A special report on planned changes
at Bird Island Basin:
Bird Island Basin… and the National
Park Service by
Roy Tansill 8/15/00
Tonight (0815) the Superintendent
of the Padre Island National Seashore, Jock Whitworth, and his Chief of
Resource Management, Ken McMullen, met with the Corpus Christi Windsurfing
Association (CCWA) to discuss the park management‘s plans for Bird Island
Basin. For those few windsurfers out there who are unfamiliar with
Bird Island Basin (BIB), its one of the top flat water sailing sites in
the US which offers comfortable year around sailing, consistent strong
winds, and miles of chest deep warm salt water.
This meeting was arranged
after rumors of NPS plans to drastically reduce camping and access began
circulate throughout the national windsurfing community. It was feared
that after a decade of unfulfilled promises to improve the area for
windsurfers we were being double crossed by the latest in a series of park
superintendents and that we faced the immanent loss of much of the launching
and camping area. In fairness to the NPS, that was a possibility
under only one of several plans being considered. What is in the
works specifically is as yet undecided but the park management seems eager
to get all the paper work out of the way and get to work to rectify some
problems they perceive to be necessary. If permitted, they
would expect to begin work perhaps in January on whatever plan is finally
decided upon. The key to this issue is who does that deciding.
There is a procedure
outlined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which the park
must follow and the process has already begun. Public meetings and
input are sought and consulted throughout the process giving us lots of
opportunity to inject our wishes/opinions/suggestions but if we don’t then
they proceed in the fashion they believe to be best. Currently they
realistically assess windsurfers to be in the second row of the groups
who have interest in the National Seashore. Ahead of us, at least
in number, are fisherman, bird watchers, and apparently the hard core environmentalist.
Of course numbers don’t always equal power. The squeeking wheel seems
to be a good analogy. Bird Island Basin is less than 0.5% of
the National Seashore and this area set aside for windsurfing attracts
a far higher percentage of the park’s visitors. Currently the process
is in its early stages, one in which public meetings are convened to get
a feel for what it is they want for the area. The very first step
is a draft design which oddly does not require public input. The
current draft design is ten years old and a dead issue. In its place
is a collection of plans and now public input is being sought. Its
odd but in the lengthy time both Jock and Ken spoke, I never saw any plan
and indeed Jock stated clearly ‘we (NPS) have no preconceived ideas’.
What they do have is input from fisherman who have made their wishes known,
bird watchers who care a lot more about the Piping Plover than they do
about windsurfers, and what I feel is the far right end of the environmentalists.
Now they have some from the windsurfers too. But that is only the
local CCWA and Bird Island Basin is much more important to many more windsurfers
than just the ones lucky enough to call this windy spot home.
Want to be heard on
the issue, then read on- here’s where you get involved. The Park
Service is preparing an Environmental Assessment, required by NEPA, and
interested parties can sign up for copies of their newsletter mailing list.
Between that mailing list and info that will be available here you can
help influence what will be done. If you’ve ever enjoyed sailing
in this special place, or want to in the future, please express your interest
by getting on this mailing list. Below is a copy of the NPS
(which is clearly stamped DRAFT).
OF DRAFT PLAN
BIRD ISLAND BASIN
This is the first of
a series of newsletters designed to provide information on new planning
projects at Padre Island National Seashore (NS).
We are beginning the
public involvement in the proposed development and recreational use of
Bird Island Basin. The Development Plan and accompanying Environmental
Assessment (EA) will be available for public comment and review this fall.
The purpose of the Development
Plan is to determine needed facilities, asses recreational use, camping,
and parking needs, and to address continued visitor pressure on adjacent
wetlands and land resources. High visitor use and limited camping
space has has led to impacts on the adjacent wetlands and vegetation resources.
There are also more
issues of user conflicts and vehicle parking space needs. Padre Island
NS is looking to implement management practices that enhance recreational
opportunities and protect important area resources. Values and purposes
of the NS are presented, and management goals and objectives for Bird Island
Basin will be developed.
There will be opportunities
for public input at the open scoping workshops and periodically during
the environmental review process.
The final plan will
be used by the Superintendent of Padre Island NS to make informed decisions
regarding the land use at Bird Island Basin and the recreational opportunities
that are provided there.
We are compiling a mailing
list for this planning effort and its associated public environmental review
process as required by NEPA. If you are interested in assisting us
in this effort, please fill out the information below and return
Padre Island National Seashore
P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX. 78480-1300
All responses should be received by September
29, 2000. You will be added to our mailing list for the upcoming
public review, and a copy of the draft plan will be sent to you.
