Thank's you guy's,
Here's the big give away for me,
"When the wind surfers start coming out in force, is usually the time to start heading in, as our best conditions are just under wind surfers preferred conditions."
And where you guy's sail can have harsh conditions at times. It sounds like as long as it is a long period swell without cresting and not huge it should be ok.
I spend alot of time in Baja at a great Surf Sailing location. Due to a past injury I don't surf sail any more but I was thinking it would be fun to be out there with a AI riding swell before they start breaking.
Roderick, I heartily agree with your conculsion. I recently completed a 200 mile "raid" style event called the Texas 200 on my trampoline-equipped AI. The Texas 200 is sailed in primarily off-the-wind conditions...200 miles of broad reaches & DDW requiring actual navigation through skinny water, We sailed in "protected" bays...that just meant we didn't have tankers bearing down on us ... most of the time
Seriously, the wind was 15 - 25 kts and the waves were just 2 - 3 feet (4 - 6 trough to crest) and breaking. However, the wave period was extremely short and wave action often confused. I worked very hard to NOT stuff the bow. Often it was unavoidable. The boat would not only submerge, it submerged waist deep from bow to the back of the cockpit...spooky. The trampolines funneled water into the boat...instead of breaking out in the open, the wave would break under the tramp & the water "diverted" into the cockpit...not good.
As stated before, when the boat is submerged you have no control and when she starts to turn up into the wave (and she will) you are helpless. I found myself releasing the mainsheet, climbing out of the cockpit and scrambling up the windward trampoline (fully loaded with gear for the 200 mile event) on several occasions trying to save the boat. She never did flip, but my heart had to be retrieved from my throat more times than I can count.
I never felt she would pitch pole. I DID feel her on the verge of flipping when she rounded up into the wave & wind.
Having said all that, when the waves/wind cooperated it was a serious rush to surf the boat. And even in those challenging conditions it was possible...heck, we surfed in the dark! You must concentrate totally on what you are doing - eyes ahead while you play the main and tweak the rudder, but occasionally glancing windward to see what's headed your way. Be sure to keep your mainsheet AND furling line in your hand/lap at all times (you will shear a rudder pin at the worst possible moment and must furl instantly in these conditions....trust me on this).