Friday morning was breezy and cool, but clear. I rode my bike to the launch site by the pool. Kestrel (my wind-o-meter) said 16 mph average. It was coming slightly west of north, the waves crashing against the seawall. I decided to check again later after things had warmed up a bit.
After breakfast, I told Baab that I wanted to sail today - after all, this was our last full day here. I grabbed my shorts & neoprene and drove my truck (with windsurfing gear) to the parking area by the former primitive camping area. (Those campsites are still there, waiting for campers that will never arrive.) I walked to the seawall for another wind check - a pleasant 9 mph. Determined to sail on this last day, I began rigging my 8.5 in the grass among the palm trees between the marina basin and the pool.
A couple walked by. “Are you coming in or going out?” Coming or going – always the question. “I’m getting ready to go sailing.” “It’s a nice breeze” she said. “Actually, we’d prefer a bit more wind” I replied, feeling confident. “It’s supposed to get windier this afternoon”, the man said. “Good!” I replied, thinking, right – like this guy knows what he’s talking about.
A few minutes later, with the 8.5 ready to go, Dan, who was rigging his 8.1 said “It looks like we’re gonna be in for a ride.” Checking the palm trees, it did seem a little breezier. I walked back to the seawall with Kestrel. 18 avg! Oh man, I’m gonna get my @$$ kicked with that 8.5!
I decided to take a few minutes to rig my 6.5. By the time I carried my sail to the wall, I could see Dan out there, boom and sail well away from sheeted in, bouncing over the waves and hanging on. In the water, I clicked the mast base into the track, raised the sail to catch some wind, stepped up on the board, and sailed off!
The 6.5 was plenty of sail. I was on the equipe for the 9 mph breeze, and had not bothered to switch to the short board. In no time I was well away from shore. I realized I should turn around before getting too far away. Given the conditions and my skill level, I decided to tack. With the rough seas, I fell in, of course! After climbing back on the board, I leaned into the (power?) uphaul. Snap! The uphaul parted, and I was back in the water. Oh, sheet! A quick look showed the covering over the inner stretch cord had ripped apart. Grasping the thinner inner cord, I tried uphauling again. Snap again! This time I had two separate lengths of uphaul.
Time to water start - or die! I was thankful for my flotation vest. Of course, the board was pointing the wrong way, and, of course, the sail was on the wrong tack. The wind made flipping the sail easy but yanked it out of my hands, and my rig, with the boom on top of the board, started moving away from me. Remembering Baab’s experience from the previous year, I moved quickly to get hold of my rig. With the head of the mast in hand, I was able to fly the sail, get the board pointed in the right direction, and get my feet on the edge of the board. With the sail and board in the right position, the wind easily lifted me out of the water and I was on my way back toward the seawall.
Once back near shore, I took a few minutes to catch my breath. I was wearing a neoprene top for the first time this trip and was feeling a bit chilled. Dan was still sailing. I climbed out and retrieved the easy uphaul from my 8.5 and attached it to the 6.5. About this time, Dan came back in. “How are you doing?” I asked. “I’ve had about enough” he replied. With little hesitation I said “Me too!”.
We pulled our rigs from the water, carried them to the grass, and began derigging.
One more trip to the seawall. The wind-o-meter showed 20 mph average! Guess I’m not qualified for 20 knot snob status just yet!