Now then, if you’ve ever surfed anything other than the internet before (surfboard, kayak, sit-on-top, boat etc etc) then ocean rowing boats such as the lovely Dippers aren’t really any different. Especially Dippers as she loves it – not all of them do, apparently.
The principle is the same as with any surfing nendeavour – accelerate as the wave approaches so that you’re approching the same speed and then squeal excitedly as you ‘whoosh’** down the other side. Or you can sing, shout or recite poetry as you see fit. (**Please don’t be scared by all my technical jargon – you’ll pick it up as we go along)
Taking it back to the beginning… Dippers runs best slightly ‘off the wind’, that is with the wind coming at her from about 10-20 degrees. So my favourite wind direction is about 100° ESE because with 20 knots from that direction we can ‘hoof’ along in a beautiful line West. When running with a tail wind like this, the idea is you keep the boat pointing perpendicularly , or just off, to the waves. Side ways on tends to get very wet-avoid if possible.
Then, as a goodun’ approaches, you squeeze right up to the front of the slide, blades as far back as you can get them, plop them in the water, brace all the muscles you own (especially abs and back), then take the most almighty stroke that you can. And if it’s worked, you feel the back of the boat lift, the wind in your hair and a great surge as wave and boat fly Westward. It’s very exciting indeed.
My, sorry our, top surfing speed is an astonishing G-force inducing 12.1 knots, flying down the side of a 12 metre wave. I would be lying if I said I never had a heart-in-the-mouth moment on certain surf days. The few days recently have been fairly tame in terms of wave height, though one day the seastate got so confused that it was tricky to row safely. But on days when the wind is 25+knots and gusting more, with mighty big waves rolling up from the South, it can get a tad exciting at times. Exciting in this instance being, ‘Eek! Ship the oars and hold on’. Sometimes I do just that – either hold the oars right out of the water or quickly shimmy them back into their missile tubes and just hold onto the safety rails. That’s not been called for now for a few weeks, though the weather is set to be quite changeable in the next 7 days so who knows what will happen…
Even though surfing in the right direction lets you cover lovely big distances you can only dream of on still or headwind days, it is tiring, particularly on those when you spend the whole day getting dumped on by waves. This is more likely if the wind direction is less favourable. This may be the case next week.
Don’t be surprised if you see the tracker doing some funny things – I’m going South at the moment with some NNE wind, and then we’re expecting a dollop of S/SW winds next week. Some quite strong. As I said, it’s looking changeable though so anything could happen.
Thanks for all the lovely messages – glad we’ll be seeing some of you for the party. Great idea about cards too – money much better spent by Arthritis Care than on a card which would only get soggy out here. Thank you in anticipation.
Have yourselves some good weekending with your purple carrots and tomato and JD cakes!
Geoff & Spike : Sadly too much swell for a celebratory dip yesterday though I did think about it all!
Geoff: I’m still keeping WST at the moment – I like having later sunsets. Yes, sun up NE. Tehe! Celestial nav book still in its waterproof case – I’ve been too busy rowing so far and don’t want to get it wet…
Clare:Purple carrots actually exist?! Can’t wait to see the video when I get back. If you post the link on here everyone can have a good laugh and also see my beloved Isis in Oxford – where my rowing days began.
Arthrits Care: Hello everyone! Arthur Bear still going strong – he’s the Steward and tries to stop me eating all the chocs… He doesn’t know about my secret stash though. Ha ha ha!