If you want to get your waterstarts down, Corpus is the place. (And you're right--it's full of Coloradoans in the Spring.)
Actually, Corpus is the place for everything. Unless the water is up (it happens occasionally), in the area where everybody goes back and forth and back and forth in a rut, you can stand just about everywhere, so you can work on sail handling for a waterstart while standing instead of swimming. Being able to stand makes a HUGE difference and you can really build some skills and confidence.
And once you have that, you'll start working those jibes because the water is really flat, plus blowing one just means that you stand there and get re-situated and up and going again in just a few seconds. So you never delay jibing because you're trying to avoid falling in AGAIN and having to fly the sail while trying not to drown.
There's deep water farther out in the ship channel, and you can work on your deep water skills out there once you've got the stuff nailed in the shallow.
If that place were made of fresh water, it would be heaven. That salty humid air kills electronics with a vengeance, and every time we go there, we have to replace things when we get back to dry air. This year it was a watch and a laptop screen, my MP3 player is on life support, and one monitor revived itself after being in air conditioning for a couple of days, thank heaven.
We tried to sail in San Francisco once, but got skunked. Had the car loaded up and everything. That was a while back, and I think I would find it intimidating now, especially since I'm not accustomed to dealing with tides and barges, plus the increased number of kiters these days. Oh--Bird Island in Corpus doesn't allow kiters. Which is not to say there aren't a couple of local windsurfers there who make everybody's life miserable, but they can be avoided if you're willing to let them have their drag strip. It's not fair, but it's the price you pay.
We were in Hatteras for a little over a month. We first stayed at Frisco Woods, where you can allegedly sail from your RV. Well, sort of. But the launch kind of sucked, and I found the shallow water only closer to the shore, so no miles-long reaches for me.
We moved to a different RV park and had to drive to sail, and didn't find a place we really adored. Canadian Hole is mobbed and you have to go through a lot of traffic in deep choppy water to get out to where the water is generally shallow (but there are lots of deep sections, which I invariably find). I liked Salvo okay, but it has a very small launch and is popular with kiters. Bad combination, but once I get on the water I generally stay there for hours, so it was endurable.
I really think that Hatteras is best if you rent one of those big houses that is on a part of the bay that is shallow everywhere. Leave the sails rigged, and enjoy an uncrowded launch and easy sailing. Not really possible in an RV.
We still haven't ever sailed at South Padre. You can't stay on the beach there, unfortunately, so it's not as convenient as Corpus, but it's a lot prettier. But there are kiters there (can you tell I don't care for them?), although people claim they do a pretty good job of staying downwind. I sure hope so.
Maybe one day we'll get down there. But we never seem to be able to force ourselves out of Corpus.
Basically, I like shallow flat water, and the less testosterone the better. And if I can get those conditions out my front door, I'm really really happy. I like wind at 19-24 mph and my co-windsurfer likes it a little stronger, so if can have our house there we can each pick the time of day we like to sail. That constitutes very fine living in my book.
This thread is just what I needed to read. I have sailed for years throughout the west coast and have been a corporate dog for 20 plus years. My wife and I just made the decision to retire with plans of full timing. Needless to say, I will be resuming my windsurfing after about a 5 year gap. I always wanted to go to Hatteras and Texas and now will be able to sail these places, plus the Gorge, San Fran, whatever.
Wind Surfer, there's no way I would ever have sailed Hatteras if we weren't living in the RV. We're originally from Austin, and since going to Corpus was only a four-hour drive, we could make a quick decision to go down there if the wind looked good.
I'd heard about Hatteras forever, including the part where you can sail flat water on one side or carry your stuff across the road and sail waves. I just wanted to SEE the place, but I got to to sail it because we were more or less in the neighborhood. AND I got to use my own equipment, which makes a huge difference to me.
We never would have made a dedicated trip there to windsurf. We're just not serious enough about it to do something like that. But I got to sail it anyway. That's one thing I love about fulltiming.
If we ever do get out to the Gorge, it will also give me the freedom not to sail. I'm not interested in waves or crowds, and if I'm just living my life as usual and just happen to be there instead of somewhere else, no big deal. I'll do it if I feel like it.
In Hatteras, I sailed I think 10 days out of 40. My boyfriend sailed a lot more. I spent the rest of my time waxing the RV. We both greatly enjoyed our stay.