____ Yes, please include my name on the mailing
list for the Draft Development Plan process.
____ Check here to be on the list for future planning
Now seems like an opportunity
for windsurfing to move into the front row. I’ll work on Jock to
permit electronic communication in this process but ultimately its up to
each individual to get involved- here’s the vehicle. Please get on
this mailing list and help keep Bird Island Basin windsurfing access, shoreline
rustic camping, and room for safe recreation around for a long time to
Commodore's Notes: by
Since the last newsletter we held the Bird-to-Causeway
sail. Turnout was extremely light (shame on you), but fun was had
by all who finally made the causeway site where we held the BBQ under the
club awning. Perhaps next time we will take out at Snoopy's instead
of trying to make the downwind run from Snoopy's to the Northern end of
The Goose Island Getaway at Goose Island State
Park in Rockport is scheduled for September 8, 9 & 10th. The
state park has camping facilities with electricity, showers, and restrooms.
For those that do not wish to camp out, just come out for the day on Saturday
the 10th. It is only a 45 minute drive. We will have a pot
luck that evening around 6:00 PM. The campsites are located on the
water and sailing right from your site. Booties are recommended since
the are the normal oyster shell, and fishing gear scattered on the bottom
at the launch. Conditions are typically onshore wind with rolling
bay water (over your head). Pam and I have sailed there often and
it is quite good sailing. To make reservations call the state park
reservation center at (512)389-8900. ASK FOR BAYFRONT SITES.
See you on the water!
2000 Cabarete Race Week
by Craig Greenslit
On June 17 - June 25, 2000, Marcy, Maegen
(Marcy's sister), and I visited Cabarete, Dominican Republic (DR).
For those of you like me who lack world geography knowledge, the DR and
Haiti share the Caribbean island just east of Cuba. I went to the
DR to sail in Cabarete Race Week. Marcy and Maegen came along to
experience the 3rd world culture (and carry my bags).
Cabarete sits on the north shore of the DR/Haitian
island and is just a 20 minute, nail biting, white knuckle minivan ride
from Puerto Plata International Airport. Mainly a small tourist town,
Cabarete consists of a 3/4 mile main street with shops, resorts, restaurants,
etc.. on each side. With motor scooters, street peddlers, minivans,
& dump trucks all racing around, hollering, and honking there horns
nonstop you'd think you were in a major city at times. Yet, nestled
behind all of the dizzying main street activity and noise rests a windsurfer's
dream - the Bay of Cabarete. Considering the beautiful tropical setting,
buffet of 1st class windsurfing shops/schools, wide selection of year 2000
rental equipment, and steady trades its no surprise that Cabarete stays
near the top on Windsurf Magazines top ten lists. Surprisingly, we
ran into very few fellow Americans. The Europeans and Canadians on
the other hand have discovered Cabarete.
Weather-wise each day was exactly the same,
calm mornings with steady side-shore winds 15 - 25 knots blanketing the
Bay of Cabarete around noon and howling until dusk. Skies remained
clear to partly cloudy the entire week and temperatures ranged from the
lower 80's to lower 90's.
Host to several PWA events in the 80's and
90's and this years 3rd stop on the 2000 Caribbean Summer of Fun Tour,
Cabarete Race Week was truly a World Cup event. The Bay of Cabarete
reef and PWA Race Director Klauss Michael challenged the 60+ sailors' skills
on the water. Off the water sailors lounged between heats under palm
trees or hung out at one of the beachside juice bars/sandwich shops.
Each evening all of the Race Week participants ate and drank in style at
a different sponsoring restaurant/bar along the beachfront. The week
ended with a live concert, party, and awards ceremony on the beach.
After 5 days and 19 races (7 course &
12 slalom) here are the overall results:
1) Jimmy Diaz (US Virgin Islands)
2) Sergio Mehl (Argentina)
3) Wilhelm Schurman (Brazil)
4) Eli Fuller (Antigua)
5) Nikolaj Kruppa (Denmark)
6) Pablito Guzman (Dom. Republic)
7) Ryan Lampe (Aruba)
8) Craig Greenslit (Texas)
9) Pupo Alorda (Dom. Republic)
10) Ivan Rodriguez (Puerto Rico)
For more information and complete results visit www.cabareteraceweek.com
Editor's Puffs: by
This will be the third time I've written this column in the past week
as events have changed my perspective quicker than Jiffy Lube can change
your oil. A few weeks ago there were some rumors regarding changes
at Bird Island Basin. Then there was a posting on rec.windsurfing
regarding those rumors and suddenly my e-mail box was running over with
inquiries from every corner of the world about what was going on at Bird.
