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Commodores Commands and Comments by Commodore Bob Graves, aka ISUC - April 2015

Bob Graves, SPSC Commodore, 2015


Been a busy bee lately! Went to Calema Windsurfing and Watersports the first week in March for the midwinter’s regatta. What a blast!! The racing classes were RS:X (Olympic board), Techno (under 18), Formula, Kona, and Sport. Though the Kona fleet was the biggest with about 47 registered boards, it was a blast watching the young’uns on the RS:X and Techno. The hospitality was wonderful and the food plentiful. I would encourage anyone to go down. Thanks to Linda for shaming me in to going! SPSC was represented by Linda Downey, myself, Bill Olson, Joe Sisson, and Tiki Mon.

Work has been done on the training trailer (see separate article), though we still need to get down and rig the sails up before the Smith Regatta. Hoping the new training boards come in before than as well.

If you missed the Wind Ceremony, you missed a great time. I will say this, the ceremony WORKED! People were sailing that day, and I was out on my 110 liter board a week later. You know it has to be Windy for me to get 110 liters planning.

Which brings up my last comment: REGISTER FOR THE STEPHEN C. SMITH!!!! If you have never been to this event it is much more than racing, but a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society. Sunday afternoon’s auction is always a good time. Most importantly, word is out that there will only be 10 Tiki Mons made, and the one up for auction this year is Tiki Mon VIII. Your chance of bidding on one is dwindling.

Bob Graves, Commodore
Imperial Supreme Ultimate Commodore (ISUC)

42nd Annual Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta

Don't miss this year's event . . . . 42nd ANNUAL . . . . wow!. April 24th - 26th at Shell Point Beach. This year, Stand Up Paddle (SUP) and Kayak competitions will be held both days. SUP board rentals will be available on site. And this year's auction will have the usual boats and a bunch of new items for auction. Save time and postage, register EARLY online at www.smithregatta.com. Hurry, as early registration ends Friday April 17, then the price goes up $10!

Deb Berlinger
SPSC Representative
Stephen C. Smith Memorial Regatta Foundation

Pamela and I have printed bumper stickers commemorating our favorite beach and our favorite Festoons song. We are selling these iconic gems for a mere $5 each, with all proceeds going to the Stephen C Smith Regatta Foundation. These stupendous stickers (4" x 6”) will look classy on your street cars, beach cars, guitar cases, trumpet cases, windsurfing trailers, boat trailers, children, dogs, office windows, file cabinets, even on your sails! A limited number will be available to the general public at the Smith Regatta, but you can reserve yours now by replying to me hansard at 20knotsnob.com with the number of stickers you wish to purchase. They will also be on sale at the club meeting this Tuesday - but act fast cause they won’t last!

Thank you for your support, The Walrus Was Paul

Wind Ceremony - 2015

Throw Caution to the Wind
By Paul Hansard

In his excellent treatise, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, written in 1841, Charles Mackay discusses various examples of irrational mass behavior, including tulip mania during the early 17th century, the South Sea Bubble (poster child of the modern-day public-private partnership), and the widespread belief in the transmutability of elements, or alchemy (scientists are still trying to live that one down). Were Mackay writing his book today, there would be plenty of recent examples upon which he could no doubt expound, including the 401k as a viable retirement strategy, the Pontiac Aztec Appreciation Club (time will tell on that one), and the proliferation of Beliebers (the deeply disturbed fanbase of Justin Bieber, next to whom Deadheads resemble super-intelligent beings)

I submit that on a smaller scale, the notion held by local windsurfers that Shell Point is a windy place, constitutes another relatively recent example of extraordinary collective delusion, similar in its magnitude of departure, though influencing a smaller group of individuals. This belief, whose roots date back to the mid-1980’s, manifested a variety of sociological, cultural and economic consequences, including the institution of a Wind Ceremony (a pagan ritual involving fire, wood and music), the establishment of a windsurfing club (complete with charter and dues), and other relatively harmless behaviors (such as the development of an endemic language understood only by other windsurfers). However, a more deleterious consequence of this mania was that it led all of the local windsurfers to purchase vast quantities of windsurfing equipment, often on credit, hoards so great that special conveyances were required for their transport, and special garages were constructed to contain them. This mania, for that is what it was, reached its climax around 1998, by which time most windsurfers had accumulated thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, worth of crap. It was then that the myth shattered, the delusion decrystallized, the madness revealed. For since that time, the wind has not blown at Shell Point, and all that equipment sits idled gathering mold, barely worth the fee to haul it off. [On the plus side, our credit balances are finally down to sustainable levels.]

