This is a diary so to speak. Documenting the outdoor activities I enjoy. Currently I'm trying to master windsurfing so that subject will be covered extensively. If you read this don't expect award winning writing as it was never really a strong point for me. You may however find a cool photo or two.

Most photos can be enlarged by clicking and feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rant and Rodanthefest

Uggh…. Yesterday it was windy (20+), warm (55 to 60) and wet. It was a perfect day to bail on work and go windsurfing. By the time my 5:30 appt. called to cancel it was too late to load up and catch a session before dark. Thank goodness Sunday at 12:04 UTC it's the winter solstice, my favorite day of winter, the beginning of longer daylight hours.

Here is a post from a session last week. Long read.....

I had been watching the weather forecast days in advance. All the weather outlets I rely on for planning a sailing day were in agreement we were going to have wind, warm wind and lots of it last Wednesday and Thursday. I wasn’t the only one watching. Dr. Bob was too, only he was focused more on the Outer banks forecast that was calling for even more wind.

The pieces were falling into place for what is referred to as a Rodanthe fest. Multiple sailors showing up for a windsurf session at his sound side home in Rodanthe. I decided early on I was going to do what I had to so I could go. This would be my first time making this type of daytrip.

The forecast was calling for 25 to 30 mph winds so I knew from my Tropical storm Hanna session that I would be sailing my 4.1 and the smallest board I could handle. I have a 85 liter board but don’t have a fin for it to work well in 4.0 conditions so I scrambled to try and find one. Thankfully I had several offers to buy or borrow fins from a couple of the local sailors. I also pulled out my other two boards to take with me just in case it wasn’t as windy as expected. Unfortunately I found some nose damage from a mast hit on my 102 liter board that I had done during my last session. The catapult that caused it must have been violent because the nose is padded with half a pool noodle and it still put a quarter sized indentation and 3 inch crack. The odd thing is I don’t remember doing it. I went out and got the proper materials to do some emergency surgery. I was really worried when I pressed on the crushed area and moisture came out fortunately the leak was confined to the underlying structural foam and did not get into the EPS core. I followed the board lady’s tips for fixing the damage. Thanks to those tips, I made a pretty darn good fiberglass and epoxy repair, what is more impressive to me is it is the first time I have ever worked with fiberglass.

I left the house Wednesday morning to make the three hour drive south. Everything was looking good the breeze at home was picking up and the rain showers were moving in. Every large body of water I drove by or over caused my level of anticipation to rise because the water states were showing wind on the surface. I drove over the Wright memorial bridge and the wind was kicking up and whitecaps were forming. When I went past Windmill point it looked like nice 5.8 sailing now I was just itching to get to Rodanthe and rig up. As I got close to the Bonner bridge spanning Oregon inlet I hit some rain. When I reached the bridge I couldn't see 100 feet ahead due to thick fog, even worse no wind. It reminded me of the fog I used to see when I lived in San Francisco. On top of the bridge the fog broke and the breeze was again prevalent but coming back down it was right back into the soup and still air; not a good sign. Driving through Pea Island there was a mix of fog and clear air so I surmised that it would be similar conditions at Bob's. I pulled up to Bob’s and It was socked in and barely a breath of wind. Gear was rigged but no sailors around. I found everyone inside watching the Weather channel. The fog had been here all morning.

The six of us that were there sat around and chatted for while waiting for the wind. Finally a rain shower hit, the fog dissipated and the wind did start to fill in. We all donned our wetsuits grabbed the biggest sails we had and headed out. I straggled behind to take a few photos. Unfortunately the fog rolled in again, this time it didn’t entirely kill the wind. We all sailed around in subplaning wind on sails from 6.5 to 7.5. I was really wishing I had brought my 7.8. I kept thinking if I had the extra meter I would be able to plane. As it was Marcy was the only one that actually caught a puff and planed. I was really weird to be sailing out in the fog especially when it got thick enough that you couldn’t see the shore. None of us sailed too far from this old wreck about 150 yds off shore. We had to keep a landmark in sight so we could get back if the wind shifted.

The blown forecast was a major disappointment, even the fact we were sailing in warm weather in mid December was little consolation. Bob asked us if we wanted to say the night and catch the better winds forecasted for the following day. John and I accepted the invitation after conferring with our better halves. Billy, Thanks for feeding us. After dinner we played this game called Blokers. I know, your thinking a bunch of guys sat around and played a board game! This game was pretty cool it has simple rules, combined geometry, an ever evolving strategy and watching you opponents squirm. Plus you can drink beer while you play.

When we woke in the morning we expected to feel the house shaking and hear those wonderful creaking and howling noises the houses down there emit in a 20 knot wind. No such luck there was very little change same fog same light wind. At this point Bob was starting to worry that he had convinced us to come down to get skunked. I heard phrases like “It never does this not two days in a row” “it usually kicks in once the sun gets up” “Normally everyone is too tired to sail the really good wind at the end of the day.” Personally, I was starting to wonder if my wind jinx had returned.

The forecast was still calling for 15 to 20 knots so we remained optimistic and kept telling ourselves to give it a little while longer. We went to the local gas and grocery for some made to order breakfast sandwiches. After we ate, a quick look at the sound revealed diminishing fog and a definite darkening of the water with a tiny white cap here and there.

Finally!!! The wind had arrived but it built very slowly. We were all on the same sails from the fog session Bob on 6.4 100l, John on 6.8 and 115l, Billy on 7.5 and I think 120l and myself on 6.7 and 145l. The bigger board and sail combinations planed about 80% for the first 3 hours. Bob had the most trouble and on several occasions started in to grab a floatier board only to get halfway in then come right back out. Because of the air temp @70 and water temp @50 the wind wasn’t attaching to the surface in the deeper water, only near shore so it messed with your mind a little. The last hour of my 4 hour session the wind increased enough that I was powered to overpowered. Unfortunately the periods of schlogging had already taken its toll and I was getting tired. That coupled with the 200yard trudge through the calf deep water thanks to the proxigean tide and the resistance exercise I was getting from the 5 mil suit zapped my energy. Even after taking a break, I couldn't summon the energy to make the walk back out and sail once it picked up to solid 5.5 and <100l.

My first trip to Rodanthe to sail Bobs place was a little slow to spool but in the end I got to sail in December without gloves or a hood. I spent some time with some really cool people and hear some interesting stories. I hope we get to do it again real soon.

Day 1 Fog Session

Can you see the Three Sailors?

Rodanthefest Dec 08
Marcy, John, Billy, Dr. Bob, Wayne

Day 2

Jibe sequence. One of the few Bob missed.

Cool texture in this one.
Better slow down its Shallow

Too late......