Don’t Freak Out – Part 5

Chris and I then spent the next two hours navigating our way back into Baggage Claim and the Air France claims counter. Unlike most airports, the baggage claim area was back behind closed doors in the international arrival zone. At first a rather indignant information agent told us that we were too late and we should have made that claim back when we had collected our luggage from the belt. Luckily I was with Chris not only because he was able to translate and speak Spanish, but also because I probably would have strangled her. “Who the freak unpacks their luggage in the claims area to see if anything is broken???!!!!” I said in utter exasperation. “Come on. She is just being difficult. Let’s go upstairs and see if we can talk to an Air France agent directly”, he said gritting his teeth.

We did eventually talk with a ticket agent and she explained how to get back into the claims area where we would need to file a claim. So dragging the broken equipment (because the boom had also been severely warped in what ever event that had brought on my board’s demise) we eventually made our way back and found the correct office.  

In Barcelona, the airlines don’t have a direct office to handle these sorts of claims. They all go through a third party that simply takes down the information and then submits it to the appropriate airlines. When we took out the board to show our agent the damage, the wide eyes and whistles from the other agents near by as the curious gawked in fascination, made my heart sink once again.  Chris put a brotherly arm around me, “Don’t worry, honest, we’ll figure this out.”

Later that afternoon we finally checked into our hotel, the AC Hotel Gava Mar. The hotel was located right on the beach over looking the ocean, and off in the afternoon sun we saw windsurfers and kiters racing back and forth.  As tempted as we were to go out and join them the reality of being awake for the last 36 hours really started to set in.  So instead we opted for hot showers, a nice meal, and our beds.  

Continue reading “Don’t Freak Out – Part 5”

Don’t Freak Out – Part 4

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber, aka Defi DivaKasbeer_gear_cart_cropped

“Holy crap! I can’t believe how long it took me to pack those boards!” I said in exasperation to Chris. He laughed, “Yeah it took me the better part of four hours yesterday. I kept having to run to the store for more noodles and tape. And then of course, I could only reliably use one side of my body for lifting and moving.”  Things were looking up though.  No locusts, or nuclear events stymied our trip to the airport, and Lou had successfully deposited us and our gear at Dulles International right in front of the Air France ticketing area. We engaged a couple of porters to help us with our boards and gear, and then Chris took his car to economy parking while our boards sat in front of the ticket agents attracting a myriad of attention from both the traveling public as well as the Air France staff. At the advice of Christine, we had prepaid for our excess luggage, with both Chris and I having to each shell out close to $1,100 round trip just to ship our two boards and sails. Sigh!  It is hard to be an unsponsored Diva… Continue reading “Don’t Freak Out – Part 4”

Don’t Freak Out – Part 3

Further Adventures of the Defi Divadefi_logo

by Amber, aka Defi Diva

For those of you that don’t read or partake in Astrology, I will offer that there is this one little pesky astronomical aspect that haunts us a few times a year.  It is called Mercury Retrograde. And if you were to watch and track the stars in the sky it would look like the little red planet of Mercury reverses direction from its normal path to transit in the opposite direction. It continues this “backward” course in the sky for a little over a month before it reverses direction to travel again along it’s normal path. Of course there is a logical explanation for this perceived reversal of course and it has to do with the Earth’s position as it orbits around the sun in relationship to Mercury’s orbit. But without getting into all the geometric details lets just say that ancient Astrologers identified that when this happened communication and travel just seemed to not quiet go according to plan. And as luck would have it, this spring’s Mercury Retrograde goes smack dab right over the DEFI from 28 April – 22 May. But plan as one might to take extra care and caution during these periods, suffice to say sometimes all you can do is just hang on and ride.  Kind of like sailing in the northwest winds during an east coast winter. 

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, when on the afternoon of the 28th, after I got back from a very gusty session on the Avon sound, I found an email from Chris in my inbox… 

Continue reading “Don’t Freak Out – Part 3”

Don’t Freak Out – Part 2

Further Adventures of the Defi Diva

by Amber, aka Defi Diva

Before we present the 2nd installment,  please practice saying Defi Diva with your best faux French accent…………

d’FEE dee-VAH! 

