Sunday, September 30, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I wasn't sure I was going to until I got there. I woke up and went on line to find myself looking at a sort of a Goldilocks and the Three Extra-Bad Bears of a forecast situation. No this one's too little, this one's too much, and this one's just right. Oh, no no no no no. This was this one's just right, and then the other two are "a little more than I'm sure I can handle" and "forget it, I'm taking my kayak so I don't die".
There are 2 forecasts I usually look at for Jamaica Bay. There's the NOAA graphic interface one that you get to via noaa.gov - you plug in the Sebago zip cope (11236), scoot the map over to show the Rockaway Inlet, click on the water outside the bridge and it gives you the marine forecast. That was saying 10 - 15 kts. That's fine. Next stop, though, was iwindsurf.com, and that was still pretty much saying what it was saying on Friday:
So then I looked at the older text version of the NY Harbor marine forecast that I link to over in my trip planning tools. That was midway. 10 - 15 gusting to 20 I think it was. Hm. The gusting to 20 part was intimidating. It would be challenging - but...hm. Maybe.
One way or another I was going to go out and enjoy the Sebago Cup - either racing in a Sunfish, or in my kayak hanging out near the basin and taking pictures of the real sailors. :D
Figured I'd leave the call until I got to the club and talked to our sailing co-chairs, Jim and Holly - in a situation like the one I was looking at I actually trust their judgement as to whether I should sail or not better than mine.
First thing Holly said to me when I got to the club? "You should sail!"
She said that the NOAA forecasts were generally to be trusted, and she also pointed out that the wind was going to be from the south all day, so if I did get to feeling overwhelmed at any point it would be easy to go home. In fact that point was repeated at the skipper's meeting for everyone - there were a number of us who were going to be pushing our envelopes and I think Jim and Holly wanted to have that "if it's too much, just turn back to the club, getting home will be the easy part" idea planted before we set out.
Holly also told me that Jim was going to be out in the safety boat instead of sailing - that was all I needed to hear. I picked Baby Blue and started rigging.
Here was the course of this year's Sebago Cup. Red nun #16 was the only mark that had to be taken a certain way - you left it to port going out and starboard coming hime. Jim had laid it out with the idea of keeping us out of the biggest of the wind and the waves, and it ended up being a very good plan for the day.
High water was going to be a little after 2 in the afternoon, so the current was going to be coming in for a while - dark blue arrows.
If you did it in a kayak, the course would be around 8 nautical miles. If you did it in a kayak, that is. Muahahahaha.
It took a while for everyone to launch, which was good 'cause I got out pretty quickly and had some time to warm up. And cool down. It was supposed to get up to eighty, but wow, the spray. I was glad I was wearing my Farmer Jane and it wasn't too long before I pulled out the windbreaker I'd brought along. Wasn't really planning to use it but boy was I glad I had it. I was then glad I had a few more minutes to figure out how many pieces of the boat the windbreaker was likely to snag when I tacked if I let it (pretty much all of them). It was definitely blowy out there - people were getting knocked over here and there; I didn't get knocked over but I did at one point slide backwards off of my boat into the water in a completely ignominious fashion(I think a gust had come up suddenly and I'd leaned to keep from capsizing and then the gust left just as abruptly and there I was completely unbalanced).
I chugged a bottle of water 'cause I didn't see how I was going to do it under sail.
I considered putting on the gloves I'd brought but decided against it because again, I didn't see how I was going to take them off if I didn't like them.
I didn't really try for a good start 'cause I was still finding different things for my windbreaker to snag on when I tacked, and I didn't want to be in close quarters with the tiller extension stuck up a sleeve or something (I did eventually sort that out but I was still working on it at the start).
So, a so-so start, in the interest of not breaking anything, and then the first bit of the race was fine. A few tacks to get to the buoy, and then a nice reach along the north shore of Canarsie Pol. Whee.
Then we rounded the corner & started south.
I decided to hug the shore of Canarsie Pol instead of going outside the little marsh islands just to the east. I saw a lot of other people going outside - I probably should have followed them 'cause my choice involved an awful lot of tacking. Oh well. Cleared Canarsie Pol and OK...off to Ruffle Bar!
The orange arrow marked "Phew!!!"? That was the most heavenly moment in the entire race - when I finally made that last tack, came about, and saw that my bow was pointing at open water instead of the beach that I'd found myself looking at for the previous nine-hundred-and-thirty-seven tacks. YAAAAAY!
