Monday, December 27, 2010

New Kiteboard

The following excuses were the primary reasons I quoted to La as I rationalized the need to get a twin tip kiteboard:

"With the extreme low tides we've been having here recently, I need a board that doesn't draw a draft"

"It can be my birthday, Christmas and Anniversary gift all wrapped up into two (I used this for the kite as well)"

"I've got a lock on a great package deal (which I did - 15% off on current cutting edge equipment - in reality only a couple of hundred more than the sale price will be next October/November when this kite and board go on clearance)"

"If I get the next duty station I think I'm going to get, I'm going to need a new set of kites (this is another topic for another post)"

"You can learn on this board too"

"Carbon fiber is sooooooo sexy looking and I just can't help but looooook"

"It's a great board for boosting huge air"

"I need to mix up my riding and this board will help me do that"

"Did I mention it is laid up with carbon fiber???"

Well - for all the excuses, La let me get it and here it is all bolted together - the Crazyfly 137x41 Raptor Pro!!!

Now we just need some wind....

New 16m Crossbow

We finally got a day where it wasn't

a. Raining
b. Too cold to emerge from the cave/house
c. A requirement to celebrate a Holiday or Birthday
d. All of the above

So we broke off our root balls and headed to the beach.

La took off on a paddleboard run and even managed to catch some runners on the inbound legs.

I did all the unpacking protocol on the 16m Crossbow (testing line setup, removing all the tags, trimming any excess threads, etc) and pumped it up for the first time.

I was able to self launch the kite with the carabiner trick (keeping the chicken loop tensioned with a carabiner hooked into it with the other end tied off to a pole/stake/immovable object - then picking up the kite, setting it on the edge of the window and running back to the bar to hook in).

Really light winds, but enough to get a feel for the new set of wings. It got airborne in under 10 mph (closer to 8) - my 16m V4 wouldn't do that.

After doing some 'S' turns on the beach, La came in from her paddle and landed the kite.

So as you can see from this post and the other recent kiting ones, my new kite quiver is white and green Crossbows. Yes I am color coordinated and I am proud of it.

With the wind chill being what it was (30 F), the landed kite quickly became a kiddoroo shelter (as usual).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Engine, but "No Touchy"

After my many innuendos and hours on the internet, my A-W-E-S-O-M-E wife let me get a brand new kite (and board)!!!

No - not last year's model on sale....

No - not a second hand kite at a bargain price...

But an honest to goodness, current leading edge technology wing!!!

I was able to find a great deal on "this" (if you can't read the picture, the labels from top to bottom read:

2011 Cabrinha Crossbow, 16 m, Color 007 (Green, White, Orange)

2011 IDS with Recoil

Pump (and where I may be going next, I will need a spare pump - more on that in future posts as this develops - but for now, try an imagine the furthest place from Gulfport, MS and we see if you guessed right...).

The other purchase was a 2011 Crazyfly Raptor Pro - 137 cm of svelt carbon fiber sexiness that will "slash and burn" the poor water that gets in my way - that same poor water that will be hydrophilicly draw to it's oh so smooth layup... Oh the senseless destruction that will be occurring!!!! Is there no justice in this body of water???? Will no one help those poor, defenseless water molecules? No one?

I didn't think so...

You don't wanna mess with THIS!!!! I thought so...

(Right now you are probably thinking - "Has he lost his mind??? Is this a stream of consciousness that bleed out on the keyboard?" - well, read on and you'll quickly ascertain the reason for my "madness".....)

You may be wondering why there are no pictures of my new tools. That's easy. La got to the UPS man before I did. Actually, he avoided me even though I was engaging him in conversation.

La is a very pretty lady, so it's easy to understand why he'd want to talk to her instead of me (I am not a pretty woman) - but unfortunately, her charm got the kite and board into her hands first and quickly into Christmas wrapping paper.

Oh well - how can I complain??? This is a significant first (a current year kite and board) and I CAN WAIT for Christmas!!!


