March came in like a lamb and went out like a lion this year it said on the news last night, with deep snow over lots of the UK and a freezing baltic wind scudding down the Irish sea. However, that meant a rare settled north westerly wind streaming over the headland at Kimmeridge bay so my planned quick sail at Highcliffe was replaced with an all day mission to Kbay.
I arrived with Rod to see the bay looking surprisingly big but without the ferocious gales that were forecast. Instead it seemed to be 4.2 weather one moment and off the plane blobbing with a 5.2 the next, meaning everyone there rigged different sizes. This and the cold, and the rather chunkiness of the waves made for a slow rig up from lots of the off work/student/layabout crowd that had arrived. However, we all finally struggled into deep layers of neoprene (hats, boots, gloves, the works), taxied down the launch ramp and took off.
And straight off the bat it was clear that north westerly is a great direction at this spot. It was a joy to be in familiar waves but with the power coming much more sideshore than usual, and everyone quickly organised themselves into a proper reef break wavesailing set up, very few jumps happening but sailing far out to sea to get upwind, then cutting upwind on the way in until getting onto a swell, and firing off down the line. The first turn on the outer wave was just about the perfect size for summer, lets say comfortably logo high - certainly big enough to not feel at all comfortable as you looked up at it. My excuse for not really getting stuck in here was that it didn't feel like summer with 4 degree air temperature and freezing wind chill. Where I did force myself not to straighten out, I hesitated anyway and more often than not went swimming. Gorgeously smooth bottom turns though. The next two turns were a bit soft where the wave was walling up but not really breaking, then the inside section was breaking, and was only head high - hence where most of the best smacks were being delivered. No pics of the day (too cold for photos and too good to stop and take any anyway) but it was very like a day I had earlier this winter on the SUP so, I've put one of those up here.
All in all a really good day, but bitingly, numbingly cold. As mentioned by everyone except Rod who was heated by the internal anger of snapping yet another board. Would have been a classic if I'd have connected properly with some of those outside sets but maybe there'll be a next time? Today (next morning) my arms are pretty much destroyed, but the forecast finally seems to have come to life with lots more wind on the horizon, and spring like temperatures at last.