"When are you back in the water?" Scott texted me. I haven't sailed or paddled in six weeks, largely due to being on the wrong end of a knife in a dark alley. There were three of them...you should see the other guys! No wait...that was a movie. A teense of surgery has kept me off the water for six weeks, but yesterday the doctor said I'm cleared to windsurf and paddle. Not only that, but "salt water will be good for you!"
Puffins, Chimps, men of wind and water: See you in January! Doctors orders.
With Christmas fast approaching, Santa is working on his jumps (presumably coached by Dasher.) Yeah he's got the reindeer to get him and the sleigh around, but with all the supersized gifts those reindeer butts are draggin' by the time he hits the west coast. So every foot of air Windchimp Claus can generate will help kids in Maui get their toys (like they need more toys!)
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!
I tried to take a selfie but all the rigging kept my arms from getting the extension necessary. Had some issues in the nose (stringer needed work, also some delamination here and there. Scott said "Hey I do that kind of work...I coulda saved you a few bucks!") In the two weeks before the procedure the doctor told me to mix up some salt water in a glass and snort it up each nostril because "it will help clear your head". I then explained the length, depth, and g forces I've applied to such endeavors in the past, and that I was well aware of the benefits. Doc approved.
On Monday I find out when I can get back on the water. I'm hoping I haven't seen the last of the 2014 season!
Say what? Chatting with the Wolf on Friday as we discussed how long it had been since our last session at Meschutt, I brought up the time one of our sessions was caught by Google's satellites for Google Maps. He didn't recall it so here it is. I was cruising Google in 2009 when I saw that the Meschutt photo was from one of our sessions. You can check out the full post on the image from 2009, in which I note by reviewing the vehicles and rigged gear (my 5.5 had a specific look, the Wolf and Scott are there) in which I determined the photo had been taken two years earlier. Alas, not a single chimp works at Google, and they have since heartlessly replaced the photo with some random image from a summer.
"We haven't sailed here in years," the Wolf said. It's true. Between Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, and conditions, we hadn't sailed the fine NW launch since Spring 2011. "And they screwed up the beach" Scott noted. Something about stones and pebbles gave irritation to Lord Scotworth.
So be it. We arrived Friday to 4.7ish conditions (sometimes we gagged) we being Peconic Jeff, Jonathan, Birthday Boy Frank (we sang to him) Dr. Pain, John Natalie (in less than perfect conditions!) Scott the Wolf and your editor. The tide was up a bit, and we didn't get Meschutt's trademark half-pipe inside ramps, but there were still some jumps to be had on the outside, particularly as the wind picked up. I started out moderately powered w 4.7/ but by the time I left I was lit on 4.7/77. Good rippery.
A personal idiot highlight that I'll share: Heading towards shore on an inbound reach I saw Jeff watching me...I figured he was contemplating rig choice. Then I saw him raise is camera. Excellent...I shall show off! (I thought). With the so smooth inside I went for a duck jibe...I made the duck jibe...but about a third of the way through I realized my turn would take me through knee to calf deep water. Yikes! I was lucky. The thing about duck jibes is they're harder to adjust once you start. Doh!
(Top: Scott puts his newly acquired Naish through its paces. Bottom: I initiate a duck jibe that could have ripped out the fin box. Lucky duck! Photos by Jeff Schultz.)
Big winds, y'all. Saturday on Gardiners Bay, launching from Goff Pt. it was 4.2's ville with the occasional 3 meter wing. I arrived after peak conditions ("you missed it!" I was warmly chided) but still got to join Jon Ford, the Wolf, Hulse Bill Scott Frank Jeff Jan & Bruce, Fisherman, Joe on the outside, whilst about ten people were windsurfing Napeague proper. Fat starboard ramps (too bad I can't jump on starboard) and swell to jibe off on the outside, and some waveriding inbound for signature Gardiners fun. I was overpowered but not badly, and when it's that windy, mistakes and falls can be really "good"...if you're on the beach watching it happen to someone else. "All my falls were good," Fisherman said. Jeff and the Wolf each had a quality explosion, and I myself blew apart twice.
I missed Sunday but caught the flurry of texts...West Meadow! West Neck! Meschutt! Received this report from Jeff, who caught it at West Meadow: "3.7 nukage. Myself, Christian, Tomas, George, Joe, Scott, Bill, Jon Sassone and some other WM regulars. My forearms are bricks after a day of 4.2 followed by 3.5." I'll bet!
NOAA says it's gonna happen! Scott thinks the call is Goff (launch at Napeague Lazy Point, reach and tack up to the sand bar betwixt Napeague and Gardiners Bay, portage across, launch in the Land of the Giants!). Sunday a return to Iron Pier. In a gale watch. Rig small or get blown (off the water)...
Just a few days ago at the Vanderdome we were lamenting the lack of Iron Pier sessions. Iron Pier is epic because you only go there when conditions are epic, and the Pier serves it up!
Never sailed Iron Pier? I know what you're thinking: You don't want to. You imagine blowing a jibe and then having the current drag you into iron pilings covered with rust...they rip your wetsuit and lacerate your skin as you catch tetanus. Your rig gets destroyed too. That's what I always imagined, anyway. Then I sailed there.
There's no Iron Pier at Iron Pier. It's fine. Big rampy wavy Long Island Sound sailing, and as Bill says, you only go there if you're going to be on a 4.7 or smaller sail. Five meter? Go to Sebonac Inlet.
Sunday we were mostly on 4.2's. Oh Yeah! Me Frank Jan Bruce Scott Bill John Hulse the Wolf Tomas Joe Peconic Jeff & Kurt. 4.2's. Yes the beach break was challenging when we arrived (high tide) and there were some rejections and landing humiliation, but it got better. The ramps and waves I'd rate as 7 out of 10 on the Pier scale, but it was still "ten times better than Sebonac" (quoting Jan). Imagine that Sebonac Inlet and Gardiners Bay had a love child. Land of the Giants Sebonac. That's Iron Pier when it's working. Oh yeah.
We sailed to exhaustion (I did anyway). Until my arms no longer had the strength to control the 4.2. You don't want to be outward bound at the Pier and not feel strong enough to handle surprises. A great day...my body is in sweet pain as I type this post. More please!
(Top: What I lack in jumping ability I make up for in enthusiasm. Middle: John Hulse catches a wave whilst Jan motors through. Bottom: Iron Man Frank on a 4.6. Photos by Jeff Schultz.)