Lap Sanding and Hot Coating the LWKB

It hit the mid 70s today. That was all the motivation I needed to fair out the laps and put on a hot coat.

The pictures are of me in my sanding gear. Looks pretty intimidating to the innocent bystander (like my neighbors in the hood who were out for a walk) but I know I don't like the "pricklies" after unprotected sanding... Better safe than sorry.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

The Northern most lunar eclipse for another 475 years (this one happened to coincide with the Winter Solstice). Our tidal engine put on a good show this morning!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mods worked perfectly

Lots of resting and cleaning going on at the Velasco Casa today. After most of the action was pau, I took the boat out for a late afternoon run.

Pulled up to the general parking lot at Long Beach Harbor and dragged the boat out over the longest stretch of sand to test out the new wheels. The drag was better - not "floating on pillows on air" better, but definitely better than the old skinny wheel drag. Still got a good burn in the upper thighs, but my calves and lower back were spared the lactic acid attack.

The dead lift to get the mast on to the baseplate is now a thing of the past. The hinged mast base made setup easier, but you still have to walk the mast up before you can go to the bow and secure the forestay - best done with two people (I'll have to figure out a better way to do this).

Conditions were nice - cool water, steady breeze from the N-NNW and very little chop. I squeezed out 13.7 mph out of 16 mph winds - not bad.

We'll see what tomorrow has in store - warmer temperatures and lighter winds = sup'ing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


You've seen it in the background of a bunch of our beach pictures - our Kelty Cabana (Sun Shelter). La and I bought that sometime between 2001 and 2003 (I want to say 2002) so we could keep the sun off of Marlon and have a place to take a break after surfing. We were in Virginia Beach at the time and it was a great addition to our beach gear.

We saw one of their newer offerings (the Sunshade) shortly thereafter but had other priorities for the $150+ the stores were asking for it. Well the waiting paid off - we finally got ours from for $84!!!! It pays to be CHEAP!!!!

This one will be good for those calm wind, hot summer days when what we needed most was overhead sun protection, not the closed sides of the Cabana.

Unfortunately it is Winter (even down here in the Gulf South) and we may not have an opportunity to break it out on the beach (the North Winds are a howling!!!!), but that didn't stop us from putting the Sunshade up on the front lawn tonight!!!

As we put the new one together, La and I reflected on all the totally radical times we've had in the old tent - and it dawned on us that we'll easily have another ten years under this new Sunshade (all that kiting and SUPing...).

If you've been looking for some shelter at the beach, go out and get one of these today (while they are still CHEAP)!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

Yesterday involved a lot of time "not" at the beach. Errands, work and having fun with my favorite dude (Big M), as well as a decent mid-day nap - but I did get a 4 miler in in the late afternoon. The wind was supposed to be 11 mph from the South, but the frontal passage was progressing a bit faster than forecasted (my opinion) and I ended up with a paddling session (I learned my lesson from last week and brought a paddle). I also got the bug to install a rear position foot strap on the Starboard Blend - did some internet surfing to find a good model and ratio-proportioning and cut the decking material from the new stick'em screw plates. I still have to clean the stripped areas off, but once the foot strap is on, it'll make carrying the board to and from the water with a sail rig on it way easier. More to follow on this.

Last night the wind turned and really kicked up. Heavy rains pelted the house and just as quickly as they came they went.

This morning, the howls of 25+ mph winds, the swaying Yellow Pines and the blaring wind chimes announced that the interface between the passing low and the pushing high was here.

So - with gusts past 30 blowing straight offshore, I decided discretion was the call for today. Keeping two hulls in contact with the GOM might have been really challenging, especially with no crew (La, Big M and Noe have all recently been saying things like "I get seasick when the sky is cloudy" and "BAD DADDY!!!!" - if that isn't a hint I don't know what is...)

I did make it down to the beach to check out the conditions. These shots say it all - strong winds blowing the low tide even lower (I've never seen it this low before - I'm pretty sure this was more local wind driven vice gravitational tide), and whitecaps seen from directly upwind (normally they stick out like a sore thumb from the side - the wind was so stiff that they stuck out from a rear view).