There are those among us who remember those days, the manic days, the nuclear days, the awesome days. The days when you didn’t need a weatherman, you didn’t need a windtalker, you didn’t need doppler radar, you didn’t even need to think. All you had to do was show up and rig a sail and it would come. The only question was: how hard would it blow? Even the direction of the wind (southwest) was pretty much guaranteed, which is why most of us can only jump on starboard tack. We remember those days because we have pictures of smiling faces, tired faces, satisfied faces, people actually sailing, hard-copy proof that the mania was real. There is also the existence of the club, the annual wind ceremony, and the piles of equipment in our garages as evidence that it really did happen. The delusion was in thinking that it would never end. But it was almost like throwing a switch, the wind stopped, the boards wouldn’t go, and Don Mclean sang Bye Bye Miss Apalachee Pie.

Since that time, in my own pseudo-scientific kind of way, I have searched for answers, answers to the questions, the questions that drive us. Where did the wind go? When will it return? What is the matrix? After all these years, I have finally found the answers to these questions (well, to the first two anyway). A few days ago I stumbled upon a fascinating blog entry by Bob Henson of Weather Underground™, titled Are We Entering a New Period of Rapid Global Warming?  Now, I skipped over all the hokey stuff about gas absorption spectra and thermal reservoirs (major boring s***), and went straight down to Figure 3, reproduced here with only the parts I wanted you to see, and without permission from the author. This figure shows the PDO index over the last 120 years. The first 82 years should be taken with a grain of salt, since the indices for that period were reconstructed from proxies (scientific lingo for totally fabricated), but no worries because they are irrelevant; after all, windsurfing had not yet been invented. But, you will see that beginning around 1982 the index becomes mostly positive. This predominantly positive phase coincidentally began the same year that the universal joint was invented, and continued until 1998, which coincidentally was the year the wind stopped blowing at Shell Point. What’s more, the negative phase that follows coincides with a complete lack of wind at Shell Point (data not shown). Therefore, I am throwing caution to the wind, and making the wild, the irresponsible, and the mostly unsupported claim that the wind at Shell Point, evaluated over a coarse temporal scale using a damaged temporal lobe, is somehow related to or even controlled by the phase of the PDO.

The question in your mind, aside from “How on earth did he manage to graduate?” is probably, “What in hell is the PDO, and what could it possibly have to do with the wind at Shell Point?” Normally, I would not grace such a question with an answer, but since you’ve asked, and since that is the primary purpose of this essay, I will regretfully and reluctantly acquiesce. Now, I could give you the stochastic, nonlinear “butterfly flapping its wings in Africa” explanation, but it requires both trigonometry and long division, and is thus clearly beyond the scope of modern-day millennials. So I’ll give you what I call the macro explanation, which is this: during the positive phase of the PDO, which by the way, stands for Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Gulf of Mexico experiences cooler surface temperatures (they only call it the Pacific Oscillation to be obscure). With cooler sea surface temps, sea-breeze development during late spring and summer is greatly enhanced. Also, during the positive phase, the strength of the trade winds wanes considerably. Although Shell Point is situated more or less at the subtropical ridge, the exact location of the ridge varies seasonally and possibly with the PDO (or not). The presence of even an inkling of easterly flow is deadly for any serious sea-breeze development at Shell Point, so a positive PDO index is doubly good (don’t know why, not sure if it’s true, this is my story, accept it or don’t, but no matter what don’t quote me).

The really good news is that for better or worse, many of the top climate guys and gals believe that the current negative phase, in place since 1998, is coming to an end, and that a return to the positive phase is nigh upon us. Now I know there are those out there (like maybe real scientists) who are reading this, and are thinking “What a load of crap!” But I prophesize we are nearing the end of this dark windless nightmare, and that we will soon waken to a new era, of reliable sea breezes, small boards, and small sails. I expect this will also usher in a new set of calamities, such as a rapid increase in average planetary temperature (notice I did not use the term global warming, which the governor has wisely redacted from all official state documents because it is a job-killing scientific hoax), wildfires across the southeastern US, flooding in California, and the invasion of exotic flesh-eating plants. But who cares, as long as it’s windy? Mind, I’m not telling you to rush out and buy a bunch of new equipment, but for me, I’m ready for the delusion to start again.

