Monday, June 30, 2008

Little League Pride

Double Play

Ben got the MVP ball in game 3 of an all-star baseball tournament that he played in over the weekend. He hit well, played his shortstop position well, and fielded a smooth double play that seemed to be the stand out play for his team. Go Ben!

Ben was humble about the award. He wasn't sure he deserved it. But he was also very proud. I was proud too. It's always surprising to me how good it feels to see my children succeeding at something they love and work hard at. I definitely think that he deserved the recognition.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

HARDING'S BEACH, windsurfed, W, SW, SSW, light building to 15-22, Gerry

Recurring Dream- I used to have a recurring windsurfing dream; I'm driving to the beach, I can see the water, I can see chop and windsurfers planing, it looks great! But the road, like Rubberman's long arm, stretches on endlessly. I drive, and drive, and I never get there. There were variations to this theme but the common thread was that I never got to windsurf in my windsurfing dreams. I haven't had those dreams in recent years, which is ironic, because I feel like they are coming to life with alarming frequency.

Skunk # 10. Since March. But who's counting?

Here's How- It was howling when I arrived. All the kiters had stopped to get smaller kites, but the wind dropped off while I was rigging. Gerry and I tailgated it for about 1 hour, nursing our dissapointment with bottled water. I took some long cruising runs to explore the area some more, then practiced tacking, jibing and crashing in the small shorebreak to improve my light wind wave balance. It helped me work out my frustration regarding the unreliable wind, and unreliable wind forecasts. The wind improved near the end, I was planing about 50 %, so I sailed until 8:45 pm and got everything derigged just before the light completely faded.

Gerry was overpowered on his 7.0 when I arrived

Ridgevale Beach- The wind was SSW near the end, port tack out. I found an interesting spot, a little down wind (in SSW), where a creek meets the ocean. There were some small sandbars at the mouth of the creek that were about waist deep near high tide. Chop was breaking on them, even in the light winds. I'll bet with an outgoing tide, near high tide, that there is some fun jumping to be had around those sandbars. The water flowing into the creek, on the incoming tide, was surprisingly strong. One could park at Ridgevale Beach, which is right next to the creek outlet, but it looks like a long walk from the parking lot. Ridgevale is between Harding's and Cockle Cove, easy to sail to.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

FOGLAND, no wind

Skunkland- I thought that I was so lucky this week! After 17 years of not being free on weekday evenings, due to family needs, I found that I had 2 whole evenings, Wednesday & Thursday, with nothing on my schedule, no responsibilities. And the forecast called for good wind on Thursday! I worked late on Wednesday so I could feel good about leaving a little early on Thursday. It turned out to be super windy on Wednesday and skunky on Thursday. Wind forecasting is a lost art.

Rant, Rant, Rant- My problem is that I live too far from the water to pop over to the beach for a quickie when it's windy. When I try that, it usually dies while I'm en route. I often have to go before it gets windy, relying on the forecasts to have some accuracy. When it works it's like magic. The wind starts to build right when I get there, or during my drive. When the forecasting is completely wrong, like it's been most of the time lately, I miss the good wind and chase the bad, very frustrating.

Taylor's Lane- South of Fogland. I stopped to look at this wave spot. The launch was kinda rocky but I could see how a nice swell could roll in here with a S or SE. I would hope that the wave action is a little off-shore so you don't have to worry about jibing around rocks.

Grinnell Beach- North of Fogland. This could be nice with S, SW, and outgoing tide. Even with light winds there was some chop in the channel from tidal flow. It might be better off-season to avoid pissing off the boaters and fisherwomen.

Picture- boat at Sakonnet Point

Sunday, June 22, 2008

DUXBURY- Powder Point Bridge, Windsurfed, WSW, 20-30, then 15-25 diminishing, Ed, Pamela, others

I needed this session. I've been like a diabetic with low blood sugar, irritable, easily angered, especially by bad wind forecasts. Now I feel better.

pulling up from a great laydown jibe, unknown sailor

Conditions- I got out on the 4.2 for about 1 hour, staying mostly in the middle where the wind seemed best. Then a dark cloud went through, bringing a torrential downpour, gusts to 38, hail (I think), and blurring the separation between water and air. It really hurt my face to sail in that. I was the only guy foolish enough to be out on the water when it hit but I didn't stay out for more than 1 run. After that it was 5.8, then 6.2, mostly chasing gusts and playing with some light air moves in between planing.

Powder Point Bridge, the longest wooden bridge in the world

Water State- I was reminded how good the chop hops can be at Duxbury with an outgoing tide and incoming wind. The tide didn't start going out until after the wind dropped, unfortunately, but I got lucky on a few gusts. Overall it was a good session that nobody had forecast, nice surprise.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wingaersheek Walk

Wingaersheek walk

Ben and I went to his school-is-out unofficial beach party today with lots of his friends and his friends parents. It was at Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester. I couldn't help but look at the area with a windsurfer's eye. In fact, I had just received an inside tip, a few days before, saying that I should check out this beach for wavesailing, complete coincidence, really.

Wingaersheek Beach- What a beautiful beach! I think it could be great for windsurfing in E, NE, N, NW. SE and W might be good for side-off, if the wind is clean enough. There is a sign saying NO WINDSURFING, but the lifeguard said that you can launch from the boat ramp, on the river side, and sail anywhere outside of the bathers, or just wait until they're off duty. Annisquam lighthouse is in the distance. A lot of the beaches near here might work for landboarding in the off season, very hard packed, smooth sand. Note- Jean recommends NW, thanks for the tip.

