4.7 is my favorite sail size. Yes it is yes it is yes it is. You can have your 4.2 days (I'll take those too, actually, and everything else!) I like 4.7 best.
That's what we got at Sebonac yesterday. Scott on his new 75 liter, plus the Wolf, Jonathan, Kurt, Rich, Jan and Bruce, Christian and Frank under the sun (blinding sun on starboard) in 25 gusting to 35 NW. NW? Yeah we shoulda been at Meschutt, where it might have been a teensy bit better, but still, Sebonac went off! Towards the end of the afternoon the wind came up big time (4.2? 4.0?)...I didn't have the will to rerig, and thought about sailing overpowered, until Scott can flying through the inside, as fast as I've ever seen anyone sail, barely holding it together as he flew to the east side beach. "That is some sailing" Jonathan said. I thought I'd explode in that much wind, and so called it a day.*
*also I was getting cold in my 4/3 plus neoprene shirt. Time to switch to the drysuit.
"That's the most wind I've sailed in years," Scott declared, after tailwalking in to the beach at Sebonac Inlet on Sunday. It was crazy windy. We were mostly on 3.7's and 3.4's, and LIT. Frank, Anders, Peconic Marty, Scott, John's Natalie, Ford, and vanderWolf and YT were all going for it. The one saving grace was that the wind was steady...usually when it's 30+ big gusts and lulls are part of the package. While there were some sustained gusts (minute long) there were no lulls, and this allowed for good use of sheeting out.
I pulled off no water jibes (was beach jibing on starboard for the most part) instead simply rounding up and laying down the rig, which was perfectly comfortable in the shallows of low tide. 39 degrees air temp (I should have been in a drysuit...was in the 5.3) and 35 mph winds...it were proper chilly!
It has been over three months since I'd been in the water at all. No windsurfing (Bonaire trip cancelled) no SUP...I was dry and lame and out of practice. I was so lame that even when I met Peconic Jeff at I Road to scout the waves (followed by K and Ponquogue) I had one foot back in my van. It looked cold. It looked less than perfect. I am so lame.
But then Tomas and New Jeff showed up, and my ridiculous factor was in too much contrast, so I suited up. Let the Dry Man Follies begin:
Tomas offered to adjust my hood seal. While checking it out he said "your wetsuit doesn't seem very thick."
Oh no. I accidentally grabbed the 3/2 instead of the 5/3. I didn't check. I am screwed! But Tomas had an EXTRA 5/3 in his truck, which he generously offered (and I gratefully borrowed) and got out on the water. The first time I fell though I was freezing...the thing leaked like a sieve. So I paddled in, where I met the Wolf, who had two things to say: Did I have an extra leash (he's been dry too, and did not pack properly) and why didn't I pull the cinch tight on the wetsuit I was wearing?
Doh, and I may have an extra leash. (That's in reverse order, and I did.)
In the end we all got out there. I did everything poorly except laugh at myself. I think I had a good day laughing! Looking forward to 2016 sesh #2.
(My goofy mug. I am wet and salty, and therefore happy.)
I love the winter for windsurfing. Yeah it's cold but we usually get a half dozen ripping sessions in...3 or 4 meters on the bays, maybe a 4 or small 5 on the relatively warm ocean. And we rig in snow! Where are the snow sessions this winter?
Windsurfing "100 degree rule" as practiced on Long Island:
Air temperature + Water temperature + Wind Speed = 100 or higher.
Some Long lslanders like to get a bit more technical, and windsurf when:
Air temperature + Water temperature + Wind Speed + Weeks since last session + 5 (if it's sunny) = 100 or higher.
Either way I'm missing it.
(Photos from winters past. Top: Skippers meeting. Side: When the snow sticks to a black mast you know its cold! Photos by Jeff Schultz)
Another Saturday at Sebonac. Scott Jeff Kurt and yours truly (me later to be swapped out for Frank and Joe) on 5-somethings and all kinds of boards. I started with the 5.5 on my 109...then the wind picked up, so I boarded down to the 99.
That killed it.
Then it came back, then it died again. Then I left.
Which brought it back.
You know the drill. Still it was sunny and fun!
I pulled a major kook move, not zipping up my 5.3 (though I spent plenty of time getting the neck seal just right. When I fell I thought "I really should still be in a drysuit...this water is cold!"
My first local sesh since mid-November! Plagued by minor surgery, a dinged back, and the Winter That Froze Over Hell, it had been awhile for your humble editor. But the dry spell is done! 4.2 at Sebonac Inlet: Scott, the Wolf, Frank, Jason, Peconic Jeff, the Natalies and moi in the bright sun and nippy water (48 degrees) I got an hour in sailing moderately powered, which was plenty for me as the back recovers. It got holey towards the end (as Easter approached?) and Scott pronounced "it's OVER" just as Jan and Bruce arrived (Jan in her spiffy new truck straight from the dealer.) Next time. I can't wait until next time!
(That's the view from Scott's helmet cam as he takes some air. Oh yeah!)
