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Windsurfing and muscle cramps

TUE 17MAY 2011 - Never thought this would happen to me, nor that i would actually be writing about it. Some articles state it happens more with age - perhaps that is it :-( shark man
Went on the local river in overpowered conditions with the old longboard and the 7-oh. Developed a cramp in the right thigh - on top. It hurt, but continued just the same. Managed to continue for about another twenty(20) minutes with occasional pain. It was pretty cold - had gloves and hood just around the neck, and i never do stretch warm-ups.

So, what else did the literature say? Dehydration when hot. That did not seem to be the case. Apparently 1/2 litre of water is recommended for every x pounds lost. Do i need to weigh myself or just drink water ?? :-) Carbohydrates? Had supper not half an hour before. Magnesium, sodium, calcium  and/or potassium? What is this, high school chemistry ? It seems bananas, nuts and fruits are strongly suggested around high activity. Actually read an article where a banana was suggested for every two(2) hours of board sailing. What about lactic acid ? This one and unaccustomed heavy exercise seem to make the most sense to me. As an adolescent I always had calf cramps and i do have a lactose/ lactase issue. Need to investigate further what can help here.

And i say NO to drugs - no quinine (apparently in tonic water) or any other weird dopes against cramps. Advil is about as far as i will go.Vitamins B complex and E i would also tolerate as solutions...or preventative measures. Redsurfbus comments that one can get magnesium tablets at the "health food store".

Once one has the cramp, the consensus seems to be to stretch that poor muscle. The calf cramps used to subside with strong massages "away from the heart" - as someone suggested to me once.

For me it still feels like there is NO clear cut answer to this. Obviously once one cramps one needs to be careful. Bananas and salty peanuts with water before and during windsurfing just sounds like more fun to me. How can i convince my wife after that that i am truly exercising ? Going out for some peanuts, bananas, a little sailing and some of the boys may have a brew or two after. Exercise, yeah right!!!!

Personally this is only the second time this has happened to me in regards to windsurfing. Once while practicing water starts and this time.
In karate ripped the left thigh muscle many years ago, but this was the left one - so, not an old vunerability....

If windsurfing encourages me to lose weight, eat healthy, sleep better, get exercise and get fresh air - who can complain ??
Two cramps in over ten(10) years ain't that bad #$%^&*()_

Follow-up: have had some more cramps during water/beach starts. By co-incidence came across another windsurfer discussing this painful subject: and 

Could water be faster than ice ??

TUE 10MAY2011 Finally had a good day on the water with the shortboard. Still waiting for the stainless steel 6 mm screws to attach the fin to my Fanatic BEE LTD 124. So, still only using the AHD FF 160. It looks worse for the wear, but still rips. Wind was ENE and not sure whether to go to Vaudreuils or the river Milles Isles near my house. Gas is still expensive AND it is still early in the season. This means near home will be fine. Winds checked from shore were at under 12 knots. Water looked stronger further out and saw whitecaps. That should have been a warning. Rigged the 8.5 fairly tightly and screamed across the water, butt felt over :-(

It's about 16h15 - go home or rig down ? Rig down :-) Put the cambered 7-oh with the 40 cm Select fin. Still screaming, but feeling much more in control. Many wind shadows, but fun was had just the same. Next time rig lower when white caps are visible.

Full day at work, over an hour of ripping on the local river and was home by 17h45.
Life is GOOD.
Give the session 8 out of 10 due to over-rigging in the beginning. Is it better to rig up or down ? I would guess up since it is less tiring :-)

It felt pretty darn fast and wonder how it compares to some of the ice runs this winter.
How quickly we forget. Some lucky fellows have GPS and thus have a much better idea...

Do not have a GPS, butt there is Google maps.. The white lines are an idea of my trajectory - hand drawn and there were more than three(3) :-) -- and the yellow line denotes the wind shadow. Was using it for tacks since it is the first good day this year for me ...

Based on the wind-chart - i was right to rig the 8.5 when i arrived AND correct in rigging down around 16h00!!

A fellow windsurf blogger whom i respect, feels that simple journal entries are somewhat trite. In one essence i can see his point - on the other hand i need to log what works for me - this helps with rigging later and what to watch for - last few sessions have taught me NOT to rig too big. After a season i know which sails were used the most and where to spend money after that. For now I know i am NOT ready for 6-oh and not ready for a 95 to 105 liter board. In order to keep it interesting, i will only discuss the "different" sessions and keep the "boring" ones in the "old journal section". Hope this helps to keep some people interested :-)

After all my errors in terms of equipment selection, i updated the safety post !!
( I had also pinched my thumb under the boom while trying to adjust it on the water - to relieve pressure i punched a hole through the nail with a pin - did NOT look BAD axx enuff to post here :-) Ironically the newest WindSurf Mag also has an article on Tips for Sailing Safely. The number one tip is rig right !! AND they write about knowing your limits ...

