Posts Tagged 'windfinder'

sailing log: October Sunfish sailing

right now it is cold and drizzling rain outside – the kind of weather where you just want to sit inside with the fireplace crackling and have a football game on the TV. but during the early part of October, we had some incredible warm weather days – and one weekend when T2 was home from college for the weekend, he and I took a short drive to sail a bit on Sunday afternoon at nearby Ford Lake. windfinder was predicting wind speeds in the mid-teens and air temps were in the low 80’s.

there were a couple boats out on the lake, but the boat ramp was pretty empty, so we just pulled up our trailer near the ramp, used the PVC dolly to take the Minifish and Sunfish down to the water and rigged up the sails. T2 set off sailing first while I finished getting my Sunfish set up, but I followed him towards the southeast end of the lake – it almost seemed like we had the lake entirely to ourselves.

we both turned around and ran with the wind at our backs for a long stretch, following the lake up towards the northwest. I cut my run shorter than T2 – he elected to go all the way around the small island in the lake. after that we zig-zagged back upwind, tacking back and forth making our way back towards the boat ramp. at one point, I saw a bald eagle soaring along the lake’s coastline! I’ve never seen a bald eagle this far south in Michigan.

I got a nice shot of my newer Allen ratchet block in action, with a gybe-ho sticker on display on my daggerboard.

I recently updated my everyday watch (I broke the glass screen on my apple watch), so opted this time for a Garmin GPS watch, the Garmin Forerunner 55. overall, I’m loving it – the GPS feature for tracking activities like hiking, biking, etc is fantastic, and the Garmin Connect app is really amazing. and the battery lift is amazing – I can go days, even weeks w/o charging, can sleep with the watch on so that it tracks my sleep patterns, where with the apple watch I had to charge almost every night.

for sailing, I select “other” as the activity on the watch itself, wait for it to sync with GPS, and then hit “go” to track the sailing activity. after completing the sailing and syncing the watch with the Connect app, you can then go into the activity and edit the type from “other” to “sailing”, and it will update the data to show speed in knots and total distance sailed in nautical miles.

is that little switch to knots and nautical miles necessary? no… but I like it. not sure that the calorie count is all that accurate for this activity, though…

usually my September and October weekends are pretty booked with kid’s soccer games and yardwork and house projects, and the weather doesn’t usually cooperate either – so I’m not sure I’ve sailed much past the 1st or 2nd weekend of September very much, and I’m 100% certain I’ve never sailed my Sunfish in October before. it was a great day for it, though, and I’m really glad that T2 and I took advantage of the Indian summer weather to get out on the water one last time for the year.

WATERFUN: 8 things sailing lessons don’t teach you [video]

Lee Montes is back at it again with another great video about Sunfish sailing. this time, he put together his list of 8 things that aren’t always taught or mentioned if you have taken an intro or beginner’s sailing class. and if you’re self-taught (like me), then you might not have heard any of these things yet.

a good visual guide to help if you’re looking for some reading material before the warm weather gets here is the learn to sail in 3 days guide.

here’s a simple breakdown of Lee’s list: WATERFUN, with my thoughts in parentheses:

  1. Weather forecast (use a wind forecast app like sailflow or I prefer windfinder)
  2. Anticipation (look ahead to keep an eye on others on the water – motorboats, kayakers, swimmers, as well as wind and current changes)
  3. Tacks (Sunfish sails a little different on port and starboard tacks due to the lateen sail how it sits on the side of the mast – you can trim the sail further in on a port tack)
  4. Education (lessons, clubs, classes)
  5. Racing (racing improves your sailing, join the Sunfish Class)
  6. Feel (weight/balance as you sit, feel the wind)
  7. Upwind first (sail the harder upwind tack first so it is easier to get back home – totally agree with this one, I use this method on Lake Michigan all the time)
  8. Never stop sailing (more time on the water = a better sailor)

wind forecast

winds are looking promising!

forecast via Windfinder.

crossing my fingers that a little bit of this will be going on next week on Lake Michigan:

the deuce: 54ft of fast [video]

holy smokes – this is a giant 54-ft long stern-steer iceboat, with a top recorded speed of 104 mph!

h/t: @windfinder

week 2 of junior sailing camp

man time is flying by this summer! my 2 older boys just finished up the 2nd week of sailing camp this year.  conditions were similar to week 1, but Monday was stormy with high winds – my older son sailed only a short time in the morning, and my younger son didn’t sail at all that day.

