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Commodores Commands and Comments by Commodore
Bob Graves, aka ISUC - April 2015
Bob Graves, SPSC Commodore,
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!
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
Caution to the Wind
Wind Ceremony - 2015
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
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.
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
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
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:
Past Commodore: Mark Powell
Board is also known as the Guardians of the Windy
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
Mark Powell received awards for Endless Summer, and
for surviving completing his term of Commodore. Mark
Powell termed himself the “Clueless Commodore.”
Key’s Trip. Question posed was who will handle
reservations for 2016. Dave or Sherry? Neither present.
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
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.
May 16 we have the Venture Scouts booked. Short discussion
between trainers as to 3 not being available on some
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
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.
Check the SPSC Photo Gallery
for More Photos
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