Don’t Freak Out – Part 1

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber Kasbeer, aka Defi Divadefi_logo

“I’m SO sorry! I don’t know what happened? Everything was fine last fall when I booked everything! But listen, don’t freak out, I’ve been working with Paolo in Montreal and he is working a solution.” A solution was necessary to fix the issue that Air France had some how decided to reject Chris Wattengel’s and my windsurfing gear on the second half of our journey.  A journey that I had started on last summer.

It was early last June, when I popped on to the DEFI website to read up on the race and indulge my YouTube addiction of watching cute puppies and windsurfing videos. After three hours of trance-like assimilation into the ether, I found myself on looking up the rates for the little bungalow I stayed at during my first DEFI sojourn. I selected 5-8 May 2016, curious to see what it would be listed for during this year’s race. The answer came quickly enough…”Sold Out”. “What!??”  Ack! Sold out already?? Crap!” it was then by some completely visceral, reactionary response that I pulled out my rainy day credit card and committed myself and future retirement funds to going again… After hemming and hawing, and clicking on a myriad of different locale properties I finally settled on a little beach house which was a little over 400 euros for the week.  By the time I had clicked “buy” and put in all my personal information, including height, weight, and eye color, that I looked up at the clock to see that it was almost 2:00 am in the morning.  As I crawled into bed letting the reality of what I had just started to sink in that I realized the depth of my compulsions. Some people stay up late and spend their money on trinkets from the QVC channel at those late hours of the night, but in my case it is the DEFI channel and it usually costs thousands of dollars…

Somehow, somewhere after that, I had convinced Chris that he needed to join me on the frigid waters of the Mediterranean and ride the insane winds of the Tramontain.  And luckily for me, he thought that it was a great idea! So after that, I called on my dear Belgian friends, Bart and Els, to join us as the little beach house had plenty of room.  And of course, I was very eager to see them again and perhaps join up with some of my Belgian Slalom team mates that had so graciously adopted me into their little circle during my first race. Continue reading “Don’t Freak Out – Part 1”

Hatteras Calling – Still a Few Spaces Available!

by Coby Leydenhatteras-lighthouse-2
BABA Hatteras Trip Coordinator

email me!

Fellow Windsurfers,

We still have openings available for our May 7-14 Hatteras Spring Trip.
That’s a bit unusual, as we often fill up by now.

Perhaps it’s the change in dates from April to May.

I know, I know:
it takes a while to adjust the idea of being warm instead of cold,
of having longer days for more time on the water,
of having an even better chance of perfect SW breezes that keep you sailing into the sunset.

But may I suggest to anyone holding out (and You know Who you Are…) that your reticence is misplaced.
This is going to be a fantastic trip, and you don’t want to miss out.

Continue reading “Hatteras Calling – Still a Few Spaces Available!”

Remembering Al Marani

by Coby Leyden, Hatteras Trip Coordinator

We are a little bit off-balance today after hearing that Al Marani, long-time BABA member, is no longer with us. Sad news, indeed. Speaking for all of BABA, we will miss him terribly.

I first met Al on my initial BABA trip to Hatteras. I was a newbie windsurfer in search of a place to improve my windsurfing in the company of others who enjoyed the sport. I wasn’t sure how I’d like going on a trip with people I didn’t know…a stranger in a strange land. Would I fit in? Being a bit of an introvert, the prospect held a slightly uncomfortable mix of anticipation and anxiety for me. I arrived very late, and directly hit the sack, hoping for the best.

The next morning, I was told there were free waffles at the next house over, so I went. Which is where I met Al. Standing in complete charge of the kitchen, he was mixing up waffle batter from scratch, and pouring it into his personal waffle iron that he’d brought along. He welcomed me with a strong, almost crushing handshake, pointed to an empty seat, and with only a look, demanded I make ready to eat…lime waffles. Continue reading “Remembering Al Marani”

ACTION ITEM – due Dec 14 – Mayo Peninsula Parks Planning Call for Comments

Due by 5pm on MONDAY, December 14.  Click the link at the bottom of the post to see a map of the Mayo Peninsula Parks Planning area.

