John Contos and I went out last Sunday to get in our February sail for the 12 month club. The weather was bright sunshine with a balmy 40 degree air temp and a refreshing 35 degree water temp. West wind was blowing 15 to 20. Yes it was cold but it happened to be the warmest day we had for the first two weeks of February. Being that we already had two snow events and a possible third coming down the pike it seemed prudent to get out and get it done. Who knew what the rest of the month would be like, a deep freeze, a Blizzard or it may even hit 70 degrees. With the trend being on the unusually cold/snowy side it seemed like a good choice.
The session started off nice, floaty boards, 7 meter sails, enough power to plane better than half the time. Made a couple dry jibes and even when I didn't the waist to chest deep water kept my head dry. Not that it would have gotten wet with all the protection I had on. I sailed for about an hour and went in to take a break. I needed some water and to cool off a bit. Yes, I was sweating in my suit. Figured I'd take a few photos of John too.
On the way back out the water had gotten quite shallow so I touched bottom with my fin in a few spots. Once I was in the deeper water I caught a gust and started to accelerate. Just as I was making my way into the straps my board bucked and pitched me. John had just passed me going the opposite direction so he heard the hit and subsequent splash. I knew I hit something big and unforgiving. Now I've hit gill nets, a crab pot float I was trying to jump and run aground but this felt like none of the above. I wandered back 20 feet to the murky sediment filled spot in the otherwise clear water to figure out what it was and assess weather or not the object could be moved or if it should be marked to keep the next guy from hitting it. I was expecting a piling, a boat motor, a boulder, a whale skull... Turns out it was a crab pot, not just your average run of the mill crab pot but something that looks like it was built as a maximum security prison for crabs. Were talking a steel cage made of 5/16 inch steel round bar. At that moment I started thinking about my poor fin. I flipped my board over and low and behold it was still there, cocked in the box with a nasty scar down the leading edge near the tip. Even after cleaning off some of the muck and oyster shells it still weighed a ton. We set the trap on Johns foot straps and walked it back to shore. There was no way we were going to leave it there for someone else to hit.
It took a few strategic whacks with a mallet to free the fin and to reveal a decent crack in the back of the fin box needless to say my day was done. Fortunately there was no water intrusion so the board should be able to be fixed up good as new in a few weeks.
I still rode home with a smile on my face. It was a good day of sailing prior to the introduction. I got to blast around on my big board for a while, maintain my 12 month status and I sailed in the coldest conditions yet. The 75 degree combined air and water was 15 degrees lower than my previous threshold. Now I really don't have an excuse for not sailing all winter.
Stout enough to contain the Kraken
Ouch! Believe it or not!! It did dent the cage.
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