The "100 Rule" is a simple formula that says the air temperature and water temperature should add up to no less than 100 degrees Farenheit. If they do not, it's too cold to windsurf. It's a nice guideline for people who live in areas that get lots of wind when it's not truly cold outside, but for those of less-fortunate windsurfers of the obsessed variety, 100 is nonsense. I always found 90 to be a better number (why else did god create drysuits) but over the years I've been hearing about people who sail when the air is below freezing (typical salt water doesn't freeze until it's down to about 28) who have to deal with their sails icing up (!) from the spray. That sounded so cool, no pun intended.
So today Jeff joined me at Flying Point on Mecox Bay, where the forecasted NW (30 knots of it) would mean we'd be sailing almost entirely in waist-to-chest deep water, fairly close to the shore...about as friendly a set up as you could pick. But we got pure West (35 degrees of it), so we'd be sailing (and potentially falling) in water too deep to stand in. A quick check of the water temperature found it to be a cool 35.5 degrees...we'd be testing the 70 Rule. The wind was mad gusty (27-45) and we sailed for about 90 minutes. (Meanwhile, the mid-Island mob was ripping it up at West Neck.)
I bought a neoprene hood/facemask combo to cover the bulk of my face, which worked fine until it got dunked. It was definately better than no facial protection (I didn't get the "ice-cream headache" but still it became difficult to breathe through and began to chafe. (Dan Weiss, discussing this phenomenon in rec.windsurfing, recommends Dermatone as an alternative. It's on my purchase list.)
Also discussed in wreckdot has been the potential usage of hand warmers inside gloves. The "Grabber MyCoal Heat Treat" air-activated handwarmers I bought did absolutely nothing, in or out of the glove. They may have been defective. I needed to get off the water every two to three runs to get the blood flowing in my hands.
Towards the end of the sesh the panel on my 4.7 suddenly became quite translucent, as a thin film of slushy ice coated both sides. This was a highlight of an otherwise extremely challenging session.
Final recorded temperatures: Air: 31, water: 35.5. We broke 67!
I'll be back, with different hand warmers.