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Recent videos…

Added some footage with pics to Sean's great video where
grandson Grant scored a goal at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea, UK

Great carve jibe video  ~  (Jem Hall)

Great carve jibe video  ~  All 14 possible jibes in about 5 minutes including "Look mom, no hands!"…



    (editing)   March 1st       A second review of our progress with QiGong.   (see also February 16th)

My wife and I joined a well qualified QiGong group in early January.   QiGong is a health practise used by Chinese that might be compared to a kind of physiotherapy that can be employed to help heal the whole body.   Twenty-four postures are taught by our very qualified master instructor, Sifu George Picard.   The philosophy of QiGong is based on Chinese medicine that has been around for many thousands of years.   Quite simply, it is designed to help bring the body into a state of homeostasis, or perfect balance.   Once the whole body is well it can begin to heal itself.   This can be interpreted as quite different from our traditional western medicine that deals with specific treatment for specifics illnesses.   (All that said, I have a deep and abiding faith in my doctor(s), our health care system, and the medication I currently take and might need in the future.   As my T=Shirt proclaims - I'm hip to OHIP)

The gentle, rhythmic movements of Qigong reduce stress, build stamina, increase vitality, and enhance the immune system.   It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive functions.   Simply put, the body is put back into a healthy state.   Muscles are stretched and strengthened, the central nervous system is allowed to flow correctly, the spine is gently realigned, and deep regular breathing accompanies the 24 postures.   A generous supply of oxygen is put backing the body to help with the overall healing.

Quite frankly I was a teeny bit skeptical at first but decided to give it an honest try.   Nancie is a cancer survivor who underwent surgery and radiation and recently suffered a nasty heart attack that resulted with a triple bypass to correct the issue.   From a physical standpoint and two months into the program we both feel better and speaking for myself I am walking faster because of the stretching, and chronic pain and discomfort in my ankles, knee, hip, and lower back have diminished.   I haven't needed eyedrops for the past few while and my lungs are are also clear, likely from the deep breathing that accompanies the postures.   Asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis have been on going, life long issues for me.   We'll see how this all unfolds over the coming year.

First I have to say that Nancie and I are blessed with having an amazing instructor, Sifu (master) George Picard, who holds a 7th degree black belt in Karate and is also qualified and competent in mixed martial arts.   George is a master QiGong instructor and the principal instructor in our QiGong program.   George and our instructors lead us through the 24 postures each day and offer guidance and advice to help perfect the 24 QiGong postures on an on-going basis.   Taken to another level Tai Chi becomes a martial art and the postures, acupuncture points, and use of body energy become agents of defence and attack.   Karate, Jiujitsu, Judo, Taekwondo, Kung Fu and the like, are all better known examples of the martial arts that can be studied if anyone feels the need.   For me, QiGong and a stout walking stick are pretty much all I ever hope to need.

Once the forms are mastered with the help of competent instructors a consistent practice is the most important asset that can follow.   It takes about 100 days of daily supervised practise to achieve a more healthy body.   QiGong is something that can and should be continued for as long as one lives.

Sifu George has an infectious ability to both motivate and guide our flock at whatever their level.   His advice, background, and ongoing instruction are uniquely encouraging, interesting, and motivating.   In addition to QiGong we are encouraged to learn Tai Chi, which incorporates many of the QiGong pastures and puts them in motion.   The health benefits of Tai Chi are long established and have many beneficial outcomes.   The Mayo Clinic, Harvard School of Medicine, and Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre have all declared the health benefits of involvement with Tai Chi and QiGong.   There are a number of students in our class and in George's book, who are living testimonials to the benefits of QiGong and Tai Chi practises.

As a novice, and going through the Tai Chi postures and moves I am amazed at how I perceive the similarities with windsurfing footwork, body, and arm movement.

Hang loose is an old expression that's been kicking around windsurf circles since our sport began more than 40 years ago.   In my third Tai Chi class yesterday morning Sifu George had me going from standing tense to hanging loose, relaxing shoulders and butt, balancing over the body centre, being mindful of footwork, and knowing how to be strong without flexing muscles.   To me their are obvious similarities that can be put to the test when we get to Cape Hatteras NC soon.

QiGong and Tai Chi rely on the natural flow of energy in our central nervous system and deep breathing to help oxygenate our bodies.   Our internal organs, vascular system, central nervous system, stretched and strengthened muscles, joints, an aligned spine, are all worked on a regular basis and for me, the most obvious effect is that I feel better.   I also enjoy the quite and relaxing daily ritual of it all alone as a solitary soul, with Nancie, and in our group of new acquaintances.

My posture and balance have also improved over the past two months.   My daily walks not only faster but are pain free.   If this beautiful weather continues the bike will be pressed into service for some long-distance treks and good hills to conquer.   I am becoming more mindful of moderating Happy Hour and eating a bit less to help keep my weight down.

All this said I am looking forward to how these two new activities will translate in some way into windsurfing improvement on Pamlico Sound, NC in just 6 weeks.

There is likely no one way to achieve good health or in accomplishing goals.   There are only ways.   These ways include diet, exercise, practise, patience, recreation, friends, a good doctor, heath insurance, the right gear, loving partner, and more.   Hey, at some point we all die.   But hopefully we can avoid spending our last five to ten years in a nursing home.

Cheers.

Grandmaster Lu Zijian at 118 years, (his enemies say he was only 113)

Some general Information about QiGong

Grandmaster George Picard



        January 2nd   Not considering a bit of a site facelift presently.

Restarted Instagram, also looking at a long dormant Twitter account as two more ways of reengaging in 2017.

Photography and maybe aging gracefully will help become a central focus.   Using an iPhone as well as the somewhat unwieldy DSLR could well be the mindful way to engage with social media at this point in time.

Have found some more interesting reading material to help with deal with physical discomfort and growing older that could well prove to be a bonus for successfully working through many more windsurfing seasons.

The grandchildren are back (and arguing about something downstairs) so with all this in mind another new day in the new year is cranking up.

Nice!   Maybe some of this could help snag and kickstart a few other aging wind junkies.

If it's going to be, it's up to me.



        December 30th   Considering a bit of a site facelift, maybe more.

Not entirely sure what changes could make an overall improvement just yet.   The site has become a bit unwieldy, overcrowded, and perhaps even tired.   The original 2003 Main Page proclamation regarding wandering about and hints about being spontaneous and sporadic seem to have evaporated.

Will start with a lighter main page and give it all some thought.   In any event, a few changes here and there, and a new focus could be refreshing in a wee nip and tuck overhaul.

The site could show a much simpler wintertime face and the windsurfing/sailing seasons (mid April - November) with the busier, more familiar Main Page.



        December 27th   What's on the agenda today?

It's pretty much a huge shitshow out there.   Pretty much everywhere.

The frenetic pace of the holidays, depressing, repetitive media reports, Christmas minus most of the peace, joy, and love of the season, money markets, unrest, and all of the many global uncertainties currently facing us are looming about casting dark shadows all over the place.

Plus I hugely miss the grandchildren and being with family and it's been less than a day since their departure.

Hey, I should be secretary-treasurer of the local WWPTSD group.   Winter Windsufer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   All kidding aside - windsurfers are a wonderful, optimistic congregation of diehard wind junkies who need a rousing cheer and a huge hug!   Miss you with all my heart!   Miss the time blasting about on the water as well.

Just checking in again.   Yup.   A mild angst and uneasiness follows me about.   And a few minor aches here and there reminding me to get fit and focussed on becoming another year older and facing the advent of some serious spring sailing.

It seems to me that the only thing I really can actually do is begin to work out an improved agenda.   There's an underlying truth that writing can help uncover the tanglement of our needs.   Putting thoughts into written words is a beginning to help shape a plan.   Here goes again.

