Saturday, April 6, 2013

A speed spot close to home

This morning was rather chilly - air temperatures near the water were around 36º F (2º C). After getting spoiled with temperatures in the 40s recently, that felt too cold. The waves at Corporation looked lovely, albeit too high for this newbie; Skaket looked easier, but had blowing sand and wind in the mid-30s. Nobody was sailing either spot this morning when I was there, and this was not my day to play alone in waves.

However, things warmed up a bit towards noon, and the wind went down a bit. Since the fastest sailor of our Fogland Speedsurfers team, Dean, is on Cape Hatteras and posting amazing speeds, I figured I just had to go out so we can get the two posting we need for a session to count. Since the wind had big lulls, I decided to stop back home first to pick up my larger slalom board. I finally made it onto the water shortly past noon. The nearest iWindsurf windmeter showed averages below 20 mph, but the water indicated a bit more - and it looked beautifully flat! 

We had checked out this area on SUPs before, and I knew that the water could get too flat to sail at many different spots. I therefore picked a smallish fin (28 cm WeedSpeed from Black Project - they call it a "34" because it has lots of area), and my trusted old 7.0 Matrix. Here are the GPS tracks:
I did step off the board a number of times during the session to check the water depth, and cut the session short after one hour because it was getting too flat in the area where I was sailing. The tide today was 10 feet (3 m), and I was sailing around mid-tide, so water levels were changing quickly. 

The spot has quite a lot of promise for speed sailing. You have to time the tides correctly - too high, and all the sandbars and islands are hidden under water; too low, and you are limited to channels or the deeper (and choppier) part of the harbor (although that would be doable). There were several regions with perfectly flat water. I did not reach any great speeds today, but I was definitely underpowered for speed runs; at times, I was barely able to plane. The fin I used was a safety choice for unknown shallow waters, and thus a bit to small for the wide board and slightly underpowered conditions. But even so, this definitely was a great session! And perhaps the best part is that going back there is easy - the launch is just a 10 minute drive away from our home :-)

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