Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today is Commissioning down at the Yacht Club

 Today is Commissioning down at the Yacht Club. I will be absent.

The Moth Class represents every thing the Yacht Club scene does not.
No design constraints. Just build the fastest most innovative boats you can.

Just like the windsurfing that still exists today, Change the shape; the design; keep tweaking it, and see what happens.

No tradition; no blue blazers, no pecking order in status; no pecking order in the line up.

Moves like this ...where unthinkable.....................................when our equipment looked like this...

Mike Burns
myself by Richard J in 1980 something

myself, shot by Steve
The conditions we sail in today,,, were unimaginable on the gear we sailed in 1979.
So while windsurfing continues to make great leaps forward for the regular guy like me.

We lose ground when we try to be the Yacht Club racers we are not.The greatest example being that Windsurfing is no longer an Olympic Sport. And why not? The boards they race bear no resemblance at all to the boards my friends and I sail. And we are just regular guys.
We have families, hold "Real Jobs", and we just love the water.

Interestingly, we are actually gaining ground in our little corner of the sailing world.

For example after 35 years of wave sailing in the Ocean against NY State Parks rules. Windsurfing is finally allowed in the Ocean.

See the link bellow for details. 
George shot by Ted

 Friday, May 18, 2012
Subject: RE: Governor  Cuomo's office in cooperation with the NYS Parks announces additional beach access.

Effective June 1st, NYS PRHP will permit stand-up paddle board and windsurfing in designated surfing zones. Incremental progress is still progress. The Commission will monitor the expansion program. A successful program provides a strong argument for further consideration of expansion.
SURFING, paddle boarding and wind surfing oceanfront locations
          Jones Beach
·        The surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing area is open year-round at West End 2.  The area is located on the west side of the beachfront, avoiding protected species.
·        Off-season surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are permitted at all open parking fields from October 16th thru May 14th
·        In-season surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are permitted west of Field 2 from June 1st thru October 15th.
·        Surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are permitted beyond 100 feet east of Field 6 picnic area year-round.
·        Surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are permitted at the west end boat basin.
·        Surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are permitted at Field 10.
Montauk State Parks Complex
·        Surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are open year-round from sunrise to sunset at Shadmoor and Hither Hills (outside bathing area).
·        Surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing area at Montauk Point State Park is open December 15th thru March 31st from sunrise to sunset.
Robert Moses
·        In-season, surfing, paddle boarding, and wind surfing area is located on the west side of each open field beyond the lifeguard protected bathing areas. (closed fields)  Including Democrat Point west of jetty.
·        During the off-season, surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are authorized within Fields 2, 3 and 4 by permit only when fields are closed.  Effective dates are September 15th thru December 31st daylight hours only.  Field 5 surfing, paddle boarding and wind surfing are authorized year-round on the west side.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring 2012

Let's start you off with Long Island's own Mike B. and Jon S! Watching these two sail almost makes me embarrassed to admit how long I have been sailing. If watching Mike and Jon sail doesn't create new Windsurfers...I don't what will.

Let me start this off by saying YES, I LOVE WINDSURFING.
But windsurfing suffered a few injuries this year…

First we lost the last US National Windsurfing magazine. [We still have Canadian, Windsport Magazine, and the newspaper like New EnglandWindsurfing Journal]
This week we lost the Olympics to Kite Boarding.

So there has been a lot of talk about bringing new people into the ranks of Windsurfing.
I don’t care how many friends you teach.
It will not work without the support of the windsurfing industry.

In the 80’s and early 90’s I worked at a local windsurfing shop. We taught roughly 20 people a week to windsurf. [Now we were talking light wind longboard windsurfing.] We sold at least 12 new board setups a month; sometimes 20 or more! All of them light wind Long Boards.

Then the industry shot itself in the foot. The manufacturers demanded retailers buy for inventory a certain number of shortboards for every Longboard they would ship us.
THEN THE INDUSTRY SHOT ITSELF IN THE HEAD, as it continues to do, even today.
They started coming out with model years. Just like cars.

I’m sorry; does anyone here know what year their kayak is? Their bicycle?  Golf Clubs? Baseball Bat, Mitt? Barbeque, lawn furniture, .bathing suit, skateboard, Sneakers? Their Surfboard? Does it mater?

Well I can sure tell you what year my Windsurfing gear is. Each Board; and each Sail.

Why don’t Manufactures just upgrade to new models as innovation dictates?
The way the industry is structured now; I pay $X if I buy a current years Board, or $X/2 [a 50% discount], if I buy last year’s version of the exact same thing.

Let’s use Randy French as an example; [And his gear was great!]  …why doesn’t he make windsurfers any more? Well if you just buy license to a number of successful surfboard shapes and make exact copies over and over again…well you do the math. No retooling every year, and you’re building something with a consistent demand.
Now your dealers can count on a consistent profit margin; and you can still build a small amount of cutting edge boards if you wish.

That troubles me is that a 16 year old has no way of getting his windsurfing gear to the beach; unless he has the equivalent of a “soccer Mom”. When I was that age, one of the boatyards on the bay kept a shipping container on the beach. We would pay modest rent to keep our boards there. Those type of properties no longer exist on my bay. It’s all McMansions, or high end Yacht Clubs. And forget the ocean; it’s a half hour drive. How do you do that  if you are 12?

So, how do we save our sport? It’s a tough question. Windsurfing has a steep learning curve, is not simple, and requires a ton of gear. [a van full of gear does NOT look inviting for someone just starting out.]
My prescriptions…

Range, and simplicity:  My sailboat was designed 150 years ago, and it sails well in 5 to 105 knots.

Then maybe we can create the next generation of wind junkies.

Meanwhile…I launched Segue yesterday. I have been sailing her since 1986.