The Silly Season

Summer is upon us. There's a lot less wind and more idle time. It's a dangerous and expensive time.

Summer is when you will make you most optimistic purchases: the gear you use once a decade. With light winds are you looking for a 9.5 sail? Are you bringing the old Mistral One Design out from the piles of stuff in the garage and sailing around in light air? Are you studying the latest trends in light air weapons - foils and super wide boards?

Optimistic airplane

Optimism isn't always a good idea.

Maybe you are. Me? This is when I buy that 70 liter wave board. Or the 3.7 that I might use if I'm ever at Hatteras when a tropical storm rolls through (don't laugh, it did happen to me. Once.) My mind starts to fantasize as a way of dealing with my withdrawal from regular shortboard sessions. What would I use in 30-45 mph winds? What board would be best for learning a Spock or Vulcan? This last question is important because I fantasize that someday, I'll learn some shortboard freestyle moves. Truth is that I've been working on duck jibes for 15 years with little progress. I blame my short arms but my reluctance to get wet in winter is certainly a factor.

3.3 in action

Chris Campbell on a 3.3. If history holds, he'll use it again in 2019

Day after day you resist temptation. But, inevitably you snap. Late at night, you spy a good deal, maybe a "Buy It Now" on ebay and, before you realize what happened, out comes the credit card. You delete the confirmation email to hide any evidence of your deed and figure out a way to intercept the UPS guy/gal before they drop off the package at the front door.

Now you have a real problem - where to put your new toy where the significant other won't notice. They are tired of stumbling over sails and masts; tired of smelly neoprene; and really can't understand why you need four boards more than replacing the old dishwasher that won't clean the dishes.

Kiters yap all the time about how their gear is better because it fits into a car. BS. Their real advantage is that they can hide that new 11m kite in the back of a closet until fall. New kiteboard? No problem, stick it under one of the kids' beds. No child goes looking under a bed because of the remote possibility that there really is a monster under there (or, is that just a myth propagated by kiting parents?)

monsters under the bed

Calvin's Dad kited, I think.

Windsurfers have a tougher time. Where do you stash something eight feet long where it doesn't arose suspicion? If it is discovered, how do you explain it? Here are some strategies:

Um, it's for a friend If congressmen caught in a compromising situation can use this one, why not us?

"The new board? Oh, it's for Joe. He lives in a gated apartment complex and UPS doesn't deliver big packages so he asked if they could deliver it here so nothing could happen to it and I told him that you wouldn't mind and he'll pick it up this weekend, no next weekend because he's got to visit his mother this weekend so I told him it's okay."

Note the long run-on sentence. This is intentional. You want to continue your explanation until you are absolutely sure that the SO has totally lost any interest in what you have to say. You may have to practice holding your breath in a pool to perfect this technique. It also helps to actually have a friend named Joe that they aren't particularly fond of as it helps them not to want to hear any more about it.

Paint it Black (or white) Not only was it a hit for the Rolling Stones back in the Dark Ages but it remains good advice: Try to buy everything so they match as much as possible. Masts are easy. They almost always are black and annoyingly long. It's very easy to throw in another top and bottom with no one the wiser. And if it comes in another color? paint it black.

Own a couple of white boards? Your next board should be white as well. If it's not white, a can of white spray paint is two bucks and cheap price to save your relationship. Sails are more difficult to match but it doesn't matter. The only important part is that the sail bag color matches. If you have three green bags stacked in the corner of the garage, hiding a fourth behind them is easy. And yes, the fourth will fit easily behind because it's that 3.7 you hope to use, remember?

N + 1 This is a strategy of strength. The important part is to have enough crap, er, gear that adding another bit is completely imperceptible. This is also known as the "Milky Way" strategy. If you looked up at the stars on a clear night, would you ever know if there was a new star up there? No, you wouldn't. If you have enough fins, another one is similarly just a drop in the proverbial bucket.

It's for you, dear This is a bold strategy. Remember that 3.7? You don't try to hide it. No, you openly declare "it's for you, dear. It'll be easier for you to learn."

Let's ignore the fact that most 3.7s are cut way too flat to work in light air. The crushing truth is that your SO has zero interest in following you down the path of darkness known as windsurfing. They see no appeal in going for a swim in January. They don't want to be beholden to the weather forecast. This gambit depends on you having a sincere enough smile that that they think you mean it. At that point, they will change the subject as fast as possible before they have to awkwardly decline to spend a week in Avon in the off season when there isn't a thing to do.

I deserve it We mention this strategy only to warn you that it's a disaster in the making. You were off windsurfing all spring while your SO did work around the house or shuttled the kids. And now, you have the temerity to insist that you deserve a new piece of kit? Yeah, good luck with that.

the Titanic

You deserve a ticket on ths ship. Bring a life vest, though.

Stay safe and put the credit card away. It's a long time until September.

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Randy's picture
Joined: 05/05/2002 - 10:38
Posts: 4161
Re: The Silly Season

Not that I have ever used this tactic, but sails don't have to come in the sail bag you bought it with. You can get your old sail bag and put your new sail in it, then hang it up in the garage without ever revealing that there is something new. Same for board bags, (though board bags all seem to be one size fits one only.)

One thing I realized after I retired. I started paying the bills and managing the accounts. Had I done this when I was working I would probably still be working since it would have been a lot easier to buy "contraband" sails, boards, etc, etc.

Then, of course, there is the "new for old swap meet" where you get a new board or sail in exchange for a used one. You just take your old board to some dumpster in the area (or to someone who likes to sell stuff on Craigslist) and get rid of it then pick up your new board at the trucking terminal. Works everytime.

What happens in a black hole stays in a black hole.

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