PYC monday

the rest of the week generally played out about the same each day:  winds were mostly lighter, less than 10 mph each day.  my younger son mostly sailed the Opti, and my older son sailed mostly the FJ and the 420.

to mix it up during this second week, the instructors have a neat activity on Wednesday: the kids all have to sail to a park on the other side of the lake where they have pizza delivered for lunch at the park, and then sail back in the afternoon.  and on Friday, the instructors grill a chicken barbeque lunch to finish off the week.

all told, Ive been very pleased with the Learn to Sail program at Pontiac Yacht Club – a very impressive program, giving students a variety of sailing experiences and a great time out on the water!

week 1 of junior sailing camp

my 2 older boys just finished up the 1st week of sailing camp this year.  similar to last year, we have them enrolled in a 2-week session of junior sailing at Pontiac Yacht Club.  our 13-yr old seems to be getting a lot of opportunities to sail on 2- or 3-person sailboats, and our 9 1/2-yr old is still on the smaller boats (but he’s still a small guy, so it makes perfect sense).

Pontiac Yacht Club is home to the largest fleet of Lightning sailboats in the world (60+ registered boats). there are a whole slew of them at the docks, and a bunch more up on the shore on trailers.

a few weeks earlier, I ordered both boys a shorty wetsuit (2.5 mm neoprene) – it has been a cooler summer, and I was afraid the water temperature would be cooler.  after the 1st week, it seems like maybe they didn’t need them after all – as it has been warmer this week, and the water temperature hasn’t bothered them.

IMG_3910

Monday: 13-yr old sailed most of the day in a Club FJ with one other student, spending most of the day controlling the jib sail.  9 1/2-yr old sailed an Optimist all day, also with another student, each taking turns with the controls.

Tuesday: 13-yr old was stoked when I picked him up – he had a chance to sail a Laser for the first time, and loved it! his exact words were: Club FJ = terrible, Laser = awesome!  9 1/2-yr old sailed an Open Bic for the first time, and he loved it as well – he said he was FLYING across the water!  (I was a bit concerned that he might get stuck in Opti’s for this whole session, so I’m glad he is getting experience in other boats.)

here is a picture of the bigger boats our older son is getting some experience with — on the left is the Club FJ and to the right is a 420 sailboat.  he complains about how the FJ handles – he says it turns too slow, but he really enjoys sailing the 420.

IMG_3965

Wednesday: 13-yr old sailed the Laser some again (flipped it twice in the heavier winds!), and also got to ride in a 420 sailboat.  he mainly skippered the 420 with 2 other students riding along.  this was the 1st day that my 13-yr old wore his wetsuit – he said it worked great, and he could still move comfortably in it while sailing.  9 1/2-yr old was back in the Opti with a partner, but he skippered most of the day. here is Wednesday’s wind forecast (via the Windfinder app):

IMG_3945

Thursday: 13-yr old was only on the 420 this day, mostly as skipper, but a bit of time controlling the jib sail.  9 1/2-yr old sailed a bit in both the Opti and the Open Bic.

Friday: 13-yr old again was a mix of skipper and crew on just the 420 today. 9 1/2-yr old was in the Opti with a partner, but he skippered most of the day. he is our 9 1/2-yr old helping to put away one of the Open Bic sailboats.

IMG_3966

overall, it seems like another great week of sailing – they spend most of the day out on the water, and are getting a ton of experience with the boat handling.  I’m pretty happy for them, and a bit jealous of all the sailing they are getting to do!

 

 


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