Monday, February 19, 2018

Naughty at Grassy Point

Sometimes, we are stupid. This is the fourth time we spend the winter in Corpus Christi. No, that's not stupid. What is somewhat stupid is that up until today, we have only sailed at Bird Island Basin. Don't get me wrong - BIB is a great spot for windsurfing, especially in typical ESE winds and NE wind, and it's a fantastic speed spot in NW wind (which we did not get at all this year). But in SSE wind, it's choppy - bum-bum-bum chop when going out, with "catch the back of the chop" going back, plenty of cross chop, and not flat spots. Fine for freestyle, but limited fun on slalom gear.

I was in the mood for freestyle sailing yesterday, but discovered that my Skate 110 needs another repair - this time right in front of the back foot straps. So I bumped around on slalom gear, unable to get 30 knots despite good wind and trying hard. But fortunately, Many Miles Mike had suggested to try another spot today: Bluff's Landing, also called "Grassy Point".

We went at noon, and Mike explained us the local hazards (a few shallow spots and areas). The wind was around 25 knots, but the water looked quite flat. Being cautious, I went out on my 3S 96 and North Ice 4.7 to explore. What a different to BIB! The water was knee to hip deep, the chop maybe a foot high - not much difference to BIB, except that the shallow areas extended a lot further ... for miles. The fetch is a lot longer, so the wind is steadier, and the chop is nice and orderly.  I lasted about 15 minutes before I just had to go in and get my speed gear: the Isonic W54 (72 l) and the Loft Racing Blade 5.6. I also put on my Android phone so that I could hear GPSLogit announce the speed.

The first run out was fun - plenty of 26 and 28 knot announcements even though I was angling slightly upwind most of the time. The run back was crazy - 30 knot announcements most of the time, and tons of fun threading a path through the little waves. I right away knew I had improved my personal best (PB) for the nautical mile on the first run in!

I went back out. The second run out felt even better, probably because I had moved the mast foot forward to get a bit more weight on the front foot. Two kilometers out, I saw Nina, and stopped for a little chat. Nina pointed out that the long batten in my sail looked wrong - it was broken. Bummer!! I sailed back in, and despite a 2 knot lower top speed, I still was more than a knot faster over the nautical mile (which the Aussies call "naughty") than ever before. But then I de-rigged the race sail, and switched back to the freeride gear. Not as fast, but nice and relaxing! Fun, fun, fun.

We stopped by at Lazy Beach Brewing on our way home for a beer, and then some food (and more beer) at the Padre Island Burger Company. Finally home, my GPS software confirmed what GPSLogit had said: I had improved my PB for the naughty by almost two knots. Nice! Here are today's GPS tracks:
My runs were about 2 km long, but there's lots of room for longer runs:
Runs to the right of the spoil islands to the bridge would be about 5 km long - all of that in knee-to-hip deep water. Some areas between the spoil islands near the end of my tracks are too shallow, but some other areas deserve exploring.. I see some mud walk in my future.

This place has speed potential! But perhaps the biggest potential is later in the season, when it lives up to it's name: "Grassy Point". In the summer, the water level drops, and lots of see grass grows, to the point where some locals deem it unsailable towards fall. But reading what the Australians think about see grass at spots like Lake George and Liptons/Point Grey/Fangyland, that may just be the perfect recipe for wicked flat water and really fast speeds. Almost makes me want to come back in the summer .. just almost, though. But even now, with very little sea grass, I'd call this spot one of the best spots I have ever sailed. Big thanks to Many Miles Mike for making us check it out!


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