Clubmate and fellow kayak instructor Dottie and I were at this point vying for "DFL" (dead f____g last if you're not familiar with that fancy sailing lingo!) - or at least it looked like we were, as far as I was concerned at this point I was going to be thoroughly tickled with myself for actually sticking with it through that dreadfully long upwind leg and finishing. Also it was sort of nice to have some company, I'd been off on my own for most of the beat. We had some lovely surfing downwind back to Canarsie Pol - I buried my bow once or twice and then started really leaning back to keep it raised...
Still couldn't eat a luna bar, open a bottle of water or even take any pictures, this was not one of those "one hand for you, one for the boat" days for me, this was two hands for the boat at all times - I'm glad Jim ad Colin were taking pictures 'cause the only one I was able to take all day was during a bit of a lull as I was sailing back to the basin after I crossed the finish line the 2nd time...oops, more on that in a minute!
So Dottie and I rounded the east side of Canarsie Pol again, sailing past 2 other Sunfish - one had stopped to render moral support to another who'd capsized; Jim and Colin were there with the safety boat by then so Dottie and I sailed on by, and headed for the finish line.
I was still ahead of her but she's well known for her eagle eyes, while I'm a little bit nearsighted, and I started having visions of me totally missing the finish line and sailing around in circles while she went zipping across it, so I went on over towards the shoreline and started hunting for it. Spotted it well before I got there and crossed and I was SOOOO happy! Yay! I'm done! I did it! I made it! Yippee...
getting through it - but I think that has to be the toughest dinghy sail I've done so far, and I was pretty happy with myself for just finishing.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Oh, and speaking of good events this weekend - New York Kayak Company is first out of the gate for cold water workshops this Fall, Randy & company are holding one this Saturday, September 29th starting at 11:00 AM. There will be gear to test in the Hudson. Water's not bad yet but it's definitely cooling off. If you're a seasonal paddler here in the northeast who's thinking of making the jump to year-round, I can't recommend finding and attending such a workshop enough. For NY Kayak's location & contact info, and to register for the free workshop, visit NewYorkKayak.com. The workshop is in the Event Calendar.
This is an unpaid, unsolicited plug.
RiverTalks @ Beczak: What's Canada's approach to Clean Water? Find out ...: Capital to Capital Canoe Expedition presentation in Yonkers on Saturday, September 29 1,000 mile Canadian ...
Monday, September 24, 2012
Sailing in my first Sebago Cup (and living to tell the tale!) - what a fine way to end the summer!
Thanks to sailing co-chairs Jim and Holly for telling me to go for it.
And thanks to the race committee Jim & Colin for being out in the safety boat (I think Colin was taking the pictures while Jim drove) - I didn't need you (phew!) but my goodness, it was nice to know you were there.
Click on the picture to go to to Jim's album from a breezy day on J-Bay!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Either way, he was delicious. Garden tomatoes (best summer for those since I started gardening) and basil, with fresh mozzarella from my best find of the summer, Joe's Dairy. Not much longer 'til I'll be putting the bed to bed - couldn't resist having a little extra fun with tonight's dinner.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Line-throwing and bow-to-bow pushing contest photos. Great North River Tugboat Race & Contest Part...um, I lost track
Also a pretty good hint that I'd worked about an hour longer than was going to be conducive to writing a nice post about my first wonderful, lovely, fabulous solo paddle in I can't remember how long.
Oh right -- "fabulous". That was actually the word, it was just my tired eyes playing funny word-association games that made me see "bulbous".
Anyways, sorry about the tease, but in the meantime, here are some more tugboat photos. I really am close to done now! I'm going to put the last two on-water contests up here now, but I'm going to switch the order to put my favorite photos first. The line-throwing contest was actually part of why I didn't go on the spectator boat - you miss most of this if you're on the spectator boat, and if you can get a good spot (which I did), this is tons of fun to take photos of! So here we go again -
And guess what? That's it for the on-water section of the 20th Annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Contest!
Monday, September 17, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Sept. 11, 2012, a set on Flickr.
I've already posted the best but it was a lovely night and of course I took other pictures too. It's not a terrible album, there are only 22 pictures,Mostly of the Tribute in Light and the new WTC 1, but there was also a glorious sunset and the best kind of rush hour - a sailboat traffic jam!