Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday Windy Sunday

Ironically, it was windier at home when I returned from last Saturday's Outer Banks trip than it was when I was actually in the Outer Banks. In fact, it was the most wind Virginia had seen all winter. Yet, confident that my extra small sail could handle the conditions, I put on my clammy wetsuit in the bath tub and drove up the road to windsurf at Carmines Island. When I got there it looked like about 30 knots from the West.

I called Sam Lake, who had been considering joining me for the session, and said it was probably too much for his kiteboarding gear. He agreed, informing me that the news was reporting 40 - 50 mph gusts. Yikes! Fortunately windsurfing stuff is relatively safe in high winds; strong gusts tend to simply knock windsurfers down into the water, whereas they tend to pick kiters up and hurl them into oblivion. So I covered up with lots of protective gear...


...and put together my smallest high-wind kit.


The sail is just 3.5 meters squared, so it takes about 30 knots for it to work properly. Once on the water I realized there was all that and more. But after I tightened up the sail to the max, I had a great session.


The serious gusts were still too much to handle, though, and when they came through I would get knocked off the board and have to hunker down in the water while fat droplets of spray lifted off the waves and whooshed through the air. Yee haw! When the "nuclear" gusts started coming at shorter intervals, I retreated to shore and packed up for the day. After getting warm and dry at home (fortunately just before the power went out) I drove down to the boat launch at Gloucester Point and snapped some pictures of the insane winds rushing beneath the Coleman Bridge (below).




scooper said...

I love the picture of the wind blowing under the bridge. It really captures the force of the wind. It was a wild day!

Paul Richardson said...

I agree with Scooper about the bridge pic. Looks like this afternoon might be a chilly session.

James Douglass said...

Scooper- Thanks. I actually had trouble getting a steady picture because the wind was blowing me around. :)

Paul- Yeah, the weather couldn't make up its mind today. But we'll get out there sometime soon for the maiden voyage of your new board.

Catapulting Aaron said...

Very cool. How would you rate your "comfort" on the sail... Alone, in some pretty wicked conditions. Were you sailing pretty cautiously?

James Douglass said...

Aaron- There were times I was scared, but other times that I felt perfectly dialed-in. This is my 3rd time on the 3.5 so I'm starting to get used to it. Also, the wind was onshore and the water was fairly shallow, which helped my confidence. I definitely sailed more conservatively than usual, though, i.e. I held back on the jumping and the speed. Hope you get some good wind soon. :)