In closing, there are two types of skunks - the one that spoils your session because you don't have enough wind (or surf, or fill in the blank), and the one that gives you too much of a good thing. I've been sprayed by both now down here on the "Third" Coast and I stink of "lack of stoke".

Oh well - at least I can see the water (i.e., I'm not in Baghdad) and there's always tomorrow (for kiting, sailing, SUPing and even dreaming of surfing)!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Afternoon

Drilling holes into your boat... not an easy thing to do, but after measuring several times over and using new drill bits, I managed to finish installing the hinged mast base for our trimaran.

I'll try to bring it out this weekend to tune up the standing rigging.

I also got in the axles for the new beach wheels. I finished installing those as well. Lots of spray foam to take up the void space and white lithium grease to keep the axles lubed up. I am hoping the tire width makes a difference when pulling the boat over the beach from the parking lot to the launch point.

Supposed to be another frontal passage this weekend - South winds tomorrow (maybe kiting...) and a shift to the North on Sunday.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Keep the skunks away!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

One down, one to go

After 8 months of being shelved as a project, I have finally gotten the hinged mast base for my Weta Trimaran to fit properly (as in having the mast lie as flat as possible without being restricted by pieces of the mast base).

Tonight I drilled the holes for the new 1/4" bolt that will serve as the downhaul block bar. I fitted the hardware so as to not deflect the base plate to ensure a flat mounting on the boat.

If I have time tomorrow (and if the dolly axles come in), I'll clean up the deck where the base plate will mount, and patch up the existing holes with some epoxy putty. I'll let the epoxy cure, lightly sand and measure-measure-measure the hole pattern for the base plate.

I'll probably go and buy a couple of new drill bits before drilling through the deck.

Long story short, no more straight lifts of the mast - easy tilt ups from this point forward and no more worries during windy days.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cold North Winds

It is that time of year again - strong, stiff winds push down from the North. The only piece of gear I can use effectively in these conditions is the trimaran.

Make a mistake on the kite and "Here I come Cat Island!!!".

Paddling around trying to parallel the coast (but having to paddle two miles on the same side of the board) can be a challenge.

Sailing the long SUP would be alright, but why fight it? Knowing that the predominant wind direction will be from the North for the next several months, I am starting to feel the pressure to finish getting the tri ready.

The new axles for the boat dolly should be in early this week and that will make the drag across the beach a walk in the park instead of a back breaker.

And I have finally gotten around to tweaking the hinged mast base and prepping it for installation. I had to cut off the block retaining bar for the downhaul and grind out a large portion of another bar that was preventing the mast from slipping all the way down to the base (for maximum support and no point loading). I ended up using the file ever so slightly on the mast itself. But now the hinged base fits perfectly! I still need to drill a set of 1/4" holes to install a 3.5" bolt to act as the new block retaining bar and drill out new holes at the top of the hull so I can screw down the new base.

I'll wait until I've installed the new wheels to drill out the holes - the boat will be off the trailer and I'll drill with confidence.

SO back to today - finished the prep work and drove out to do some errands. Driving by the beach, the water was flat as can be and the wind was howling!!! If I only had the upgrades done...

Oh and La ordered a Garmin 310XT wrist mounted GPS. Should make post session speed analysis really easy (wireless downloading!!!).

I should have the boat fixed by mid-week. Now if only the wind will hold up (not with my luck...).


Shifty Winds and "Look What I found!!!"

Marlon had a friend's birthday party to go to and Noe wanted to go and play with the Bday boy's little sister (her classmate), so I had a free afternoon. The winds were 8-12 from the SSW so...

I loaded up the 11'2" and the windsurfing rig and hit Long Beach. I got to the parking lot and broke out the anemometer - 9 mph on the dot. I dropped the board off at the water's edge and went back to the truck to rig the sail. As I was picking up the sail and walking out to the board, I noticed two kids and their mom hanging out where I left the board. As I got even closer, I noticed the kids were standing on something while the mom was taking their picture. And then they got off MY BOARD and she was picking it up and inspecting it...