We have a very important call for action for all windsurfers and other wind-sports enthusiasts in the Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia area, and anyone else who is interested in windsurfing on the Chesapeake Bay.  Please see the request below from Mike Lofton, Chair of the AA Co Public Water Access Committee.  BABA has filed comments on behalf of the club but it is very important for AA Park and Rec to hear from individuals as well.  Please read the request for comments in italics at the bottom of this post.

Some key points to consider:

Residents of the Mayo Peninsula have expressed concern about public access (or any access at all) to the public beaches in their community and some would like the beaches to remain restricted or closed to the public.

The AA Public Water Access Committee is working towards increased access at all AA Co. owned parks and was instrumental in getting Spriggs Farm Park on the Magothy River opened in November (blog post and pictures coming soon), and getting Beverly Triton open to the public (including windsurfers and kite boarders) without a permit.

Currently, windsurfers and other “car top boaters” have access to Mayo Beach Park with a “car top boat” permit from AA Co.  While some feel the permit is not needed under an open access policy, there are concerns that if Mayo Beach is opened to the public and the “car top boat” permit program is disbanded, windsurfers and other car-top boaters will not have access to the launch-front parking area OR that the launch-front parking area could be open to the public, which may result challenges unloading gear close to the launch.

BABA’s Priorities as developed by Steering Committee members engaged in the AA Co. Public Water Access Committee:

* Keep windsurfing and other car-top boat access at Mayo and Beverly Triton

* Keep the current system for access in place during the planning process

* Wind-sports enthusiasts have very specific needs for access to strong and steady wind in contrast with the need and desire for more sheltered access and water trails that kayakers/SUP/canoe enthusiasts prefer so we ask that you consider these different needs and requirements when looking at access points on the Mayo Peninsula.

In your response, let AA Co. know where you live – if you live outside of AA Co and you drive there to windsurf on the bay and spend money on gas, food, shopping etc, you’re contributing to the local economy.  Let them know how few windsurfing launches are available to you, and ask for windsurfing access to continue at Mayo and Beverly Triton.

Please send your comments to Rick Anthony and copy Mike Lofton (as noted in Mike’s message copied below).

Thank you for taking an active role in windsurfers’ access to great launches on the Chesapeake Bay.

Mayo Peninsula Parks Planning Call for Comments

A committee has been formed to provide advice on the use & future development of more than 500 acres of public park land (much of it with extensive water-frontage) on the Mayo Peninsula.

In addition to the committee, comprised primarily of Mayo Peninsula residents, EVERYONE is encouraged to provide input to the planning process.

Ideas will be used by a consultant, selection anticipated late January 2016, to prepare 2-3 concepts for a regional park complex.

Effective use of these public assets will begin to address Anne Arundel County’s most significant recreation deficiency, public water access.

Comments should be submitted to AA Rec & Parks Director, Rick Anthony at . Please copy me at

Attached is a map showing the locations of the four primary sites:
· South River Farm Park 187 acres
· Mayo Beach Park 26 acres
· Beverly-Triton Beach Park 342 acres
· Carr’s Wharf Rd Public launch & Pier +/- 1 acre

Comments need to be in by December 14, 2015


Mike Lofton, Chair
Anne Arundel Public Water Access Committee


Long Lost BABA Blog

So much windsurfing, so little blogging.  REALLY?????  2015 has been a pretty good year so far!

We had a lovely day to eat and drink with BABA friends back in March at the BABA Season Kick-Off Party.  Thank you to Ann & Mike for hosting!  The Pat Pugh Award (for supreme volunteerism) was awarded to Coby Leyden for his dedication to running our Hatteras trips.  Thank you to East of Maui for co-sponsoring the award.

I’d also like to thank all the volunteers who have put time and effort into running our club throughout the year, and to those who step up when asked to help with specific projects:

Dave Iseri, Vice Chair and Sponsorship Coordinator
Ann Jackson, Secretary, membership coordinator and lots of help with Mayo Watersports Fun Fest
Helen Van Gelder, Treasurer
Janice Emerling – for running our Learn to Windsurf Clinic with Ultimate Watersports
Coby Leyden – Hatteras Trip Coordinator extraordinaire
Mike McCormick – for coordinating Mayo Watersports Fun Fest and providing leadership and expertise to our board of directors.