Skunked - what, AGAIN ??

FRI 06MAY2011 Tried to get out of the office by 14h30 - my week was done and nothing was waiting for me. As usual the Friday PM gang shows up - that's why i always try to get my week dunn AZAP on FRIDY. Did not get out of the office until 15h00...Winds were supposed to be good around this time and crazee later. Well, unfortantely only the 2nd part was correct $%^&* Git there and NO-ONE there nor on the water. My w/s buddy shows up and a van with dakine bags too. No-one is moving. Okay, winds at about 10 knots max, i'll rig as big as i brought - 8.5 no cam loose on the 160 light winder. Can you say schlogg ?? Go back in at the boat ramp at Pte-Claire. That shoulda bin my warning. Start at the high water on the beach and go downwind and waves to the ramp ie both wind and wave goin the same way.

Sit n chat with Helmut and then it starts pickin up - oooh maybe it will be okay now ? I make no adjustment and i already have issues just gettin off the beach area. I go and it takes off. Schloggin b4 - so now let's do some downwinders. oooooooooo i'm flying... starting to feel a little overwhelmed in that no adjustments and just keep getting faster n faster. Tack and back in upwind slightly. Next run out and WOWEE. Two(2) more runs and i am dunn, butt guess what - i am now out about 250 yards and really overpowered. Try to swim it in. Make it to the wave breakers at the harbour - no boats in water yet. Can`t do anything here %?&*()

Keep swimmin towards shore. When i am almost at shore a small motorboat passes and asks if i am okay. At that point i was tryin to use some sailpower to get to shore. yeah, i`m okay and did i know there was no coast guard on the water? yeah - i can imagine that - there does not seem to be coast guard available in the summer either ?&*(

Made to the park just down from the harbour. Seemed to have collected some spectators by this point :-) Went to get the van and there was someone waterstarting. Wind was down now and a fellow who was out last week in 6 foot waves did NOT go - he was waiting for the wind to pick up. He weighs 200 lbs , uses an 85 liter board and 5.x sails !!!

Did i have fun. oh yeah - nothin keeps me down - just another lesson and a warning. Perhaps i am not ready for Pte-Claire yet - i like Captain Morgan where i can hide in windshadow if needed ...The good news was no gloves and no hood ...

Hope your early sessions this year are better than this one - and donut let it get you down, Bruce :-)

I schlogged at first circle 12 mph or  10 knots and then flew overpowered at 2nd circle of 18 mph, but gusts up to 25 !!

Thanks Redsurfbus, butt i Redeemed myself the next day :-) Went out on the local river in 10 to 12 knot westerlies with the BIC Dufour longboard  and the 8.5. Sun was shining and there were decent gusts. Took off the jacket of the farmer john, put on the harness and had a blast. Even the car honkers were on the bridge again. It seems to make people happy to see me windsurf on the river and an older fellow said as much. Well, it made me happy and hope i am in a better mood for mother's day now :-)
Happy mother's day to all !!!

I was a longboarder for over ten(10) years and wonder if i am going back ? I have been looking at boards like the Kona and even the Serenity. Light to mid winds can be a lot of fun and one does not need to wait for consistent "good" winds ...Newer longboards are flatter underneath and do plane as well. We had really big winds in the spring, but those winds were too strong for an average joe windsurfer like myself. One cannot even use one season to make the call - never the same year to year. The same applies here to other seasonal sports like X-country and alpine skiing... Local windsurfers are using the lighter winds to play on land with windskates. I am going towards the longboard...

Check what this fellow is saying about his trial on a KONA:

Fine tuning in Spring

The 2011 season is starting and thus I often go over the basics and what I want or need to improve ...

Lots of writing here about technical stuff like fins, boards, masts, sails, etc. Then it gets more personal. Like seat harness vs waist harness. How high does one put the boom? How far back do the harness lines go. Where does one place the footstraps? How tight or loose do the straps go ? Does one use an adjustable outhaul ? Cams up to what sailsize? Where does the mast base go on the mast track ??

Many of these things depend on what one wants to do ie they are task oriented. Often it is speed vs maneuverability.

Seat harness vs waist harness is probably the easiest one. Waist harnesses are suggested for people who have never used a harness. Seat harness is usually used by heavier sailors and speed sailors. Waist harnesses are used by wave sailors. These are obviously not rules. People use their personal preference. Try b4 u buy !! Stores have test setups. Use em !! I discuss this here cuz my seat harness is really old and out-dated. For me the question is: is it time to change or update my harness ??

