Sunday, March 4, 2012

Transatlantic Sarah · 4 Battens · Radar · My Backyard

Sarah Hebert continues her long journey across the Atlantic having left the shelter of Africa on February 22. On the 2nd day out of Dakar, over powered and while switching to smaller gear, she lost her safety pack with the critically necessary satellite phone. After exhausting all effort to find the safety pack, Sarah and crew immediately sailed the big boat to Sal in the Cape Verde Islands. There they acquired 2 new safety packs (one back up) complete with 2 new satellite phones. The adventure continues...

Click the icon in the upper right hand corner of the above live map to go full screen. To return, click your esc key (if you  zoom your computer screen, for me 150%, you can see all the Live Tracker features). There have been some days without reporting. However, most days, reports come via the Website and the Facebook page. If you rely on the automatic translators like I do, they are a bit of a  challenge to understand. For more background on Sarah, read this PWA interview from 2010 where she, for the first time, talks about her transatlantic ambition. More recently, this article explains the crossing with some history about others who have also gone transatlantic.

4 Batten Sails · If you've seen Jimmie Hepp's photos from Hookipa in the last year and taken the time to study the've probably noticed some of the new 4 batten prototypes. While these batten challenged sails have been around for a few seasons, the majority of wave sails still have 5 battens. Revolution, de-evolution, industry gimmick or flash in the pan, who knows the future...but one thing is for sure, just about every sail company is making them.

Last week, Chris Zakel of Zakel Windsurfing broke a story about a new Naish sail line, the Chopper: a 4 sail quiver that rigs on a 370 mast. Almost too cool for school, these sails are measured in t-shirt sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. Too good to be true? The sails are not suitable for riders over 185 lbs. just put up their Chopper info page where you can learn the history of how this sail developed. Nice introductory video with Robby...

But really, why 4 battens? One less batten saves weight. Compared to the cost of using the new light weight hi-techy films like Technora, one less batten is a cheap way to save weight. But when you read about these sails, there's not much real focus on saving weight. I think rescaling the size of the sail to bring it all closer to human dimensions is what intrigues the designers. Surface area doesn't change, but dimensions do: less height, more width. Read the product copy and you'll see these features they all share: light, compact, shorter booms and masts, a soft feel, works well with quad fin boards and power on demand. Have a look:

North Hero   Maui Sails Mutant  Neil Pryde Fly2  Gaastra IQ  Naish Boxer
Hot Sails Maui Bolt  Hot Sails Maui DD   Severne Swat  Goya Banzai
Simmer Whitetip  Simmer Blacktip

Conspicuously missing from the above group is Ezzy Sails. I'm a fan of Graham's quirky blog, surf-matic. He recently wrote: "Time on Maui means one thing: Research and Development. A lot of fin and sail testing especially! The sail testing is actually pretty intense. Every day there is a new sail to test, getting everything perfect for the 2012 summer release. It’s tiring but lot’s of fun… and even more prototypes!" Photos from his Feb 29 post show him testing a 4 batten prototype...and WTF, a 3 batten prototype.

Radar ·  ( ˈrādär )  Used to indicate that someone or something has or has not come to the attention of a person or group.

Atlanta Boardsailing Club, started in 1978, may win this year's award for best event poster. And if not this year's winner for Outstanding Graphical Achievement, at least some hardy Hi-Ho Silvers are deserved for running an event for 34 years. Their new website,, features: news, forum, photos and where to sail. Congratulations on the makeover. 

The learners guide to windsurfing has completed its Community guide to North America with the newest addition:  Central America. Community is my effort to help anyone connect with any interest in anything windsurfing. If you'd like to help, post your link or correct my mistake in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

Since May 2009, the Learners guide has been visited from 122 countries
DaNewsBlog has finished the 2012 Calendar, well almost finished. I know some events are still in the planning stage and haven't posted information, most noticeably the Gorge Cup Series which usually starts in June; so check back. The Calendar is on the right side of this page at the top the Blog List.

iWindsurf is the only forum in the U.S. with a large national audience. What would happen to windsurfing in this country if we lost this popular arena for discussion, opinion and news. Would it have an impact on the sport? Maybe. Is it possible that forums are beginning to fade away, victims of the volume of social media?  Are we just overwhelmed with too many online choices and not enough time?

The Learners guide has been visited by every state.
There are some underutilized local forums that could, in a pinch, work as a national meeting place if for some reason, hope it never happens, iWindsurf were to close its forum doors. Some of these local forums allow embedding of videos, sadly missing from our biggest national forum. Have a look:

Miami: SFWA  Stuart: TCW  Cocoa: Calema  Atlanta: ABC  Hatteras: OBX  Charlotte IBSCC  Michigan: WS & SUP  New Jersey: W & W A  Corpus Christi CCWA
2 French language forums, Quebec: WSQ  QW

My Backyard · The 26th running of Tinho Dornellas' Calema Midwinters roared back to life this weekend after taking a year off. A total of 96 registrants eased early worries that the racing community  might have forgotten this event. The hallmark of a Midwinters regatta at Kelly Park, Merritt Island, FL is the chance for regular Josephines and Joes to race with the Pros. This year, some of the A listers who led the competition were: Micah Buzianis, Gabriel Browne, Paulo Dos Reis, Wilhelm Schurmann and Taty Frans. 41 year old Buzianis had lost 15 lbs. getting in shape for the up coming PWA Tour.  He wasn't sure if the weight loss made him any faster but it did make him feel better.

Dave Kashy - Taty Frans at the Midwinters
Some of the participants I talked to wondered about the future of grass roots racing and even windsurfing in general. A popular sentiment was that with so many choices for things to do, most people are challenged to ever find our's hard to get off the couch when the video games are so good. A surprising counterpoint to this was Sandy Point Progressive Sports retailer and Kona Fleet stand out, Steve Gottlieb's assessment that windsurfing was starting to grow again. He is seeing interest in windsurfing from a younger demographic. Nevin Sayre of Bic Sport North America, who was here racing with his 2 kids, was pumped about selling 80 fleet packages (at least 4 boards and rigs) of the Techno 293. These fleets mostly go to yacht clubs and community organizations for youth sailing programs. Formula racer, Dave Kashy of Kashy Fins has sold over 600 fins since starting his company. It's hard work but he is motivated to keep at it by the demand for more fins from his loyal customers. Any money in the fin business? The proud father said the business has paid for one college education and some nice vacations.

Elsewhere and not quite in my backyard, the umi Bonaire editing competition, concluded. Entrants had to make their own video from footage that umi shot in Bonaire with Kiri Thode, Taty and Tonky Frans. Umi received 36 entries from around the world all of which can be seen on their Vimeo channel. Winning entrant, Marc Broersma described his work: "Awesome tricks, cool time effects, some 3D stuff and a donkey!"  His video is brilliant !!!

Popular poster on Facebook by Tom Soltysiak.

Postcript · Thursday, March 1, was the last time I saw the WindSurfing Magazine Website. The link was still in my favorites even after it stopped producing new content. I'm not sure why, but it remained a regular stop on my DaNews beat. I guess there was some hope, albeit without reason, that some remnant would come back to life. Bonnier Corp has nailed the coffin shut by relocating their replacement, Transworld Surf, in the familiar location. Even with the abundance of scantily clad beach babettes...I'm not amused...but what the hell, maybe some lost fragment of WindSurfing is hidden in the new website. But wait...there is something from the Mag still in the public domain...the fans...Rest in Peace

1 comment:

  1. thanks as always for DaNews! I too sadly removed from my 'favorites' - RIP.

    I'm currently looking for another favorite...

    happy sailing - rebecca