Wow was Sunday windy. At Sebonac Inlet many heeded the call, but only half launched. With the dredging barge just offshore I thought "better overpowered than underpowered" and rigged my 4.2, which was a joke. It took all of one second to realize I needed to aim for a spot to get off the board, kick the tail around and get back to rig down. Switched to my smallest sail...a 3.4 that I bought used ten years ago but still holds up!...and was still sailing sheeted out.
Frank was shredding of course (he is, after all, Frank.) Joe Natalie was doing well on a 3.7. Bruce tried a 3.something, as did CPU John. On shore Scott, the Wolf, Jan, Christian, young Jonathan and others watched and thought better of it. Joe suggested I crank my downhaul on the 3.4, and this did help. I tried one jump...only got up about three feet, but then a gust kept me up there for an extra second. Hang time! Tried to jibe but bearing off felt suicidal so I just dropped the sail and walked to the northern beach to catch my breath.
Then the wind came up more. The beach break was so intense...three foot crunchers tightly spaced, that for five minutes I couldn't launch. This never happens at Sebonac. When I finally made it back CPU John was derigging, commenting "I came, I sailed a little bit, no reason to risk injury." Sounded right to me, so I packed it up as well.
Frank sailed until sunset.
(Top: my 3.4/77 liter combo was still too big for me. That's the dredging boat in the right rear. Bottom: Sunset photo by Frank.)
P.S. On matters of neoprene the water is now cold IMHO. Hood, gloves, heavy booties required.
"This meeting of the Eastern Long Island Wind Chimp Association will now come to order" Scott said. But nobody listened. Frank was already on the water. Christian and Kurt and Jeff were rigging. I was telling everyone who would listen (ie nobody) that exactly a week before I'd been windsurfing in a bathing suit. John and Joe Natalie were on the way, so Scott could meet with them. But instead he chose to rig a 4.7, as did I. Couldn't wait to get on those Meschutt ramps!
Jeff noted that at 38 degrees this was the coldest session of the winter season (and we were two weeks into Spring). It broke my own rule of 40 degrees (unless there was full sun, which there wasn't). But I was so stoked having come back from Bonaire that I couldn't be stopped! Hands were cold, though. C'est la V. A little snow fell.
With poor attendance for his ELIWCA meeting, Scott switched to a jump lecture. Air Scott is impressive when upward bound, so Jeff and Christian and I listened as he counseled curling up into a ball, then extending the front leg whilst sheeting in hard and down to the waist. "It looks good!" Scott proclaimed. Jeff went out and immediately performed such a jump. I don't know how Christian did, but it was just about then that the wind came up to 4.2, and I called it a day.
Every month should begin with 4.7 conditions!
(Top: Meschutt goes off, Scott goes up. Middle: Dressed for success! Bottom: Scott air on starboard. Photos by Jeff Schultz.)
Scott said the wind wouldn't come, but he was wrong. Happy to be wrong, too! In this the warmest February on record, with air temps of 44 and water of 41 (as often as not in February you can walk on the Peconic, not splash about in it) my first sesh in three months came to pass. The Wolf was first on the water, followed by me, with us on 4.7's and larger boards (I rode the 93.) It was light 4.7.
Then it was full on 4.7.
Then it was time to board down 4.7
Those of us with seventy something boards were on them, and the rest did what they needed to do. Scott, Peconic Jeff, Christian, the Natalies, and the odd kiter had a fine time on the incoming tide. We were most of us out of windsurfing shape ("there's nothing you can do" Scott proclaimed") but we were happy to use those atrophied muscles.
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.)