Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Floody Mess at Crissy

Monday I sailed Crissy Field on a pretty strong flood. Two and a half knots was the forecast, some people said it seemed more like 4 knots in some places. The flood can be problematic at Crissy because the wind and the current are going in the same direction, so getting upwind can be really difficult. To add to that issue, there aren't a lot of great places to swim in or land if the flood is cooking, especially if you have a gear breakdown. Once you hit the piers which are about a half a mile downwind, you're probably going to get sucked right along to the Bay Bridge. The wind reading was averaging 24 on the inside. Normally I would have sailed a 4.7, but I rigged my 5.3 just so I could be sure I could beat the current.

The water conditions were really messy on the inside, but pretty clean and flat on the outside. I felt overpowered at times in the 30kt gusts, but it wasn't a big problem because I really needed to point as much as possible. Overall, a pretty fun day. Also, there were some memorable jumps when the freighters went by. Normally these only leave a big moundy wake, but on Monday they left a wedgy wave that came directly towards a slight upwind reach... WEEEE...

Sailed Crissy again on Tuesday and it was similar, but less windy. The 5.3 was barely enough for me to keep ground. It wasn't a great day, but who am I to complain? Any day of sailing is, in fact, a great day of sailing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Special Session Report: Anniversary Day

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.

Monday, June 1, 2009

1 Year in the Bay

Well folks, June 1st is the day I can celebrate my anniversary of moving to San Francisco. Overall, it's been awesome for me in terms of windsurfing. I'm I think in the last 365 days, I've easily had as much time on the water as I did the 6 years previous COMBINED while living on the east coast.

Crazy, eh?

I've been under the weather and haven't sailed much in the last couple weeks. Hopefully I'll be all better soon and ready to go after the rest of my 2009 goals...

Hope everyone is getting some! (wind)