How high does one put the boom? This seems to depend on wind strength, personal preference, harness line length and experience. It is suggested one put the boom between shoulder height and chin height. Then adjust harness line length accordingly. Also, it is suggested to put the boom lower in strong winds and higher in lighter ones {seems I may have inadvertently flipped this originally - my apologies} . Then again, personal preference and harness type comes into play. The waist harnesses seem to have their hooks placed just slightly higher.

How far back do harness lines go ? Guy Cribb has his one third of the boom length principle. Jem Hall speaks about 5 or 6 hands back from the mast. I believe it was Britt Viehmann who says find the balance point while on land. They all seem to agree that once a balance point is found, then move front line forward if pulling on front and back line back if pulling on back while sailing. Once again, personal preference, experience, etc all come into play. Everything I read told me to move my lines back, butt that happened all on its own over time. Went back as far as 20 cm on the 8.5 sail - boom of 234 cm. That's a move of almost 10 % of the boom length.  In 2013 Bruno of 2-rad told Helmut that if you draw a straight line on a rigged sail from the top of the sail to the base, where it crosses the boom is where the front line of the lines should go - Never heard that before !!

How long should the harness lines be? It is suggested they not be too long and I have seen some people have em mighty short!! Somewhere around elbow to palm of hand and then adjust. Have I said this is a personal choice yet ? And that experience makes a difference ?? :-)

How far apart should harness lines be ? Definitely NOT like in the 80's. They were really wide. It is written no more than one or two hands apart - many people have them almost touching. They sell lines which connect to boom at one point only. These are one length and easier to put and remove from boom. I like mine really close together , but have not yet determined my ideal length.

Where to put footstraps?  And how loose or tight ? Some boards just have too many footstrap positions. I have seen them up close to the mast base. Not sure what all that is about. On a race longboard perhaps, but why on a learner shortboard ? It is said to start with front footstraps all the way up and the back one in the middle if the board allows for it. I am not so sure about the back one in the middle except for wave sailing and maneuvering moves. I feel it just makes for bad habits and one has to learn how to use the outer setting after. Suggest putting them at the front of the back as well. Then one adjusts over time. Some people with wide stances have them in different locations in terms of front vs back. Saw a video where they suggested to change the straps depending on what you are doing for the day. Locally I have NOT seen people do that. Looser footstraps seem to be more for wave and B&J while tighter is for regular sailing , BAFFing and racing. Apparently we should see the little toe at the very least and adjust for booties. UPDATE: Just read a blog where they speak about footstrap setting for freestyle and it is different to allow foot freedom. This seems to mean VERY high setting in the middle !!!

Does one use an adjustable outhaul? It seems to be highly recommended in the Formula type sailing and larger sails on flat water at high speeds. Locally I have NOT seen much use of this apparatus. Bruce Peterson swears by it and used to provide it with the SailWorks Retro sails.

Cambers in what sail sizes? Personally find sails under 7.0 do fine without cambers. I love cambers and have them on most of my sails. Lock in sail shape for lighter winds and control. People locally use less cambers than I do. No cam sails are easier to waterstart. I ask this question cuz i was looking at getting a 7.5 - hopefully to fit on my 490 mast. Is it time to update one's sail quiver or sails?

Where does the mast base go on the mast track? You can leave it at the 135 cm mark, which is usually on the half way mark of most sailboard tracks. Some very experienced windsurfers do just that. I tend to look at sail range for the board and put larger sails a bit forward and smaller back. Too bouncy, move it up. Missing a bit for planing, move it back a bit. Not sure, put it in the middle. Guy Cribb says lean the sail over the back of the board and have the boom a certain distance from the back of the board - 2 fingers to a fist. Thus mast track position and boom height are accounted for. Personal choice and experience once again !!

How much downhaul and outhaul? I usually choose a sail for the conditions and downhaul and outhaul inside those conditions. After a quick test out on the water, I go back in and adjust while standing in waist deep water. Harder to add downhaul here though. Some race sails ask for one downhaul setting and then adjust via outhaul. I like to adjust a little at a time and do not feel like adjusting too much. Seems okay and planing - let it rip. Overpowered, go in and downhaul if there is some left and more outhaul too. Underpowered, slack the outhaul first and downhaul later too - if the sail allows for it.