I thought I knew but as the level of e-mail grew I sent an e-mail to the
source, Jock Whitworth, the Park's Superintendent. A week went by
and no word from Jock and I began to worry maybe the rest of the windsurfing
world was right and they all knew something I didn't. I finally phoned
Jock and in the process discovered that he had been out of town for a week
and that he too was somewhat puzzled by the sudden increase of e-mail from
Jock will be attending the August CCWA meeting
which has now been relocated to Chester & Pam's home just in case it
decides to finally rain on August 15th. It would be most appreciated
if everyone who has an opinion regarding what they'd like to see happen
to Bird show up for the meeting. Jock needs to know what windsurfers
want and he needs to know what is unacceptable to boardheads who sail out
The plan that began all the rumors (and quasi-angry
e-mails) is only one of several possible plans and it was one that was
acceptable to a few sailors from whom Jock had received feedback.
Obviously that was a narrow segment of the population that enjoys Bird's
unique launch. That particular plan calls for an expansion of the
current parking surface and the closing of the beach road to all traffic
(both vehicular and foot). Regular visitors James Bozeman and Bill
Horton were the first to object to that plan and Bill's opposition began
the e-mail onslaught that caught both Jock and I by surprise. Bill
submitted a counter proposal of his own and its a well thought out plan
which addresses both the boaters and windsurfers desires.
There are at least four other plans already
under consideration from the NPS's assembled crew of environmentalists.
I suspect that none of environmental experts are windsurfers or that they
have even talked to the taxpayers who are the real owners of the park.
There are other considerations than just the environment when it comes
to that unique half mile stretch of shoreline we know as Bird Island Basin.
As Bill points out in his letter we are talking about a half mile of the
120 mile island shoreline. One would think that even environmental
concerns should take a secondary importance to peoples desires for this
small portion of the National Seashore, desires held by both windsurfers
and boaters. I don't think the NPS sees it that way and perhaps
that's the problem.
The Park's superintendent is not free to do
as he wishes and must follow NPS guidelines and he has improved Bird while
working within those confines. The new shade structures and even
more importantly the recently placed buoys closing off the near shore passage
to the boat launch benefit windsurfers- and Jock had those changes implemented.
The closing of that inside route to the boat launch greatly improves what
was a serious safety hazard to the windsurfers. It has reduced what
had become a flood of high speed (and all too often inebriated) boaters
roaring right through the sailors to a trickle. That buoy line
was recommended to three superintendents but Jock was the only one to respond
to the safety issue and erect it.
Please come to the August 15th meeting (7:00
PM start time), listen to the proposals, and help Jock understand what
windsurfers want at Bird. If we don't make our wishes known
than we can't influence the final decisions. Our desires are not
the only input which will influence the final plan decisions but Jock is
coming to hear from us as well as inform us so be there!
Brought to you by AWIA's press release distribution service.
Andy Brandt Claims HIHO 2000 Victory
Windsurfing guru Andy Brandt started HIHO 2000 in fine form. Posting
victories in the first three races he cruised to an easy overall victory
in the six race week-long inter-island race. Brandt, a professional windsurfing
instructor sponsored by Neil Pryde & BIC, admitted to focusing on winning
the event. "I trained hard for this one," he explained. "I've been sailing
the Techno for a year and it's given me a distinct boardspeed advantage."
Eli Fuller from Antigua pressured Brandt from
the start. Fuller, the HIHO '98 Champion and the Caribbean's best racing
windsurfer, encountered hard luck when his booms broke forcing his retirement
from both the first and second races. Following his withdrawal from
race #2 it was mathematically impossible for him to win HIHO 2000. This,
however, didn't stop him from winning the last three races of the event!
Junior racer Antoine Questel who finished
second overall posted a sensational performance. Californian Greg Fowlkes
followed Questel in third overall. Fourth went to St Martin competitor
Ricardy Maricel while Tortola's Rusty Henderson rounded out the top five.
Perennial HIHO Women's Champion Mariel Devesa
from California started poorly but finished with top honors in her division.
An encounter with the reef on day one saw her destroy her board and injure
her ankle. Capitalizing on the misfortune Florida racer Julie Rosenberg
came in strong but ultimately settled for second. Sarah James from the
UK finished third.