And our Members at Large who serve in many ways:
Bill Anderson
Warren Evans
Fan Pat & Colin Pitts
Maureen & Albert Pritchard
Mark Raginsky
Fred Thomas

We voted on our slate of officers and steering committee members and we welcomed Amber Kasbeer as a new Member at Large.

Thank you to Jeff and Darlene Forte for bringing Something Special to Mayo for our ECC Regatta – a good sized boat is critical to holding a serious race event!  And Thank you also to everyone who volunteers to help with tasks large and small during our Hatteras Trips.  Coby handles many many details, but he can’t do it all, and having volunteers take on responsibilities during the trips is critical to their continued success.

Mark Storch won drawing for the complimentary ABK clinic – can’t wait to hear about his progress.

No photos were taken, but I can assure you that we had a great spread of food, the weather was wonderful and we had lots of goodies from our generous sponsors.

Dreaming of Hatteras

It’s about the time of year that the juju from the last trip to Hatteras has completely worn off and the longing for the next trip starts to interfere with everyday living.  Here’s a cool video that Amber (aka Defi Diva) put together from last spring’s trip to warm your windsurfing spirit.

The good news is that Coby is getting things ready to start reservations for the spring trip (April 25 – May 2, 2015), and you oughtta save the date for the fall trip too (October 10 – 17, 2015).  Watch your e-mail for the trip announcement sometime near the end of January.

Stay warm, enjoy your winter sports, sit by the fire pit or take care of your chores so you can clear your calendar for spring windsurfing.

See you on the water.

ABK Delivers

Several BABA members participated in ABK camp in Hatteras this fall – Vlad Gavrilets, winner of the ABK camp drawing at our season kick-off party, Jon Fleuchaus and Farrah Hall.  ABK is a generous sponsor – BABA appreciates their support and we encourage every windsurfer to take a clinic (or 5) with ABK.   Check their calendar for 2015 dates in lots of different locations including Bonaire, Hatteras, Lakes Bay (NJ), Corpus Christi and Padre Island.

ABK logo

The clinic was a blast!! First of all, thanks to Ned Crossley we had a fantastic house 50 yards away from the clinic site in Waves, NC, with 10 windsurfers in it. As a surprise house mate, we had US Olympian racer, Farrah Hall (check out her blog post about ABK in October). My wife, Olia, joined us for a couple days later in the week.

Next, the instructors – I’ve taken a lot of lessons before, and ABK instructors were really top notch. Andy and his crew are very passionate about our sport, and they know how to explain, how to teach, and how to correct your mistakes.

There were 5 instructors for 20 students. This is a great ratio – I always felt I was getting individual attention.  Andy breaks the students into groups by interests and abilities. There were a number of regulars, who were clearly head and shoulders above others, and that leads one to aspire to become as good as those folks in spinning various light and high wind tricks.

Ned coaching Vlad
Ned coaching Vlad

Every morning we’d start at 9:30 am sharp, Andy would announce lectures, and students would have a choice which lecture to attend. I had a chance to listen to 4 out of 5 instructors, and found each lecture very informative. I attended lectures on carving gybe, light wind tack, high wind planing tack, a fantastic lecture on gear from Derek, who writes equipment reviews for WindSport magazine (also a BABA sponsor), and, of course, Andy’s class on Sail Chi. In the latter, Andy shows how to practice with a sail on dry land, and does so in his highly entertaining manner. Andy is a real artist and it’s a blast to listen to his lectures (although, once again, all instructors were fantastic). I learned a ton from these lectures, and they really helped during practice sessions on the water.

There were two practice sessions each day, one in the morning following a lecture, the second in afternoon. The first session stops at noon, second goes from 2 to 5 pm. The setup is great – instructors break into groups, they stand in shallow water, and students practice various tricks or moves close to them, so that they can observe and quickly give feedback. This works well for both light and high wind. It’s easier to get more feedback during light wind sessions, since you are always close to your instructor. For me, these light wind sessions were invaluable, as my gybes and tacks were very clumsy, and I learned the essential skills necessary for high wind maneuvers as well, such as back winding and sailing clew first. I also learned how to do a clew first beach start.

keep reading!
Continue reading “ABK Delivers”

East Coast Championships Regatta 2014

Longboard StartBABA had a warm, sunny and light wind ECC Regatta on September 20 & 21st.  Longboard racing was the call as the wind remained light and variable both days.  Our Formula fleet showed up on Saturday and kept the benches warm waiting for enough wind to run a few races, but mother nature didn’t cooperate.