Followup:  The next day after having pumped in these thoughts, I came across an article from Bruce Peterson of Sailworks in WindsurfingMag of May 2004 page 82 called Tuning Smart. The concepts presented are obviously still valid today...Bruce speaks of three(3) settings - underpowered, average power and overpowered. He seems to use what I call the one, two and three finger downhauls. Three being the loosest and for underpowered and one for overpowered conditions. He speaks of putting the mast base about the center mark depending on over, average or under. Middle for average, move it up for control and back for more planing power. Bruce also adds the dimension of fin. Standard fin for regular winds, smaller for bigger winds and bigger fins for more planing in light conditions. Bruce also moves the harness lines about. Back for overpowered and forward for underpowered. Wonder if one could just change the harness line length to get a similiar affect ?

Which board and sail combo to use? Use what you got and enjoy yourself. Butt always play it safe. We all have stories where we have been where we should not or when we panicked. Wrong setup and equipment issues and trouble comes quickly. Out in conditions beyond our experience, trouble comes quickly. That is why I call myself average joe windsurfer. I go when I can, but winds over 25 knots are intimidating and require experience and the right equipment !!! Never leave your board. It is a flotation device !!!

What do I need to practice and improve in 2011? Footstraps and waterstarts. Can do beachstarts and some waterstarts. Have a fear and loathing of footstraps. Feet are there, butt hesitate. This year - go for it. Will need these skills for my "new" Fanatice BEE LTD 124 and my 97 kilos :-) Imagine this is like when i began the harness - fear of ... The good thing with the harness was , it was easier to practice in light winds. My board does not allow me to footstrap in light winds - sinks in the back :-(

What's missing in my toolbag? sunscreen !! more MarineTex 4 repairs...

Check the "ropes" !!

How to have fun in less than 12 knots of wind :-)

notice the old one piece epoxy mast in the back :-)

SUN 01MAY2011 - As I said, I brought the BIC Dufour Wing down from the chalet. For days just like today. Very busy family day, not too much wind, etc. Took the Dufour, the MS Pursuit 8.5 and rigged it loose for the Rivière Milles Isles. Wind was from the East at about 10 knots. Went behind the church of Ste-Rose once again. Today it was busy with walkers, bikers, kayakers, and just people everywhere. As usual, I am the only one windsurfing here :-) With the daggerboard down I was able to go much more upwind than with the AHD FF 160, 8.5 and Select 48 pointer fin. No gloves, no hood, no harness and was sweating. And was NOT even in the steamer - was in my 2 piece wetsuit - farmer john - luv it - zips in the front !! Next time put the harness, cuz there were times i couda used it. It was a beautiful day and i was not on long, butt it was just GREAT. I donut need to plane on the water to have fun. I was a lake longboarder for over ten(10) years. I can go fast on the Dufour as well :-) It`s just different. TOW is time on water. As long as there is sun, wind and TOW = FUN !!!! in summary WIND + SUN = FUN :-)

Others say they can plane in 12 knots with Formula boards and giant sails - like up to 12 meter sails. At just under 100 kilos, on my 160 liter shortboard, with a 10-oh race sail (4 cams) I still need about 12 to 13 knots steady to plane. When running around 10 to 12 knots, I am better off with the longboard. The 10-oh gets heavy with NO wind and hard to uphaul too...

Followup: Managed to "sneak" out on SAT 14MAY2011 also. Winds were 10 to 12 mph from the NE and actually picked up. Same setup as here, butt this time managed to fall in. It was raining and the kid was off to a music lesson with his mummy. The wife caught me sneakin back - does that mean i donut get ta go tomorrow ?? damn %^&*9

Update: This year (2011) I purchased a cambered MauiSails MS-2 8-oh and also a Fanatic Ultra Cat longboard of 210 litres.  This combination planes up somewhere around 10 knots of wind and is a lot of fun. It has me considering selling the TR-4 10-oh race sail. Well, I have confirmed that NON, I am NOT selling the TR-4 10-oh - it works great with the CAT !!! Guess it is clear that I will NOT venture into the Formula arena. I am enjoying the renewed interest in longboards and the 380 cm length seems to be the magic number. Starboard is also making a Phantom 377 which is closer to the CAT length. They also seem to all be around the 66 cm width. Hope others learn that 15 knots is NOT a wind minimum.

Here is a Kona board which they are calling a longboard  - even without the center board. John Ingebritsen is known as a speed enthusiast and yet here seems to be having a riot in light winds with some waves. Another video GONE - will put another one - SUP with Sven of SB playing on a SUP

As I am NOT a freestyler, I cannot comment much on this, except to say that I have seen and read that lighter winds are good to practice freestyle moves - even on land with a modified skateboard. And all this in light winds with smaller lighter sails.