I've been a bit under the weather the last few weeks with very little sailing, but yesterday I was feeling good enough to get after it so I drove over to Coyote to check things out. When I arrived, Mo, protectress of Coyote, had already donned her wetsuit but was looking back at me with a not-so-positive expression. Her hair was dry, which gave me no indication of whether she had windsurfed, because she virtually never falls. She said she suited up and went out with small gear but the wind had completely died. Bummer. I REALLY wanted to windsurf. We sat around and guffawed for a while with another local sailor, and the conditions started to look "a little" better.
It really wasn't good. The wind was probably averaging 15, with gusts to 17... on the outside where the wind is "better". I decided to put together the biggest kit I have. A 5.7 that I rig six times a year, my 104L Freewave, and I even went as far as to pull out a honkin' 38cm fin. When I was finally suited up I slogged out a couple hundred yards and got on a light plane. I slipped only my front foot into the strap and lightly rested my back foot on the rail so I could hopefully make some upwind progress against the half-knot flood. I tacked a couple times and was making some favorable upwind progress, but I was definitely working for it.
Being marginally powered has become a frustrating premise for me lately. As I've adjusted to moderate to high wind conditions, I've become used-to and comfortable with pretty much planing for almost whole sessions at a time. This day I was probably only planing about 75% of the time, and I was working for it too. I had to pump through the holes and even make decisions to slog when I wasn't making good upwind progress on a plane.
I dropped a couple f-bombs. I begged and pleaded with the wind gods a bit. In my mind, I could hear the vocal whining of my inner-six-year old.
Then as I was going out for another run a pretty piece of swelly chop arose near my imaginary jibing mark. As I looked really closely, I could see my name written right across the face of it, and my social security number... strangely enough. I initiated my jibe with a drastic oversheet right across the face of the swell and ripped me right through on a full plane I flipped the sail and accelerated downwind out of the turn. A sudden catharsis found me.
Today might have been one of the most tame, boring days I had all year. But after that jibe I suddenly remembered something very important. This might have been the best day I had all year in previous years living as a land-locked east-coast working shlub. A year and a few months ago I would have thought "5.7? Tiny! 104L? Tiny! 15mph average? SWEET!"
Almost every day of sailing in the bay area is pretty equivalent to the best day of the year along my previous six years of windsurfing on the east coast.
Don't get me wrong, I had some really nice days on the east coast... Mostly in the Outer Banks. But my yearly or semi-annual treks to the OBX came up windless many times. Windy days would frequently happen during the middle of the week, and I lived over an hour from any decent windsurfing, when you factored in rush-hour traffic.
Now I can have the best session of the year almost every day.