I was ten feet away from them and they still did not acknowledge me - the only other person on the beach, and headed straight for them (actually the board) and carrying a windsurfing sail. By the time I was at the board, the mom was on her phone (I'm sure telling someone that she found this big ass board on the beach and she needed help carrying it home so they can sell it..) and I had to ask her to put the board down. She asked if it was my board and I said - yes - without being too much of a jerk (and if you don't already know, about the only thing I hate in this world is when people touch my boards). I sensed an ever so slight challenge coming from her as if she was about to break out the "finders keepers" mantra - but then I essentially walked the sail rig right past them and pulled out the mast base and started to screw it in to the board.

She then started to say she was just about to call the number on the bottom of the board to see if the owner had lost it - I told her those were the dimensions of the board and that she wouldn't reach anybody.

Man, that's the last time I bring the board down to the beach first....

Then, get this, the wind died. And I didn't bring a paddle.... I went out anyways and 20 minutes later the wind started to fill in again. An hour later - after several tacks and jibes, including a few longboardy clew jibes - I pulled up to the beach and packed up for the short ride home.

Weird day....

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Nuclear Winds

I don't know where the winds came from today (well - yes I do - frontal system passage) but I'll take them and more!!!

I was at the Long Beach Yacht Club this morning at 1100 anticipating a wild ride on Roger's F28, but when I got there, he said the wind was too strong - he had a report from a guy on a 40' Hunter out at Cat Island who said he had 28 kts on his mast top anemometer. Discretion is always the better part of valor - easier to walk away from parked sailboat than one that is sitting on the bottom of the Mississippi Sound because of a mistake. And by not sailing, I got to break out my 11m Crossbow!!!

Solid 15-18 kts from 1330 to 1530 (my time on the water). The Crossbow is a hell of a kite! Complete depower came in handy in situations where I would have eaten it with my other kites (sorry Naish - but in your defense, my other kites are old - and they're old so that is a good thing - built to last, but enough with my guilt trip of checking out another brand...). In one of those moments, I was coming down from a jump and ditched the board - the kite lines went limp and I braced for the inevitable bull ride (jerking when the lines tension up again) - NOTHING!!! I had time to stand up, take a few steps back and paid out bar to absorb the excess pull - AMAZING!!!

And the loft on this kite - RIDICULOUS!!!! Huge jumps with lots of float and smoother landings. For the type of kiting I currently do, I have found the perfect kite!

Kite design has come a long way on the last 4-5 years.

Cat Island is in the background of the picture - I felt like I could have been there in a few minutes the way the kite was flying. I think this 11m could handle at least another 10 kts without blinking an eye - and the jumps with that kind of wind will be in the ludicrous range.

Sorry for all the gushy adjectives - but this really was a good day of kiting!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lazy Saturday

As much as we have been laying around and moping, we made a commitment to get some stuff done and get out of the house. The weather was crap yesterday and La took the opportunity to put up the Christmas tree - I know she reads this so this is more for her than anyone else - The kids and I don't help. She doesn't want our help. Everything has to be perfect to her and if we try to intervene, it really isn't good for anyone. SO, the kids and I don't help with the tree. The kids even have their own small trees so they can decorate them and not La's tree. This is not a bad thing, so don't interpret this the wrong way. I have just come to realize over the years that La will decorate the tree and it is ok if I standby and watch. So that was yesterday.

Today, La and the kids rode their bikes (Noe and Marlon got upgrades - Marlon has adapted to his with little issue; Noe is getting the hang of starting and stopping on a larger framed bike). My knees have been acting up so I stayed home and worked on the kiteboard and the upcoming flatwater paddleboard.

Around 2pm, I made a declaration that "I'm taking the boat out" - the kids were silent. I guess I'll be sailing alone...