You didn't mention whether you still have your gear. You can rent a lot of places, but part of the appeal for us is being able to sail if it's convenient. In fact, now that I think about it, the only places we've been where there are rentals are Hatteras and Corpus (and in Corpus, you have to sail Bird Island--they won't let you take the rentals to the bay). We wouldn't have sailed San Luis Reservoir or Lake Lopez or the Salton Sea if we hadn't had our own stuff, or any of the smaller lakes across the country that I have my eye on in case it's windy when we're passing by.
If you do have your own gear, the biggest issue will be equipment storage, especially for fulltimers who need to have all the stuff out of the way when they're not in a windsurfing location. People taking an RV windsurfing will often pile a lot of the stuff inside and just leave it outside while they're there--that doesn't work for fulltimers. Plus, our roof is off limits for equipment because it's covered with solar panels and satellite dishes.
So you might have the challenge of finding an RV you like for living, as well as one that will accommodate the equipment. We lucked out in that department, but if I were buying something now, I would do a lot of measuring and calculating before making a decision on the RV.
I hope your plans for fulltiming work out, and it would be fun to cross paths one day. Like out on the water...as long as you're the type to know that port tack yields the right of way.
Hey Rice and Wind Surfer,
Glad to see this thread revived. Wind Surfer, I second Rice about equipment in the RV--it's definitely something to be thought out beforehand. I've been looking at SUPs (stand up paddle boards) lately but haven't pulled the trigger on one cause I don't know where to store it!
We're in SC now, but headed to Ocracoke on Tuesday for 2 weeks or so. I'll look into the Hatteras spots you mentioned Rice--I plan on stopping by ocean air sport shop on Hatteras and we may/may not look into camping on Hatteras itself.
Rice, you really make Corpus sound like the place to be. Lucky we decided to head there around 1st of November Hopefully it will still be pretty warm when we get there. I figure we'll stay at least a couple weeks.
Got another lake to report on; Lake McConaughy Nebraska. Spent a week there on our way east. There is a windsurfing regatta there the weekend after labor day put on by a Colorado sport shop--it's called the Toucan.
First, about the place; Sandy beach is the windsurf spot--lots of put in spots, lots of camping spots--but very loose, fine sand along the shore edge so watch out for getting stuck. For those not into boondocking there are several full service rv parks at various spots on the lake. Prices are reasonable--we paid $7 a night--no H2O or electricity, dump station close by.
Second, the wind was great--consistent 25mph 3 days in row just about pulled my arms out! Pretty good sized reservoir and it develops some serious swell action on windier days. On cloudy days it's a bit chilly, but it was September after all. . .
Couple of pics from McConaughy below. We decided to park on the bluff instead of the beach--just didn't want to take the chance getting stuck in the sand--which believe it or not is very fine and deep in places. We had the bluff all to ourselves the whole week--ran the jenny whenever we liked, set up the sat dish etc. In the first pic you can just see the nose of the camper my friend has parked on the beach itself. Second pic is us beach starting--notice the offshore trees--the lake level was at ninety some odd percent--first time in years so trees that had grown in the interim are now submerged. I called it shooting the glades
Thanks for the McConaughey report, and especially the photos. It's always been on the radar. I'd heard about the sand and was concerned about getting our monster RV stuck, but that was back when the beach was MUCH larger. Bluff looks fine to me. Were you able to walk your equipment down that hill?
The photo of shooting the glades reminds me of El Reno, Oklahoma, where we were staying at the edge of the lake for reasons other than windsurfing. Then a hurricane came through (yes, an inland hurricane) and flooded the road and we were trapped there for several days, and the wind was still blowing, so we decided to make lemonade out of those lemons.
We had to thread our way through trees like that, and dodge debris out on the lake itself, but we were actually sailing. Then after about 20 minutes, we got chased off the lake by the cops. They called us over to the other side, which was downwind, to yell at us, and then we had to pinch upwind to get back. It was miserable. So much for lemonade. (Ha! I just showed Carey your photo and he said, "Looks like El Reno.")
About Hatteras...I don't know how much you investigated when you were in Ocracoke surfing last year. There's a small campground at Rodanthe Water Sports. It's on the sound side and I'm pretty sure you can launch from there. I don't know anything about it because we're too big to fit in their spaces.
We stayed at Sands of Time because it was a Passport America park and therefore cheap. Perfectly fine place, but no water access.
