Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back on Cape Cod waters

Texas was great. Texas was warm. Guess what the problem is with coming back from a warm place! You're right (maybe): going out again to windsurf in the cold.

We have been back for more than a week now. One day, Jerry asked who would go windsurfing with him in Chatham. I love windsurfing in Chatham! The wind was great! But I did not go. Temperatures were below freezing, and I was still in Texas mode. Texans don't windsurf when temperatures are close to freezing. Maybe that's infectious?

But it has been thawing for a few days now. We even saw temperatures approaching 50ºF (10ºC) yesterday. The snow in the backyard is only a foot deep now. The streets are free of snow and ice - well, at least in the middle they are. Even some of the side streets are wide enough for two cars again!

The forecast for today predicted northwest winds in the 20s all day. Sure, NW tends to be cold, but temperatures stayed above freezing. And it was sunny! I'm sure you understand that I just had to go windsurfing. Some may think it's just because Pete called me a "wimp" when I did not join Jerry a few days ago. That's probably not true. I think it's just my addiction acting up. Two weeks without my favorite drug is too much! That's 14 days!

For NW wind, one of my favorite spots is Skaket in Brewster. But the Skaket web cam shows that there is still a lot of ice on the water there, so Skaket was out. Other spots nearby had 2 m high "icebergs" being washed ashore, so staying away from other Cape Cod Bay beaches seemed wise. But the tides were right for a Barnstable Harbor session in the afternoon.

I went to check it out yesterday around noon. The water was practically free of ice - great. I posted pictures on FaceBook and iWindsurf to perhaps get some company, but all I got was warnings about icebergs and stuff floating in the water. Blame Hollywood! I think "Titanic" really got stuck in people's head.

So I went alone. I underestimated how much time it would take me to move boards out of the van that still were in there from the Texas trip, so I got a late start. I also dressed warm enough for a swim in the near-freezing water, and getting my Ianovated wetsuit over a second layer of long neoprene pants and a neoprene shirt took some heavy pulling and patience.

When I got to the town landing, the wind had dropped from 30s in the morning to what looked like low 20s. All the meters had shown a lot of variability in the wind, so our came the big board (Skate 110) and my magic sail (Matrix 6.0). Scared of all the talk about things in the water, I put a short Delta fin from Maui Ultra Fins into the board - with a rake angle of 55 degrees, the fin will go over things in the water that would cause catapults on most other fins.

Out I went, planing right away, even though there tends to be a bit of wind shadow near the launch site. A couple of tacks, and I was in the flat water next to the marsh islands. I did not have enough power for speed runs, but I love sailing and jibing in flat water! It also made it rather easy to stay dry for my entire session. Sure, I played chicken and did not try any tricks that would have increased the chances of crashes and the resulting ice cream headaches - but hey, I was all alone on the water, and I never unlearned how much fun it is simply to plane on a windsurf board. I used the blow tubes in my Ianovated wetsuit a lot today, but that allowed my hands to stay warm, even in the open palm mittens I used. Nice!

I cut the session short after an hour when the wind dropped, and the rising water levels started to hide some of the little islands that had flattened the water out so nicely before. I had a lot of fun, and was really happy that I had gone out. It only gets warmer now! I hope to see some friends on the water again soon.

Here is a short video that shows the conditions today:

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