We chase dreams.   We get chased by our demons.   Dreams and demons.   Might just become a best seller.

Whoa, slow down, hold on there Johnsie.   Maybe work on putting them in some kind of personal peaceful coexistence first.

January will certainly become a time to reconsider all of the routines that currently affect my life in any way.   No resolutions.   No objectives.   Just an open time to reflect, prioritize, simplify, and hopefully become mindful of what's actually needed to somehow survive the next decade in this continually changing world.

Basically another one of those war, disease, & starvation vs. hope, love, & peace scenarios, but on a way smaller, simpler, way less serious scale.

Let's start without any agenda, just a wonder and wander about, and see where the dust settles.   I can't be alone in all this.   Maybe seek out some form of motivational literature or see what Anthony Robbins is up to or watch an old inspirational Wayne Dyer tape.   Darn, the VTR is hiding somewhere in a box deeply stowed somewhere in the basement, likely with dead batteries in the remote.

Maybe break a few of the old routines and spend some time with a serious change in venue.   Recess is just a heartbeat away.

When the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.   When the world gives you a shitshow, get your shit together.

Pretty sure I can pull this all off one more time.




        December 17th   The Polynesian Triangle, God, and the stoke.

The Polynesian Triangle extends from New Zealand (Aotearoain) in the south, to Hawaii in the north, to (Rapa Nui) - Easter Island in the east.  

As glaciers receded during the end of the Pleistocene human migration spread further into Asia, Australia, North America, South America, and eventually throughout the main islands in the Southern Pacific Ocean.   It was somewhat easier to find foot passage through valley corridors recently scoured out by the glacial ice or follow coastlines where sea life provided food.

Human origin and migration patterns can currently be tested with DNA.   Archeologists find human remains and settlements, lost and discarded stone tools, and the butchered bones of animals.   But much of our ancestors' migratory journey is somewhat theoretical and is still open to some speculation and debate.

The cold winters in the north were likely a good reason to keep moving south.   The better locations became populated and overcrowded.   Cultures developed, smaller and larger kingdoms took hold and socio-political disputes occurred.   (Back then neighbours could be a huge pain in the ass as well, a good reason to keep moving.)   Tribal wars occurred.   Another reason to flee the premises.

At some point it was deemed necessary to head out into the Pacific Ocean to find a new place to settle.   Why not?   We are driven by curiosity, faith, our intellect, and ability to build boats.   People learned to navigate using the stars, ocean currents, and with the help of prevailing winds and paddles they sought new homeland.

It was reported in the Smithsonian Magazine that the Hawaiian Islands were first settled as early as 400 C.E., when Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands, 2000 miles away, traveled to Hawaii's Big Island, in large canoes.   A formidable journey considering these brave souls took along seeds, plants, and animals.

The skills required to survive in wind and waves, and a spiritual faith would likely have been prerequisites in accomplish journeys like this.   Swimming, surfing the waves, and negotiating the wind became survival necessities.

These pioneers made it and populated the islands of the south sea.   And much like our olympics their culture promoted a skillset involving surfing.   A place to test their courage, strength, and ingenuity.

Religion was involved in this lifestyle but differently for the new cultures.

In Tahiti there was a surf god but in Hawaii as James Houston and Ben Finney explain in Surfing: A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport that there was no special diety for surfing.   But making a surfboard was very much a ritualized process.   It started with offerings to the soul of the tree to be cut down.   Houston and Finney also note the existence of a surf chant:

Arise, arise ye great surfs from Kahiki
The powerful curling waves
Arise with pohuehue
Well up, long ranging surf
                (This was taken from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature in the link below)

Duke Kahanamoku, noted in the last two entries, was a descendant of these pioneers and exemplified their culture.   He and others survived the Christian missionaries attempt to stifle a lifestyle and culture that came close to exterminating their religion, spirituality, and way of life.   During the period following Captain James Cook there was disease, imposed Christianity, alcoholism, and demoralization all of which contributed to diminishing the native population from about 300,000 in 1778 to about 24,000 in 1920.   Fortunately for them, their current citizenry are normalizing as now shown in the native Hawaiian population which is making a strong comeback.

If you're given lemons make lemonade.   If you're given waves make surfboards.

The quest in surfing is a bit more extreme than say in golf or tennis.   To venture out into the wind and waves on an ocean takes a bit more courage, faith, and determination.   (No offence, but think about it, most anyone can pick up a 3 iron and yell Fore)   Kicking it up a notch or two, it takes lots more of this gutsy grit to head out into an ocean with your family, all of your possessions, in a canoe, with an unknown heading, then go on to survive a 2000 mile journey and start a new life.   But back to surfing, the wind and waves are a good start.   And the skills to survive in the wind and waves are in some small part the same as some of the skills needed to survive at sea for an extended period of time.

And we haven't even discussed the stoke yet.   The stoke is what more extreme athletes like surfers get when the adrenaline rush is gone and through a complex body chemistry, serotonin levels rise.   Nice.   God's gift for a task well done.   All this makes me continue to wonder if we're humans on a spiritual journey or spirits on a human journey.   Seriously.   Think about it.

Aloha…


        A few reference links below…

Some relevant pre 1800 AD history about religion and surfing from the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature

Religion and surfing 1820 AD to the present.

Surf Stoke

Migration Theories

The spread of modern humans around the world during the ice age…

Polynesian Seafarers ~ Masters of Ocean Currents

The Book ~ Surfing: A History of the Ancient Hawaiian Sport

Native Hawaiian population over the past 236 years

It's maybe somewhat unfortunate that The Christian Surfers Movement wasn't a part of Captain James Cook's exploration contingent.



        December 15th   The history of surfing…

Surfing waves goes back a few thousand years.   It was actually a part of the culture of Pre-Incans, Polynesians, Hawaiians, and likely others.

Duke Kahanamoku, was following a long heritage and was one man among many who should also to be acknowledged, acclaimed, and recognized.   For starters have a look at what Wikipedia states in the link below.   It's a good, quick read to help understand the roots of surfing.

Duke helped to popularize surfing in the early 1900s and for the most part he became a modern surfing legend.   But the art of body surfing, unique sailing rigs, dug out canoes with outriggers, and straw boat constructions were the forerunners of our current array of surfboards, sailboards, SUPs, surf kayaks, and the like.   In addition to the body surfers, the many boards, boats, and rigs all go back countless generations; shaped, reshaped, bravely ridden, and enjoyed by countless surfers.

Dolphins, geese, and pets have been seen surfing waves so we're not alone.   To maybe consider our sport as a part of a spiritual journey can't be too far off the mark based on the way south sea islanders reverently incorporated it into their culture and lifestyle.   No wonder the sport has quickly become what it is today.

Surfing the literature for more background information will be a fun exploration this winter.

The history of surfing goes back long before Duke Kahanamoku made the headlines.



        December 14th   He was our first 20th century Beach Boy and contemporary surfer…

Duke.   Duke Kahanamoku, more than a name and an icon of a man.   This guy set the stage and started the movement that captivated our soul and focus we continue to share.   And most likely will, for the rest of our lives.   Without the Duke, Robbie and Bjorne might have been flipping burgers at some smoke and grill joint.

Duke not only carved his own boards but he took surfing to Australia and motivated a surfing lifestyle there.

Hawaiians started the surfing culture a few centuries ago.   Likely as a way of life just getting to shore in the waves while travelling from island to island.   The Duke both improved on and promoted the sport that has taken off in so many directions today.

We continue to enjoy the best of times thanks to this amazing beach boy.   Neoprene caps off and a triple Shaka to the Duke.

Duke Kahanamoku's original Australian surfboard and some of his his early history…

The first ~ Duke Kahanamoku Surfing - 1939



      (Editing…   Oh my, another rant)   December 12th   Show me.   I'm from Missouri.

And their vehicle licence plates have Show Me below their tag number.

Show Me indicates being open to new ideas that have substance and validity.   An open mind waiting to be convinced.   Donald Trump took the state and its 10 electoral votes in a landslide win.   Politics constantly ceases to amaze me.

Over the past few decades I've pretty much given up on politics, and to a large measure organized religion as well.

But that does't mean that I don't value my vote nor seek a spiritual high road.   On the contrary.   I strongly value a well-organized society and a Christian lifestyle.

I choose my beliefs carefully usually after seeking scientific validation or well documented trusted literature.   I try to keep an open mind.   Don't get too caught up in the frenzy and distractions we humans create, is my motto.

For me I plan to stick to things like windsurfing instructional videos.   Political talkshows and religious congregations are for the rest of the world.

The recent US election and the American population in general have made obvious the way in which both politics and religion are inextricably bonded with belief.   You can't really argue or debate with any belief that is firmly ingrained in anyone.   It simply is what it is.   But the candidates and their bizarre behaviour and the way in which outright lies and derogatory remarks were made left me shocked, dismayed, and stunned.   As much as religion and politics have been a positive force in our lives the many holy wars and political extremes throughout history to this day have contributed to unbelievable suffering.

Global warming, for example, is a real, scientific reality.   The earth is once again in another warming phase.   And it has been warming for about the last 12,000 years since the approximate end of our last Ice Age.   (BTW, there have been at least 5 major ice ages in our planets's history)   Oil paintings, made in the 1600s, show diminishing changes now evident in those glaciers, as well as photos from the 1800s, plus the undisputed records that show again that the past 5 years, like the 5 years before that, are the Earth's warmest on record in the past century.   If you simply travel to the edge of the receding northern glacier (pic below) you'll find all the same physical evidence that's seen around Niagara to prove that the ice sheet travelled through here to Wisconsin and back.   But, unfortunately there's a fine line between ignorance and stupidity when you factor in belief and individual choice with religion and politics sprinkled in the mind mix of sapien man.

You'll hear politicians get around the actual facts by saying I believe as they begin making comments.   (I believe) nicotine is not addictive.   (I believe) (I feel) (It seems to me) that crime is actual up, not down, regardless of all the studies that were made.   (I believe) that global warming is a hoax and that we as humans are not involved in causing any change in spite of an email within Exxon admitting awareness about their contribution to climate change, as early as 1977.   Of course they currently dispute this.   Much like in 1994 when the heads of the major US tobacco companies gave sworn testimony before the US Congress that they did not believe that nicotine was addictive.   We don't believe in gun control, I believe in roof racks, you believe in affordable health care, she believes in abstinence, he believes in bombing the enemy, and they believe that the earth is flat.   Belief is belief.   Facts are facts.   But, in my opinion scientific validation is the only key to ever finding any lasting truth.

So I believe I'll watch another windsurfing move to help me improve my recreational pursuit.

Cut to the real focus herein.   Successful windsurfing actually isn't about a belief.   It's about seeing a successful move and believing it can be accomplished with the right dynamics.   Anyone can jibe a short board on a windy day if they follow a flight plan based on overcoming all the complex obstacles that get in our way making it throughout a 180 degree turn.

Scientific Method is involved here.   (Check below)   But, no dogma, no holy scripture about sin, hell, and redemption in regard to any religion, no motivational guidebook to success, no political proclamation, no plan in whom to cast your vote or place your faith, no heresay editorial based on a lie, no right or left wing propaganda, no nothing except the will and mindful timing to carve, flip the sail, move those feet, and stay dry turning my 85 litre shortboard in 25 knots.

No lies, unrestricted fact checking, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, failed promises, $1500 a plate dinners to raise cash, schisms, inquisitions, scandals, prorogation of Parliament, whatever, etc., etc.   Just a simple hope and a good plan.   Accomplishing a fun move on this amazing journey.   Stay dry and look good.   Make that turn.   Then maybe work on a more complex move.

So.   Watch the guy gybe below.   Concentrate.   Visualize.   Memorize   Get up and do the footwork/handwork.   Completely and fully put yourself in his feet and let your hands and body follow his.   Through every turn.   Through every angle.   Through every gust.   Fourteen ways.   Simply pick one you like and go for it.   Over and over.

Believing is seeing.   Seeing is believing.   Belief in athletic genes might help but repetitious practise and persistence is in the real answer here.

Beautiful.   I love the line The Donald said, "It just goes to show that it pays to move quickly and decisively when the time is right"   I believe that this was definitely designed to help someone successfully through the sail flip and foot change moment in a windsurfing turn, not how others currently might interpret it politically.

There, that feels a bit better.   But…

But tonight, like our Christmas tree, I'm leaning a bit more to the left again, for a change, for now.   Break a leg Donald.

Life is a beach, and then you dive.
The Scientific Method clearly outlined


Scroll to #6 - It just goes to show that it pays to move quickly and decisively when the time is right"


Watch this jibe video instead of getting so bent out of shape.   14 different jibes including "Look mom, a no hands turn!"


What's left of the retreating glacier (2016) (click to enlarge)…



        December 8th   Dear Santa…

I've been a pretty good boy for the most part every day, all year.

It's time.   You need to reestablish your credibility, purpose, ability to deliver, and go for it, once and for all.   Pull out all the plugs!   Not saying that you are lacking in any way, or that I've been neglected, but once in a lifetime you should be able to swing a miracle and do a super deal because we believe in your true worth as the world currently sees you.   Right?.

The rack as shown is OK. I can sleeve and secure some pipe to both sides of the rack so the box can be moved left leaving room for two boards and more on the right hand side.

Two booms can easily be fastened under the box leaving room for 3 two piece masts in separate Louis Vuitton fitted bags.

Wetsuits, extensions, and the rest can be stowed in the trunk and on the floor in from of the passenger seat.

Thank-you for your compliance and amazing help with all this collection, finish, and assembly in advance.   There's still lots of time left before the 25th to get this monster ride in synch, set up, and beach ready.

I love you Santa.

affectionately,
        John




        December 6th   Surviving in our Medium to High Wind Recycling Stupidity Zone.   GRR-Rant #62

Remember how the lonely Maytag Repairman was associated with washing machine quality?   Well, I 'm currently hoping to become much the same in regard to helping control wind induced scattered recycling debris on collection days in our community, maybe.   This might be of personal interest to you as well.

Please keep reading.

Step 1  Wander around on Wednesdays and note the careless ways in which paper, plastic, styrofoam, and the like might be blown out of neighbour's garbage and recycling containers by high wind and strewn about.

Step 2  Check to see how much of my few dozen or so neighbours' recycling and curb waste is littered about in my back yard and driveway on collection day.

Step 3  Pick up other people's shit for the umpteenth time again this year and return once filled garbage pails wind rolled against my van like errant projectile shopping carts at Walmart.

Step 4   (While still aggravated)   Create a note plus a simple sketch or photograph of how to pack and stack trash.   Make sure that it can be firmly attached to recycling containers and garage doors (with Gorilla Tape) that creates both a responsible call to action and provides assistance for offending recyclers to help overcome their ignorance.