You can pay a day-use fee at Frisco Woods Campground and launch from there to see if it's a place you'd like to stay and sail.
Camp Hatteras has sound-site sites (it has sites on both sides of the island) that you might be able to launch from, but they didn't have monthly sites over there so we didn't do much more than glance at it. The KOA is on the ocean side but owns land across the street on the sound side (they have a pavillion or something over there) that they said we could launch from, but you have to get your equipment over there.
Carey sailed from Ocean Air one day, but felt a little illegal doing it because he was actually nearer to the houses. On our way out of Hatteras, we stayed at Oregon Inlet campground (national park) for a couple of days and he launched from Windmill Point in Nags Head one day. Small grassy area, looks like a locals' launch but they were friendly. He likes to sail way way out and went across to Roanoke Island, and encountered some of the nastiest voodoo chop he'd ever run across. But it was nice to have a destination--everywhere else it's just water as far as you can see.
As for Corpus, it should still be pretty warm in early November. We won't go unless it's cool enough at night to sleep semi-comfortably without air conditioning (about 70 degrees, and don't forget to factor in the humidity), and the only time we've been even close to there in the Fall we had a commitment to go north by mid-October, and it was never cool enough at night to go to Corpus before we had to leave. I've been there in late November a couple of times when it was pretty cold, or pretty cold to be romping around in the water. I sailed, so it couldn't have been that bad. It's all front-driven that time of year, and the water is so shallow it changes temperature pretty fast.
You should look at getting a solar panel. That place is ideal for solar, and lots of people in small RVs have just a single panel that they prop up on the ground. They've got marked spaces there now, and they're jammed in together very very tight. No chance of putting an awning out (but it's usually too windy anyway). Makes generators pretty unpopular.
Cell phone service is sketchy at best. Our Verizon gets a bar or two every once in a while, and I think it was AT&T that got nothing. But satellite is perfect because there's nothing taller than 2 feet for miles in any direction.
The closest civilization (convenience store and a couple of restaurants) is 13 miles away; the closes grocery store is 20 miles away. I think you can buy ice and small items like that at the visitor's center about 3 miles away (which is where the nearest water and dump are).
To back up my statement that you can learn to do anything in Corpus, here's a video of yours truly doing a duck jibe. Certainly bigger miracles have happened in the history of time, but I can't think of any offhand. And if you think flat water is too boring, head over to the bay--here's a video of Carey and another guy sailing there (he's not allowed to go alone).
But you can jump at Bird Island if you want to bad enough. This is Carey on a day when the wind howled from the north:
Check out that board. Did I mention we have old equipment?? That thing is several pounds heavy because of all the water in it, and when Carey came in, his session report was: Pigs can fly.
Rice and jeremymayf,
Good information and nice shots. Yes the type of RV is a big consideration. When the kids were young and still living with us (their in college now) we traveled the west coast and Baja in an overhead camper and then a 5th wheel. I know what you mean with all the gear. We are considering a 5th wheel again as that allows one to set up camp and still have wheels to go places with. In regards to storage, what I did with the 5th was to have the boards on the truck roof rack and the booms, sails, etc. in the truck bed closed up with tonneau type cover. Yes I still have my gear; 4 boards, sailworks sails (I knew the local dealer so got great deals).
Still lots to do, we are in the process of downsizing and already have the house on the market.
Look forward to trying out east coast sailing! BTW, the Gorge is awsome, you can sail places without crowds and if its flat, great mountain bike riding and hiking.
Thanks Rice for the outstanding comprehensive write-up on Hatteras, I will definitely be referring to it when we get to Ocracoke next week.
Regarding your question about McConaughy and walking equipment down: you can't see it, but in the 1st picture just to the right of my rig there are stairs cut into the bluff side--made for a very easy walk down. Since my buddy was down below in his truck camper, I left my gear down there all week. I'm not sure if that was such a good idea though as sand got into my mast--the two pieces were so tight it was like they were welded together--to get them undone I had to use tie-straps and pull them apart using our pickup truck!! I guess I need to clean my gear and get all that fine sand out.
That's funny about Oklahoma--I have relatives or "kin folk' as they say in OKC. Been meaning to stop by there as they have a lake right in the city called Hefner that is supposed to be a very good spot.