Well they did come to the beach and dug holes and built a cool sand castle. I made a few runs before the sun set. I unfurled the reacher a few times and was able to tack it with no problem (although the wind was light -I'm sure with a stiffer breeze I would not be saying this).

I finally figured out how to rig the reacher so it'll unfurl and furl fully - after raising it with the halyard, cycling it will solve the issue.

I got the beach wheels that I ordered, but not the axles. The drag to and from the beach sucked! It'll be nice to get those fat wheels installed.

Tomorrow should be time on Roger's boat. Hopefully the wind will be decent.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Laminating the Light Wind Kiteboard

The wind was forecasted to be 10-15 from the S today. We barely got 9...

So - I decided to finally laminate the light air kiteboard I made a while back. Every time I get skunked on kiting plans, I kick myself for not having done this earlier.

I had already measured out the finbox locations earlier this week - 29.5" up from the tail for the front fins, with a 1/8" toe-in; 12.5" up from the tail for the back finboxes - no toe.

Today was route out the box holes, laminate the bottom, laminate the top. The top has some strips of carbon in a warp pattern (interwoven with fiberglass fill) so I won't get heel dents. I will eventually have a 3 or 4 strap setup, but before I finalize the insert locations, I will use the board strapless to get an idea of where to put them.

I'll have to play with the fins - for now, I think the big G-10s will ride in the back for lift and less twist (which I anticipate will happen if I put them up front). I will be installing a standard finbox as well so I can run the big G-10s with a 8" Seeker type fin - more lift, and any twisting will be countered by the larger rear center fin - may be able to eek out more light wind performance with that set up.

There is a front passing through tomorrow around mid-morning. The temperature is supposed to drop big time after that. Good thing I got the laminating done today. Depending on the morning temperatures, I may grind the laps and do the bottom hotcoat, but I want to have the boat out before the wind picks up (IF I DON"T GET SKUNKED AGAIN>>>>>>).

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The "Other" Boats

If we don't end up in Hawaii (San Diego, DC Area, Virginia Beach or North Carolina are the other places we are considering planting roots), this is the boat we'll most likely end up with - the Farrier F22 (this is Rob Fleming's boat - photo poached of the F-22 site).

I've blogged about it before, but I figured I mentioned the powercat, I should mention the sailboat.

For now, I am happy with the Weta and all the other garage-able windpowered craft. The only complaint I had about the Weta was the trip from the parking garage to the launching point, and the return trip back from the water's edge to the trailer - pure torture to my lower back, thighs and calves. Well I just ordered a beach wheel kit that should end all that misery and kill the last excuse for not sailing the boat more.

The kit should be here Tuesday, installed on the dolly Wednesday and on the beach by Thanksgiving Weekend. Photo by Eric Lyon from the Yahoo Group for Weta Trimarans (his beach wheels installed). Just in time for the stiff North wind (predicted by the weather models.... hopefully I'm not setting myself up for another skunked weekend...).

Stinking Rotten Wind Forecast

Earlier in the week, the wind forecast called for strong, stiff winds for yesterday and today. The wind came - on Friday (WHEN I HAD TO WORK>>>)!

Good thing I guess - I am still a little under the weather with the crud.

Friday would have seen the new kite go up, the Starboard Element cruising under sail or the Weta screaming along.

I had the truck loaded up with my 'retro' gear hoping for stronger winds but alas it was not to be... A side note about the gear - if you haven't yet watched THE WINDSURFING MOVIE II, the Mark Angulo section sees him rummaging through a pile of old 80s and 90s pre-Cobra factory production windsurfer model high performance wave boards. He digs out an asymmetric Angulo and proceeds to ride it. The RRD Original Flying Board and the Naish "Flash" Twin Tip Directional were both hot in their day. I have not been able to let these boards go in favor of their newer cousins - for good reason - they are built to last and they are built to rip.

But ripping they did not today. I'm chalking this weekend up as 100% SKUNKED.