Aside - The note might read something like this, maybe;    Dear neighbour, Items in your   Blue Box ☑    Grey Box ☑    Yard Waste     Garbage Pail/Bag   (Checked off as needed)   were scattered about by the wind (again).   Please be mindful that more careful attention to packing your offending waste (note checked areas) would likely result in less visible & aggravating paper/styrofoam/plastic/etc shit flying about in our community.   Please have a look at the way in which recycling and garbage can be stacked or organized by examining the attached sketch or photograph to help you get an idea of the strategies in which you can address your needful lacking in this regard.   You can also call (905) you-twit  get-help☑ for a personalized tutorial from an expert.   A voice disguised volunteer will answer and provide helpful assistance answering any pertinent questions.   BTW - If you find your back yard filled with everyone else's shit from time to time it is just a way of saying Screw You Asshole   Please Rethink Your Negligent Disregard Of Constructive Criticism☑

Step 5  (Further possible but highly unlikely needed follow-up)   Arrange an online youtube garbage and recycling video 24 - 7 maybe ending with a few mild threats .   At worst involving follow up a few 1.5 volt C cell electric shocks using advanced LED flashlight technology for offenders, or old school devices (from the 1950s) found in armed forces surplus stores and vintage Canadian Tire catalogues, specifically aimed at those who are either mentally non compliant or deemed psychologically resistant or unfit in complying.   Capably administered by disgruntled retired military or laid off shopping mall security personnel.   Actually this just kinda felt good while writing it and should be mostly disregarded.   Hey, I might be finally losing it.   (Aside:  Omit this whole paragraph for sure in the final draught)

Step 6  (Further follow up, another maybe…)   Arrange for caged, mean, rough, & battle-scarred Toronto racoons or medium sized biting, non-poisonous, reptiles to be secured to garages, lattices, or car roofs in cages or light duty chains of persistent offenders till such time as a change of heart is noted.   Take a deep breath John, this will all pass.   And okay, definitely eliminate this whole thought too…

Step 5   Continually rethink and refine this process as on-going objectives to better control wind induced waste.

Step 6   Seek out like-minded volunteers and share some kind of workable action plan freely.

Step 7   Petition the Provincial Ministry of Education, and all youth-related agencies, to include recycling waste packaging strategies as mandatory teaching objectives in all divisions of public and private educational curricula.   T-Shirts, ball caps, badges, free Big Name coffee vouchers, and framed certificates can be involved.

Step 8   Seek funding, work toward passing some kind of light punitive legislation, and maybe begin a No-Scattered-Litter award system, much like the Nobel Peace Prize, with High Wind annual presentations, throughout the world.   Nice.

(Whoa now.   Blood pressure and pulse rate are slowly returning to near normal)

Wind tested to 30mph (50km/hour) without incident…




        December 4th   Cats and dogs ~ circa August, 2000…

Recently arranged to sell the Yakima Multi stacking Board Racks.   After some 30 years and countless changes to the system.

Sorting through the old containers to retrieve all of the bits and pieces there were also a few aluminum tubes, plates, and fittings used to attach a small outboard motor to our Hobie Cat 18.   Memories and more.   The power tools, some fasteners, and unique material used for the beach stairs and boat rail will remain stowed in the garage attic for a few more years, just in case.

On light wind days the 2.5 hp Nissan always got us safely home at an amazing 10 miles an hour in calm or heavy weather with the sails furled away.

Our Siberian Husky loved to sail.   Even though he hated the water he dominated any walkable surface onboard.   Nuke fell off twice but was float capable and floundered aimlessly about until we could grab his collar or harness and hoist him back aboard.   Daughter Bethy gifted him with a bright yellow canine PFD for his 8th birthday.   He looked so nautical. A beautiful dog.   But he was a handful looking back.   He dispatched more than 300 opossums, plus a number of skunks, racoons, squirrels, and sadly a cat or two who carelessly crossed the property line.   I often wonder what ever became of the two squirrels who lost their tails in a tight chase and evermore had trouble balancing on the telephone wires after their too close encounter with the blue-eyed grim reaper.

The best of times.   With his added weight to the windward rail we could easily fly on a single hull and make about 15 knots, with the sails reefed.

He whined a bit, I recall, when we got flyin' up a bit too high… (unlike the pup in the other Hobie pic I found down below)


Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the pics…







(flyin' a hull on a 16…)



        December 1st   Pretty much the end of an era.   Okay, or maybe the start of a new one…

Back in the day, roof racks on cars were a necessity to transport boards and required windsurf gear.

It began some 36 years ago, with only having a Volvo powered 1950 MGTD, by then nicely restored (from High School daze) and a cramped 1973 MGBGT available.   Both fun, but not great windsurfing vehicles.   Without agreeable access to the family sedan the immediate options were few.   It simply meant getting a roof rack to transport my gear to the beach.

So, all this passionate pursuit began in earnest in early July of 1980.

With only one or two boards and a few sails life was relatively simple.   But as gear changed and equipment began piling up, larger vehicles and custom racks became a needful, mandatory accessory.

Form follows function.   Function dictated more.   So starting with a few simple designs a number of workable multiple board carriers were created and pressed into service.   A good system finally evolved that safely carried up to 6 boards. Any one of them could be withdrawn leaving the others in their respective place on the roof of any car.     Nice.   I actually built and sold around 30 of these delightful systems.

And then, in the late 80s, came the Yakima Multi Board Stacking Carrier.   High quality, powder coated, a beautiful design, adaptable to any roof rack, easy to use wing nuts quickly adjusting everything, carrying up to 4 boards each, the list went on and on.   I immediately bought two of these perfect wonders.   From this point it was a relatively simple task to make any annual modifications as needed through the years.

These racks, easily modified, actually made it through near three decades carrying from 2 to 8 boards, 4 cargo boxes, on top of a Dodge Ram, Chev Astro, Volkswagen Rabbit diesel, Honda Civic, Chev Express, 2 Beemers, and a trailer or two.   Life was good.   Still is.

But the 12 Passenger Chev Express was the beginning of the end.   Everything (4 boards, SUP, 6 sails, booms, masts, kiting with a Jimmy Lewis board & 5 line North Rebel, and way, way more, could actually fit inside and still leave lots of room to lay down nearby a cooler and kinda nap, as I happily recall.   A trailer accompanied the roof rack on trips to Hatteras when more passengers and boards were involved.   But the end was fast approaching.

And a new beginning.   Simpler.   Less is more…)

The Yakima board stacking racks have just been sold.   The rooftop cargo box is still for sale.

We still have a few roof racks that will occasionally be pressed into service, but the Surfmobile's roof is currently stripped and bare.   Sleek and streamlined.   Everything stowed safely, securely, inside, on a plastic pipe rack, out of harm's way.   And surprise, surprise, now achieving a combined average of about 9.8 litres/100K, mostly on the highway, at legal speeds.   Nice.



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        November 25th   Veni, Vidi, Vindsurf.

I came, I saw, I windsurfed - just changed a bit…

Life needs some structure, with beginnings, middles, and endings.   Sometimes the middles and endings are a jolt.   A few days ago this entry might have gone something like…

…sometimes endings are a bit more ongoing, and truly satisfactory completions take a bit more time, but the structure of it all is based on time.   We are the sum of our time and our dreams, and our accomplishments.   And this written expression about the stuff I love, and my motivation to simply keep at it, is all three.

My personal heroes and others who deserve to be admired are many.   Without their story we might give up instead of persisting.   Colonel Sanders approached a thousand people with his recipe for fried chicken before someone agreed to try it and give him a small percentage of their profit.   Edison failed to get his lightbulb working for more than thousand tries before finally figuring out how to make the filament stay lit.   Nothing we write, or make, or do, will likely be good the first time.   Our (just turned 8 year old grandson) Grant William kicked his soccer ball ten thousand times, in a thousand ways, for thousand days and was recently invited to play with the Chelsea Development Team for eight to twelve year old athletes.   His talent was mostly in his persistence and likely not in having the right genes.

Woody Allen is a quirky kind of guy.   He seems to have made few odd choices in his life as well.   But in spite of his possible faults and foibles he is one of my personal heroes.   He has produced and directed more that 40 films, and a a dozen broadway plays.   He has received 4 Academy Awards and about 17 other nominations.   Simply said, he can't be condemned for any lack of persistence.

