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.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

York point Session

Saturday I sailed with Dave Kashy at York Point. We started off at 1:00 to warm (mid 50's) SW winds and sunny skies. The wind was averaging around 15 mph when we rigged. Dave pulled out his Formula gear to prepare for the race he is attending down in Miami next week. I rigged 6.7 and grabed the Hifly.

The water was very low something like -1' on the tide graphs, plus the wind was blowing it out into the bay so we had to walk out a little bit to get to deeper water. By the time I finished rigging Dave had sailed his way out toward the bay and was making his way back in. I had never seen a Formula board in action and was amazed how high and how deep off the wind that thing would go.

While we sailed the wind continued to increase. I rigged my sail knowing this was likely to happen so early on I was jumping in and out of the straps quite a bit. There were a couple really good runs and as time progressed the gusts were more pronounced making things more challenging.

I figured I'd take a break after one more run out. Half way out the wind speed spiked. Fortunately I saw it comming so I locked in my stance and was able to continue sailing out through it. I made the sand bar where I was practicing my jibes and a more powerful gust ripped sail out of my hand. The wind didn't drop off much as the gust passed it was now sustained in the mid 20's. I started back in and I saw another gust blowing across the water I locked out and braced myself hoping to just punch through it and get back to shore. The wind had other ideas. This gust must have been pushing 30 mph. I was using every bit of strength I had to lever against the sail and over sheet, I just couldn't hold on. The board had topped out and it couldn't go any faster, it was like having a tug of war against 2 NFL linemen. I knew if I stayed hooked in it would likely result in an ugly Catapult so I managed to unhook. That way the sail could just get ripped out of my hands without taking me with it and avert a huge crash.

I held on like that for about twenty more seconds before the next puff finally put me in the water. The water was a brisk 43 degrees but I had my gloves and hood on so it wasn't bad at all. I tried a couple waterstarts but the sail size and high wind wouldn't allow it. I just stayed with the board till it got shallow enough to walk back in. While I was walking I kept thinking "didn't I just go through this same thing at Messick a couple days ago". I have to say today was much more difficult though due to the larger sail. See previous post

Once I was in, the wind continued blowing in the mid 20's or better. The sand being lifting off the beach confirmed this. While we rested and I contemplated rigging down. Dave asked my advice on placing some shrubs and trees that would likely get destroyed in the demolition. We grabbed some shovels and I helped him move them to a suitable location. It was kind of funny us out there in our wetsuits and booties digging up plants. I was sure glad the soil was soft.

The wind steadily dropped as it got closer to sunset and we decided to head out for one last sail. It was schlogging only so Dave did a little freestyle on his formula gear. He talked me into trying to sail back winded, I yelled back to him that I had never tried it and didn't want to fall in again. I was pretty much dry at this point. He assured me we were in shallow water so I tried it. I nearly made it around and then as expected, I ended up in the drink. My feet never did touch the bottom. I did try it a few more times since I was wet again, each attempt was unsuccessful. That is something I will have to work on when it warms up.

Well It is January 10th and I'm still sailing, 2 sessions so far this month. Once February is done the rest of the year will be a cakewalk. I want that 12 month club sweatshirt.


Tide is low

Dave the Wetsuit gardner.

If this is the price to pay for sailing this spot.
No Problem, glad to help.
Still need that haircut, and a shave too!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Another forecasting error....More wind than expected.

Wednesday, I awoke to fog and a light breeze. The forecast called for the wind to pick up as day progressed topping out around 20 by sunset. About 8:30 I checked email and the radar. The email had a fellow sailor heading over to Messick point to get in his January Session stating "It just hit 16". The radar showed a fast moving squall line well out ahead of a cold front. I figured about the time I reached the launch so would the line. So I held back and waited. I was stewing because it seemed the forecasters had completely missed the timing of the weather again. Lately they have been off anywhere from 4 to 8 hours. Since the line was coming in quick I just new the missed again so I figured I'd just sail after the weather passed on the cooling westerlies. When the line hit the winds ramped up and the temperature dropped like a rock. After the line pushed through we had a steady rain, the wind dropped way back but oddly enough it continued to blow out of the S and SW. It took a little time but because of the flow the temps rebounded and the wind speed slowly came back up.