The Mighty Mike Burns recently queried the Long Island windsurfing forum thusly: "Liquid water?" What's a waterman or waterwoman to do with all this ice? I had a great seven days in Bonaire last month (more reports coming) but I need more. I subscribe to Long Island's Windsurfing Rule of 100 (works for SUPing too). But dang...I need me a place to get wet! Some of the wind chimps have been finding ways around...
Option one is ice windsurfing. I haven't partaken in a few years, but Scott, the Wolf and Jeff were amongst the gliding at Mecox recently. Just remember that dropping the sail (or yourself) doesn't mean you stop. You keep going and going and going...
Option two is to head south. Bill Barber sent word from 'Rico that the waves were tasty and sweet and warm, and that he's having a great time, which is why in the time-honored tradition of the Peconic Puffin: we hate him. And ask him for more photos!
I myself am in Option three mode...waiting for some ocean conditions or a string of warm days to open up Sebonac. There's a 4.7 day with my name on it out there somewhere.
(Ice sailing photo by Jeff Schultz. Photographer of Sir William unknown as of press time.)
Peconic Jeff reports on this January 5th sesh: "4.2 session at Sebonac: myself, George Pav (pictured), Scott, the Wolf and whoever else showed up after I left. Temps in the 30’s, gusts in the 40’s, and a passing snow shower = great January windsurfing!
I love me some January windsurfing. I hope to get out there soon, but need the air to be above 30 degrees.
(George puts on the brakes as he comes in to Sebonac. Photo by Jeff.)
For nary a decade I've been posting New Year's Resolutions for the coming water year. The lists have varied from long and detailed to "the unaimed arrow never misses" (no resolutions...just sail.) This year I want some goals. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
Air, on port. I can't remember the last time I looked down from a big jump and thought "oh sh**). Or even had an elegant bayside jump with that extra second of hang time. Lack of conditions, lack of sessions, whatever. I want.
Air, on starboard. I am such a bad starboard jumper that people ask me why I don't jump on starboard (this is when I am trying to!) At this point it's in my head that I suck on starboard jumps. Must improve.
Duck Tack. The planing kind. I can actually do the tricky part (the sail work). Keeping the board planing while getting into switchstance is my bugaboo. A trip to Bonaire is coming, though, and I must take advantage of those conditions.
Work the waves. Windsurfing, SUPsailing, SUPsurfing...I need as much time as possible, and a better understanding. Every once in awhile I'll have a sweet long ride, and Jon or Scott will tell me how I was perfectly doing something...and I don't know what they are talking about. But hey...I'm the guy who can't find the channel! (actually I did get better at that.)
Enough words. I want to be more like the ocean. No talking, all action.
(I'm always happy to rig in January. Old Ponquogue photo by Jeff Schultz. Closing words by Perry Farrell.
Jeff reports on a sesh I missed last week: "...chose to brave face-pelting rain & sail the nuking nor'easter at Napeague with Scott, Frank, Bruce & the Wolf. I rode 4.2/86L fully sheeted out, and should have been on 3.7 like everyone else. Caught a few waves in front of the fireplace, including one full speed jump off a 4-5' wave."
Take a look at the windmeter for the day. Yeah, they got wind!
It was cold on the beach. "Wind chill" said Scott, but I thought it was the humidity. "What works is a long hood that covers your neck," Scott continued, showing me his, which is attached to his wetsuit. Mine doesn't come more than halfway down my neck. Must go shopping...I imagine a hood/shirt combo.
Jeff, the Wolf, George Pav, Scott, a seal and I hit Ponquogue (ESE 18-20, 3-4 foot waves) on everything from 5.3's to my 6.2 (the seal did not rig). The shore break wasn't particularly strong but it came all the way to the sand, so you had to carry your board over white water and get on fast while you still had water beneath your fin. This the Wolf would not do. And so Lord vanderWolf got worked, trying to time the perfect moment (which he did once, took a nice ride out and caught a fine wave back in. Once.) After an hour of abuse, finding himself a few hundred yards down the beach having had to chase his gear, he called it a day.
I myself had issues with arm strength...the lack of. Too little windsurfing over the winter made sailing unhooked a bear, and I had to come in to the beach a lot. Still was having a good time until I heard Scott say something about "it's time for 5.2" when it occurred to me that I was tired from carrying too much sail. Doh! With sand blowing down the beach all the 4WD guys rerigged on the spot. I had to hike to the parking lot, and by the time the 6.2 was down I was chilled to the bone, and so went girlyman, calling it a day as the Wolf drove by. My old 5.5 isn't waveworthy anyway...must go shopping.
Jeff had a waveworthy sail. But in his words he took one wave too many. How fixable is it? We await word. He may need to join me shopping!
All photos and video by Jeff Schultz. Scott goes back side, I contemplate a large seal, Jeff's sail, and Jeff's compilation video of the day.
Too bad I didn't get one this winter (not that there still isn't hope...we can get snow through early April!) But down Delaware way George Markopoulos has been sailing through the white stuff. Love the photo above, posted on his Facebook page.
(Top: If the snow was much deeper George could sail across the top of it. Bottom: Skippers meeting at Ponquogue from a few years ago...I love those sessions! Photo by Jeff Schultz.)