Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ahhhhh!!! Winter sailing!

After everyone raving about the wind during the storm on Sunday and Monday I was really itching for a session. It looked like Tuesday would be mid 20s and perfect tide and wind direction for West Meadow. So that was the call.

At 10AM I packed up the truck with all the winter neoprene and headed for the Meadow. As I approached the gate I saw a HUGE pile of snow about even with the roof of my expedition. The problem was that it was sitting smack in the middle of the entrance. As I pulled up to the pile I could see the exit way was plowed in, but surely doable in 4 wheel drive. It was about even with the top of the front bumper. I contemplated turning around for a split second as I took another look at the 4.2 conditions and perfect flat water. Then I glanced back at my trailer. Yes I was about to make a 90 degree right turn into a 3 foot pile of plowed snow towing a trailer. As I hit the gas I was definitely not going the "right" direction. So I backed up. then went forward, then backed up, then went forward, then went back, then went forward. You get the point. There was already 1 set of tracks going through, so I figured all I had to do was flatten it out a bit. After 5 or 6 minutes of going forward and backward and getting a few looks from people walking past (the same looks you get when you come back out after sailing in below freezing temps) I finally got some directional control with the front wheels and made my right. Piece of cake. There was only one other car in the parking lot. A couple of kiters that I see sailing there all the time jumped out of their 4x4 truck and came running over. "How the F@(k did you get in here with a trailer!!!?????," one said. "And more importantly, are you going out?"

Well, both answers seemed pretty obvious, but I answered anyway. "I just drove right in, and hell yes I'm going out!"

I rigged the 4.2 and hit the water. Full power right away. Then as I started moving got overpowered right before schlogging, right before being overpowered again. Lets just say it looked way better from the beach. I still sailed for 2 1/2 hours on a 4.2 but here's my impression of me sailing that day. Underpowered, underpowered, powered, overpowered, overpowered, OVERPOWERED, OVERPOWERED, overpowered, try trick, blow up. Scholg scholg, OVERPOWERED, OVERPOWERED, overpowered, try trick, blow up! Repeat for 2 hours with the occasional clean trick, realize that I'm crashing so much probably because I can't feel my feet, sail for another 1/2 hour then pack it in. So I walked back up the beach with the ice cubes attached to the bottom of my legs. Cue strange looks from bystanders and we've got another winter session on LI in the bag. It was kinda weird trying to move out of the way of tractor moving snow as I was de-rigging. And after all that, YES I'D LIKE ANOTHER!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Marcilio Brown's favorite sail? It was my favorite first!

North Ice of course. See it in action as Marcilio explains why it's soooo nice.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Race to Hatteras

Cape Hatteras is a fall pilgrimage for many New Englanders. This year I had some weddings booked on the dates that the larger group of guys from LI decided to go. Their week in Hatteras was one to speak about for years to come. Warmish, wind every day and lots of great folks. They even had topless women, but that's another (private) story all together. So my hopes were high for our trip to Hatteras 2 weeks later. We had a smaller group of about 7 planning on going. One had to cancel due to personal reasons.

The forecast was VERY good for our week while we were heading down. We awakened in our Holliday in Express room in Exmore VA to the sound of a steady 20 knot breeze singing at our windows. Only 3 hours more driving until we were in Hatteras sailing the beautiful warm winds. As we drove, I realized this wind that we woke up to was very, very isolated. We were directly behind the cold front. Every time we would pull ahead of it, the wind would go calm, and every time it would pass us, the wind would crank. The race was on!!!! As we drove on, we pulled slightly ahead of the front. 3 hours later we pulled up to our Hatteras house in Avon to see Rob already planing in a SW breeze right in the back yard. He came in and and we asked him what he was on. "5.9 and this 126 ltr I borrowed from Ocean Air." He replied.

I told him, "I think it's going to get windy really soon."

"That's not what the forecast says, and it's not really good right now. Why do you think there's wind coming."

I pointed past his head to the very obvious front defined by a low level line of clouds stretching as far as the eye could see. Then I whipped the 4.7 and 89 ltr out of the trailer and rigged it up. I threw on my 3/2 wetsuit and got right in the water. I schlogged out a bit, but there wasn't nearly enough wind to plane on a 4.7. I jibed and schlogged back in. As I approached the houses the first gust hit the sail. "Here we go!" I thought to myself. I did a quick tack and and headed back out. this time fully planing. The clouds were now directly over head and as I sailed straight past them the wind did a 180. Without jibing, I sailed right back to shore down the beach. The wind was now NW and full power 4.7. It lasted about an hour and every second I was sailing I could taste the sweet, sweet victory of our race against the front to Hatteras.

The rest of the week was kind of a let down. The temps fell from 70 degrees to mid 40s. The coldest temps I have ever experienced at that time of year in Hatteras. EVERYONE in the house was also sick and many went to the doctor. But that one 1 hour session we got when we beat the front to Hatteras made the entire trip worth while. Now we're home in below freezing temps and I'm wishing we were back in Hatteras in the balmy 45 degree weather.