Saturday, September 6, 2014

Jupiter Inlet to Stuart Causeway

Dave has been asking me to write something about the windsurf trek Ron and I did last Saturday from Jupiter inlet to Stuart Causeway, so since it's storming outside today, I thought this might be as good of time as any... and there is no wind in forecast :) I think this was originally Ron's idea, but it could have been mine. It might have been about a year ago when we decided we would try and sail from Jupiter Inlet area to Stuart Causeway, but it was mostly talk and wait for the right wind and surf conditions. I'm sure there was plenty of good days we could have done it, but somehow we never got around to it; that is until 2 weeks ago when Ron noticed the winds were going to be East/Southeast and around 14-18mph which should have made it for a nice beam/broad reach. Wind forecast dropped a little, but that was not an issue since we were going to use our Formula boards with 9.0-11.0m sails. Once we worked out the logistics and made sure we had ample water/food/cell phone/dry bags and spare parts Ron brought along just in case, we wanted to time it so we could make it thru the St Lucie(Stuart)inlet before the tide shifted, but the winds did not cooperate in the morning, so we finally left the beach (just south of Jupiter inlet) around 2:15PM. I had concerns going thru the surf at the beach, especially with large sails, but somehow we got thru it and with some minor damage to one of my sail panels, and a broken batten. There is a photo on Jupiter Inlet Webcam site showing us just north of the inlet around 230PM and one showing Ed holding my sail on the beach at 215PM (August 30th). I'll try and add both links to this post. If you zoom in enough, you can see Ron's white sail to the East and my sail to the West with a sailboat in the middle and ahead of us. Getting thru the surf was quite an ordeal for me, because after trying for a while to beach start, I finally gave up and up-hauled the big 10.7m sail. As soon as I did I heard the cheering and clapping from the beach for which I didn't dare turn around and look back for the fear of dropping the sail in the surf and having to go thru it all over again. We soon realized the wind was not E/SE, but more SE/S and this meant pushing the board downwind which did not seem the way it wanted to go especially in the ocean waves that were not something I was used to on a Formula board. Ron got on a plane, but was heading away from the beach which also did not appeal to me. When I saw him planing, I figured I better give it a shot, and was able to while also going a bit more downwind, but soon had to point back up. Instead of gibing and planing back to the beach, I would drop off the plane and head downwind. Ron kept tacking back and forth. It seemed my way was working a little better at first, since he fell back a bit, but after a little while (around Hobe Sound beach), he caught up to me. Planing down the swells on a Formula board and a big sail was a hoot, but after a while it can wear you out, because there is no down time. Ron was on a 10m sail, and he was making it work now planing in more of the Northeasterly direction. After sailing in the waves, and trying to maneuver the breaking swells while gibing or tacking the 10.7m sail, I started thinking,(more than once)that I should head in to the shore for a break and maybe walk home from there:). On one of my gibes, I dropped the sail and for a while didn't think I would be able to bring it back up, (it's not easy in flat water, the swells make it much harder), but after sitting on the board for a few minutes, I was able to regain some strength and it probably helped the board/sail turned more downwind giving me the needed "lift". Ron was headed away from the beach again, so I started heading more downwind toward the inlet so we can meet up at some imaginary point up ahead. I decided to tack toward the beach and see if the surf will be forgiving enough for me to take a much needed break. Ron was heading back up toward the inlet when he saw me, so he joined me on the beach. We were maybe a mile from the inlet, on the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge beach. I made some calls from here to let someone know where we are and we continued on. I saw the surf breaking in the distance away from the beach so decided to head straight for the inlet, but this meant I wouldn't be able to plane as much. Ron tacked back and forth planing much more and we beached it again on the inside of the inlet (about a mile walk from the bath tub beach). The tide was going out, but that was not much an issue until I reached the shallow part of the inlet, jumped off the board and tried to beach start. The current was pulling my board out, making it difficult to maneuver the sail and jump back on the board. I did not want to up-haul that sail again! We ran out of fresh water on our previous stop, but Ron was able to get us couple of water bottles from some boaters. After that it was mostly dodging the boats and finding the best way thru the inlet and then up the Indian River to the Causeway. Ron sailed thru the channel and I decided to round the "Boy Scout Island" avoiding the boat traffic. This was probably the best part of the trip since I was back on my "turf" now and was finally able to relax while casually sailing in. When we got back Art, Rolf and Steve were waiting on us. We were both exhausted, but glad we did it. It was around 21 miles per Google maps to the Stuart Causeway, but with all the tacking we did, I have a feeling it was more like 30+ for us. Ron is already talking about the next trip to Bahamas, or maybe Virginia Key to Key Largo and then to Key West?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cristobal Blows In Much Needed Wind For Treasure Coast Windsurfers.