Big thanks go to Jeff and Darlene Forte for bringing Something Special, our committee boat for the weekend.  Guillaume Vernieres (aka G) brought his RIB (that’s rigid inflatable boat) which Race Organizer Warren Evans captained to place marks, run the photographer around (that was me) and serve as safety boat in case anyone needed to be rescued.  Warren learned that G’s boat only speaks French, but once over the language barrier, some sweet talk kept her running for the weekend.  Race Director Dave Iseri motivated the longboard fleet to complete 6 races and our dedicated volunteers made the weekend fun for everyone.

Our land and water volunteers for the event also included Tom Caswell (aka Scooter), Janice Emerling, Ann Jackson, Amber Kasbeer, Fan Pat, Collin Pitts, Mike McCormick and Helen Van Gelder.  Helen is  behind the scenes for every event, trip and membership drive making sure fees are deposited, expenses are paid and our books balanced.  Thank you everyone!


Guillaume swept the event with 5 firsts and a DNS.  The Men’s Open Class had a tight contest for 2nd & 3rd with the tie breaker going to John Contos over Colin Pitts.  Congratulations to everyone who competed, especially Novice racer Anthony Burrows.

Novice:  Anthony Burrows (1st)

7.5 Limited Men: Chris Wattengel (1st)

Open Women: Fan Pat (1st), Amber Kasbeer (2nd)

Open Men: Guillaume Vernieres (1st), John Contos (2nd), Colin Pitts (3rd)

Picture Gallery follows…… click the first picture to open the gallery as a slide show.

Continue reading “East Coast Championships Regatta 2014”

Mayo Water Sports Fun Fest

Mayo Fest 2014

What a great day on the water!  We had about 100 people turn out for BABA’s 3rd annual Mayo Water Sports Fun Fest.  The event is sponsored by Anne Arundel Rec and Parks, Outdoor Architects, East of Maui and Annapolis Community Boating.  That means lots of different wind and paddle powered water craft (aka car top boats) were available for folks to try out at Mayo on Sunday, June 29th.

Thank you event chair Mike McCormick and his essential event partners Ann Jackson and Maureen Pritchard for putting Fun Fest together.   They took care of all the logistics, worked with AA County staff and our sponsors, and made sure we had a delicious lunch and lots of refreshing drinks to power us through the day.  Event sponsor Outdoor Architects (owned by BABA member Mark Storch) generously contributed the funds to provide lunch for everyone at the event.  Fun Fest included a Taste of Windsurfing, stand up paddling, kayaking and canoeing, and a slalom & formula racing and tuning clinic for advanced windsurfers.  Jon Fleuchaus and Helen Van Gelder took pictures for the blog, and Becky Belogay, Afi Chamlou, Kathy Iseri, Eddie Murawski and Albert Pritchard helped with logistics, lunch, clean-up and whatever else needed doing.

BABA is a strong organization because we have devoted members who take charge and do great work for the club and the community.  Thank you all!

Keep reading – it was a fun filled day, and there are lots more pictures too!  Continue reading “Mayo Water Sports Fun Fest”

Spring Regattas

Lining up for a start from the beach
Lining up for the Le Mans start.

We had a great start to the spring racing season with our annual Gerry Brown Memorial Regatta for Cancer Research at Baltimore County Sailing Center.  It was a light-wind day for an enthusiastic bunch of long boarders.  BCSC Director Eileen Fahrmeier set some marks for and upwind downwind course and we had a Le Mans style start from the beach.  The wind was flukey and dying so the crew completed one race and spent the rest of the day free sailing in Hawk Cove.  BABA members contributed about $500 to the Sidney Kimmel Center for Cancer Research at Johns Hopkins.  Thank you to everyone who contributed and who came out for the event.  It was great to see Jack Ames back out on the race course after a long hiatus.  Big thanks to our host, Eileen and BCSC.  Check out their website and programs for youth and adult sailing.  There’s also a week-long windsurfing camp for kids every summer. Continue reading “Spring Regattas”