Wingaersheek, Coffin's is past 2 points

Coffin's Beach- Jeff B. says that Coffin's Beach gets really nice waves. I'm not sure why they would be better than the waves at Wingaersheek or Cranes but he seems to think it's special. There is no public access but rumor has it that you can sail there from Wingaersheek, 1/3 mile away, or Cranes, 5 miles away? I swam there from Wingaersheek today, to take a look. There was no way to get out and walk back, high tide, so I just swam straight there and back. It took me 1/2 hour to stop shivering afterwards, and it was a hot day. That water is cold!

Postcard picture waiting to happen, just add windsurfer

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Windsurfing Misadventure

I drove to Pt. Judith, R.I. on the strength of an Iwindsurf special update. All the other tea leaves said no wind. Special update said wind. Special update was wrong. I guess special updates ain't what they used to be. Or maybe they never were.

This part of the R.I. coast doesn't have any great spots for light wind freestyle that I know of. So I went on a photo reconnaissance mission, bravely seeking out new sailing gems, just in case we ever get another windy weekend day.
Jamestown Bridge, from Frigate St. Jamestown

Jamestown, Frigate St.- This could be fun in NW. One long run would take you out to the Jamestown Bridge. SW could be sailable too. There is an interesting lighthouse, Plum Beach Light, a little further than halfway to the other side, almost under the bridge, perched on a pile of rocks. It's 1 mile out but could be fun to explore in the right conditions.

Narragansett Town Beach with The Towers in background- I was surprised that there were any waves at all here. Every other place was flat. This could be nice in NE, might be slightly side-off. When the lifeguards are on duty one end of the beach is open for surfers etc. Otherwise the whole beach can be used. The parking lot might work for landboarding since it isn't a state beach.

Black Point Fishing Area, tough launch

shack on The Narrow River

Sunday, June 8, 2008

FOGLAND, windsurfed, landboarded, mostly light winds from S to W, Sunny, 94 F. air temp to start, 75 F. end.

I windsurfed. I landboarded. I windsurfed. The 6.2 was too small for the Carve 123, and too big for the landboard. What are the odds of that?

Strange weather- The wind was all over the place, shifty, up and down, sneaky. on 2 runs I noticed that the wind was SW on one side and S on the other, with a line in the middle where it was dead with much colder air, very strange. It was so hot that I sailed for a while with no wetsuit. Chris P. was in his sailboat all weekend, offshore from Boston. He said it was cool & foggy there, jacket weather.

Freestyle launch- I found a good place for the non-planing freestyle stuff in SW or W. It's the first parking on the left when you drive in, sailing near the boat ramp. It's nice and sandy and it drops off somewhat gradually. The whole area from there to the lighthouse seemed similar, except close to the lighthouse was rocky.

Pinching the lighthouse- The highlight of the session was cruising past the lighthouse in mostly W winds just before sunset. I wanted to see what was on the other side. What a beautiful spot! The lighthouse is perched on a rocky cliff and outcropping. Up close, the shore looks almost like it is made of coral from a Caribbean scene. I had to tack upwind to get out there. On the way back I was very tight to the point, barely pinching upwind of it. If I had dropped the sail it would have landed on the rocks at the base of the cliff. Of course, any rational sailor would expect the wind to be super light in that close to a rock wall, and it was. There was also some backwash from the small chop hitting the wall. It occurred to me that it would be hard to get out of there if I fell, because I would have to swim it straight upwind to get off the rocks. I guess I unwittingly found a way to give myself a challenge in the light winds. But I was mostly just being a tourist and enjoying the dramatic view. It would be fun to sail there in a good strong W or NW wind.

Fogland Lighthouse

I just did a Google search on the Fogland lighthouse and discovered that it isn't a lighthouse. It's a private residence, 263 High Hill Rd, made to look like a lighthouse, very convincing. It sold for 4.4 million in 2006.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Candid Camera

I got some email activity this week about my picture turning up on page 6 of the latest New England Windsurfing Journal. What? I thought, I didn't send any pictures to the Journal. I decided that it might be a joke. I immediately started wracking my brain to remember if I'd had any embarrassing windsurfing moments lately that someone might have captured in pixels and sent to The Journal. Bathing suit hasn't fallen down in public... I haven't rammed anyone or anything with any windsurfing equipment... I haven't taken a pee break next to an electric fence. What could it be?

Well, my journal finally arrived and it turns out that it's a very nice picture, mid duck jibe, taken by Jean, accompanied by a really nice article about windsurfing at West Dennis on May 4th. What a kick! The article really captures the feel of a good, early morning session, getting up before sunrise because the sound of the wind howling outside is filtering into dreamland. It makes a great souvenir of a memorable session.

This is the picture in question. Jean sent it to me after the May 4th session and I put it on the blog in mini size. Then he sent it to the Journal, apparently, along with his article. Here it is full size.

West Dennis, May 4th, I didn't hit anyone

So now I've got all these ideas for embarrassing windsurfing related pictures that I could send to the Journal, bathing suit failure, electric fences, etc. I just need a subject. If you see me coming with a camera don't give it a second thought. There really aren't too many electric fences near sailing sites anyway.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

NINIGRET, Windsurfed Sat. & Sun. AMC crew, SW, 5-22, 6.8, 6.2/ Carve 123

Fog at Camp Fuller

This was the Petra Kanz weekend clinic at Camp Fuller, Pt. Judith. I was the only one from my family unit to sail. I got out both days, gusty but fun. Ninigret is shallow and flat but sometimes you pay the price in gusty winds.

Josh brought Darren along. They spent the weekend boating and fishing.

Ben and Barbara went home around noon on Sunday to get Ben to 2 baseball games. His team was counting on him.

Saturday was cold, foggy, rainy. Sunday was the nicer day of the weekend, sunny, warm, windy enough to overpower the beginners for about an hour or 2 in the afternoon. It's too bad that Barb and Ben missed the best part of the weekend. At least they left for something fun- baseball.