Power Catamaran

I went to Roger's house yesterday to check out the powerboat he sold a couple of years ago. Glacier Bay 22' Cuddy Cabin. The guy he sold it to asked him to clean it up a bit so Roger has it at the house and is attacking it with a buffer and gel coat conditioning chemicals.

If we end up living in Hawaii, I'll more than likely end up with the 26' model of this boat, or a 26' Boston Whaler so we can take trips out to the other islands, do escort runs for the interisland races, go fishing for Mahi, go diving and just have fun. With the winds the way they are in the channels, it can be rough on a sailboat - most of the sailing I did back in the day was windsurfing and kiting - if we do go back, mix in the Weta and I'll be fine. The powerboat would be a different tool in the toolbox.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stretching My New Wings

Last week I got my Influenza Vaccine - in the form of the nasal mist dose.

Well, I can tell you it works - I got the flu and am in the process of parting with copious amounts of phelgm...

Back to the subject at hand - the wind was up consistently blowing above the 10 mph mark for most of the day. I wanted to put the boat out, but timing and my current bug battle made me opt out of that. I could not let the day go without some form of wind induced play so I broke out the new kite. 10-13 mph on the anemometer. The Crossbow 11 would have propelled me on a longboard, but not on a standard kiteboard.

The IDS system (2010 Bar) is a work of art. The hollow polyethylene tubing that shields the center line (and in this case houses the landing line) is very efficient. I self landed this kite with and without using the IDS. I'll have to try self landing in stronger winds to see if it is still possible, but I'll always have the IDS.

50 pump strokes and the kite is inflated to operating pressure.

The forecasts are calling for higher winds on Tuesday... I might be "sick" that day....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lazy Weekend

Got a 5 mile paddle in on Saturday. Moderate North winds kept the paddle interesting (stop paddling for a minute and you just got blown 10' downwind/offshore). My left shoulder is wincing a bit - I was using the Shaka Pu'u - I need to get more shoulder workouts during the week (or drop down to the Methane for longer distance paddling).

Yesterday, I jumped on Roger's boat with Stan Wiles (the current Base XO). Good times had by all as evidenced by Stan-O's ear to ear grin. The wind at the first half of the trip was pretty good - just a hair under 10, but we were routinely getting boat speeds upward of 8. The second half saw a drop in wind speed and we were happy to get 5 out of what was blowing.

Lastly, I am a huge fan of anything with an ama (outrigger), primarily because of the physics and the greatly increased stability. Someone has this canoe parked at the Long Beach Yacht Club - interesting setup.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stingray Mating Season

Make sure you shuffle your feet if you happen to be wading here on the Gulf Coast.

The latest plague beset upon us (after Hurricanes, Record Setting Oil Spills, hordes of jellyfish) is the congregation of the stingray.

Actually, SUPing has offered a ton of opportunity to observe the mating habits of this fish. They dig holes in the sand (I am assuming it is the male) and do their procreating. It is also interesting how they are converging on the lowest tide I have seen down here - I'm not sure of a correlation, but it is interesting.

Swim Call

An awesome lazy Sunday!

I went for a short 5 miler on the Glide - thought I was being smart by paddling upwind first (average 4.2 mph for the first 2.5 miles), but the wind shifted on me and even picked up (average 3.8 mph for the back half). Oh well - at minimum it was good exercise.

I got back and took the kids to the pool via bike ride. Marlon got a new bike on Saturday so it was a good trip to break it in.

Brought the GoPro cam and came away with some gems!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

SUP Fishing

Paddled out to the deppwater poles (markers for the boats) and drift fished (south winds kept blowing me back towards shore).

Caught a Croaker and two White Trout (actually another species of Croaker).

I would paddle all the way back in with the fish still hooked, drop the board off in the shallows and let Marlon finish off pulling in the fish. The second White Trout was a decent sized one.

With the oil spill effects still a mystery (the oil itself, but worse the Core Exit dispersant), we let these guys go after studying them for a while in the tide pools. We did eat sushi later on yesterday and we thought about these guys.

Fun day!