Sunday, January 05, 2014

Sebago Frostbite Regatta, 2014 Edition

Skipping back a couple of days to New Year's Day - I'm so glad the snowstorm held off until Friday, a couple of days earlier and it would have wrecked Sebago's annual Frostbite Regatta. I love starting out the year with a morning on the water and some New Year's Day rolls, that's in fact a more important tradition for me than champagne and a smooch at midnight (TQ and I are usually asleep at midnight, the firework booms from Prospect Park and the local whooping and hollering wake us up, we'll wish each other Happy New Year and then go back to sleep). There's been at least one Frostbite Regatta since I joined where the paddling part got called due to bad weather, has to be really nasty for us to not go out. I think the eating and meeting still went on but it's the getting out for a paddle on the first day of the year that really makes me feel like I'm getting things off to a good start.

This year felt like a particularly frosty Frostbite, we were terribly tempted to turn off the alarm and snuggle back down under the covers but we did manage to roust ourselves out! Actually started out pretty, as you can see from the picture below (our weather comes from the west and the photographer here is facing sort of northeast, so that blue sky behind us is how the day started out) but things got overcast as we launched. Still, we were all happy to be getting out! 
We weren't terribly organized, there's usually a group shot but it was cold enough on the dock that I think people just wanted to get in their boats and get going. We have 6 of I think it was 9 paddlers here, and then sailor Chris in the viking hat, one of 4 sailors. Sailing co-chair Jim rowed this year, also missed the photo call - pretty good crew for a chilly sort of day!

Steve the Paddling Chef - he actually got this one off the ground, it's odd, we do this every year but somehow it seems to get closer and closer to New Year before an actual email saying "Let's go boating on the 1st" goes out. Steve was the one who eventually kicked it off this year - thanks Steve! 

Minh and Steve bringing down Sirensong

Official club mermaid Vicky says "Who me? Cold?"

Nice assortment of boats this year - used to be all kayaks but in recent years the sailors have been coming out to play too. Here's Holly the Sailing Co-Chair, her Laser is out at the Seawanhakha Yacht Club where she and 2 other Sebago sailors are participating in that club's Frostbite series, so she used a club Sunfish. Two more Sunfish joined in later. 

Chris launched his Melonseed

And sailing co-chair Jim went out in Mouse, the Matunicus peapod he finished last year. "Ash breeze" for New Year's Day. Sorry I didn't manage any more pix, Jim's a great boatbuilder and this is a sweet boat. 

Heading down the Paerdegat

Once we got out into the bay, Jim and Holly headed off down the channel towards Floyd Bennett Field. We were scheduled to have an extremely low tide and a boat with a centerboard has to stick to the channel on days like that - anywhere else in the bay you've got a foot of water. One of my favorite club quotes remains Pete P's comment after a Hudson River trip that went somewhat awry - I missed that one but Pete was talking with a few of us about it a bit later and said "We forget how spoiled we are here, half the time if anything goes wrong you can just get out of your boat and walk". 

The kayaks were a bit indecisive about where we were going. Somebody proposed around Canarsie Pol, but that was vetoed because there's a section to the east that hasn't even got enough water to float a kayak on an extra-low low tide day. 

Instead we headed off towards Ruffle Bar. 

There have been frostbites where we went around Ruffle Bar, but although there is water all the way around Ruffle Bar even on a low low tide day, the circumference of that particular island increases greatly; between that and the cold and the headwind we were going to have going back, we ended up stopping midway between Canarsie Pol and Ruffle Bar. Somebody proposed rolls there - call me a wimp, but I asked if we could hold off until we were closer to the clubhouse, where there was going to be lots of hot food and a blazing fire in the stove. Others saw the sense in that so we headed back for the basin. Click on the picture below for detail - it was clear enough to see the city!

Last look back on the bay.

Now much closer to the basin and warm stuffs. TQ bow-dipped and then threw himself right in for the first of our New Year's Day rolls. 

I had to divest myself of my regalia - Pedro the Penguin Hat floats but he definitely wouldn't stay on my head for a roll and I suspect the pile of Mardi Gras beads (Coney Island-Brighton Beach Open Water Swimmers schwag for their summer swim race kayak volunteers - why, how did you think I got them?) that I like to wear for a little New Year's sparkle would at best just fall off and end up at the bottom of the bay and at worst somehow wrap themselves around my paddle leading to an embarrassing bailout. Handed those off to Vicky and my camera to Phil (I think he took this one) and then --

Happy New Year, fishies! 


Four New Years rollers this year - TQ, me, Steve and Minh. Going over for a semi-synchronized roll.

Last roll of the day and yes, we all came up, wish I'd set the camera to wide frame for the rolling, TQ got out of the frame!

Then we legged it back to the club with all possible haste. Nothing better than good hot food by a good hot stove after voluntarily pitching yourself headfirst into forty degree (if that) water. 

Steve had some pictures to share already (photo by Fran, she had a much better angle - btw Steve also shared that growler, good stuff!)

And I have already had great fun with this one on the Sebago facebook page. Major first for the club and how very appropriate that Luis, the guy who's done an amazing amount of work on bringing the club's recordkeeping into the computer era, should be the first member...

ever to attend the Frostbite Regatta by SKYPE! :D Live from Colombia!  Hi Luis! Hilarity ensued. Nice to see him though, we missed him - he would've been out there with us if he'd been in town.

And that's pretty much it for the Frostbite Regatta pix. There are more, believe it or not - for club members and other gluttons for punishment, I'll upload the same 41-shot set I uploaded to Facebook (includes a whole series of the silliness that ensued after I tossed Pedro the Hat to Vicky) to Picasa tonight, should have a link by morning UPDATE - here it is now  OR there's a captioned version on Facebook.  
Happy New Year!


Tillerman said...

Hey. I think Luis is on to something. Attend frostbite races via Skype. I must see if the Newport Laser Fleet will allow that.

bonnie said...

Luis is a very, very smart guy. And if you're skyping your race why not from, oh, the Bitter End Yacht Club?

my2fish said...

great pics, bonnie! looks so cold, but a lot of fun. happy new year!

bonnie said...

Thanks! It seemed cold then but considering what's come through since then it was pretty much a perfect day. We always have a great time doing this!

It was actually a nice day for sailing if you overlooked the absence of water in the bay - I might have been tempted except that the rolls are sort of the heart of my favorite way to start the New Year. Technically I suppose a capsize drill would serve the same purpose, but the hoses are all off this time of year so better to keep the rigs out of the salt water as much as possible.

Pandabonium said...

Nice outing, but wow, you people in New York sure dress funny. :)

bonnie said...

Yes we do! :D