Monday, September 20, 2010

I love Duxbury!

One great thing about the Boston area is that we have many excellent windsurf spots to pick from. Kalmus and West Dennis on the Cape are favorites, but in the spring and summer, I usually prefer Fogland - the winds are often almost as good, sometimes even better, you have a choice between the river and the shallow and flat bay, and the people there are great. Yes, there are very nice people at other places, too, but Fogland somehow lends itself to being more social than the other places.

But when fall approaches and the winds tend to come from the north or northeast, Duxbury becomes my favorite spot. N and NE winds are typically very steady there, often with averages that are higher than at most other spots. Just look at today's wind:

The range today was between 19 and 28, or 17 and 26 - not bad. On the best days, I have seen lulls of 27, with gusts of 33 - that's incredible steady, at least for around here. For comparison, here are the readings for Kalmus:

Gusts were a lot higher, averages sometimes a bit higher, lulls lower - the range was from 15 to 40. The sensor readings from Fogland were even gustier:

Ok, in both Kalmus and Fogland, there are spots where the wind will be a bit steadier than the sensor shows - but not as even as in Duxbury.

For speedsurfing, Duxbury also has several spots where the water is really flat. NE winds are better for sailing south of the Powderpoint bridge, where mile-long speed runs are possible. In N winds as today, the North side has some very flat spots behind some small islands. The flat area is barely long enough for 10 second runs, but the chop behind it is still pretty small. Here's a short video that shows the north side at low tide:

Speaking of tides - before heading out to Duxbury, make sure to check the tides. Within 1-2 hours of low tide, both sides can become unsailable, depending on how low exactly the tide is.

Duxbury has one more disadvantage to remember: non-residents can park & launch only on the land side of the Powderpoint bridge without risking an expensive ticket, even after Labor day. However, the is quite a bit of wind shadow on this side which can make launching on small gear challenging. Today, there were three windsurfers who had a lot of fun blasting around, and one poor fellow who came late, close to low tide, when the north side had become unsailable. The south side was still ok, but the wind shadow from the bridge in N winds like today is nasty, and he never made it out into the clear wind before he gave up.

I had a similar problem when I tried to sail my F2 Missile. The boards a bit small for me - 62 liters don't carry my 90 kg, plus rig. The wind near shore was too weak to get me planing, and the wind direction did not allow me to go downwind from the launch site. For fun, I stood on the board once, and sank until the water was past my hips. Nina tried, too, and for her, the board just barely sinks, but she also did not get going on it because the wind direction forced her to go upwind right away. There'll be another day with more wind and a slightly different direction.

So, if you're going to Duxbury and you're not great at sailing your sinker while sinking/schlogging, think about bringing a slightly bigger board and/or sail. In N or NE winds, it's flat enough for bigger boards, anyway. Hope to see you in Duxbury next time!

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