The wind was strong so I decided to take a trip down to Ft. Monroe to check out the Sunday sail. I had missed the field trip down to Avon on Saturday thanks to the mechanical issue. I was really looking forward to it but there isn't much you can do about Murphy. The beginners attending Sunday sail had been cautioned that the conditions weren't conducive to progressing their basic skills so there weren't too many expected to show up. 30 mph gusts and newbies really don't mix well.
When I arrived around 3:00 there were only a hand full of sailors and most were experienced. The wind was holey now so I decided to hop over to Factory Pt. to find better wind and see who was there. Being that I was showing up late and it was Fathers day I didn't know what to expect in terms of who would still be sailing. Pete T. and Tom B. were just getting off the water with small 5's and saying it was backing off. I rigged 5.8 and got some nice planing runs on the 102l. The weeds would sneak up and get you every now and again. I almost got launched over the bars on two occasions thanks to some exceptionally thick floating mats. There never was a problem with water depth, even with the tide being at the lowest part of it's cycle there was plenty of water everywhere. Before Pete left I asked him to snap a couple photos of me. Thanks Pete.
The wind shifted NNE and faded a little so I pulled out the 145l big board and made a couple on and off runs with the 5.8. Peter and I were the last ones there we were talking about his gear and his need to get a weed fin for summer sailing around here. We were just about to pack it in when the wind picked back up so we went back out. I stayed on the big board expecting the wind to fall off again, it never did. The wind just continued to strengthen and shift back to N then NNW. It got to where I was way overpowered and the board was just too big. I really wanted to stop and get my smaller board back out but I was tired and I was only going to make a few more runs anyway.
The wind felt like it was blowing in the mid to upper 20's with higher gusts. I kept getting air off each wave peak I hit. I finally decided I'd had enough but I was out in the Long Creek channel heading toward the sandbar when the wind ramped up even more. I new if I tried to jibe or tack in those conditions, on that gear I would blow it and then be stuck in overhead water wrestling the board and rig into position then waiting for a lull to waterstart. Then I thought I could continue on out to the sandbar, I could give the sail some more outhaul and downhaul and sail back in relative comfort.
Lets just say I misjudged where the bar actually was. Too much sail, too big a board and rough water = a slow drift into Long creek a swim and a long walk around the point to get back to the launch. Don't get me wrong I tried to waterstart, did it twice only to end up crashing after about 30 feet. I tried to uphaul the sail. It might as well have been a tied down piece of plywood, the wind and the swell kept me from getting it upright and sheeted in. I did manage to get part of the way across the Creek by uphauling till the mast tip was about a foot and a half off the water and clew dragging in the water. That allowed the wind flow create a little forward motion.
It took me a little over a half an hour of walking and swimming to get back to the point so that I could sail back to the launch. I'll chalk it up to dues paid.
Here are a couple of the pics Pete took of me.
Not in focus but I was flying.
Jibe sequence. Now I can see some of what I'm doing wrong.
In this case I'm not keeping my weight on the carving rail.
Setting up for a waterstart
This guy was fishing near the bar, He had a pretty tough paddle back in after the wind picked back up.