So we err, we mess up, whatever, we get over it, rebuild, and get on with our lives.   Cut to yesterday afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon I inadvertently connected jumper cables to wrong battery terminals on a friend's Toyota Camry.   No way.   Not me.   Impossible.   Not from the guy who completely rebuilt a car from the ground up some 55 years ago.   Successfully installed a 1959 B16B Volvo engine into a 1950 MGTD.   Negative to positive ground (check),   6 volt to 12 volt electrical system (check),   actually got the speedometer working correctly (check),   the whole shebang with paint, chrome bits over vermillion enamel everywhere on the engine,  certified and insured (check), a complete restoration, 12 years in the doing, and BAM I screwed up with jumper cables!   Sigh.   Obviously my mind was somewhere else.   Obviously.   Dickweed came to mind more than once as I tried unsuccessfully to get to sleep last night.

Veni, Vidi, Vake up Johnsie!

Maybe the end is near.   But there's little consolation, in fact none, in self-proclaiming even two parts of Julius Caesar's famous motto.

So here I sat.   Apologetic and humbled.   Knowing it couldn't be undone.   Unsure of how to proceed, without a trace of dignity, with fingers poised over the keyboard, wondering if I could ever forgive myself let alone figure any of it out.   Fortunately there's a sense of comfort in written confession, having faith, and knowing that we keep on keeping on despite setbacks, roadblocks, distraction, and maybe the shadow of a slow creeping infirmity.   There's a reason for everything.   What's the lesson in all this?   Maybe once in a while we all need a wake up, shake up call, to help get us re-centered and back on track.

Hoping that there might be some solace in something I remembered reading in How To Fly A Horse, Kevin Ashton wrote, "Good writing is bad writing well edited;   a good hypothesis is what is left over after many experiments fail;   good cooking is the result of choosing, chopping, skinning, shelling, and reducing;   a great movie has as much to do with what ends up on the cutting floors what does not.   To succeed in the art of new, we must fail frequently.

Perhaps the consolation is in trying to get the journey back on track.   Failing our way to success.   Pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again as the song goes.

Kevin Ashton's wrote, " Birds do not defy gravity or let it bind them to the ground.   They use it to fly."   Thinking hard about this might help propel me into the rest of today, tomorrow, and next week.   Keep focussed and rock on.   That moment of mindless stupidity will all pass.   Time heals all wounds.   And some cash to make it right.

Hey, it wasn't as bad as the skydiver who discovered he forgot his parachute in mid free fall descent.   Ouch.   That would be an ending to top all endings.

With that last thought firmly planted in mind I believe the healing has begun.
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        November 16th     Some prompt and worthwhile advice from Ezzy Sails.

John Grant to Ezzy Sails.   11 hours ago

Currently reorganizing my Ezzy quiver.   Considering the following Ezzy Elite range to work with my 85L & 105L Quatros.   Want to add either 6.1 and 5.3 OR a 5.7 and a 5.0 to my - 6.8 Elite - - 4.2 WP3 and 3.7 WT.

Would like to have a 5 sail quiver if possible.   Maybe 6.1 & 5.0?   Will the Elites cover the range overlapping on my quatros?   (Currently about to sell a 6.3 Tiger, 5.5 Cheetah, 4.7 WP)

Recommendation?


Ezzy Sails to John Grant - 4 hours ago

Great question John.   If it were me, I'd lean towards the 5.7/5.0 scaling.   The jump from a 4.2 to a 5.0 is really common and I think the scaling is comfortable.   I believe going from a 4.2 to a 5.3 is just a little too severe.   Likewise, going from a 5.7 to a 6.8 seems smart.   I think 6.1 to 6.8 is tighter than you would need.   Hopefully this helps!


John Grant to Ezzy Sails - 3 hours ago

Will do, much appreciated, and thank-you!

Ask Ezzy Sails…




        November 8th     At last.   The right stuff.

Finally, after a decade of hoarding, having, holding, and hiding, a workable quiver is stowed comfortably in the van.   Just the right amount of gear for a two board windsurfing journey.   Maybe.

This actually started on our last trip to South Padre Island when it was necessary to take minimum windsurfing baggage.   Two boards, four sails, and related gear went south on the journey through bourbon country and Graceland.   If the larger 7.0m and smaller 3.7m sails had been included it would have meant more time on the water but with everything from the coffee maker, electric corkscrew, and bread maker stowed in the back it likely would have been a squeeze and contributed to the likes of spousal annoyance syndrome disorder disaster.

So here I wait patiently, facing another New Year and another windsurfing session beginning in about 5 months.   The final frontier.   The ultimate test awaits.   The worst case scenario would be adding a floatier, thinner tailed board capable of lighter wind and ugly chop and maybe a larger sail for those frequent light wind days when I should really have stayed home going around with a screwdriver in hand tightening up stuff.   Enough.

I can do this.   Two simple goals.   Less is more and nail those turns.   Yes.

I hope the U.S.A. can weather the political unrest they currently face.   My challenge is pretty insignificant compared to the possible civil storm they face today.   God Bless America and if there's anything left please send it my way.

Winston Churchill said, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."   Pretty sure that adage works for me too.

Hey, I can handle all this.   Maybe.

Looking south on Election Day.   Click to enlarge…


        November 2nd     Grandson Grant William makes it!

Three solid years of practise, hard work, and dad's all out effort and push totally paid off.

Grant is currently a solid striker, with a European Academy Player Profile, and playing on the Chelsea Development Team.

We are all so hugely proud of his hard-earned achievement and acknowledgment at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea.

His 3600 move and shot on goal at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea…

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        October 30th     My first online creative writing assignment.

Lesson 1:   Write a letter to a real or imaginary friend who is away on vacation with some both good and bad news.   Sprinkle some colourful adjectives here and there.   You can make situations up but they must be based on some sort of named reality.   You can include a picture or two if it helps and is pertinent in any way to validate and help make the letter more meaningful.

Okay, got it, (deep breath), here goes nothing.

Dear (Bill),

Everything has unfolded so quickly these past few days that I need to bring you up to date.

I took advantage of your offer to use your fire pit this week.   My old collection of receipts in three large plastic bags were burning beautifully on Wednesday while Nancie and watched the sun setting through a huge purple bruise along a blood red, scarlet western horizon just off Morgan's Point.   Two nicely dressed, soft spoken folk surprised us as we were stoking the fire with a few more pieces of kindling and topping up our wine.   They were from the Lakeshore Pentecostal Assembly of Peter and Paul who had just lost their summer lease near the old Morgan's Point Campground.   They asked if they could have a word.   I said sure and beckoned them to sit down on the cold grass a safe distance from the fire.   They wondered if we would be interested in letting them pitch their congregational tent on your front lawn for daily sunrise/midday/sunset services for about three weeks.   A fair offer of payment included 20% of their tithing incomes and to rake the surface of your driveway and street side lawn where they would park their cars, pickup trucks, and RVs.   What could possibly go wrong and 20% isn't something that you would ever sneeze at.

Okay, I know now that I shouldn't have agreed but the benevolent thought that you could use the extra cash to actually help start building your Wainfleet Dog Rescue Residence.   Who would have thought that large candles on the pump organ would fly off and ignite the wood pile on your western property line during the rousing hymn following the benediction.   The resulting roof fire on your place won't be a problem because you insurance will pay for 90% of the claim but neighbour (name withheld) whose roof also caught fire is hot to trot so to speak.   The Lawsuit to you named her as (name withheld).   Who'd a thought it could come to this, eh?

One faithful lady in the congregation was bitten by a frightened snake during the fire and excitement and will be okay, but that isn't the worst part.   The hibernating Fowler's Toads (Anaxyrus Fowleri) on your beach all woke up when the Volunteer Firemen's truck came rushing into your neighbour's driveway with siren screaming and horns blaring driving as near up to your back door as they could get on the soft wet surface.   The toads all hopped out into the freezing lake and started to swim toward Dunkirk NY, twenty-six miles across the lake, attracted by the flashing red lights on the three stacks there.   They now mostly float, white belly up, throughout Sunset Bay and lie strewn and bloated along the shoreline.   The Wainfleet Humane Society wants a serious sit down with you when you get back.   I'm not including their phone number because they won't forget yours for sure by the way they talked and banged their fists on your break wall.

