Monday, January 25, 2010

Near Victory at Sea

It's been forever since we've got a good session on Long Island. The windsurfing gods must have had one hell of a hangover New Years Morning cause they haven't had enough energy for a single puff this whole month. Until today that is. The wind gods must have chugged a few gatorades and took a few Advil because all the wind that was missing all month happened all at once. I woke up in the middle of the night to the unfamiliar sound of the wind chimes hanging next to the back door. Then there it was. The tell tale creaking and cracking of a 30 knot gust hitting the house. Thanks to my parents newly found retirement I'm once again able to get out in the mornings while they babysit the kids. The only problem I laid in bed at 4am pondering was where to sail. The wind was supposed to die early afternoon and I couldn't show up at 7am to drop the kiddies off at Nana and Grandpa's. Heckscher is also closed this time of year so the spots along the south shore for a SE wind is few and far between. I finally decided Tanner should do it and fell back to sleep.

When I woke up the wind was still cranking. I immediately signed onto the LI windsurfer yahoo groups to see where everyone was going and what everyone was sailing on. Much to my surprise no-one even made a mention of sailing today. So I posted up that I was heading to Tanner and looking for company. Then I shoved some food into the kids mouths as fast as I could and it was off to Grandpa's house. On the way there I called George Pav to tell him where I was going. It turned out he was working way out east and couldn't make it all the way to tanner. He suggested Matituck. The problem was for me to drop the kids off then get to matituck it would have been 2 hours of driving before I could get there. So we picked Hart's Cove in Center Moriches. I apologize to the LI Windsurfing group for posting up the wrong spot, but since no-one else made a mention of it before I left, I figured any day of sailing is always nicer with a bud.

I Got there before George and figured the 4.2 should do it. I wanted to work on some freestyle so I went with the 99 ltr Joker. A great setup for what looked like a nice flat water freestyle sesh. As soon as I hit the water I was way overpowered. It was waaaayyyyy windier than it looked. It turned out that 3.7 flattened out and the small board would be the right call or really the only call since I don't own a 3.2. I did a few runs having a ball getting my butt kicked in the gusts before I ecided to give George a buzz and see what was going on. He picked up the phone and said he was right up the street. When he pulled in he rolled down the window of his truck and said, "looks good."

"Yeah it looks good, but I'm getting killed on the 3.7."

"Really?" he said. "Well Jeff Usher and Marty are on the way."

We chatted a bit more and I headed back out. It was even windier than before. Soon enough George was on the water with his small board and 3.7. He did one run and headed back to the beach for more outhaul. As I tried to do my best to spock in 40 knots George yelled from the beach, "It's freakin' windy!" After George pulled some more outhaul it was a little more manageable. We sailed for another hour or so getting huge jumps off the little 2 or 3 foot ramps that would just stand straight up. Personally I was more impressed if either one of us actually made a jibe. I think today was the first time I cheered for myself or George from making a "simple" jibe in about 10 years. A little while later Jeff and Marty showed up. They were ready to hit the water and we urged them to rig a bit smaller than the conditions looked. We told Jeff 3.2 would work just fine.

Then it was back to the water. George and I continued to sail while the other guys were getting dressed and rigging. Right before my last run George decided to take another break and as I made the last jibe on the inside I saw Jeff all ready to go. As I came through the jibe I thought to myself, "well that was fairly normal." Then I hit a nice jump that I didn't blow sideways on. "What a nice 3.7 day this is going to turn out to be." Then an ooooh so easy jibe on the outside. "Yeah, now this is what I'm talking about." And as I begin to sheet in the sail on my new tack back to shore I see a flash of lighting south of the launch and the sky over the launch was as black as night. As I got up onto a plane I could feel the wind shifting slightly off shore and dropping fast. I managed to stay on the board about 3/4 of the way back to the beach before the wind dropped to nothing and the black sky was overhead. This was no longer a victory at sea, but it was a great time anyway. The 5 knot wind was now side-off and I went in the drink. It only took me about 15 minutes or so to swim in and it was actually quite relaxing as the sound of the heaviest rain storm of the year was splashing all around me.

When I got back to shore we all looked out at the water and couldn't believe how fast the wind went from 50 to 5 mph. I felt bad for Jeff and Marty who had finally gotten to the beach, rigged and gotten their drysuits on. I tried to make Jeff feel better by telling him it was too windy anyway and they probably were having more fun watching us sail than we were having sailing. Then Jeff just said it how it was, "Mike, I just put on my drysuit, pissed in it, and now I have to take it off. Trust me, you had a better time." And I'm sure I did.

Thanks to the Iwindsurf graph I can see the exact time I went in the water (Keep in mind the windmeter wasn't blocked by the land like where we were sailing when the wind shifted south) Look closely, it had to be at 2:30 on the nose. The wind dropped dramatically and shifted sw before it came back south again:


  1. WOW! Nice post Mike! You just ruined the resale value of Jeff U's drysuit!

    Jeff T.

  2. I haven't sailed all month. It's been a long time since I've gone a month without sailing, but today marks that unhappy milestone...31 days sans shred (I've gotten some SUP wave time in, though.)

    Meanwhile I love the 3 meter/small ramp jump's like all you have to do is show the wind the bottom of the board and up you go!