Between noon and 2:00 the wind was in the 13 to 15 mph range. I figured that would be about as strong as it would get since the rain had already pushed through. I threw my big board, my 7.8 and a 6 m sail and headed out to Messick expecting to get in a leisurely sail. When I got there the wind had picked up dramatically, my hand held anemometer showed 24 average with gusts in the 30s. I didn't make the drive for nothing and I wanted to get my January session. So I rigged the 6 and gave it a shot. It really wasn't fun, total survival mode. It reminded me of my Hanna session except the water and air were a lot warmer then and the sail was much smaller, plus I remember Hanna being fun. Needless to say the session was incredibly short lived as I have this thing about not wanting to get hurt or break my gear.

It looks like the farther South you went the windier and warmer it was. Several local sailors had a good day on Back bay and at the Va. beach oceanfront. Down on Hatteras Island it was nuking all day check out Andy and Bill's reports.

Photos are deceptive. It's really windy!

This Blackhawk kept performing this manuver over and over.
The first time I saw it I thought It was going to crash.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2 highwind sessions.... almost.

This week, the last week of December has been a good one wind wise. Sunday we had warm SW winds blowing 25+ and yesterday we had a mix bag starting SW around 20 and clocking to NW with gusts approaching 50 by noon.

Sunday I decided I’d try to sail at my parent’s house because I would also get to see football on Sunday ticket. My team, the Cleveland Browns have pretty much stunk it up this year. Logic should have prevailed and I should have gone to one of the local launches to sail with other people. But we were playing the Steelers and that’s a rivalry game that is hard to miss. I figured if the game looked to be a blowout early on I would just head on over to either Messick point or Dave Kashy’s new place to sail his launch. Well wouldn’t you know the Browns defense kept the game close till late in the second quarter. So by the time it was absolutely certain that the Browns had no chance, it was already too late to make the hour drive and get any significant time on the water before dark. So at half time I went out to decide on rigging up and sailing or not. There was a bunch of white caps and good size swell rolling down the river, I’d estimate between 3 and 4 foot. My handheld wind meter showed gusts well over 30, that’s just too much for me to go out alone in the 48 degree water. Sailing my folks place can be convenient but with the tidal current and the ideal SW wind conditions it can get rather intimidating.

Tug making its way upriver in the swell just before kickoff.

Yesterday I was gung ho on sailing, the high temperature was going to be in the lower 50’s with wind in the mid to upper 20’s. I took all my small gear with me to work with the intention of getting some stuff done then sailing afterward. I got the message that people were going to sail Kashy’s place so I made my way over there. Unfortunately I took too long to get my work done and missed out on the warmer temps. Once the wind shifted NW the temp dropped, the most dramatic was during a 15 minute span where it seemed to drop 10 degrees.

Tom B., Jack, John C., Marcy and Keith showed to enjoy Dave's little slice of sailing heaven. The sails were sized 3.7 to 4.2 and the boards were 75 to 85l. The falling temps the wind strength and the offshore conditions were enough that Marcy and I decided against suiting up. Everyone else hit the water. It was simply a tough day of sailing the gusts and lulls were extreme. To sail comfortably one would have needed a sail that could instantly transform from a 6.5 to 3.0. It was wild just standing out on the pier taking pictures, within a matter of seconds the wind would go from 20 to 45. Several shots were lost to camera shake. The guys made the most of it though, there was a bit of schlogging, some nicely powered blasting and what I would only describe as overpowered mayhem. Each run out and back had at least one waterstart per sailor. I take that back I don't remember Dave falling in. They all sailed about an hour. Then the cold, the low dew point and the gusty wind finally took its toll shooing everyone off the water. All except John, he swapped his 85l for a 100l and went back out. The board change really helped him in the lulls but put him beyond control in the gusts.

I look forward to getting the next email announcing another session at Dave’s, hopefully in less chaotic wind conditions.

Tomorrow could be the first session of the New Year. It’s supposed to be a lighter SW day that might warrant another day trip down to the OBX.

Happy New Year!

As always click photos to enlarge.....

John heading back out on the bigger board

John Lit!!!!

That explosion of spray was John.

Mr. Kashy

Tom, Dave and Keith