October 10, 2017 at 12:06 pm #5168
It’s been that kind of a summer, no wind for us windsurfers who don’t like big gear. But if there’s a hint of a potential blow I grab the opportunity. The dry spell had me get all caught up with projects at home; new roof on the shed, got that damn maple tree down with my son, Skylar’s help, pool is closed, brake calipers, lines and pad and struts on the kid’s car, 3 cords of wood stacked, kids back at school. And I managed an epic canoe trip through the Adirondacks, taking advantage of the recent heat wave and no wind conditions; the best paddling conditions I’ve ever had for this trip that I’ve been doing for a number of years!
So monitoring IWindsurf forecasts and wind charts I finally broke that dry spell with some really fun sessions. I nailed one cool session a week or so ago at Durand where arriving early I stood, watched and willed a wicked late evening session. Arriving with barely a breath of air but having total faith in the forecast I patiently waited all set up for wind to arrive. Bathers were beating the 90 degree heat and I’m sure were puzzled by my arrival at the beach which is finally back to normal after our summer’s high water conditions. I waited and waited, smelling wind in the air, imagining flying over the water cooling off as I fly though the waves….little tiny puffs mostly side to side off and then low level scud clouds appeared and flew by rather quickly and out on the water ripples appeared on the water upwind. Still with no sailable wind I grabbed my board and with boom in hand stood at the water’s edge waiting. A group of Mom’s with their kids watched as did a bunch of teens, surely still puzzled as what I was up to. Then it blew! I’d rigged a 7.5 and was quickly on plane and in fact got catapulted and slammed withing the first fifty yards. I came in and flattened the sail and proceded to make my arms longer for an extended blow…flying across the water cooling off as I went. The winds ramped up big but I held on, the sun was getting low in the sky, the beach goers left quite a while ago and with no eyes on me and risk of breaking my gear I realized I’d reached my limitations and got blown off the water. The dry spell was broken.
Back pain, blisters, aching shoulder joints, it feels good to be sailing again. The fronts are finally moving through and bring winds with them. Seneca Lake forecast was moderate but I still have fun on my bigger gear, that being my 115 Fanatic Ray (59cm width) and up to a 7.5 Ezzy Wave sail. So chasing a questionable forecast and with kiteboarder Groupme posts as a tease I head down to Seneca to sail at a spot I’ve sailed at for close to 30 years, Seneca Park near the marina, the east most point on the lake. Park benches, shade trees, easy launch, friendly people.
The IWindsurf meter has the wind at 19mph, so I rig my big gear as I find slogging seems to sap more of my energy that being totally juiced! The park windsurf launch location allows me to punch out into the lake avoiding any shoreline lift or holes, it’s a beautiful sunny day and I’ve masked myself with a healthy 100 SPF sunscreen in case an extended session is encountered. The trees along the lake have started changing colors, the kiters dot the north end of the lake and I leave them behind to venture up the lake. The wind ramps up, don’t know how strong but feeling completely comfortable I point far upwind enjoying a lake void of any boats, just me, the wind and the waves! It’s awesome. Always conscious of wind strengths as I head far from shore I’m certain this is a sustained blow and I pass by shoreline I’ve never seen in all my years sailing here at Seneca. There are some beautiful ramps in the middle and I give the upwind rail extra pressure pushing down and quickly pulling up on the tail of my slalom board, pushing my rig forward just a bit to fall off the wind while in the air. It’s just too much fun. I find the east shore of the lake is a bit weaker in strength but I continue to sail from one side of the lake to the other totally screaming closing the gap between the foot of the sail and top of my board to get every bit of power from my rig, riding hard on the fin and last few inches of my board and then I sense just a hint of a weakening wind. The real fun is just beginning as I bear off and ride the smooth backside wave swells, ripping, screaming, hooting and hollering. My center of gravity gets so low sometimes as I rake the sail back I occasionally body slam the wave tops, not always fun cause…well it hurts but I’m literally bouncing off the water while sailing at breakneck speed. Still fun. I’ve spent an hour beating upwind and in ten minutes I’m back at shore exhausted and suffering from adrenaline overload (the good kind not the “I almost died” kind). The winds die. I have a sixth sense for this that no one knows about. Geoff shows up and after a few minutes catching up we head out in mild air for another session. I slog. I hate slogging. I’ll leave this one to Geoff.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="723"] Art in the Sky over Seneca Lake[/caption]
The winds have disappeared for a few days. Nothing for the sharks. But the kiters are at Seneca again and I meet up with Geoff on this late afternoon. It looks weak but we’re here and get teased out into the mild air on our big stuff. Geoff’s on his Ultra Cat and big sail, I’m on the Ray with my 7.5 ( it’s the biggest sail I own). I slog…or go very slowly and fall. I don’t carry an uphaul ( may rethink this strategy as cold weather approaches), and I’m swimming, not a puff in sight. Geoff sails by in his yacht and assures me that there’s a puff coming my way, it does and I waterstart and promptly head to shore. The Seneca Gods giveth and taketh away. After a nice discussion about the future of windsurfing on the advent of hydrofoiling for windsurfing and a snack of locally grown grapes Geoff brought, the wind freshens! Patience Grasshopper, it’s on! We rip and after another awesome Seneca thermal enjoy a most awesome sunset with very cool pre hurricane Nate skies.
October 10, 2017 at 3:48 pm #5169
Thanks for that Scott….that is a read for the scrap book. And that photo…….
October 10, 2017 at 6:33 pm #5170
That sunset was the most striking sunset I’ve seen in a long time. The photo is good, but the vivid contrast in colors was simply stunning, as was the 3-D texture of the clouds in the “foreground” (the ones high up overhead, with the reds and greys).
Sunday 10/8 was raging at Seneca, WNW so gusty started off in upper teens (after it switched to the W), but for a good while it was 20-25, gusts to 30+. Was great until I cut my leg pretty badly on my fin (Scott and I had just talked about that!!!). Wind shift put my launch site down in a hole, and it had jacked up to where my 6.7 was way too big and I just fell off the back trying to ride nearly dead downwind. Oh well, got a family reunion thing to do next weekend anyway, so I guess I only missed yesterday…
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