Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eff Crissy

There. I said it.

After once again driving to a few promising spots where the wind died, I end up at Crissy just to check things out. The meter was reading 18, but it can be much windier than the sensor reports. People were rigging pretty big, so I put together my big kit: a 5.7 and a 104L board. It started to look pretty windy on the outside, but it was hard to tell for sure, since there was a pretty healthy 4 knot ebb going.

I went out and had a few reaches perfectly powered up. Didn't miss a jibe or a tack. I was really feeling it.  At one moment I remember thinking "Best. Crissy. Day. Ever!!!" On one of my reaches heading toward the beach, I felt myself cross the wind line so I jibed to head back out to find wind. This was my first mistake. About 200 yards ahead I saw a couple guys slogging in the spot that had the most wind. It took me a few minutes, but I realized that we weren't in a lull. The wind was done. kaput. sayonara. hasta la vista. I tacked and started slogging back toward shore.

When I started my long slog home, I was probably half way across the bridge. The wind was about 8. The swelly stuff was challenging, but I was doing fine because there was some power in the sail to counterbalance. Then the wind dropped down to 0-4 knots. The bumps all the sudden became a lot more challenging. A big tour boat cruised right past a few of us struggling, full of tourists, excited to see us get completely beat up by it's wake. We went down like 1 - 2 - 3  as the boat passed, it must have been pretty comical.

The next 45 minutes or so, I was in uphaul hell. It really was a throwback to those first 10 windsurfing sessions.  Every time I was able to get the sail up, I had no power to move forward or even balance. The ebb was bringing me toward the Golden Gate Bridge with pretty good speed. I started feeling pretty unconfident about getting home, and jumping in to swim didn't seem like a great idea since I didn't think I was going to be able to beat the current. So I continued to slog/fall/uphaul. I was getting pretty tired, and I had forgotten to bring my thick wetsuit, so I was getting a little worried since it was a chilly day. After a few moments on the verge of panic I rested, turned around and saw the bay littered with kites. Ok, if I have to get rescued, a bunch of others will as well.

So I made it in eventually, about 200 yards upwind of where I launched. The guys who got picked up by the coast guard got to the parking lot at the same time, but I was happy to get home mostly under sail power.  The scariest thing that happened was a couple of huge sea lions popping up 10 feet from my board when I was teetering along. I don't know much about these creatures, but I found out that they have pretty big teeth right then. Toward the end my calf muscles started to cramp up and I was falling in all over the place. One of these days I'm going to get on a stretching routine before I sail. It really would have helped out today. I swam the last 100 yards or so, when I got to the no-wind-zone behind the bridge.

And so there you have it. Another shitty day at Crissy. Why do people love this place again?


SlideHappySailor said...

glad you got in under your own power. Does the coast guard fine people for making in bay rescues? I know they do over here, But haven't read the statutes to find what circumstances denote payment..

PeconicPuffin said...

As my niece would say: Don't be a poopyface!

Also, Crissy ain't the place to try your luck wearing less neoprene. Hypothermia is a lame way to die.

(I'm just back from a 1/2 mile shlog on my 77 liter...getting my feet positioned just right so I sink neither nose nor tail when the wind vanishes is quite an act. 2 knots of current heading downwind...not quite what you were up against.)

Catapulting Aaron said...

Michael -- not to be a poopyface, but I'll call 'em as I see 'em. Crissy, from my experience is pretty overrated. My 4/3 worked out ok, and sure enough the coast guard would have saved me if the going got any tougher, but it was a pretty stupid thing. I knew I had friends around so I was too stressed about it.

.5 miles on a 77 sounds less than fun. Hey at least you packed your uphaul :)

PeconicPuffin said...

Dude (sorry but it slipped) tell me that you're always sailing with a f***ing uphaul.

Years ago I went to an in-store appearance by Robby in Hatteras. He took questions for two hours (which was amazing.) Some goofball (my best friend) put the question to Robby that didn't he think uphauling was the biggest turnoff to beginning windsurfers, and that if there was a way to eliminate the uphaul blah blah blah.

Robby cut him off.

"Hey, I uphaul all the time."

Robby uphauls. Robby doesn't go out without an uphaul. That was good enough for me.