Training Trailer Workday by BobbyG

What a beautiful day Sunday, March 29, was to work on the training trailer. A great group of people showed to put racks in the trailer so that we could stack the boards horizontally instead of at an angle. After reconfiguring the old rack from when we stored the training equipment in the old coast guard station, we were able to stack 7 boards high without changing any other part of the current configuration. Thanks to Bill Olson, Adam Bennet, Joe Sisson, Linda Downey (who graciously stored the old racks for 11 years), Perry Morris, and Wright Finney for coming down to help. Thanks to Stan for coming down when we completed to check our work!

We are ready for our new boards. Also, a thanks goes out to Linda Berl and her husband Sean who graciously donated equipment to the club. We will be using the two 460cm all carbon masts to replace some fiberglass ones we have, utilizing a couples booms and sails, and hopefully selling an F2 Xantos 295 and a Bic Rock. Thank you Linda and Sean!


Club Officers and At-Large Board Members 2015

Commodore: Bob Graves
Vice Commodore: Chris Graves
Scribe: Bill Olson
Purser: Wright Finney
At Large Members:
Laurie Levine
Deb Green
Mary Rolling
Adam Bennet
Past Commodore: Mark Powell
Board is also known as the Guardians of the Windy Sea!

Club Meeting March 2015

Meeting called to order at 7:30pm
Began with a presentation from Mark Wool, Warning Coordination Meteorologist of NWS. The NWS is the only entity that can put out official weather warnings. Mark discussed the area of responsibility for the local office, and the mobile website that works just like a smartphone app. Can be found at mobile.weather.gov

We met our two newest members, Gretchen and Robin. The pair have been learning at their own pace on Lake Talquin, but will be joining us this summer at Shell Point.

Purser’s report-Wright Finney
Club balance stands in the black.

Our anxiously awaited new boards for training have been delayed. Should reach us by mid-May. They are coming to us from the Cobra company, and have been manufactured in Thailand.

Mark Powell received awards for Endless Summer, and for surviving completing his term of Commodore. Mark Powell termed himself the “Clueless Commodore.” Whatever!

Old Business

Key’s Trip. Question posed was who will handle reservations for 2016. Dave or Sherry? Neither present.

Wind Ceremony
Chaired by Laurie Levine..
Shirt was a purple haze color with horseshoe crab motif. Possibly the best shirt, ever.
Mike Boll asked why we don’t do sweatshirts. Was told to bring that up more than 2 weeks before the event.
Bob Andrews asked about early registration. As usual, early registration ensures your desired shirt size.

Stephen C. Smith
Lee Chapin discussed the plans of kayak and SUP races. Linda Downey expressed concern in getting the other groups enthusiastically nailed down. Registration forms need to be printed soon.

Lee Chapin mentioned that the Kona Fleet did so well at Endless Summer that we might explore future Kona fleets without charter boards.
If such interest reaches an appropriate threshold, then Kona will bring charters.
Commodore wants to get rid of Formula Fleet. No dissent heard.

Commodore asked about auction items to which Linda Downey supplied an update.

NIMBY 2015? No new news.

R&R? Neither chair present to give updates.

Summer training
May 16 we have the Venture Scouts booked. Short discussion between trainers as to 3 not being available on some May dates.

Discussion of Summer Series attached to training days for novice and non-novice fleets. Substitute Propagandist thinks this is the best idea the current commodore has ever had.

Linda Downey’s official notes from Midwinters. Apparently Joe, Bill, and Bob were shamed by her into attending this year. One feels that those three are quite easy to shame, anyway, so not news. Those that attended had many tales, including having an MC on shore who called pending race starts, counted down flag sequences, and announced winners, etc., thereby giving those on shore some sense of what was happening. This sounds like something we might consider for our own events.

Commodore asked if there was anything further requiring official discussion. No one spoke up. Teensie motioned to adjourn. Too many seconds to document.

Meeting adjourned.

Check the SPSC Photo Gallery for More Photos

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