Sunday, May 31, 2009

Soo happy to welcome HABAGAT!

Habagat season officially started last week, I suppose. It was howling last Friday, around 20+ knots. I am, however, unable to go to the beach because I still have some unfinished business in our PICPA basketball tournament. The tournament started in January, in the middle of the AMIHAN season, and is constantly conflicting my schedule to the beach. But because I love to be competitive and dont want to disappoint my teammates and our sponsor, I gave basketball a higher priority over windsurfing.

And so, the last hurdle was last Saturday's championship game. Even though I was having a flu that time, I am ready to give it all. I reckon, 90 minutes of intense energy expenditure is much better than days of frustration and regret for not playing 100%. I was fortunate that our team played very well and the chemistry seems to be there. Though this is supposed to be a blog about windsurfing, basketball is still relevant because you are preparing every muscle for that planing wind at the ocean. hehehe :-) Tip off time! I was sick, I feel I dont have the legs and look, the green guy seems to jump higher than me. :-)
In time, just like in windsurfing, adrenalin comes in and I am starting to feel the rhythm. I dont have to find my shots, rather, the shots find me. It is analogous to sailing in a way that if the wind is not strong enough to get you planing, you head upwind so you get to the stronger wind earlier. (Do I still make sense?)

Our team was dominant in every aspect of the game. We won by a margin of 20 points, not what you expect in a championship game. So either we played very very good or they must have played very very bad. Either way, the team is very happy.

And as icing on the cake, I also got the individual MVP award. After all the sacrifices I made (e.g., not being able to go to the beach when there is a basketball schedule AND/OR have to sleep early for tomorrow's game instead of go out partying), I must say that this victory feels FREAKIN' SWEET.
Thanks team. It's been a pretty good run.
Sunday was howling 20-25 knots but I just feel my body couldn't handle it yet after strenous usage of my back, arm and leg muscles. I feared that it will be SURVIVAL mode instead of FUN mode. And so, I decided to postpone my first taste of HABAGAT 2009 tomorrow, JUNE 2, 2009.


Monday, May 18, 2009

The resurrected sail

Last Saturday was supposed to be the day the newly resurrected sail was to be tested. It was windy. However, I decided not to because my legs were tired and my balance was so-so. I play basketball on Friday and gets drunk afterwards. It used to be no problem before but now, I need another day of rest. Maybe I'm getting old.

I was fortunate that the weather gave me good wind the next day with no rain and no lightning. It's summer and hot so the wind came really as a surprise. We went to the beach at lunch, CAREFULLY rigged the sail and was amazed by the new monofilm panels. It looks like it just came out from the distributor!

The wind was still northeast, 8-12 knots with moderate chops. I was surprised that the sail feels more powerful this time. I could feel the pull during gusts and actually have "moments" of planing. The sail also gives more feedback whenever I am approaching lulls. I think that as the sail becomes more brittle, it becomes harder to sail so a new monofilm would bring back the sail's properties as designed.

As expected, Mizuki doesn't want to be left behind. There was one time when she swam towards me but I was headed offshore already. Fortunately, I looked back and found her swimming offshore, around 20 meters from the beach. The chops were bigger than her and she could drown once her energy is all used up. I immediately tacked and let her sail with me.

I enjoying blasting around, testing the sail at any angles, tacking and gybing. I fell only once at 4PM, which means I sailed for four hours straight. My arms and legs hinted that we are done for the day.

So, there it goes. I got concerned that the sail wouldn't perform as designed with a replaced monofilm and it did exceed my expectations. I derigged and enjoyed chatting with the locals. Mizuki, however, was out of gas.

Notes: I am almost certain that I would need a bigger board to keep me planing in light winds, a 80-85cm wide perhaps for my 190lb frame. I am now eyeing on the Starboard Futura 144 but will have to wait a few more months to free up my budget.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Update on my Sail

My 8.2 Saber broke last April 4 and it was supposed to be replaced by an 8.5 V8. Unfortunately, the deal didn't go through because according to the owner, the cams broke while rigging the day before it was to be shipped to Cebu. He offerred me an almost brand new V8 (2009 model) but would cost twice of the second hand V8 (2007 model). With fencing construction going on, my finances are a little bit tight so new gears would have to wait a bit. I said I'll pass.

I decided to send the Saber to the Sailmaker in Boracay. The cheapest method is to send it via airport-to-airport cargo. However, because the sail can only be rolled rather than folded, it's a real challenge to send it in smaller planes. Planes flying to non metropolitan areas are smaller such as the propeller-powered Bombardier plane of PAL express.

The cargo staff measured the sail, then went to the plane and measured the cargo hold, went back again, and went to the plane again. After an hour or so, they said NO! The 8.2 Saber, which is 2.3m from luff to leach, cannot fit in the cargo hold of the bombardier. I tried other carriers to no avail.

I was desperate.

Fortunately, a larger plane travels to Iloilo where my sister is living. I asked her to bring the sail with her to Boracay in time for her vacation and so we worked out the details. It was a long travel for Saber, 200km by air from Cebu to Iloilo, another 200 km by land from Iloilo to Caticlan, 5 km by sea from Caticlan to Boracay and a few meters by hand to the sailmaker. Thanks, sis! Now you have to repeat the above in reverse order.

Initially, the two panels would only cost 10% of the brand new. After the sailmaker took a look at the sail's condition, he said it's more appropriate to replace ALL the panels, which brings the cost to 20%. The panels are brittle after hours of UV radiation and one small impact would be BAM!, the sail would have to travel again. I figured it would be economically advantageous to just replace all the panels.

One month of non-sailing made my waist line grew so I got very excited of my new cyborg sail. I just picked it up at the airport a while ago and the workmanship seems solid.

Wednesday's forecast looks promising so a vacation leave will be in order. I can't wait to sail Saber again!

Day 3