Sunday, November 3, 2013

Warm in the cold

Overcast skies. Persistent drizzle. Temperatures in the low 40s (7ºC). I think fall has arrived!

In fall, we windsurf a lot. It was Sunday today, and windy, so we windsurfed. Driving to Duxbury through the rain and cold, I wondered if staying in front of the fireplace might not have been a better idea. I should have had more faith!

Duxbury looked good - not super-windy, but meter readings were around 25. Nina sailed her 4.5 in her semi-dry, no gloves, no hood. I wanted to be warm, so I used my tube suit (with the tubes), open palm mitts, and my new Gath visor helmet. Almost overkill - the water was still warm. So was I. Nina had to take a break after a few minutes to warm up her hands. I just blew through the tubes a few times. I like toasty hands a lot.

Sailing was interesting. Lots of kiters were in the bay, which is unusual. One of them explained to me that it was due to the very high tide - they sailed straight through the marsh, which apparently is a lot of fun. Not a thing to do on a windsurfer, though, so we stayed on the open water.

We had a nice obstacle course laid out for us. The high tide flushed out the dead reeds. Single stalks, up to 2-3 feet long, were not a big issue for our weed fins - unless you collected them before you had picked up speed. But apparently, dead reeds love company, and often form what I call "reed islands" that can be 6-8 feet across. Running into one of those at speed will slow you down big time, even with weed fins. I tried, just to confirm my suspicion. Confirmed. I was not going really fast, though, so no catapult.

Going around the reed islands was definitely a better idea. With the clouds and light drizzle, you'd typically have about 2 seconds from first seeing to hitting them, unless you changed course quickly. Fun. Maybe too much fun - I went back to the van and got my 21 cm MUF Delta fin. With a 55 degree rake angle and shallow depth, this fin sheds just about anything. Sailing was a lot more relaxed afterwards. Hitting a reed island would still cause a slowdown, but without any catapult danger.

The van still had all the small gear that we had put in recently for 35+ mph winds, so I sailed my 90 l slalom board - the big board stayed at home. So when the wind dropped a bit, I had a hard time to get planing. I did not really like schlogging the small board, so I kept the session short - barely longer than an hour. By then, the tide had started to go down, and the kite surfers went over to the ocean side.

So it was just a short session in light rain - but it was totally worth it. It reminded me that it is easy to stay perfectly comfortable and warm even when it gets colder outside and when the sun does not shine. Some of my windsurfing friends have started to get picky about the days they sail, sticking to the warmer days only. They don't have the right suits! I can't wait until Jon finally gets a few days off again so he can try his Ianovated suit. I really want to see the amazement in his face!

Tomorrow, I should get my second Ianovated suit. This one will be double nylon, and have a pee zipper - what a wonderful invention for older guys who like long windsurfing sessions! Since I'll have two Ianovated suits then, I'll be glad to let anyone try one of them. You just have to let me know, and come sail somewhere on Cape Cod!

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