Yesterday set up as the ideal Candlestick day. I stopped by the beverage store to grab some beers for the friends I would sail with on the way over, then on a whim decided to get myself the "congratulatory beer". This is the beer that I was going to set aside for when I actually complete my first Vulcan. I found the perfect bottle: a $10 bottle of "vintage" fuller's beer. The shelf sign said something about how drinkers are encouraged to store the beer to see how it matures over time. I was amused at the thought of how much better the beer will end up tasting once I made one, how ever long that would take.
I arrived to find powered up 5.3, potentially 4.7 conditions. Reliable rippled ramps separated by a patches of silky smooth surface set up splendidly across the whole sailing area. I understand why so many pass up the swell and waves and splendor of some of the other launches. This place is freestyle heaven.
My first 5 attempts were decent, but a bit rusty and under committed. A few more attempts and I could feel things coming together. I was sailing relaxed and confidently, and I wasn't worried at all about making one. It will come. Then I went for one right in front of my friend Juan. Juan is a fluent Spocker, so I'm always looking to see if I can get another Vulcan tip by showing him an attempt or two. I popped the board out of the water, got the nose down, spun around and started sliding. Surprisingly, the new side of the boom was staring back at me invitingly. I grabbed hold of the boom, careful to keep my weight over my feet, but ready to lean forward to counterbalance the sail in this awkward position. Next thing I knew, I was still dry, and going the other direction. I wriggled my feet out and switched them to normal position and hooted like a wild man. It was one of my top moments as a windsurfer, for sure.
I looked around and remembered that Juan was right behind me. He was beaming with enthusiastic smile. He had seen me personally go for a hundred attempts over the last couple months, and he knew well the struggle involved with becoming a freestyle windsurfer. As the session progressed, the water got more messy and I was forced to rig down a size. I sailed away from a couple more over the rest of the session.
My estimation is that it took me something like 350 attempts to sail away from one of these buggers. It sounds like a lot, but realistically it took me way more attempts to plane out of jibes. If you're reading this and you've got some interest in getting into freestyle windsurfing, just think. You are some hundreds of attempts away from making a Vulcan. The sooner you start trying number one, two, three, twenty, fourty... the sooner you WILL sail away from one.
So what now for me? It's another fun, long road to get one on port.