Thursday, May 27, 2010

Its all in the wind

I woke up this morning to again find that the forecasts were correct and the wind was still blowing 18-20 knots so I quickly made my way down to the camp.

The Camp, a few bits of wood made it rather more sheltered today which was great.

The tide was very low so it was great for freestyle and blasting but not much in the way of ramps, I was rather stiff from my run last night so went exploring the channel. Once I had loosened up a bit I cam back to Kite Beach for some more freestyle practice, I do feel like I am making small baby steps forward. With the weather this perfect this really was fun windsurfing, I only wish I could have shared it with some people, windsurfing in Bahrain is rather a lonely past time. 

Amwaj is covered in flags, and the good news is that they have to get replaced quite frequently!

After a break I was back on the water, the wind had started to drop and it was clear that it was the end of the three days of wind. I had a really fun freestyle sesssion between Kite Beach and the ships, trying hard to land a flaka but not really commiting myself enough, something that I will have to work on. The wind dropped and I called it a day. I thought that the fun was over but I had the pleasures of dealing with a welded together mast, I guess three days of sandblasting on the beach in 35-40 degree heat doesn't help. I had to take it home in one piece and it took a lot of banging on the grass and alot of water to finally loosen. 

Today's wind chart.

There was just enough time left in the day to meet Liz at the pool and go for a swim at Tala Island, what a perfect end to day. I think that we will be waiting a while for the next batch of wind so it is back to the paddle board and GPS training,

More to follow... 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A little bit of nature

Today had looked like a good day on the forecast and it didn't dissapoint. As Liz was working I didn't have a car so after my session last night I left my gear hidden in a building site next to the beach so that I could ride down this morning to sail. It was great arriving at the beach a little after 7am and my gear there ready, the wind blowing 18-20 knots and the sun shining.

The Camp!

Beach Road

I have been slagging off my Angulo Sumo 105 recently, to be fair it has seen better days, but it has spent almost 2 1/2 years getting thrashed by the harsh Bahrain climate, the rugged and sharp beach on Amwaj and a few trips to Hawaii where is was always abused and made to do things it shouldn't! Today though it did prove (yet) again that it can handle a whole range of condition and is well suited to the sailing here.

Beach road

I had a fun freestyle session (with a small wave fin) in front of my new beach camp, the condition were perfect and it was good to make some progress (small steps!). With it not super windy I put on a longer and straighter fin so that I could make my way upwind to the building ramps in a spot I will call Outsiders, a lonely place upwind and offshore where there are ramps when it is windy enough, luckily we have had a solid wind for 2 days now so the (small) swell lines have started to develop and they produced some decent ramps. 

It was nice to be able to get some good forwards rather than just spinning although I never find looping on a 100+ litre board that comfortable on the ankles or feet. My feet actually started to rub on my straps and worried that I would create the same problems that I had during the last two summers (where my feet had holes in them for what seemed like months) I though it was time to make my way back downwind and reunite with my bike. 

After a break, food, water and a 30 minute gym session I was ready for a 2nd session. I knew that I needed to change the staps on my board to reduce the rubbing so I quickly took the really soft HSM ones that I have on my wave board and slung them into my rucksack.

A nice healthy lunch.

A brief session infront of my freestyle DVD over lunch did help!

Changing the Old Dakine to super padded HSM straps did make my feet less painful but they are still sore.

Another freestyle session and some more progress before going to Outsiders where the waves had built up and were providing some decent ramps for forwards and backs. Was great to be getting some height for a change but it was a bit hetic on the 105 now and my feet were sore so didn't stay that long. With the tide building and a solid 20+ knots I knew that the Wall (speed course) would be starting to work, the tide was still a little low but as I went down my second run I saw a dolphin which was rather cool. Session 2 over, time for a quick ride to the pool to relax with some friends before going home for a break.

View from the camp.

I wanted to try the Wall later so made a DIY aquapak for my GPS and made my way back with a new supply of drinking water. With the temps over 35C from 6am to 6pm it is vital that you have water wherever you go, carrying it all is rather a pain! My first run was my best with 22.14knots, while not quick it is the first timed run on the course so guess that makes it a record. The wind was dropping and I was rather underpowered but it was enough to show the potential that the Wall has. I did see 2 dolphins so that made up for for dying wind. Time to call it a day and get some food so that I can train at the gym tonight.

I have seen dolphins in Bahrain before but this was the first time I had seen them in Amwaj.

With the wind forecast to stick around for another day I parked my gear in the camp and rode home, kinda liking this no rigging / de-rigging life!

More to follow...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wind and dust

I cannot quite work out why some days it is windy and sunny and others are windy and dusty, while I much prefer the windy and sunny ones I will take them all. Looks like we have 3 solid days of wind now and it was hard to leave for work this morning as the wind was picking up and the sea state was developing. Anyway looks like the wind has got better through the day, I just hope it holds into the evening.

