Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bad Dux!

I've written several times about great sessions in Duxbury, so I guess I should write about two not-so-great sessions, too. One was today, the other one two days ago, on Sunday.

Sunday was cloudy, with air temps around 43F (6 C). By the time we made it out there, the wind and the tide were both going down. As a result, we were underpowered most of the time. The tide was pretty extreme, so tidal currents were unusually strong, and Nina, Fred and I all got swept under the bridge at least once. Scary the first time it happens, but no big deal, the pillars are far enough apart. Worst thing is that we ended up in the wind shadow of the bridge, but we were on large enough boards to uphaul. Very gusty winds, but still being underpowered most of the time with a 5.5, I spend a lot of time in the water, and ended up getting cold in my 5/4 semi dry suit.

Today's session had decent north winds, ranging from 16 to about 35 mph. Pretty gusty, but not really bad. Even though it was warmer than Sunday, with temps near 50, I decided to wear a long sleeve neoprene shirt under my suit. I soon regretted that - blood circulation in my lower arms ended up being so poor that my hands and arms got tired almost immediately.

Wind averages were near 30 when we started, so I tried to sail my F2 Missile with the 5.8 KA Koncept sail. Would have been nice, except that we started from the public parking lot at the land side of bridge. Once again, the wind quality near shore was too bad to get going, so I switched to a larger board. Still not happy, we went from the north side to the south side, were I finally had a few good runs. With barely usable hands, I really did not like having to waterstart a cambered sail, though.

Eventually, after switching to my Skate 110 because the winds went down even more, the water was filled with reeds that the high tide had collected on shore, and the outgoing tide was now pulling towards the bay inlet. Reads in the water were perfectly lined up for efficient collection, so that I had no chance of planing anymore, despite a weed fin that has so far worked very well - with weeds, not reeds that are (a) much longer, and (b) light than water, and hard to push under water. Even Nina, with a shorter weed fin, started having a hard time planing, despite enough wind for her 4.2 sail.

Lessons learned:
  1. Don't sail Duxbury bay this time of the year when the tide is very high, and outgoing. Things were fine 30 minutes after high tide, but basically unsailable about one hour later. Things probably got better again later, but I did not stick around to check.
  2. Get a dry suit. Nina was perfectly comfortable in her O'Neill breathable dry suit, whether on the water, in the water, or on land. I was warm while windsurfing, still got cold on land after a few minutes, and my lower arms were really hurting from the two constricting layers of neoprene.
But tomorrow is another day. Wind forecast looks better than today, we plan to sail before the high tide, and I'll try using a short-sleeved neoprene shirt under the semi dry suit to see if that keeps me warm without killing blood circulation in my arms.

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