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April so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Member Details Session Description
Toys Used
Owner: axxis

Member#: 171
Registered: 12-03-2003
Diary Entries: 18

24th August 2003
Windsurfing: Vetch's beach, Durban
Wind Direction: NNE
Wind Stength: 20-33kts
Surf / Sea State: nuclear
Air Temperature: 23
Sea Temperature: 22
Weather: clear
Max Speed:
Distance Covered:

Good, short session in the morning. Sea still manageable, but wind suddenly turned off after 45 min. Sailors out: Andy, Hal, James

The wind came back briefly in the afternoon (around 3pm).

Hal & I had an interesting session. It was howling and the sea was huge. And I do mean huge. Bigger than it was two weeks ago when we had that big sail at Vetch's. Wind wasn't as strong but wind-phone had it gusting to 33 at times.

We launched and soon realised that something was different. Couldn't get going despite decent wind. Turned out that the wind was much more out of the North than normal. This made it more sideshore, so our usual starboard tack out was effectively straight into the wind. I sort of worked my way down the beach until I was far enough to go out on a port tack and that worked well... obviously being headed on the starboard tack meant you could go more steeply out on the port.

Once I was out things were fine. I kept away from the huge waves near the breakwater and had a pretty good sail. It was a little gusty but not too bad. The huge waves blocked the wind occasionally but in all it was an exciting sail and though it was hectic, I felt in control. The axxis went beautifully and I had one nice carving gybe next to the breakwater. Also had some huge air and nice rides down the big swell. Conditions were seriously nuclear and I could see the people on the breakwater watching with big eyes.

Had one nasty experience crossing the reef when I had one of those double waves - two waves flowing from different directions and meeting together. They formed a steep triangle which popped me up and brought me down nose first. Still, no damage and able to get going again.

In the meantime Hal was having a reasonable sail except he seemed to be staying perilously close to the shore. He was also going very fast. I kept an eye on him and then didn't see him for a bit. I kept looking and looking and finally saw this head bobbing around close to the breakwater and rather close to all the rocks and that wall. The sea was high enough by then to be breaking up against that wall. It didn't look good so I thought I should come in and see if all was ok.

That was where things went wrong for me. I forgot that the same lesson I'd learned launching would apply on the way in. I couldn't make my normal high-speed broad reach on a port tack. I tried and of course was sailing directly down wind. No power in the sail and big waves. Realised my mistake and tried to turn to reach in the opposite direction but had come in so far by then that I was chest deep in shorebreak. Oriented the board once and then got caught by a set and the stuff was rolled. Sail (taped 5.4) was trashed but everything else fine. So I guess I came out alright except the sail is probably beyond repair. Annoying. Just because I didn't think, really.

Anyway, I hauled the kit up the beach and then rushed to see Hal swimming in and no sign of his kit anywhere ! He reckoned it was on the rocks and we'd have to get shoes. We fetched our shoes and made a very reckless trip around the front of that sewerage thing to try to salvage it. There were some close moments where waves broke right up against us. Not pleasant. Still, with some swearing and slipping and dropping the stuff four or five times we managed to haul it all up the rocks onto the breakwater. The sail was just a tangle of splintered battens and shreds of monofilm. Mast was intact but no doubt took some heavy knocks. Boom seemed alright but had been torn (the covering) in a few places. Board has some nasty dings through to the foam.


It turned out that Hal had been in a situation where he was in front of a large breaker near the breakwater. He reckons it was a case of either going over the top or trying to outrun it. Either way it looked as if he would fall off but he reckons the decision to outrun it turned out to be the worse option because it left him in a worse location when he came off. He was closer in to shore and in the breakers. He tried to hang onto his kit as the set went by but we all know what happens when a broken wave fills a sail with water. It broke his outhaul which that meant no chance of sailing out of there. In a trice the kit was washed in to those nasty rocks. There was no option of swimming it out and back into a safer location so he came in to get some shoes and attempt another salvage.

I was amazed that there was anything left at all.

It was a pretty depressing end. I guess we went out in big conditions but the result wasn't inevitable. It was just a couple of bad combining circumstances. We could both quite easily have come in and called it a brilliant sail. Phew.

This is worse than a drug addiction. More expensive and I get more and more hooked. Does anyone else break as much kit as us. I find it hard to believe.

3 stars again. Sailing was brilliant, trashing was terrible.
Toys Used:
F2 axxis 278
Neil Pryde NR 5.4
Powerex z-taper 430
Neil Pryde Freeride 165-205
ProLimit Seat Large



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