The dust seems to have risen throughout the day. I am going to try and get my GPS unit onboard tonight (wrapped in plastic as it is not waterproof) so that I can see where I do actually go and I might be able to get some idea of speed if I go down the speed track! Looking forward to picking up my GP31 in a few weeks time so that I can do some proper runs. 

More to follow...  

Monday, May 24, 2010

4am start

Planning to get up at 4am to sail before work... the forecast looks good especially considering I am off work Wednesday and Thursday!

The new look Windfinder looks good

More to follow...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A mid-week treat?

Looks like we may be treated to some mid-week wind!

Fingers are crossed, looks like it could be fun and perfect weather to match...

More to follow...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wind and sun (well not quite!)

Looks like perfect freestyle/GPS conditions outside. The weather has been great so far today and the wind has been steadily building, lets hope it hangs around for the rest of the day.

More to follow...

UPDATE: Well it didn't get that windy, was great for kiting so helped my friend Carl with his kite and then hung out at the pool.

Carl in action...

Relaxing by the pool...

More to follow...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rig Weight Analysis - HSM Fire vs HSM Bolt and Playmate Carbon Vs Playmate Alloy

I have for a long time wondered whether I should switch from alloy booms to carbon ones. While I would have always admitted that the stiffness of a carbon boom was far better for sailing I have always been concerned with the cost implications vs gain (this is heavily influenced by my habit for washing up on rocks and destroying the grips on my booms).

Recently I decided to switch from HSM Fire to HSM Bolt in part because of the weight saving, I had wanted a 4 batten wave sail for a couple of years. As I am about to collect my new sails I thought that I should look at the boom issue again and apply a more mathmatical approach.

The above data compares the Bolt with the Fire with full carbon setups (Hotrod mast, Hotrod extension and Playmate Carbon) and the Bolt with full carbon (what I am considering). It also compares with Fire with alloy boom (what I used previously) with the new full carbon Bolt setup. The findings are clear, if we look at my usual set up (5.0m) then the new set up would save 0.96kg which represents a 11.23% improvement (Bolt Carbon Vs Fire Alloy).

When we add stiffness into the equation (which would be hard to compute mathmatically) then if is clear that this weight saving and stiffness improvement should make a significant differnce to performance.

 HSM Playmate Carbon a 0.25kg saving, every little helps! A clear winner.

It is true that the cost issue still rasies its head but my conclusion is that I will be ordering HSM Playmate Carbon booms and feel comfortable that the extra money is worth it.

More to follow...

New equipment!

I was stoked to find otu Liz is getting me a GoPro camera for my birthday, so will be able to do some more onboard filming and stills once I get my hands on it. The HD wide angle footage looks great so I am rather excited.

More to follow...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

GPS training

Well the wind decided not to blow this weekend and the weather wasn't too good either with tons of dust in the air. Yesterday was so bad that we stayed inside the house or the gym. Today wasn't great this morning but I got out for an early morning ride before it got too hot.

Bike: 9.24km / 28 min 

Then after a quick breakfast it was off to lift weights at our gym for a solid hour.

Maya Gym about 300m walk from our house

Felt good to be home before lunch already with two good workouts completed. After a good break, lunch and a visit to a new fancy tea shop (The Tea Club) in the Lagoon it was time for the next sector.

Paddle Board: 3.45km / 47 minutes

The paddling is really tough especially after lifting weights but great exercise and perfect flat water practice for surfing. It is great to see some wildlife too but the jet skis are a real pain. I think that I am going to modify my paddle baord a little further by adding a soft deck which should make it rather more comfortable! When I got home and loaded my tracks onto the computer I realised that I had only run outside once in the last week (to be fair it has been upto 45C and super humid), the GPS motivator kicked in and within a few minutes I was changed back into my running gear and setting off round the island, it was cool by recent standards but about 85-90% humidity.

5km / 25.16 min

I tried out Liz's new version ipod shuffle and all I can say is what a terrible device. I use the older square version normally with Skull Candy headphones. The earphones keep falling out and you have to learn Morse Code to be able to navigate songs with the built in control button. I cannot believe that Apple could make such a bad product! If you want to buy new earbud headphones then they'll set you back $80, more than the shuffle itself, how stupid, come on Apple sort it out. 

As the day draws to a close I am rather happy with the weekend's training and I am pleased with the progress that has been made so far.

More to follow...

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Looking out the window this morning I was somewhat surprised (and very dissapointed) that the visibility was very low, I am not sure if it is dust or mist but certainly not great for outdoor activity! The weather has been so great while we have been in work this week, gutted!

More to follow...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hawaii - Mesage in the waves (BBC Video)

GP highlighted this video and asked for all to share, it is a great movie, all 5 parts are availble below, if anyone knows if it is availble on BBC DVD please let me know.


Sandstorm Action

Well when I woke up this morning I would not have been able to predict what happened today. I had a really hard (hot - it was 35C already at 8am) run this morning then heavy weight session at the gym. The weather was really hot and sunny so we went to the pool to relax and tend to our sore mussles.

