Sunday, July 25, 2010

Run Rabbit Run, HAM Challenge & Molokai Crossing - 60 Days of Summer Day 17

Ever watched that little rabbit being chased in a greyhound race by the pack of angry dogs? Well if the answer is YES then you’ll know how I felt today at times during my training. A mark had again been laid again but today we had up to 7 guys all challenging for places. The basic set up goes something like this; all race out to sea from the beach, the leading sailor gybes and the rest follow, the leaders(s) stall to let the others get close before accelerating and racing full tilt towards the mark, round the buoy and then race back out to sea. In a bar pool type winner stays on manner the leading sailor then decides when to turn and the next drag race is started. The racers included Peter John (super fast and infamous Kiwi), Gregg Thomas (the oldest PWA slalom sailor), Tomohiko Komai J202, J???? (not sure his number or name but he is on JP/NP) & HI5 (earlier in the day HI34 was also racing). I am starting to get to know some of these guys and it is really motivating to get some input into my challenge.

Gregg in action at the last event. This pic was taken by Jimmy Hepp and you should check out his website and Facebook page, he is becoming Maui's businest photographer, keep up the good work, you are great!
More of the rabbit, well to get experience leading and chasing you can choose to gybe at different times and naturally if you are behind you tend to become the leader at the start of the next race, not to say I was always in last place but it did get a fair few opportunities to lead out the pack and having Peter John’s massive frame maxed out chasing you and more often than not hammering past you, is quite a sight. The set up meant that by the time get got to the inside mark there would often be 4 guys all trying to negotiate the choppy turn and this was really the best part of the session, being that close at the mark to some really fast guys was great fun and really challenging. I spent a lot of time checking out what lines they took and trying to follow and react. It was so hard to keep a smooth line and maintain speed with all this confusion. It was again reinforced how important it is to stay on your feet, a few times I managed to sneak inside a fallen rider and make up some great ground, at other times I fell from the #1 spot and came out half a leg behind EVERYONE. A great day of practice and I say a big thank you to the guys for their help, I look forward to some more sparring over the coming days. I was on my 6.6m again and that was great but later in the session the gusts became too much and my crash percentage rose, you can see from thart below that it was gusting 35 mph at times. My session finished as I took a massive fall on what would be my final gybe of the day, not sure what happened but one second I was at full speed coming into the mark, I had just unhooked (luckily) and coming over some chop, the next thing I remember was being under my gear in a heap, my shorts hap ripped off and my timer had started itself! I seem to have got away with just a stiff neck so nothing that a few Advil and some ice can’t sort out.

Advil - keeping windsurfers on the water when they should be resting in bed! I can't count the number of times I have trashed my ankle or something but loaded up on ibruprofen to reduce the swelling an numb the pain so that I could go out an wreck some more!

Click to enlarge this and take a look at the highlighted area, you can clearly see that the exists from my turns were rather messy today and they got worse as it got windier.

I was on the water between about 2:30 and 4:15 pm today, the big gusts around 4pm were getting tough for me to control and a 6.0m would have been fater round a course.  

I have been invited to take part in the HAM (HawaiiAmerican) Speed Challenge this is a GPS speed event where a team from Hawaii competes against a team from The Gorge and one from New England. There are 3 scores that count; best 100m, best nautical mile and best Alpha 500 (this is a leg and a gybe in the middle). I set out today to set a respectable nautical mile and estimated that it would take me 2 minutes (at 30 knots) so I set my timer and set off for a massive downwinder which was so much fun. When I got my tracks back on the laptop I was pleased with my speeds during the main part of the run but my overall speed was hindered by my acceleration time at the start and because I didn’t go far enough and my gybe out to sea counted. Next time I will run for 2min 45 seconds so that I can be at as close to max for the entire 1852m (= 1 nautical mile).

Click to enlarge, you can clearly see my nautical mile attempt in green. My avergae was 25.39 knots but most f the time I was running in the 27 to 29 range. If I can get a full fun anywhere close to 30 knots I would be thrilled.

Over the next few days I will try to set a decent 100m speed, I need something in the 35 knot range (my current PB is 33 something – on choppy water) and good Alpha 500 for that I need to set myself up on a one mark downwind slalom course, this is a really good concept and one which would be very interesting to the racer because it is not just about your top end and is a better measure of how you would fair in a slalom race.

All in all a good day and one during which I had a lot of FUN and after all that is the moto for the 60 Days of Summer Project.

Today's pic of the day: This pic was taken with the GoPro mast mount and captures the moment I landed an over rotated forward, you can see that I let go on impact to try and save my board! I think the result is pretty cool and I hope you agree.

One of the aims of the 60 days is to encourage others to be inspired, so the question is simple "What would you do with 60 days?" If you have read this far please take a few minutes to leave your comments below and share with the me and all the readers what you would do. I have found that by voicing your thoughts they are more likely to become a reality so by leaving your little note below you will be one step closer to your goal.

Whats up next? It is time that I registered for the race event next weekend, I will try to get that sorted tomorrow and in 3 weeks time there is a Maui to Molokai crossing so I need to find out some more info and look into the logistics; that would be a great experience, the channel is super rough and really dangerous. I am a little sore from a few days of having the pedal to the metal and really think that my wave board needs some attention so taking a day off racing tomorrow and will go in search of waves, jumps and tricks, maybe a good day to get working on those freestyle moves, that is sure to be a funny thing for people to watch!

More to follow...


  1. Hi, could you perhaps show how you did the mast mount? Did you cut the sleeve? If so, by how much?

  2. From Wikipedia - The dogs chase a lure (traditionally an artificial hare or rabbit) on a track until they arrive at the finish line. The one that arrives first is the winner.

  3. Niclas, I will set up the mount tomorrow and take a picture then post it. Yes I did have to cut the luff but only so that one screw could go through, this could be very neatly done and doesn't damage the sail - I did it on a brand new sail when I did the mount for the first time. I have suggested that they should make the sails with a neatly made hole for people to do the mount.

  4. You do want to make sure that you get your mounting position right though!

  5. Welcome to the HAM Chris, tell Hammer to put the baby down and go windsurfing!


  6. Roo, think he is going in the next few days, we have plenty of wind on the way so hoping for some better speeds and see if we can get this Hawaii team into FIRST! Thanks.