounding and some grinding it out upwind we sailed together into a very large gust on starboard tack as we approached the port layline to the finish. I was able to muscle through the tack quicker than Kevin and punch out from beneath him into the lead as we crossed the line. I was happy with another 1st place, with Kevin in 2nd and Adam came charging in from the right side of the course on starboard to get a close 3rd place.

At this point (6 races in), Kevin led with 8 points on low point scoring, followed by Adam with 9, and me with 10. The wind was building even more into the upper teens and I was hoping for another race, and the committee called one. Adam and I got a jump on the fleet by hitting a great start right at the boat. I was slightly ahead and Adam was slightly behind but to windward. I managed to get to the upwind mark first, just ahead of him, pulled the track back, and blasted away on my batwing tail. My gps read 28.9 mph after the race - not too shabby I think. I was able to get a strong first place, with Adam in 2nd, and Kevin making up the top 3. I found out later that Adam got his mast track pedal stuck down on the first reach and wasn't able to get that rectified until the first jibe or else he probably would have made me work harder for the bullet.

So after 7 races, Kevin, Adam, and I were all tied with 10 points. I fortunately had the tiebreaker with 3 bullets while they each had two.

Saturday night we had a good time at the floating bar at the marina and then camping. We had a little rain but not much compared to the heavy storms we've had in the past.

Sunday morning had more wind with 15-25 by the time a course was set. I took out my 7.8 reflex2 and 75cm wide iSonic 121. It was a great setup for the figure 8 slalom, and I posted a 2-1-1 on the day to secure the Dam Jam victory for the 5th year in a row. Adam beat me in the first slalom race so I can't be too disappointed in that because he was on fire also with his 7.8 evo3 on a 80cm F2 Hornet. Adam came in 2nd at the event, and Kevin Gratton rounded out the top 3.

Here is a link to the regatta report on the MOWIND page. Here is a link to the RESULTS.

Here is a Picasa photo album. All photos courtesy of Steve Callaway.
Dam Jam 2013

Sunday, May 5, 2013

First race of the year

I raced in the Walleye Wagatta in Fond du Lac this weekend. I won all 7 of the course races but didn't fare as well in the two distance races. Don Altmeyer finished 2nd in 6/7 course races and won the first distance race and took 2nd in the other to really make it tight. I managed to win by one point. Click over to the Mowind web site for the race report.

I was very happy with the Starboard Phantom 377 and Severne Raceboard 9.5 combo. The 377 is a nicer board for me at 170 pounds than the outgoing Phantom 380 was, especially upwind. I love how the 377 rails up in even a light breeze and slices through the chop.

Click for Results

Monday, April 29, 2013

Fwd: Phantom 377 hits the water

I got my first session on the Phantom 377 yesterday. Sailed with the
Severne Raceboard 9.5 in 5-8 mph winds. He board feels more slender
and rails easier than the Phantom 380 in the light winds.

Tomorrow is forecast to have stronger wind so maybe I'll get a chance
to try the planing capabilities of the new board.

Monday, April 22, 2013