Lastly, the volunteer fire truck is still stuck up to its axels and mired permanently over your septic holding tank.   The overflow warning flag isn't showing but the smell is something awful.   I know, I know - it was a bad idea to offer washroom privileges to the church congregation.   I will try to keep you up to date with the other two issues about Township bylaw open fire infraction and the unlicensed Religious Serpent Handling Act (2013) that could be a serious rental infraction here in Ontario on private property according to your Mayor and Township Council.   I also gave them your cell phone number.

And to boot, four of the children cut themselves while playing with your toenail clipper that you left in the bathtub.   No one seemed too upset about it and said it was a good lesson for them except for the rector who said he might seek legal counsel for some kind of on going future reimbursement on their behalf until they are of legal age, maybe more.

One of the volunteer firefighters offered to buy all of the firewood behind your shed and along the eastern property line.   I'd recommend a strong yes as it would go toward your neighbour's insurance deductible.   Should I call him back?

The blue tarp nailed on your roof covering the two holes is mine and I need it back for the spring windsurfing trip to Cape Hatteras next April.

Revenue Canada wants to know if you planned to add the rental income from the church to your 2016 income tax as well.   I assured them a definite yes and that they are welcome to do a full and complete audit of you anytime if they wanted.   They said that they will be in touch in the New Year.

Otherwise I hope you're well, enjoying you trip, and your new book is coming along nicely.

best,
John

(Sigh)   I forwarded a copy to (my imaginary real friend Bill) and a copy to my online creative writing teacher.   She seems quite nice, qualified, and quite smart according to her online brochure.   She returns comments and a grade by video.   If I act in the next 24 hours for an additional $25.00 she will FaceTime me so we can dialogue for 3 minutes.   Her clicking dentures and one false eye are a bit distracting but am pretty sure that I can look past all that. The following pictures were included.





        October 28th     Know yourself and carry on.

Persistence has always been a personal stregth.   Get focussed, endure, and persevere, whatever the ordeal.

It mostly worked.   Even for the many misguided objectives.   Except for an internal rhythm or for the lack of a better wordage an Athletic Coordination Ability.

Practise as I did those other repetitiously wired things in life like dancing, skating, stick handling, dribbling a basketball through opponents, or perfectly planting my last step on the take off board in a long jump, never became an integral part of my athletic prowess.

Running, skiing, and windsurfing did become solo sports that not only were huge fun but worked out well in helping maintain a balanced physical fitness lifestyle.   Sure I accidentally stepped off into the shoulder of the road and caused soft tissue damage to my left foot more than a few times, broke ribs doing moguls, and not only lost my front teeth in a boom grab but also broke my nose in an ongoing effort to learn to find which elusive jibe works for waves, flat water, rough chop, and the myriad of different challenges confronting windsurfers trying to turn and go the other way.

Look at the bright side.   Jibe left off a fairly clean wave in 15 - 20 knots 90% of the time on a board greater than 100 litres. - (YES)   Jibe left and right most of the time on a board greater than 120 liters in under 22 - 24 knots. - (yes)   Step jibe both ways in slogging sessions on all boards and sails much of the time. - (yes)   Carve gybe on medium and large gear in 20 knots some of the time. - (yes)   Duck Jibe? - (Only on a simulator.)

Forget the rest of it.   (Wish I could but can't.)   Sorry.   But just wait till next year.   As dad and mom always said, "Just work harder at it John"

Maybe look at the other side and take a deep breath.   General handiness, mechanical ability, problem solver, able to MacGyver or create workable solutions with wood, metal, duct tape, and plastic. - (all earned a passing grade)   Family, friends, pets, home, chattels, transportation, travel, digital adaptation? - (all pretty darned good)

Life is mostly about knowing yourself and accepting both positive and negative, good and bad, whatever the situation, and working toward making it better, one day at a time.   Tomorrow is another day.   If WindAlert is accurate it will be warm and windy.   As the Eagles sang in their comeback album Hell Freezes Over Get Over it.   Get your sorry ass out the door and be the first one there and on the water tomorrow.

Okay, maybe give me an extra 10 meters out there in case I blow another jibe.

Enjoy; We gonna celebrate and have a good time…
Have a listen - Kool & The Gang sing it best…



        October 26th     Behind every journey there's a reason.

Our love of travel somehow holds an elusive key ingredient.

There is something out there we still need to discover. Something we can't find in our day to day existence.

It's a belief that the world holds something hidden, waiting for us, something that we still need to find.   Somewhere beckoning, not locked up or buried in a cave, and anxiously awaiting to be found.

I just worked my way through John Irving's Avenue of Mysteries.   He does go on and on and on and as a friend recently told me.   Irving is a writer who will not cut repetitious, unnecessary parts from his novels any more.   His books sell because of a dedicated fan base like me who fondly remember earlier successes like Garp, Owen Meany, and especially his amazing Cider House Rules.   But then came A Son Of The Circus.   It took me almost a year to get through all the clutter of that one.

Chapter 23 - Neither Animal, Vegetable, nor Mineral is an exciting, delicious, convoluted, and vibrant read in Avenue of Mysteries.   It ended with - behind every journey there's a reason.   I liked the thought and could not dismiss the idea after finally putting down the book this morning.   Unfortunately in this particular journey the characters discover quite the opposite of what they had hoped to encounter.   Instead of a meaningful realization, there was nothing much more than bullshit in this particular quest.

In spite of that, my motivation to get the van and go still lingers.   To where?   With whom?   Why not?

The cold wind and chilly waters of our nearby lakes and launch sites have me stalled and floundering.   Windsurfing might be over unless it blows warm and sunny.   Old rhymes with cold, frost with lost, etc. etc., etc.   Our nearby winter wonderland does not resonate with any love of windsurfing that I know.

Trust me.   Getting in and out of a winter wetsuit is nearby to lunacy while standing in wind-driven snow, bare ankle deep.

Pretty sure that today will now be filled with a mild angst and a slight depression that could last well into Happy Hour.   Unfortunately here in my journal is about the only safe place to express any immediate discomfort.   Maybe a solace of sorts will somehow emerge as the day unfolds.

Let's go see what's on today's list.   Giddy-up…

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        October 15th     What-ifs & should-haves & why nots…

It took the first 25 years to get focussed and on track.   So many trial and error, flat tires on a quirky road to recess.   Kind of like Phil (Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day) who was caught in a time warp and relived a single day over and over again until he got it right.   Kind of.

Learn from every mistake, fail your way to success, and do whatever it takes to right those wrongs.   The should haves were all taken to heart and the what ifs and why nots began to take over.   Progress began with a solid determination.   Why not give it a shot?   Nothing to lose.   Go for it.

Time management was a bonus discovery.   It meant including things like exercise, recreation, family, planning, evaluation, as well as the chores to keep everything ship shape.   Everything could get worked, played, and reviewed.

In addition to becoming more qualified to more capably do my job running, skiing, and windsurfing all became included in a fun-fitness lifestyle plan that still carries on today.

OK, a few times the what ifs, why nots, and should haves were near killers.   But, looking back, we not only survived our mistakes, we ultimately flourished in spite of them.

I must admit that life passes by way too quickly.   I wonder how many of us would go back and relive our lives again if we had the chance and also had an inkling of what we currently know.   But, would that somehow take the fun out of it all?

The windsurfing simulator was resurrected from the garage attic two days ago.   What if I focus on perfecting some of those elusive gybes and fast tacks.   Why not?   I should have done it throughout this past summer.   Yes.   Better late than never.   I'll also retrieve and dust off that picture of Robby Naish and hang it back on a nearby wall to help motivate my progress.

