Sunday, May 21, 2006

Frostbite is Right!

It is the long weekend and nothing better than to check the forecast and see that it calls for a partly sunny day with winds blowing like stink. Call whatever crew is available (being a holiday weekend and all...And most people are snug in their cottages, and head down to the boat.

Forecast is calling for winds NW 25 knots increasing to 30 by noon then diminishing to 20 knots in the afternoon. Nice wind! We reached the dock and it was howling. Winds were as predicted about 30 knots. I put on the usual marine forecast as we were hanking on the blade jib and getting ready to ride the whitecaps. The winds seemed pretty harsh for the shelter of the club. We ventured out into the channel to start our awesome day of sailing when as we rounded the corner we got hit from a freezing blast of air that was probably hitting the 40 knot range. The boat (without any sails) heeled as if we were under full sail in a 20 knot wind!

That was my first clue! We got out into the mouth and looked at the waves, all the while the weather forecaster was repeating in French then English that the winds were gusting up to 75 km/hr (38 knots). At this point I still thought we were good. I have been out a few times now in 30+ knots and the boat was great.

Just after clearing the lighthouse I decided to head to wind and put up the blade jib to test the crew resolve and how the boat would handle in the gusty conditions. (being fresh from off-season and all sometimes it is best to work up to the 30+ knot winds). The gusts were hitting so hard that I could not even head-to-wind to raise the sail, not to mention the cold North winds were just biting cold. 10 minutes into the motor out I thought my fingers were going to fall off from frostbite.

That was my cue to tell the crew we were heading back to drink in the warmth and comfort of the bar. I did not hear any complaints.

Quick peak at the weather for Wednesday race looks really good. Sunshine, 18 degrees (Celsius). No wind indicators yet but from the long range patterns it looks as though it might be somewhere in the 18-25 kmph area. Will be updating daily to see if I can formulate a plan.

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