Jean-Marc Peyronet from St Martin dominated
the Masters division. He finished in 9th overall. Alex Caviglia from Florida
took second with Canadian Rick Collins finishing third.
First time racer Tom Suits took the Grand
Masters division from Florida. The elated newcomer announced his intention
to continue competing and return to HIHO 2001. Last years Grand Masters
Champion Jean-Francois Guerin settled for second while German Ernst Bickmeier
While Antoine Questel dominated the Junior
division fellow countryman Julien Quentel from St Martin took second. Puerto
Rican Nick Leason took third.
Martinique sensation William Geurin dominated
the Cruising class. The ten-year-old took a 2nd in the first race, then
won every other to best 2nd place finisher Arian Hamrhz of Germany by a
wide margin. 3rd and 4th went to fellow German's Budi Nickau and David
Peet. 5th belonged to Ling-Yue Hong of Canada.
Television coverage of the HIHO 2000 event
will air on September 18 at 9:00pm EST on the Outdoor Life Network in the
USA. UK and European coverage will follow.
HIHO 2000 was sponsored by American Airlines,
Neilpryde, BIC Sport, Highland Spring, VPM Yachts, the Bitter End, M&M
Power Boat Rentals and the BVI Tourist Board.
2000 Gorge Blowout
By Barry Ritchey
A mixed first and third person account of the 2000 Gorge Blowout:
Using my past experience** of surviving the
Blowout about 6 times, I rigged a 7.2 Windwing Race with lotsa downhaul
and an extra inch of boom length to be able to flatten the sail for survival
mode, mounted my 'smallest' race fin (a 46) into my Z-26 Pro-Tech (26.5"
wide), and headed off to the announced 9:30 skippers meeting. Oops,
looks like I missed the first skippers meeting that was held at 9:15. No
problem, there's another one at 9:30 which lasted about 10 minutes. It's
now about 9:40 and Greg Aguera tells us that the start sequence will start
about 9:58. Yikes! That only leaves about 20 minutes to get ready. At least
I had a head start on some of the other competitors that just stepped out
of their car didn't even have a sail rigged. Hustling back to the van,
I hear that Swell is reporting wind of about 28 to 38 and increasing (A
friend of mine was using a 3.7 at Swell during the time the top 10 sailors
went through). The 7.2 will be a handful. A small voice in my head says,
"get out the 8'11" and rig the 6.3..." Without really having any time to
rerig down to my 6.3, I decide to roll the dice and stay with the 7.2.
My previous experience** in doing the Blowout made me err on the side of
big (slogging through the Wind to Dog mountain is worse than getting beat
up in the Corridor). I was hoping for only 2-meters too big. Also, with
the confident wisdom of Moses, I just knew that there would be a mid-day
lull - while sneaking through the Swell to Event Site corridor - just like
in every year that I've done the race.
Just barely made the start in time - didn't
have time to pinch to the upwind part of the line - and started about 2/3
of the way down the line. Probably about a dozen or so folks still
rigging who missed the start. A lot of folks were late to the start because
the windline (used to announce the go, no-go, status of the race) didn't
update at 7:45, like it promised in the 7:15 message. We called three times
from 7:45 to 8:05 (the race start is still in limbo) and decided to drive
up to Stevenson anyway. Glad I didn't wait for the update, would have also
missed the start... Running about 4th and 5th (windsurfer) down to Viento
criss-crossing with Peterson and the 3rd/4th place kites. Life is good,
I've been running the sail with about 1-1/2" of negative outhaul. After
rounding the mark at Viento (Viento = Spanish for wind... duh) the wind
starts to freshen up a bit. Freshen, as in comfortably powered to way overpowered
in less than a half-mile. With the sail flattened (thank goodness for adj
outhauls), the rest of the race (race is not the proper word... punishment
is a better descriptor) became personal. So much for that empirical knowledge
of expecting the mid-day lull... Too bad I didn't wear that flak jacket
(too pressed for time at the start and spaced it)... Coulda, woulda, shoulda...
I could write a page more on the blow by blow
(literally) sail down to the Event site, but I need to start the healing
process of forgetting the details (otherwise I'll never do it again) and
will be brief instead. I've never sailed that overpowered - 3 to 3.5 meters
too much sail. My 7.2 could not be oversheeted/stalled - it was in need
of an exorcism. My stance was back foot in the leeward strap and front
foot out of the strap and half way to the mast. Waterstarts were with the
rear foot in the strap. Once on a plane, I could sustain a plane by totally
luffing the sail (a first for me to experience). Lots of moans, groans,
and expletives tossed to the wind. With a rhythm track of bumps, bangs,
and splashes. Look for the soundtrack CD at a store near you...