Hey, it ain't over till it's over.

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        October 10th     Lists…

Do right and fear no man, don't write and fear no woman.

We make lists.   Maybe it's a Sapiens trait.   Yard chores, painting, garage tidy and hose, wax the car, change batteries in the smoke detectors, cut down the rack system in the van for much needed & improved sailboard and sail storage.   The list goes on and grows each week as seasons change.

Lists about birthdays, gifts, cards, propane refills, power wash, re-coat the deck the deck, nail down a date for a garage sale, on water sailboard maneuvers to practise, new gear to buy or sell, rearrange the website, plan a trip, it never ends.

I was up early yesterday morning and sat with my coffee to finally get into an unread John Irving novel, due back to the library in about two weeks.   Snuggled warm in my downstairs morning window chair with a fresh cup of coffee and a muffin I open the the book and glance outside.   The finch feeder needs a top up, maybe a clean out, and the grass by the outside walkway really needs to be edged.

Damn.   I could also see into the basement where a few strewn tools and toys need to be put away.   The two story irregular bottle recycle, in boxes, is near teetering and becomes a distracting concern.

Another list began in my mind.   Maybe I'll just get up and close the basement door.   Big mistake.   The pick up, stabilization, unclutter, toss out pile, and personal spic and span dysfunction, all kicked in and three hours later a heavy duty contractor's garbage bag was full, tied, and sitting next to the perfectly aligned recycle bins in ship shape, apple pie order.   Perfection.   Maybe call Better Homes And Gardens for a basement photoshoot.   And none of this was on any list.   Shiza.

Hopefully some wind coming in the forecast later in the week.   Too bad you can't schedule wind on some list and no other items are allowed to get in the way.   And worse why should any unentered guilt linger and overshadow any unfulfilled list scenario?   Sometimes life sux.

Thankfully, confession to a Higher Power isn't listed as another to do anywhere this week.   If I had a dog like Lassie I could send her for help.   Lassie get help.   She could fetch me an old phone book and my cell phone open to Counselling Services.   Quite honestly, I may need help.   Will list that later this morning.


A day passes.   It's still early, and my downstairs window chair beckons.   Let's try again and keep the basement door firmly shut, the window shutters a bit more closed, and ignore the list by the phone.

John Irving, here I come.   Some true Thanksgiving about all this later.

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        October 6th     Moments to remember…

As the warm sun slowly set last evening a few wispy clouds were scattered lightly about.     Near stalled by the foghorn we had soft pressure slowly pushing us southwest toward Erie.   A long stretch of catpaws off our port bow stretched endlessly about 2 to 3 miles away.   Wind was on its way.   Our single, huge, powerful 58m2 sail was ready.   The Nonsuch 30 loves a beam or broad reach and can easily reach speeds of 7 - 8 knots and more with those conditions.   One caution, avoid gybing, the large sail loves to be tacked slowly in higher winds.   A high wind gybe on this coastal cruiser can be much like stepping into the path of a charging elephant.

The wind picked up.   We moved effortlessly through rolling waves on a near-Dunkirk heading.   No autohelm was needed, the unified, well-balanced hull and rig sailed without intervention.   An easy rhythm and compliant motion through the water kept us all silent as gold dust and crimson received a falling sun.

Stars appeared and the wind increased.   The night sky was clear and whitecaps crested the waves in a crescent moonlight.   We slowly tacked the huge rig and our five ton catboat began a sweet run home with fast building waves.   Winds had intensified to 16 knots.

The return ride was a rock and roll rush.   Heeling lights flashed red and the single mainsail was relaxed to absorb the load.   A treasured moment shared by four.   A race and ride to no where in particular where darkness and an occasional uneasiness kept us alert and mindful.

The canal entry lights were aligned.   Another long slow tack, and a new heading into calmer conditions, along the familiar foghorn and lighthouse, to the grain elevators and canal to drop the main and then to dock.

A heartfelt thank-you all and cheers.

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        October 2nd     More is less, less is more…

Pretty sure that many windsurfaholics have additional gear they don't need or want in their vehicle, garage, or basement.   Being a minimalist in our sport is difficult due to the many conditions in which we sail and the way in which we perceive our individual and collective needs.   Older boards are like old friends and can't be easily dismissed, sold, or tossed out.   Who knows when any part of a spare part may be pressed back into service.

Although I may eventually give in and purchase a 116 - 120 L sailboard and a larger sail somewhere around 7.5m2 to 8.5m2, my two board quiver with 6 rigs is currently making huge sense for several reasons.

Organizational space in the van is near perfect with just two boards, 6 sails and related gear.   The rear view out the tailgate window is unobstructed.   Using the 105L as the large board with the 6.8m Ezzy sail has actually improved sailing technique in the last few sessions.   Fuel economy and savings both improved when the wind looks iffy.   Doing home chores on those light days instead of heading out in search of usable wind has hugely reduced the size of that ever present TO DO list.

I mildly swagger about my lawn, gardens, clean cars, organized garage, and modestly acknowledge the many nods of approval and compliments from admiring neighbours.

Not sure how long this will all last or if it might somehow ever come back to bite me on the ass.

But in the meantime all this less is more works just fine.   That said removing the roof rack, storage box, and cutting back the van's interior storage framework will likely wait until next spring to see how this all shakes out.   Hey, I might even buy a cherry red Mini Cooper S with a roof rack, racing stripe, and take out the back seat.

Pride cometh before the fall.   Sigh.

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        September 29th     A repaired camera shutter is working perfectly on my beloved 5D2, a new 6.8 m2 Ezzy Elite sail is an absolute dream, and we have wind.

Batting 300, or is it bowling 300?   Whatever.   Life is good.   Or as good as it gets.

Sure, an occasional intestinal rumble slightly escapes with an awkward blush of embarrassment, but so what.   Hey, I was rescued Monday and driven back to my van, after a long swim with big waves, a following of long stringy seaweed, and a loose collection of hungry, circling gulls above, when the wind up and died on my last run.   Thank-you.

Other than that I'm pretty much on top of the heap that's my so-called life, once again.

Plus - I haven't lost my keys, wallet, cell phone, or upset Nancie in the last 37 days.

Not sure it can get any better than this.   Might just buy a lottery ticket, check out the humane society for a huge, needy dog, and try to make some new friends.   Not making this up.

Who cares if it's raining, there's wind again tomorrow.

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        September 22nd     Take two aspirins and call me in the morning.

The world is truly a beautiful place from where I sit looking out as the sun warms our upper deck.   Perched here with early morning coffee and muffin, my mind tends to wander, maybe a bit too far, but mostly not deep enough I fear.

It shouldn't matter how you view a moment or perceive our reality, but unfortunately, as the world turns, it doesn't work that way.

For me, we exist on a planet that rotates on an axis around a sun somewhere in an near ageless universe.   Our planet's atmosphere supports our existence, also offers some splendid views in night skies, and sunsets, wind, and gives us an opportunity to experience sentient life to the fullest.

This planet is our beautiful home.   It doesn't really matter how you try to understand our world, in simple fact it is a unique and wonderful miracle.

I want to broadcast that simple message to everyone.   Live, love, share, help, get along, and enjoy.   But unfortunately we are fatally driven by so much more.

Take for example the body count in Iraq that currently sits around 250,000 souls.   And think about it.   Why?   Faulty Intelligence?

Why are we so hell bent as a race responsible for constant wars, questionable politics, pollution, scientific indicators left disregarded, poor decisions ofttimes based on simple greed.   Our planet is not only suffering but our future survival as a race is in real doubt.

