For 6 of the last 8 days I’ve had the pleasure of windsurfing at the Berkeley Marina with Tyler and often his brother Dallas and girlfriend Niki. Having only done it once before in Colombia, I certainly had lots to learn and needed practice.
After joining the Cal Sailing Club, Tyler, an experienced sailer and proficient windsurfer, quickly got me up to speed on the procedures for getting my windsurfing kit setup and the basics of the sport once I made it to the water.
My first day I took out a huge 220liter board (meaning keep 220 liters of water displacement), and I think a 3.3 metric surface area sail. That day was simply learning to get the sail up and turning. The next day I went with a 180 liter board, and either a 3.3m^2 or a 4.2m^2 sail. By the third day I used a 160 liter board and a 4.2m^2 sail. I’ve been on that setup since then due to still being at a novice rating. I need to pass a few tests and log some service time with the sailing club before making it to junior rating.
I’m at 8 lifetime days of windsurfing and after the last two days, feel quite comfortable on the board regarding balancing and uphauling the sail in turbulent water. After what felt like planing on three runs yesterday, I asked Tyler to try his more advanced board (feeling confident on my beginner equipment). Wow, it was a world of difference. The board itself wasn’t too bad, at was a 155, but much lighter and without a centerboard (only a tail fin). With my improved balance, I didn’t have much trouble with it. My problem was the sail. Compared to my 4.2, his 6.5 felt like a ton of bricks. The mast was longer and when trying to pull it out of the water, it held water for longer, and the wind was a big factor. With my sail, wind or not, I can pull it up, though one thing Tyler always reminded me was how much more effort things like doing things against the wind were and to save your strength. In my previous equipment, it didn’t matter much, because they were smaller. However with more advanced equipment, the effects were more pronounced. After giving him back his kit, he showed me how he does it, and how he used the wind to help him get the sail up.
My next steps are to pass the Junior certification and go to a lighter, yet still decent size board without a center board, maybe like the 155 Tyler used, but with a smaller sail then his, possibly a 4.5 then a 5.0.
As I mentioned to Tyler earlier today I’m enjoying out windsurfing outings differently as I progress. When I first started, the appeal can from seeing/feeling my skills develop rapidly, now as I’ve got the basics I’m not learning as quickly, but I enjoy putting what I’ve learned to use, not to mention the taste of controlled speed is certainly addicting :p