After a week of working intimately with her Montreal Air France connection, Paolo, Christine had us and our gear once again sorted out. It turned out that the aircraft scheduled for the second leg of our flight did not have enough space to transport both sets of windsurfing gear at the same time. So Chris and I were rebooked on separate flights between Paris and Barcelona. Luckily there are several flights so there was only to be a short 2 hours delay between us, and really, what is a mere two hours when traveling with friends to DEFI?  We were back on track.

I had learned a few lessons from my last foray into the winds of the Tramontain, and from the moment I bought my airplane tickets the previous fall I began thinking about what I would need to do to get my body and mind ready for what lay ahead. So the first thing I did was to book a week at Avon N.C. the week before we left for France. I wouldn’t be able to go with the BABA crowd this spring, because their week would over lap the week of the race but I was lucky enough to get Island Thunder, a pet friendly house with plenty of space to share.   It would once again give me a full week on the water to “break gear and put holes in my boards” ahead of time so I wouldn’t need to bother with that once I got to France.  Oh, and of course it gave me ample time to  practice those pesky things called jibes, which I would need to be able to do at least three times during each race…

In addition to just getting some sailing time under my belt, I needed to work on core, balance, and of course cardio.  Luckily, we were graced with a mild winter and my sailing season went longer than in previous years. But still, winter did eventually come, and my gear was packed and stowed for the couple of months of numbing temperatures.  So it was during those quiet dark months, that desperation set in and I realized that I needed to take drastic measures. I have been working with an awesome trainer for a few years now, Jessica, and in fact she was instrumental in helping to get me at least functional after my shoulder surgery for the last DEFI. So this time she was able to focus her efforts on my core and balance strength. But the cardio, was up to me…and I could not be motivated to run in 20 degree temperatures… I’ve done it in the past, but this time my body (or rather my mind and spirit) said, “Pound sand, I’m not doing it! It is too freakin cold and I hate cold!” Sigh…so I bit the bullet and went on Craig’s List and found some one selling their copy of Insanity. Continue reading “Don’t Freak Out – Part 2”

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 bookings.com 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”

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!

Results:

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”

Beverly Triton – No Permit Required!

BABA Members Clean up the Beach and Park on May 10
Meet Bob Brownlee – New Beverly Triton Park Ranger

BABA volunteers and some friends from the kiting community got together on May 10 for a beach and park clean-up at Beverly Triton.  BABA heeded the call from the neighborhood volunteers and spent an hour picking up glass and metal debris from the back of the park.

 

We found the beach was relatively free of trash but there were a lot of logs to clear so they didn’t wash back into the bay and become serious hazards to windsurfers, kiters and boaters.   Big shout out to Tom Caswell, Bob Catzen, Warren Evans, Kei Imai, Matt Lestina, Guillaume Vernieres, Gordon Wells and our new kiting friends Joe Boyle and daughters Cassie and Julianna, Tim Feeney and Mehdy Rad. Continue reading “Beverly Triton – No Permit Required!”

BABA Season in Full Swing

BABA season is in full swing and I’m just getting back to posting the pix from the season kick-off party.  We’ve already had the Mayo Clean-up,  spring Hatteras trip (pix and blog coming soon) and a bunch of BABA’ns participated in the WET/Kashy Fins Spring Regatta in Seaford, VA this past weekend (KONA One is awesome!).

We have the Beverly Triton beach clean-up (May 10) and Gerry Brown Regatta (May 18) to round out the month of May.  Whew!  Lots of opportunities to work and sail with your BABA friends.  Check the website and watch your e-mail for details.

More from the Season Kick-off Party

“BABA Members are missing the boat if they don’t come to this annual party,” says Hatteras Trip Coordinator Coby Leyden.  “Food, food, food!  A beautiful home with a view of the Severn River, wonderful hosts (thank you Ann & Mike!), the awesome raffle of goodies from our generous sponsors, and most importantly BABA friends and families!” Continue reading “BABA Season in Full Swing”