Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall windsurfing

Check the picture above. Do you see the long sleeves? The mittens? Fall is here! I think that's just great.

Fall arrived yesterday. It had been warm for most of September, with temperatures often in the 70s (around 25ÂșC), lots of sun, no rain for weeks, and little wind. Yesterday, the wind came. So did the rain. We looked at the wind meter readings: low to mid 20s (mph) - let's go sailing! We looked out the window: NO! Rain, clouds, general nastiness - why not stay home? Nina stayed home, I went sailing.

I arrived in Duxbury half-deaf from the rain drumming on the van. Big van = lots of drumming. Nobody there - I'd have the whole bay for myself. First runs out - nice power! Time to check out the north side ... then the wind takes a break. Schlogging my 96 l board is work. I almost give up and drive home, but decide to give my Skate 110 a chance to shine. It does - and then the wind picks back up again. Fun on the Skate! All alone in the rain and fog, I play it safe, mowing the lawn instead of freestyling. But who cares - nobody sees me, anyway, and I'm having fun. I'm happy to be back in my warm Ianovated suit (with the tubes removed) - it's overkill, but so comfortable. I'm warm - who cares that it's raining hard? My Gath visor helmet keeps the rain out of my eyes.

The great thing about northeast winds in the fall is that they tend to stick around. When we woke up this morning, the wind was still there. The rain had left us, though - well, mostly, at least, with just a little drizzle every now and then. So today, my lovely wife decided to join me for the trip to Duxbury. We launched from the Shipyard Lane Beach for a change, since the local windsurfers told me many times that it's a better launch. Indeed, the parking lot is nice, and it has a grassy rigging area. But in today's NNE wind, there also was quite a bit of wind shadow close to shore, not too different from the usual Powder Point Bridge launch. What was different, however, was the chop. Even near low tide, there was a lot more of it. Nice for jumping - not so nice for speed or freestyle. Nina, Jeff, and I decided to sail upwind to look for smoother water, which we finally found about a mile upwind. We stayed there for a while, now closer to our usual launch from the bridge than to Shipyard Lane Beach. The wind was plainly fantastic, nice and steady in the upper 20s. It made planing through jibes easy; even if you messed up a bit, there was always plenty of power to get going again right away. Nice!

We stopped after three hours, when Jeff had to leave and Nina started to feel pain from a pulled muscle. I could have sailed more, but with about 120 km sailed since yesterday, my endorphin levels had been sufficiently replenished to stop. Here are today's tracks: