What a month! Last year at this time us Long Island sailors were struggling to find bodies of water that weren't frozen over and testing our tolerances for cold water sailing. This January was so warm I logged a day sailed with out gloves! And with 9 solid sessions this month I'm very much looking forward to February!
Here are some highlights:
Makani Testing- Because of Long Islands reputation for some most notoriously weedy windsurfing conditions in North America, Mike Burns and I were asked to assist in the development of Makani Fin's next generation of Freestyle Weed fin. We received two rockin' prototypes and got to work spinning, flipping, and shedding weeds over the span of several windy days right here on Long Island. That' Right! Available this spring, the new Makani fins received their final stamp of approval right here!
The most exciting day of testing was the final day which went down at West Meadow, where the shallow water challenged our ability to navigate the narrow puddles that formed between the sand bars. The water was glass flat, but we were barely clearing the fins at times, to the point where a if the board sunk even a half inch, we'd be run aground.
After a few runs tighter than flying an X-wing through the Death Star trenches we had our lines dialed, and the fins were put to the test. To be honest, I didn't even realize I had a weed fin on. The new fins are so close to a standard high performance freestyle fin in every way that I will never hesitate to put on a weed fin again. Combined with the new, more durable construction, Makani's new weed fin is everything we could have hoped for and more. Hell, Mike even hit his first double spock while testing. How about that!
Tanner Perfection- I don't know why I don't spend more time at Tanner. Maybe it's because I only sail there in the winter on fluky southerlies when Joe's Beach is closed. The chop bounces off the bulk heads and makes for mogul sailing on either side of the launch, and when you're struggling to stay on a plane to begin with it's very hard to justify sailing there. To avoid this you need to cross over the the island upwind of the launch, which takes a lot of work when the wind isn't consistent and the island itself has some elevation so the wind can be very gusty by the time you're in the flat water to it's lee.
Saturday was a different story. I was well powered and took off for the islands east of the launch in the middle of the bay, where I had never sailed before. There had to be a mile of flat, waist deep water and micro chop over there, and the wind was steady! My sail never felt a gust of a lull, just steady power on long reaches back and forth as I watched the sunset behind the Jones Beach Amphitheater.
As it turns out, Tanner is about a half hour closer to my new job than Joe's, which means I will be spending quite a bit more time exploring the potential freestyle spots tucked away between the islands.
Helmet Cam Madness!- I finally used the Contour helmet cam that's been sitting next to my bed for close to a year (turns out I crash and curse a lot)!!! The quality of the images is incredible. I got so excited that I picked up a Go Pro as well. All I need now is to invest in some editing software and a clew-view!
What a great month! The forecast seems to be keeping this same pattern of warmth and wind, which means if thing's stay this way, we'll be sailing in board shorts by April!!