Tuesday, October 25, 2011

That Escalated Quickly!

My phrase of the week: "that escalated quickly." Every time I set foot on the water I had to come back in for a sail two sizes smaller than what I started with, which is a good problem to have. The 4.2 was used 4 out of the 5 days I sailed last week and that includes two wave sessions! Things have been very interesting on Long Island lately, but the session at Gilgo last Wednesday was  by far the stand out.
Usually Wednesday is a work day, but a switch with a co-worker landed me one dark and soggy, but windy day off. Right off the bat, the Long Island sound was exceeding predictions, with Bayville, thanks to it's unique geographical features that funnel the easterly winds through the sound, reporting upper twenties early in the morning and predicted to build. Waiting for closer sites to pick up, I quickly caved and began my pilgrimage to CIB, a launch in Bayville famous for it's "Mysto Wave" that some times forms during strong easterlies much like the one we were experiencing.
After an hour drive I arrived, no Mysto, just some waist high peaks that looked fun for jumping. While deciding on what to rig, I double checked the meters to see that the ocean had picked up. There were still no waves, though a swell was due to arrive that afternoon. I reasoned that since the tide in the sound was incoming, the chances of the mysto wave forming were next to zero, so I packed it up drove another 45 minutes from Bayville to Gilgo.
At Gilgo, waves were knee to waist high and breaking no more than 30 yards from the shore with slightly side off winds blowing about 5.0. The game plan was to rig, play around in the tiny surf for a bit, and if the waves didn't pick up, I would head into the back bay behind the parking lot for some glassy flat freestyle.
So I rigged and sailed for about twenty mintues before I started to get over powered on my 5.0. No sooner did I unravel the 4.7 than winds began to howl. The street sign next to my van began twisting and shaking violently while tightly packed white caps with spray wisking off their tops formed instantly on the protected, shallow bay behind me. For ten minutes this gale went, easily breaking the 40 knot barrier before leveling off, and with a 4.2 rigged I began walking towards to dunes to cross back to the ocean, which I could now hear from the edge of the parking lot, and as I came over the top of the dune it was no longer knee to waist, but  over head.
It's hard to remember the last time I witnessed a change so dramatic in such a short period of time. No more than fifteen minutes could have been spent at the van, yet the ocean some how completely transformed. I can't imagine the power it must take to accomplish such a feat, to stir up the seas in the blink of an eye, but with a sail and a board, I was able to harness it to my advantage and enjoyed a wet and soggy Wednesday, Windsurfing.