Cristobal provided a fairly steady NE wind this Monday and Tuesday. Monday was sunny with small fast moving rain cells pushing through. I was able to sail during lunch and rigged a 7.0 on the 101L futura. I flattened the sail out and was very well powered. David, Dennis, Dorian, Rolf, Art and a few others were on the water. After work I was able to sail again with the night crew consisting of Dino, Mitch and Brandon. The wind was stronger so I sailed the same board with a 6.0 and again I was very well powered. The water was warm and the NE wind was fairly dry which made for very pleasant conditions.

Tuesday turned out to be another mostly sunny day without the rain cells and stronger wind in the morning. I sailed during lunch and rigged an 8.5 on my 117L isonic. Wind was from the same direction and very light when I first headed out. After 20 minutes or so it filled in nicely and I was well powered. Pretty much the same group of people were sailing as the previous day. Ron was a little more ambitious and was on the water at 8am sailing a 6.0, he got the best of it. After work I was at the causeway again sailing the 8.5. Ron and Dino rigged 7.6 and we blasted around till sunset. There is something special about ending the day on the water.

This was a nice break from the summer doldrums. The last time I sailed was the last couple days of June when Hurricane Arthur formed off our coast.

Between these two Hurricanes the wind has been light. Dino told me he has been getting out twice a week sailing a formula board and a 10.0 with Ron. There was a couple evening sessions when they were able to rig 7.6.

That's the news from Treasure Coast Windsurfers and remember, "Rig big or go home" - quote from Austin H

Saturday, May 31, 2014


May in Review

The first two weeks of May we were at Frisco Woods Campground on Hatteras Island. I was able to sail 11 of the 14 days we were there. I only wore a full wetsuit once and some days it was a bit warm in a shorty. Three mornings I was on the water by 6:30 am and could sail for an hour or so before breakfast. The most used sail was a 6.0 but I rigged anywhere from 4.7 through 7.0. Their was 4 French-Canadians I sailed with at the campground. Claude arrived a few days after us and he had been sailing at the Stuart causeway for the past few months! For some reason our paths never crossed. The most memorable experience was sailing out of Avon with 50 other windsurfers.

The 16th - 18th featured the Stuart Sailfish Regatta at the causeway. During those same three days a mild front came through bringing in some breezy, sunny conditions. On friday, the 16th, I sailed at the Mansion after work. The wind was out of the north, Ron and Tom were finishing up when I got there and Brandon showed up a bit later. Saturday Jon, Ron, Randy, Cliff and I sailed at the South Jetty. My first session I was on a 6.0 and 92L wave board but I wasn't really powered. Ron was on his slalom board and blasting all over. So I dragged out the 101L futura, that was a hoot out in the ocean. There was a nice clean ocean swell out past the jetty and flat water on the inside.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

NW Wind Comes In Better Than Expeted

Yesterday I had to get out of the house so I went down to the causeway. Wind was out of the NW but there wasn't much of it. I walked around the causeway island, Jon was sitting in his camper and no one was windsurfing. On the south side there was a lot of boaters and jet skies and on the north side I could see some puffs coming across the water. So the plan was to rig my 8.5  on the 117W isonic and hunt for some gusts. I wasn't on the water 15 minutes and it started filling in. I was way powered up but I figured it would back off. After an hour of this the chop was getting to be to much for my board so I went in and rigged a 7.0 on my 101L futura. Edward was rigging his 8.5 and Randy saw what was going on and went to get his equipment. I went out for almost another hour and then the wind backed off a tad. Some strong gusts where still coming in but it wasn't as consistent. As I was packing up Edward, Randy and Jon where on the water and Tom was rigging. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Great Evening Session

I have missed some evening windsurfing sessions but tonight I nailed it. The wind was blowing out of the SE 18-25 mph, sky was heavily overcast and at times a fine drizzle was coming down. When I drove down through Jensen beach their was white caps on the river but when I got to the causeway it seemed dead. James's trailer and Ron's truck were there but I didn't see them. I dragged my gear out and looked way down south by the spoil island and spotted them. I wasn't sure what to rig, fortunately I made the right choice with a 6.0. Once out in the channel it was pedal to the metal. We dragged race for a little over an hour, it was great.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I had a pretty decent sail yesterday. It was a nice sunny day and a cool breeze was blowing, out of the east, when I got down to the causeway. Rolf, David and Dorian where sailing on 9.5's and Art was on his 7.5. So I was hoping my 8.5 would be enough. The wind was lined up so you could sail bridge to bridge so I made four runs in the course of an hour and was fairly well powered. My first run was close to the channel but the wind and boat wakes made this funky cross chop so the rest of my runs were over towards the east side of the river. I finished up at 5:00pm and Dino and Tom were rigging up.