We, as a species, have persecuted one another in countless realities throughout our history.   Think about the Crusades, slavery, religious inquisitions, concentration camps, ghettoes, racial killings, massacres of all descriptions, and recently not one but several (unjustified) invasions.   Our water and air are becoming more fouled.   Our oceans are not only dying but are running dangerously imbalanced with little sea life remaining.   Our worldwide economic programs appear dubious and to some measure are becoming more uncertain.   Acts of retaliation and violence are becoming the normal.

Stop!   Please.   No more rant.   No more gloom and doom.   But, I can't stop thinking about what's all going on, all around me.

So now what?   What slogan, essay, photograph, purpose, resolve, answer, thought, hope, what can I put forward?

If I had a real solution I'd run for office, and pursue a workable cause.   I'm open for an answer if one was mindfully generated or offered up.   If.   What a formidable word.

Real silence.   Nothing.

If I had any real solution it would appear here, right now.   Shiza.   Empty.

Maybe, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.   Then you.   Like a penny doubled every day for a month.   (Day 30 ~ $5,368,709.12)

Dream on.   I will.

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        September 19th     What I love about the Nonsuch 30.

The sailboat has great downwind speed and comfort.   An electric uphaul quickly raises the sail (into the wind of course) and when you're done for the day, point into the wind again and simply drop the sail into those convenient lazy jacks.   A handy zipper snugs everything into place all safe and sound.   As easy as 1-2-3…

We had a smooth trip home from Kingston with the wind at our back and the one, single sail sheeted way out.   Fast means fast, with speed well above 7 knots for the most part.   In addition to the sail, the 4 cylinder Yanmar diesel delivers amazing fuel economy, better than 7 mpg by my reckoning.   We could have set the GPS for Niagara and made it all in one non stop trip, with either sail, or motor power, or both as needed.

The fastest speed for the day was witnessed (JS, JM, & JG) at 9.5 knots (GPS) coming down a wave.

The boat is wonderfully easy to handle and adjust as needed.   Roomy and comfortable, definitely my choice for a cruiser, definitely.


How do you roll tack a Nonsuch?   Ha!   Cross your knees, turn the wheel, then repeat crossing your knees the other way…

Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the pics…



        September 14th     Helping bring a beautiful Nonsuch 30 back to Port Colborne from Kingston.

Site will report later on Saturday or early Sunday if all goes well, with some pics of this memorable journey.

The Nonsuch is an easy boat to sail single-handed.   It has a symmetrical hull that sails comfortably in waves and strong wind, a spade rudder, a fin keel, a free-standing mast without a boom, and a unique single sail with a windsurf like wishbone.     With the mast up front and a wide beam the living accommodations below deck are best described in sailing terms as palatial.   A few of the pics below make the boat easier to see.

An old saying about - How do you tack a Nonsuch? goes, "Well, you set your drink between your legs and turn the wheel."*

Looking forward to trip.   Winds look favourable for the long return trek up the lake back home to Niagara.


* This is actually pretty funny for any who've ever tacked a large sailboat…

Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the pics…



        September 13th     A mindful day is all that it took.

The brain, aka our mind, is an amazing tool that once focussed offers up answers quickly and on target.

The mild funk was composed of several issues.   A few of the matters in question were out of my control and the others simply required an action plan.

As the morning unfolded I called about my camera's service and was told it would be about two weeks for a needed repair and return.   So okay, I can live with that, and actually working the 40D loaner has been huge fun.   Calling our carrier for an out of province travel insurance update was a huge surprise and a green light to go raised our spirits over the top.   While picking up some harness lines I looked into another board, sail and mast.   A 6.8m Ezzy Elite and a 460cm, 90% carbon mast was ordered and that solved another part of the jigsaw puzzle.   Another board, the van, and snowblower can all wait.   A friendly conversation with neighbours somewhat ended the angst that was building.   Happy Hour was truly happy again.   And lastly I watched Matt Damon being rescued from Mars and rejoiced in the science of it all, for the fifth time this year.

All of a sudden, the need to move away disappeared, and somewhere around midnight, a deep, sound sleep came easily.

Life is good.   And I figure my dad still smiles down on me, most of the time.



        September 12th     Working our way through life.

It seems to me that there's a need in our lives to redefine or reinvent ourselves from time to time.

We coast along waiting for wind, wandering about, capturing moments with a camera, or working at our professional or personal life and more often seeking to better our relationships with others…   Our varied and unique activities go on and on.   Whatever.

And one day comes, on awakening, we wonder an age old question, "What's it all about, Alfie?"

Okay, that's a song from a movie way back on the day.   But it suits a purpose here.

So, I find myself a bit stuck in a mild funk that doesn't seem want to shake off.

My quirky neighbours continue to concern me, the van needs work, the challenge of what new board and sail will best suit my aging needs lingers with no definite conclusion, and winter is closing in slowly but surely and thoughts about maybe changing the snowblower's drive belts lurk in the back of my mind.

A mega garage sale, a big fence, or maybe relocate somewhere along Lake Erie.   All good thoughts.   I'm pretty good at making lists.   But maybe, just maybe we need a few weeks to get away and rethink our lives…

Hop on the bus Gus, make a new plan Stan, out with the old, in with the new.   I like it already.   Time for a cup of coffee, a peanut butter muffin, and think about a change of scenery to help jump start some fresh new ideas to help propel us into our next something or other.

Hope springs eternal.   Nice.

Aside:  And yes, I can hear my dad saying to my mom, "All he really needs is a good kick in the ass Donna."




        September 10th     Wind's bit flukey, camera still away awaiting repair, summer's fading, and looking for specials on antifreeze for the van…

Suffering a bit of withdrawal-like pangs of angsty funk.

All I need is one good day on the water while it's still warm and summertime.

A solid SW 5.5m2 sunny all day ride.   Or two.

Wait a minute.   There's mostly no such thing, hardly ever.   Windsurfing is one of the most cruel and untrustworthy sports maybe like water skiing tied behind a deranged killer whale leading a ravenous pod of strong, healthy teenage orcas enjoying the full rights of puberty.

Ask any windsurfer waiting for forecasted wind or while changing sails for the third time in one of those flukey, undecided, wind-driven stupid two hour sessions when walking away from everything and maybe joining a circus come to mind.

But when it's right, it's right on.   A few good runs and that home run, hole in one, grand slam smile kicks in and all is forgiven and forgotten.

Managed to get a few improved shots with the 40D as well.   It took a few hours to get better redialed into its numbers.   Still need to get the later evening shots better exposed and focus improved.

Today promises some good wind and only time will tell if the prediction will hold.   Like every other time waiting for wind, an optimism, a sincere hope, and a warm rush of anticipation urges me to get behind the wheel and get going.

Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the pics…





        September 2nd     Still working through some funky camera withdrawal.

That said the borrowed Canon 40D has been fun and a relearning challenge.

With a 10.1 MP smaller sensor I had forgotten about using a fill flash and the need for a wide angle lens.   That said the readjustment came quickly and the only thing lacking was decent wind last racenight to help get some action going.   The shots were mostly okay but stalled at the start and with about 3 - 4 knots the pics were mostly uneventful and not that much fun.

Using a 24 - 70mm 2.8 zoom was the same as using a 38 - 112mm lens with the smaller sensor crop factor.   That was a huge bonus for getting in a bit closer to the fray but somewhat frustrating in framing close ups when wanting more area in the shot.

The 5D2 will be another 3 - 4 weeks getting its new shutter replaced.   That should be enough time to work the borrowed camera for improved results.

In the meantime newer camera bodies are working full time in my imagination.   The 5D3 and 5DS/5DSR would be amazing leaps forward but as an amateur photog guy the cost is a bit hard to justify.   Will continue to perseverate over these moral issues in the coming year.

Looking forward to some windy conditions in the next few weeks.


                                                                            Confucious say: When action diminish go for sunset in picture.

Please click the thumbnails to enlarge the pics…




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