Very nice Jibe Rice in the video, I'm sure you could teach me a thing or two! Corpus looks great and I may PM you about further info (where to stay, etc) as we get closer to that trip. And tell Carey that's an awesome shot--I can see why he needs an escort on the water!
We do have one 80 watt solar panel mounted on the roof--I'd like more. We are power hogs. This summer I decided to forego extra solar in favor of two Honda 2000i generators. The generator that came with our rig runs on propane (rig motor is a diesel) and is very inefficient. We are well-versed in quiet etiquette, so should be ok.
Thanks for the info regarding the cell phones in Corpus--we have a wilson range extender. So far, it's been great at bringing in signals in marginal areas. The real test will be Ocracoke--last year we had to use a pay phone--all we could do was laugh as we got put on hold while standing like fools in the rain.
Congratulations Wind Surfer--it sounds like you are well on your way to full timing. I don't know much about 5th wheelers, but you seem to have the organizing well in hand. Hope to see you soon at all the spots you've wanted to visit!
Masts get stuck in Corpus all the time. The sand is hard as a rock so people don't think it'll be an issue, I guess. I've started keeping a roll of packing tape in the gear box and I tape over the joint between the mast halves religiously. No problems since then.
I have a friend who windsurfed in OKC for years back in the 1970s. Definitely plenty of wind there. I saw Hefner Lake when we were there and it looked pretty nice. Then again, so did El Reno that day.
We finally broke down and bought a Yagi antenna for the phone and without pointing it we've gotten service in two different places we couldn't get service before. I suspect it'll work well in Corpus because we were almost kind of getting service already. Personally, I liked it back when phones didn't work out there at all.
Oh, and I suggest we get Carey to do the showing and teaching. He has this "how hard can it be?" attitude (my response is, "Impossible--that's how hard it can be"). I taught him how to windsurf originally, and he's passed me way by but is nice about sharing. He taught me how to clew-first waterstart and I've got the typical girly spatial abilities, i.e., none. Actually, that may be a miracle of the same magnitude as the duck jibe.
This last trip was fin-first sailing--it's a long walk in knee-deep water from the shore to the dropoff at Bird Island. He fin-firsts his way out there routinely now. I've had some impressive fin-first trips, but I've very wind-direction dependent, plus it's surprisingly tiring. I'm sure holding my breath because I'm concentrating so hard doesn't help. So I stomp through the water, dragging my equipment like everybody else, while he glides by.
And by the way, you'll probably need a weed fin at Bird. I'm not sure when weed season is, but I've needed one whenever I've been. They're the long stringy kind that won't suck you under and drown you, but they WILL slow you down. There's a concessionaire there who rents and sells them, but you might keep your eye out for a cheap one while you're in Hatteras.
Hope you have fun during your two weeks there. We're leaving Chicago shortly for Denver and will keep an eye on McConaughy because we'll be passing by there. But we're trying to beat the cold weather for biking at Breckenridge and Copper. Decisions, decisions.
Well we are definitely committed now! I had been researching 5th wheels for months and decided on a couple of brands; obviously they need to be durable. When surfing the adds last weekend I came across a used Cameo. We went and looked last Sunday and sent them a check Monday. The trailer is only 28ft which is a good length to still get into remote places. I think what sold me the most was the storage. Almost all 5th's I have seen only have (under) storage in the front. This trailer had that plus a huge storage compartment in the back. I'm not kidding, I will be able to put everything but the boards in there!
Congratulations on the trailer, Wind Surfer. I'd love to have something a lot shorter than 40 feet because our size does limit our options. But we need an office with room for a desktop computer and three monitors, and we need for everything to be stored inside, including the boards. Everything's a trade off.
However, we still managed a stop at Lake McConaughy last weekend, on our way from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Denver. The entire detour, driving and sailing, added only about 3 or 4 hours to our trip. That's the beauty of traveling with your equipment.
Carey sailed; I didn't. I sent him out as the wind dummy and he reported that the wind was perfect, but I'd hate the chop and swell. Or, the chop and swell on the way back--on the way out it was nicely spaced but more voodoo-ish on the way back.
So he sailed for a couple of hours and I didn't, and a fine time was had by all. But he said if we're going to do any real windsurfing any time soon, he's going to have to do a push-up or two because riding his bike doesn't do anything for upper body endurance.
Thanks, Jeremy, for the McConaughy photos because it made us believe we could find a place to park and sail, and we did.