Making Time to Sail
The best way to increase windsurfing skills is time on the water, plain and simple. Time is a precious commodity, and we only have so much of it.
Any weather or nature related endeavor does not conform to the institutions of man. Windsurfers are a form of hunter. Before the industrial revolution hunting may have been a legitimate profession in society. In modern times around 9am we have to look busy, after 6pm we are free to not look so busy, yet still must take care of personal issues.
Instead of hunting wild game, windsurfers hunt an equally elusive (if not more so) prey. Most windsurfers become increasingly independent and free-spirited as they progress in the sport. Although many have highly successful careers; they pursue their success in a way that allows time to sail.
It is not always easy. Between work, family, chores, social obligations, doing laundry, or catching up on TV , where does the time to sail go?
The answer - make the time. In most cases the time is there, one just has to tweak a few things to make it apparent.
Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to do this is inhabit a locale that has consistent, good winds. This way, even if you have only one day a week to sail, it is likely the conditions are satisfactory. There are many individuals and whole families who have successfully made the move to Maui - they realized that they were not getting any younger, and neither are you the reader. Places with great, consistent wind around the US are Cape Hatteras, San Francisco, Corpus Christi, and The Gorge to name a few.
Of course most of us have a full time job, perhaps the single largest limitation to our time on the water. One solution to this problem is to arrange a schedule that allows you to get out on the water no later than about 5:30pm (depending on the time of year and location). An 8am to 4:30pm schedule may do nicely. You then have at least a few hours before sunset to get out there. Sometimes those few extra hours a week of regular sailing make all the difference.
Of course, having a purely flexible come-and-go schedule is perfectly ideal.
If your hourly schedule is set in stone and unsuitable for sailing, there is still hope. On slow days that are windy simply ask your boss if you can leave early. Some bosses are understanding enough that they do not mind having an employee off the clock in situations where paying them for the time is hardly worth the return. Besides, some windsurfers aren't very productive when it is blowing.
Another option requires anticipating a windy day. If you are normally off Wednesday, and it is going to blow Thursday, this is where negotiating a trade with a fellow employee can be very useful.
Depending on your practical skills, finances, and business sense, it may be best to start your own business. It may be a business where one works forty or more hours a week, but with a flexible schedule, you can set aside half a day for sailing as you please. Many windsurfers are successfully self-employed for obvious reasons.
Another paramount thing to increase time on the water that is perhaps the most important - stay healthy! What good is a body that is falling apart? Had a long winter of no sailing? What have you been doing all winter long, getting fat? This is no good.
If you are out of shape you may find yourself winded after that first water start. If your muscles are soft you'll have to quit an hour or two earlier than those in better shape. If you do not stay flexible, the likelihood of straining or tearing a muscle is higher, which would put anyone out for at least a month. If you drink a lot, smoke heavily, or do drugs, of course you will not sail as well or as long. If you don't eat right you don't have the proper nutrients to keep muscles and joints flexible and strong, or the fuel to keep sailing. Finally, get enough good quality sleep or you're toast.
There is one other obstacle that can severely limit time on the water - a lover that does not share your enthusiasm for windsurfing and feels as if your time on the water would be better spent with them. This is a tough one, but not insurmountable. Water sports is such a varied venue. If not windsurfing, fishing, kayaking, surfing, and stand-up-paddle boarding are only some of several things your significant other might get into while you sail. You have to take a break at some point, and when you do, their hang out will be near you. There is also photography, beach yoga, tai chi, biking, aerobics, or even reading a book in the shade on a nice, breezy day. If the two of you cannot reach a mutually beneficial compromise, then there are deeper issues in the relationship that should probably be addressed.
In conclusion; time, like the wind, is there. To catch the time you may have to slog out to the wind lines, sheet out, or adjust your course, but as any sailor knows it is not the situation that counts so much as how you react to it.