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ISO warm destination for comfortable return to sailing
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JiveTacker



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Philadelphia, PA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:47 pm    Post subject: ISO warm destination for comfortable return to sailing Reply with quote

I've done all my windsurfing in Alameda and the Gorge and was still struggling with the waterstart when I decided to call it quits 3 years ago. I moved to Philadelphia a few months ago and find myself dreaming of windsurfing. I watch videos, read up on gear, and make goals for this season. I'm really tired of winter and it's only January so I thought I'd find some warm, sunny island to head to for a week or less and recharge but, as long as I'm near a beach I figure I want to windsurf and see if it's something I really want to reinvest in.

St. Martin seems to be cheaper to fly to than Belize and Margarita and might also provide conditions for my level. My goals, if I return are: hone my waterstarts, commit to the harness (I think I'm still afraid of drowning under the sail and, I have the death grip), carving and duck jibe. I don't want to end up going somewhere too advanced for my level and end up hating the sport. I noticed Vela has a spot at St. Martin but I've never been to one of their clinics.

Does anyone have any suggestions for where to stay and rent on St. Martin or another suggestion for the Caribbean? Maybe Cabarete would be better and more affordable? I'm female and will be going solo if that makes any difference.
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slinky



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 430
Location: Old Saybrook Ct.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would recomend Aruba. Consistent winds, toasty warm this time of year, excellent equipment rentals and instruction, beatiful sandy beaches with waist deep water, perfect for getting your waterstarts down, and flat water. The winds are side- offshore, so there is no chop to deal with. In one week your skills will improve more than in an entire season here on the east coast, at least they did for me. I sailed in St. Croix many years ago, but there were few rentals available and no instruction. I think your idea is an excellent one, as you will definately know within a week if windsurfing is for you. Have fun!
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2431

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Current thought is Bonaire is the easiest to learn to waterstart and jibe.
Since the by is mostly upper chest deep, you can fall anytime, stand up, and waterstart to do it again as many times as you want, with no danger of not getting back up.
Light steady breeze, mostly around 16mph, makes for easy learning.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 14472

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:10 pm    Post subject: Re: ISO warm destination for comfortable return to sailing Reply with quote

JiveTacker wrote:
My goals, if I return are: hone my waterstarts, commit to the harness (I think I'm still afraid of drowning under the sail and, I have the death grip), carving and duck jibe.

Lumping planing jibes in with those other goals WILL set you up for failure.
if you learn them quickly, great; you're gifted. If not, remember that even in the windy Gorge they're just icing on the cake; a consistent waterstart is all one needs. I sailed the Gorge in any and every amount of wind essentially full time for many years before learning to jibe; it PISSED ME OFF, but it didn't keep me from enjoying extreme winds.

In 33 years of nearly full-time WSing, mostly in the Gorge plus MANY other venues, I have never gotten stuck under a sail, and the death grip habit will go away once you get comfortable in the harness, which you should and can do in one devoted day. Hook in, sail, unhook, repeat 500 times in any and all conditions. Done. Now you can sail just about all day in comfort and learn everything else much more quickly.
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zirtaeb



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 2431

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe schedule a Bonaire trip with an ABK camp. If you like the idea of a female instructor, Meridith is Andy's g/f, and does some teaching also.
For most sailors, a waterstart comfort level is easy to attain in a week, while jibes maybe closer to 2nd year, or 50+ days. Tacks are easier, start with a 130 liter + board size.
Deep water and currents are your worst nightmare, hence Bonaire sailing the shallow bay between the islands.
The reason Bonaire is the leading developer for freestyle sails is the shallow water and steady winds.
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boardsurfr



Joined: 23 Aug 2001
Posts: 584

PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zirtaeb wrote:
Maybe schedule a Bonaire trip with an ABK camp.

I second that. I have seen several campers learn the planing jibe within one week there. AKB camps are about the best way to improve your windsurfing, and while they teach at a lot of great spots, Bonaire is my absolute favorite. I have been to ABK camps in Bonaire every years since I took the first camp there, and so have many others. I''m counting days until March. Check out this video about the camp 2 years ago.
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WaterKook



Joined: 10 Apr 2000
Posts: 1506
Location: The Dude abides!!!!!

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bonaire Wink
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Brian_S



Joined: 11 Jun 2005
Posts: 149
Location: SE Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:19 am    Post subject: ST. Martin Reply with quote

Jive,
We tried St. Martin at the end of Feb 2012. Rented from the Vela Center and stayed in a nearby hotel (walking distance), again through Vela. The bay is beautiful and the rollers on the outside are fun. If you stay near the Vela center you don't need a car. The winds are light (sometimes too light to plane)
If the wind is up and from the right direction, St Martin can have a challenging beach break. RE air fare/connections, if you're from the east coast, St Martin is easy to get to.

However, it's not as friendly as Bonaire if you want to learn basic skills, like water starting and harness. Bonaire has shallow water (almost) everywhere- sometimes too shallow for safety. You can stay at the windsurfing site, but you probably need a car in Bonaire to grocery shop and to go out to dinner. Bonaire is probably a little cheaper (food and housing) than St Martin.

St. Martin has a nude beach adjacent to the windsurfing area. Thankfully, Bonaire got rid of theirs.
Brian
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DriverA



Joined: 08 Aug 2010
Posts: 205

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bonaire is a great choice and there is a direct flight from Newark that leaves at midnight on Friday and Saturday (5:30 am arrival). This is fantastic because you don't waste a possible sailing day with travel. Blowing 20 knots today: http://www.breathebonaire.com/index.php?CURRENT_CAM=bonairecam4&SET_CAM=bonairecam4
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starik333



Joined: 19 Aug 2000
Posts: 223
Location: Philly

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bonaire!
BTW: there is nonstop flights to Bonaire from Newark.

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Andrew
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A lot of great surfers were ruined by family and steady job.
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