Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A return to winsurfing.

Well today Pat and I went down to Barassie beach at Troon to go windsurfing. The forecast had been looking excellent but as the day approached it started to deteriorate so we weren't expecting great conditions. It's been four months since my last sail so I expected to be a bit rusty.
We were down in Troon by 9:30 and the water wasn't looking very promising at Barassie so we drove along to the south beach to check the conditions there. It didn't seem any windier plus the wind was dead onshore which would make for poor sailing conditions. Back to Barassie we went!
We stood on the beach with my wind meter for a while trying to guess what sail to rig for conditions varying between 11mph and 23mph! Not an easy task but we went for 6.2metre sails and set too rigging up. It was pretty chilly and I knew that although my body would be warm enough in the water (I have a really good wetsuit) it was going to be horrible for my hands (you can't wear gloves for windsurfing). As I finished rigging up a guy came over to ask what size sails we'd rigged and it turned out he was a member of the windsurfing forum I go on. Nice to meet another Sailrepair forumite!

We got changed and headed out into the water. The tide was in so it was only a short walk to the shorebreak waves and then a wade through the shallows. The wind was blowing cross-shore (parallel with the beach) which meant we would be sailing straight out through the waves and straight back in on the other tack, good for jumping going out and okay for picking up the waves to ride them back in.
The wind stayed really up and down all the time we were out in the water and as I'd feared the cold was pretty severe on the hands until they acclimatised (windsurfing is the only sport I've done other than ice climbing that gives you the hot aches as the blood returns to your hands, very unpleasant!)  I managed a few decent jumps on the outward tack but really struggled with my fitness, especially while sorting my rig out before water starting (like treading water without using your arms while carrying a weight above your head!)
By early afternoon I knew I was beat. The waterstarts outback had become too much effort and I knew it was time for me to get out the water. Pat was in the same state as well so we sacked it and packed up. It was good to be back in the water again even though the conditions weren't perfect. I now know I need to work on my fitness a bit (I've been meaning to start running again for a while but have been putting it off) and hopefully I'll be out sailing a bit more often again in future.


  1. Could you use pogies for windsurfing to get round the gloves issue?

  2. I have a pair of neoprene palmless mitts specifically for windsurfing JC but any kind of restriction on your hands and wrists causes your forearm muscles to pump up and lose strength. Sounds nuts I know but it's the reason why windsurfing wetsuits are cut loose around the shoulders and arms (unlike surfing wetsuits). Most people just put up with cold hands as it's preferable to arm pump. The mitts are brilliant for paddling though!