Monday, June 29, 2020

Upwind Downwind 6 26 20

There was some shuffling around of paddling plans this last weekend as we had some stormy weather coming through. Originally there were plans for a Saturday paddle to a restaurant across the bay (the group was going to play it by ear when they got there as far as whether they were going to sit on the restaurant's outdoor deck or have food delivered to the beach); I'm feeling a little less than awesome right now and wasn't sure that I wanted to be in on that one - but then Friday morning I got a call from Lori, one of the trip leaders, saying that with Saturday's weather looking pretty sketchy (50% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon), she and Luis were going to go out for a spin at 3 that afternoon. TQ was home and up for it, and the forecast looked pretty good, so off we went.

Forecast ended up being a trifle understated windwise. I think it had said 10 knots with gusts to 15 - ended up being at least 15 steady, the bay was covered with whitecaps!

That being the case, and our different kayaks having different handling in various sidewinds, we ended up deciding to just bash straight into the wind up to Ruffle Bar and then enjoy a good downwind run back. That means wind pushing you along and even though the sheltered waters of Jamaica Bay don't let waves build up very much, boats that like to surf (and all of ours did) don't need much of a swell to give some good rides!

Top picture is setting out; first picture below is looking at Ruffle Bar OH SO FAR AWAY. This wasn't a long paddle - maybe 6 miles with the zigging and zagging to catch the waves going home - but boy, it was a workout. The first island we pass coming out of the Paerdagat Basin is Canarsie Pol (2nd photo below) - on the paddle out I would occasionally look over my shoulder and even though we were paddling like maniacs it just didn't look to be falling behind for the LONGEST time. And similarly it seemed like it took forever before Ruffle Bar started looking any closer!

Usually when we go to Ruffle Bar, we end up going around it - this time we just pulled out on a beach on the northwest side of the island where we had a little shelter from the wind. The skyline was beautiful, and Luis spotted a turtle heading down the beach, presumably after laying eggs in the underbrush (unfortunately Ruffle Bar is home to hordes of raccoons, who love turtle eggs, so we hope she hid them well) - that was a very neat thing to see! Oh, and Luis took my picture, that's me partway down with Lori and TQ in the background. I like the shot - you can see how pleased I am with having achieved Ruffle Bar in the teeth of that wind.

Just as we were getting back on the water, clubmate Chris came sailing up in his lovely Melonseed skiff - he asked if we'd seen Severn, another one of the sailors. We hadn't and Chris asked me to let Severn know where he was if we ran into him. We had exactly the fun downwind run home that we'd hoped for - chased my medical woes right out of my head for a little while, spectacular!

We did run into Severn, I passed the message; another sailor was out too - that takes some guts even though the water's bathwater warm in the bay now! Great seeing people out there though.

All pix from here on - click for a slideshow view of a beautiful day!

And btw, I checked the 3-day weather record on NOAA when we got home - that showed winds of around 17 kts for the afternoon. I'm kind of glad the forecast was understated, not sure I would've wanted to go had it been accurate - but oh, it was fun.

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