What do you do?
Hey, it's the first day of 2008, and the wind is really cranking hard, with averages in the high 20s and low 30's mph ranges. However, the direction is almost straight offshore, with humidity values in the single digits. Nobody else is there, so it's a dilemma of sorts.
So, what do you do? It's morning, and it's not really my comfort zone, being an afternoon guy. Even as a surfer back in the 60s and 70s, afternoon has always been my game for mixing it up and realizing my basic nature. Morning has always been hard for me.
Despite my internal reservations, i just rig up and do it. Even if nobody is there, you can taste the sweetness. It's almost better in a way, since you're alone and finding a special time that is both unique and challenging. Being too conservative has no results worth remembering.
That's what I love about windsurfing. It's a focal point for decisions and experience. If stress is a part of the scene, it only improves the possible opportunities for fun.
A truly great indroduction to 2008.
Offshore - yes, but where were you? What's the air and water temp? Sailing alone involves some risk, but one has to consider the worst case scenario.
I have sailed alone, but not at much risk. I did head out a few weeks ago and found I was the only one at the site. 20 to 25 knot side off shore winds, air and water at 50 degrees F. Worst case would have been an hour drift / float / swim to the down wind shore of the lake. I decided not to chance it. I would have survived (good wet suit, hood, booties & gloves), but didn't want to risk the hassel. It can get lonely out there.
I did get a good day yesterday in similar conditions at the same site, but had 12 buddies to share the fun.
The spot is Port Hueneme, which is about 45 miles southeast of Santa Barbara, California. It is one of the only locations that works with the classic Santa Ana winds that occur usually during the Fall and very early Winter months. Santa Ana winds can be very strong offshore wind events originating from the deserts of the Southwest states as a large high pressure area sets up and follows after passing storm fronts. These winds were the driving force for the devastating fires that ravaged many counties of Southern California earlier this Fall.
Santa Ana winds tend to be warmer events exhibiting very low humidity values. Yesterday's temperature was in the low 60s, and the water was probably about 54-55 degrees F. Not as formidible as the situation you faced temperature wise, but it's an ocean launch where a breakdown could potentially send you out to sea. Fortunately the wind is not totally straight offshore, as there is a slight angle to the wind making it somewhat easier to sail back in to the launch point. Needless to say, it's best to stay fairly tight and close to the shoreline to lessen your risks to some degree. Still though, you tend to be out a ways at your outside jibe.
Many years ago, more folks would usually show up to sail Port Hueneme for Santa Ana winds, but today the numbers just don't seem to be there. However, another sailor that I know did ultimately show up after my session while I was derigging. He was hungry for some action like I was, so he elected to sail and he ultimately enjoyed a good solo session. Seems like I'm not the only crazy person out there willing to roll the dice a bit for a chance at a good time. I have to admit though, I took the extra time and effort to reverse my downhaul line because it was becoming slightly frayed, and I also checked the integrity of the tendon and retention line on my universal. One can't afford to be too foolish.
Nice to have such a good start of a season.
Here in Serbia, it started furiously, with three days of stupidly strong SE wind. Look at these screen grabs of weather reports (check all three pics in a set):
Temperatures were below zero with freezing rain and solid ice on the sidewalks. To be honest I don't know what I would have done of these conditions even if it was 20 C. I'll give it a go next time with my new Acid74 (due to arrive this month ;-) and some 3.x sail.
Anyway, judging by the start of the year, I'm looking forward to see the rest of it :-)))))))
No doubt about it, very strong winds. Winter weather must be quite frustrating in areas subject to snow and ice, especially expecting a brand new board that just might have to stay on the rack for a while. Yet, just around the corner, warmer Spring conditions will open the door for a new season. Once you get a chance to get the new Acid74 on the water, you will have to offer your thoughts.
I grew up in the LA area (San Fernando Valley), so I know where you are. A bit risky with the off shore winds, especially if no one knows you are out there.
Last Friday I sailed alone in 15 to 25 mph side shore winds, 50 degree air and 48 degree water. However, if I had a breakdown, I would drift to shore in about 30 mins, with a 30 minute walk back to the car. Not much risk. I have a great 5mm wet suit, booties, gloves and hood, so I am very comfortable sailing in 40 degree F water and air.
My bottom line for sailing comfort is sunny in the 40's or overcast in the 50's (air temp). Water temp doesn't matter much, but it almost ever gets into the 30's in Dallas. I could go a bit lower, but I would probably find myself alone too often.
It's interesting that you grew up in the San Fernando Valley, as I spent almost 7 years there too from 8-14 years old. I spent that time in Canoga Park, but I was gone in very early 1964. I'm only a few years younger than you, but just enough to be out of sink. However, I can say this while I was there, I started surfing in 1963, and it truly changed my life.
Regarding your choice to sail in 40-50 degrees F, I have to admit that that's a bit out of my range. However, those kind of statics don't exist in the Central/Southern California area (thank goodness).
Nevertheless, I admire your tenacity and dedication. Your yearly days sailed might be down in 2007, but I don't doubt your dedication and focus.
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