big, bigger, biggest
English Bay Upper Acadia (ACD) to Spanish Banks East
The night before I was pre-rigging some different mast options in my 4.5 with little knowledge that I would using this sail by 9:30 am the next day. When I got up I noticed the clearing sky and trees rustling, "Better take a look at what is happening.", I thought to myself. Saw posts that Alton and Gary were headed to Acadia for dawn patrol. The UBC wind alert forecast was for the wind to peak at 1 pm and the Katcam image looked good. I figured this was going to be short lived and I would be back in the office by noon. Arrived at the beach to see Alton, Gary, Ryan, and others out on the water. Randal was rigging 4.4 but it looked a little light on the inside so I decided on 85/4.5 (because I wanted to try a few mast combinations in this sail). Chuck arrived and rigged 5.3.
Randal, Chuck and I all launched from Upper Acadia (first launch off the path) into the clean wind. Once on the water my 85 was getting bounced around a little and the 400t/370b was feeling a little stiff. Took one overpowered jump on port and released my back hand at the apex and there was still enough power in the sail to descend softly, land, sheet in and sail away - hhhhhmmmm. It was right about this time I saw Tony do a really nice vertical stock jump, stall the apex and come down nose first so steeply I thought for sure he was going to stuff the nose, but he didn’t. Instead he landed it butter soft and sailed away - very impressive considering the size of his board! I took some more rides, exited at the cove and went in for the softer mast (370t/400b) and smaller fin (20).
Launched at Upper Acadia again and this setup was better, but way overpowered now, so did a quick downwinder to the cove which included on full-on rag-doll ‘got-it/got-it/don’t-got it’ gybe on the outside that ended with the rig exploding from my hands and then exited to get smaller gear.
Set up Evo 74 and 4.0. Back up to Upper Acadia to launch - this felt MUCH better (the harsh edge was gone and had far more control), but even with this, it did not seem like quick slashing turns were possible. Although the wind swell was big, and the thought rolled through my head, "Acadia wins!" (on size anyway), the rows uneven, the peaks were isolated, and the faces were more gradual resulting in fewer rides on the face. There were jumps though, one back loop attempt to port and several big floating jumps (to port and starboard) that were all a lot of fun - but in all maybe 10 jumps on the whole day for me. Sailed with Ryan for a while, for myself for a while and then with one lone kiter for a while.
I grew tired of ‘working’ to windward and not riding the swell, so I decided to do a downwinder to get in some swell rides! About 8 long off the wind rides and gybes later (fully loaded the whole time) I exited at the small sand beach just west of the concession at Spanish Banks East (a distance of about 1.5 km directly downwind). There was solid wind the whole way down and the swell was fun, but gradually diminished the further you went east.
I was wondering how I was going to make it back when I saw Tony and maybe Gary shoot by on Marine Drive, so I walked over to see if any other familiar faces were around. Just then Ryan showed up and gave me a ride back to Acadia - thanks Ryan!
Back at Acadia I derigged my 85/4.5 and drove back to my waiting 74/4.0 at Spanish Banks East and there was too much wind to walk away from. Walked the shore of the cove to the point to the west to get out into the cleaner wind (even from here it took some patience to get out). I saw the Hucker sailor (Liviu ?) out on the water and took a few rides back and forth - a few jumps to port (once powered up) on short steep faces, but not real rides on the way in. Less than what I expected from this section of the bank.
All in all a great day to be enjoyed (and to think I really debated on whether to go or not - silly me). As I derigged my 74/4.0 I noted a dedication on the bench next to me that struck me as very fitting: "There is no secret to balance, you just have to feel the waves." In memory of Rick Pytel 1968-2008
Quotes of the day:
Ryan (as he drove me back to Acadia): "That was a lot of work."
Me (back at Acadia to derig my 85/4.5): "I saw you get in some nice forwards."
Chuck: : "Thanks. There was one nice tall endo - maybe the highest I have ever had."
Me: "I saw one really nice on Port up at Upper Acadia, that might have been it."
Wind: At Upper Acadia (the first launch off the path) the wind was solid from the shore out. Downwind to the east the wind was a little light and puffy (side-off) at times on the inside and there was a large wind shadow with big wind swirls in the cove (some of the worst I have seen on a west wind). Once out on the water the direction was pretty steady (W) and speed seemed to ramp up a little from about 9:00 to 9:30 and then was pretty consistent from about 10:30 through to 12:30 (I used my Evo 74/4.0 for this second stint).
Water/Waves: Tide was about 4.5 m at 9:30 ebbing to about 3.5 m by 12:30 which combined with the wind caused some ‘pay-attention’ shore break. There was also some debris in the water too. The swell built through the morning, starting modest and reached substantial (head high to over head high at times). Although the swell was rolling, it was generally organized, but only seemed to compress into lines on the edge of the bank. Even though the swell had size, it was not very smooth and there was quite a few pieces of small chop to rattle you around. As is typical of Acadia, staying even with the beach was some ‘work’ and this would result in not taking full advantage of every ride that presented itself.
I spoke to Ryan about which was day was bigger - Nov 14 or Nov 11 at Acadia? He said Nov 11 was bigger and steeper. From what I saw Nov 14 at Acadia was bigger than Nov 11 at White Rock (in terms of swell size and number). So this would mean that:
big: White Rock Beach Nov 11
bigger: Acadia Nov 14
biggest: Acadia Nov 11
Jumps: Jumps could be had on both starboard (inbound) and port (outbound), but port was favoured. There were jumping opportunities, but with control being a bit of an issue, jumps seemed few in number (the exception was Chuck who was banged out a series of forwards, a few being nice tall endos!).
Stoke: In general it seemed like there was a bit of an edge to the day - hard to explain really - or maybe that was just me.
Out on the water there were a lot of waves exchanged - nice to be out at Acadia again! Chuck was all smiles and was able to get his fill (although mildly overpowered on his 5.3 at times). Randal was happy to get in a pre-work sail. Alton seemed to take his gear loss to the shore break in stride and seems to be happy it didn’t happen on the Oregon coast. Maryam was shivering (not sure if it was the cool temp, the shore break, or both).