Carl phoned as he landed at the airport say that he had seen a big storm coming, it looked like some clouds were coming in but nothing much, as we relaxed watching TV suddenly the wind went from 0-5 to 30+ knots and I realised that the storm had just hit.

If I squinted my eyes I could almost imagine that I was in Portugal driving from Cascais to Guincho - I really miss Portual!  

Plenty of wood and building materials flying around.

I am not sure the sand and dust is really that good for the paintwork!

I rushed to the beach, with all the san I could hardly see where I was going and was on the look out for flying bits of wood etc from the construction sites. It was clear when I got to the beach that my trusty 4.7 Fire would be rather big, being the smallest I have here I rigged anyway, it wasn't long before a few kiters and a local sailer turned up to see what the deal was.

30 knots in Bahrain is rather rather, with the higher gusts it was probably the windiest I have seen here, even if it was only for a short period.

Looks rather windy! I guess I will have to take my 4.7! 4.0 would have been rather better.

I had a few runs but was totally maxed, crashed a forward but was starting to feel a little more confortable. On my next run the wind picked up some more and I was finding it hard to hook in and sail in any sort of straight line. The sand meant that I could hardly see the beach and the shifting wind made it difficult to sail. 

A different experience! As I came home the radio for calling for people to take care and watch out for dangerous conditions.

Yesterday I went for a paddle with the GPS strapped to my board. I have been using a 115ltr windsurf board without the front straps, works great as a paddle board and it is great exerice for the arms in prep for surfing.

1.95km paddle, 31 minutes. I will do some longer paddles and also try to improve times.

Lots of action and exercise this weekend, I think I am going to retire to the sofa and watch a good movie.

More to follow...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Weekend Action?

Well not much wind forecast for this weekend, there may be some light gusts later in the afternoons but looks unlikely at this stage. Not to be out done I fully inetend to be in and on the water in some shape or form throughout the weekend. The weather is now perfect with 30-35C air temp and warm board short water. 

More to follow...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is this windsurfing?

I cannot decide what I think about this video from the PWA event. On one hand I want to get out my friends ski and build a ramp, on the other I question the point. Umm... I guess if it is good for sponsors then it is good for the sport but not so sure that I would want to see if common place?

More to follow...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Evening Swim

Had a nice 900m training swim this evening with my friend Carl.

More to follow...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Light wind speed challenge - Results from the UK

I have just heard of an uncomfirmed 25.34 knots from Andy today.

Wind:   16 knots
Sail:      8.0 m HSM GPS 
Board:  Mistral 135 Red Dot
Fin:       60cm

Andy's new Mistrals look great!

Andy's comment, "Need bigger sail".

UPDATE: Unfortunately for Andy once all the tracks were analyzed the best 100m run was slower at 24.59 knots. Better luck next time.

Looks like his new Mistral boards are working well though and he is thinking about a 9.7 HSM GPS. Andy is training to make his debut on the the British Slalom Association tour later in the season.

More details will follow...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Winder than most days

A great and unexpected session today, windier than normal which meant I could get on some smaller kit which really seemed to help with the freestyle. I was pleased that I waterstarted out of the first 3 spocks I tried so thats rather better.

As the kiters struggled it was great to see some local Baraini sailers get on the water. The chop was great for some forwards which was fun. Later as the wind moderated I changed up to the 105 Sumo which made things harder, that board just has too much water in it and seems to stick to the surface, think it is about time I get a better board for freestyle, watch out ebay!

More to follow...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sometimes it is hard to sit and watch

It has been hard to watch everyone score great waves and wind recently while we have been rather washed up in the desert. We have been predicted wind and there has been some but it has been strangely changeable of late and what wind there has been seems to have come through at night.

This is the HSM FB competition shot, "ADD YOUR CAPTION HERE AND WIN!"

Since last posting I have come to terms that I seem to totally suck at freestyle (and probably everything else) and have become rather more positive, I have been watching video clips thinking about moves, moving staps and generally keeping upbeat and ready to; try, think, try, think, try, think, try... until it works out a little better. I guess it is hard being totoally alone on the water not just some of the time but all the time. Anyway I have enough desire and flexibility left to nail some of these moves so I will keep the blog updated.

My 08 Fires are rather trashed - they are more than 2 years old, I can't wait to get my new HSM Bolts which are wating for me at the loft!

Our summer is coming together, tickets are booked and the rest of the logistics are falling into place. So excited to get my new set of HSM Bolts and check out the HSM 2011 protos. Most of all I just can't wait to get back to Maui and be at home for a while.

We have been training hard in the gym and road, Liz and I are trying to get stronger and fitter while there is not much else to do. Andy gave me a great GPS device which has really helped with my training on the road.

I have been amazed how good the Garmin Forerunner GPS is!

So all in all its a bit quiet here but we are trying to keep busy and it is less than 10 weeks till we hit the road for 2 months.

More to follow...