Finished 7th windsurfer overall. Lucky I didn't break a mast
or board. Lucky I ONLY bruised/cracked ribs (10 days later, a sneeze
is torture), bruised my jaw (saw stars), and hyper extended my arm.
Unlucky to miss out on the great wind for the last three days of our vacation
(taking Rx pain meds, it still wasn't fun to sail).
Until the 2001 Blowout,
Barry Ritchey (A flat-water geek from New Mexico)
Worldwinds' One Hour Classic Results
By Peter Nordby
Top finishers at the I -hr classic were:
1) Craig Greenslit - WY5
2) Christian Auger - CC-22
3) Guy Racette - CC 111
4) Jon Jay Ernst - US- 1166
5) Philip Keyserlingk - 74
1) Jennifer Racette - CC 111
2) Theresa Swirenko - bib # 161
3) Meg Jones - bib # 25
GPS for Windsurfers?
By Roy Tansill
I recently got a look at Pete Bleser's latest
gadget- a small waterproof GPS unit that Pete was using to get speed readings
while windsurfing. Unlike other board speedometers the GPS requires
no easily lost impellers or someone shooting you with radar the nifty little
gizmo is the ultimate fine tuning aid and if you combine it with a waterproof
pouched cell phone it may well be the ultimate rescue device as well.
I wonder how the rescuers would respond to a call for help from someone
who could provide their exact position? After seeing the ingenious device
I went web surfing at www.garmin.com
(the manufacturer's web page) and copied the following information.
"Truly a small wonder, the eTrex™ takes the
best features of a 12 parallel channel GPS receiver and put them into a
six ounce package that is only four inches high and two inches wide. The
result is a unit that will literally fit in the palm of your hand (or Velcro
to your arm).
Besides its small size, mariners and outdoorsmen
will likely notice the sleek design of the eTrex. All buttons are located
on either side of the unit, allowing for simple, one-handed operation that
won't obstruct your view of the display. In fact, the eTrex features only
five operator buttons for the ultimate in user-friendly design. Thanks
to its bright yellow case, the eTrex will be hard to misplace and easy
to find in any gearbag. The eTrex is completely waterproof so it
can take an accidental splash or full on slam dunk in the water and still
continue to perform.
Inside the eTrex, you will find the proven
performance of a 12 parallel channel GPS receiver that will run for 18
to 22 hours on just two AA batteries. No need to worry about dense tree
canopy with this unit, the eTrex will continue to maintain a tight satellite
lock even while operating in forest-like conditions. The eTrex will store
up to 500 user waypoints with graphic icons and boasts GARMIN's exclusive
TracBack™ feature that will reverse your track log and help you navigate
your way back home. In addition, the eTrex uses animated graphics that
will help you identify your marked waypoints quickly and easily."
Waypoints/Icons: 500 with name and graphic symbol
Tracks: Automatic track log; 10 saved tracks let you retrace your path
in both directions
Route: 1 reversible route with up to 50 waypoints
Trip computer: Current speed, average speed, time of sunrise/sunset,
resetable maximum speed, trip timer, and trip distance
Map datums: More than 100
Position format: Lat/Lon, UTM/UPS, Maidenhead, MGRS and other grids
Performance Receiver: Differential-ready, 12 parallel channel GPS receiver
continuously tracks and uses up to 12 satellites to compute and update
Acquisition Times: Warm: approx. 15 seconds Cold: approx. 45 seconds
AutoLocate™: approx. 2 minutes
Update Rate: 1 second, continuous
Accuracy: Position: 15 meters (49 feet) RMS* Velocity: 0.1 knot RMS
Interfaces: RS232 with NMEA 0183, RTCM 104 DGPS data format and proprietary
Antenna: Built-in patch Physical Size: 4.4"H x 2.0"W x
1.2"D (11.2 x 5.1 x 3.0 cm)
Weight: 5.3 ounces (150 g) with batteries Display: 2.1"H x 1.1"W (5.4
x 2.7 cm) high-contrast LCD with bright backlighting
Case: Waterproof to IEC 529 IPX7 standards Temperature range: 5°F
to 158°F (-15°C to 70°C)
Data storage: Indefinite; no memory battery required Power Source:
2 AA batteries (not included) Battery Life: Up to 22 hours Price:
On sale at West Marine $114.95
The cartoon is on the cartoons