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Buzzards Bay windsurfing conditions?
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gregnw44



Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 246

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 9:42 pm    Post subject: Buzzards Bay windsurfing conditions? Reply with quote

Hi,
I'm interested in any input, regarding sailing in Buzzards Bay, out of the "Old Silver Beach" area... in late May.

I've never sailed on the east coast, so any explanations about weather or conditions would be great. (I don't mean Hatteras, or Florida... I mean this area Smile

Any guesses about the Cape Cod - Buzzards Bay wind conditions for this time of year, May - June?
What wind strength might be typical?
And I suppose there "could be" no wind, right? Would you put any % numbers on that Smile
How about STRONG wind storms... possible wind strength... % chance of that?
LOL - I know, you don't have a "crystal ball"... just asking historically, what might be expected for late May, early June Smile

Thanks, Greg -
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shreddbob



Joined: 31 Mar 1987
Posts: 288
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Greg,

That's a great time of year to come here! We can get anything from 4.7 to 6.5/7.5 (165 lb sailor) winds on Buzzards.

SW wind is the predominant sailing condition late May/early June. Can't say it'll happen on any given day. Some years you're waitin' for wind, and other years the wind's waitin' on you. But that time of year is prime time for good SW thermal assisted winds.

The best weather setup is an "upper level low pressure" system to the north (Canada) that spins little shortwave disturbances around it toward the New England south coast. These innocent little bands of broken clouds and light winds around Boston can mean afternoons of 4.7 or 5.2 sailing on Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod. These great days are usually under-forecasted, and many times start off with light NW winds that drop to nothing by noon, before the sudden pick up from the SW. This type of SW wind is locally generated, and is nice and dry/low humidity, with dazzling blue skies. Sometimes we lock into this pattern for a week or more with plenty of wind on 4 - 5 days out of a week. But like I said, you just never know when such a pattern will set up.

The other classic (more well known) New England pattern is the muggy SW wind from a High off the coast, sometimes in the vicinity of Bermuda, sometimes closer. We can get nice blows out of this setup, but it's sometimes fickle wind because the SW wind in this pattern originates from way down south. This moist southern air is not so dense and can often "decouple" from the cool water's surface this time of year. The humidity often makes for hazy sunshine mixed with wisps of fog, making for a New England "smoky sou'wester". Some sailing sites may have the wind shut off due to heavy fog, while others a few miles away can be blasting. If the air's not too much warmer than the water you are better off, like when this pattern sets up in July/August.

We can also get an occasional NE or NW. Better sail these early 'cause they usually shut off mid day. Old Silver is a fine spot for NW, but for NE you'd be better off going to the north side of Cape Cod...but have to watch out for low water over there if you're not within 2 hours either side of high tide.
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gregnw44



Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 246

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the AWESOME info... I appreciate the time and details.

IF I WERE TO MAKE the trip to Buzzards Bay... I'm trying to figure out what to bring. I have a ton of gear, but won't bring it all. And yes, I know the old windsurfer adage, "Darn, I REALLY need that 1 thing, that I didn't bring" LOL
But driving an AWD Dodge Grand Caravan 6200 miles from Seattle round trip, the fuel costs will be crazy. I will bring my rack, and will put stuff on the roof, emptying out the van, for cruising around Cape Cod. But am planning to keep it ALL inside for the x-country drive, to get better mpg's.
I can fit my longboard inside, but will have to test, to see what else will fit with it. For sure, I can fit 2 more shortboards. But don't know if I can also fit a FW.

I'm 205# - From what you're saying, I can bring 5M to 8M sails (and I have bigger & smaller). But is there ONLY planning winds? Do you guys sail lighter winds? Is Buzzards Bay either white-capping with 15 knots and more? Or, it's dead calm?
Or, is there also lighter wind days between 2 and 15 knots where people glide or cruise around on longboards?
Are there ever times when it's 10 - 15 and a FW kit is worth pumping and having some planning fun with?

Sorry, again I know you can't see the future, LOL
If someone asked me these questions about Seattle or Hood River... I could give "some answers". And I know it's a gamble, to leave some gear at home.
I'm just trying to get a picture of the range of likely possibilities there Smile

Thanks for any tips !!
Greg -
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geohaye



Joined: 03 Apr 2000
Posts: 1374

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great info here! And you can always check the Wind Archives on iWindsurf. Wind Graphs -going back in time for all stations, here are 3 for May 2012:

Ned's Point -- Wind Graphs for the entire month of May 2012:
http://www.iwindsurf.com/windandwhere.iws?siteID=78&archiveMonth=5&archiveYear=2012&archiveSearch=Go&Isection=Wind+Archive&regionID=102&geographicalAreaID=0

Buzzard's Bay Buoy -- May 2012:
http://www.iwindsurf.com/windandwhere.iws?regionID=102&Isection=Wind+Archive&siteID=709

West Island -- May 2012
http://www.iwindsurf.com/windandwhere.iws?siteID=3565&archiveMonth=5&archiveYear=2012&archiveSearch=Go&Isection=Wind+Archive&regionID=102&geographicalAreaID=0



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slinky



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 433
Location: Old Saybrook Ct.

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi greg I've lived here on the east coast many many years, although I do not live on Buzzards Bay, conditions here in eastern Long Island sound and Rhode Island are about the same. Sometimes It's better here at home, and sometimes not. You never know what you're going to get here.

I hope you plan on staying at least a week, the end of May can be warm and windy, or cold and miserable. Years ago I did a weekend trip to the cape around the same time of year and it was quite windy, in the 20-30 range but the wind was out of the northeast and cold! Overcast raw and damp, temps in the low 40's with intermittant rain. I did not sail. Expect the water to be cold, in the 50's.

If you are absolutely certain you want to do this I would bring the longboard. Chances are good that you might need it.

You are taking a gamble on possibly getting skunked. You will likely spend over a thousand bucks on gas alone. You could fly to Maui for less.
[I got skunked on a week long trip to Maui once in July!]

I hate to be a naysayer, but for the kind of money you are spending, I would wait a few more months and drive to the Gorge. It's alot closer and the wind is way more reliable.

One must consider all the possibilities.
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shreddbob



Joined: 31 Mar 1987
Posts: 288
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gregnw44 wrote:
From what you're saying, I can bring 5M to 8M sails (and I have bigger & smaller). But is there ONLY planning winds? Do you guys sail lighter winds? Is Buzzards Bay either white-capping with 15 knots and more? Or, it's dead calm?
Or, is there also lighter wind days between 2 and 15 knots where people glide or cruise around on longboards?
Are there ever times when it's 10 - 15 and a FW kit is worth pumping and having some planning fun with?

Greg -


I'd say Buzzards Bay is a pretty "on/off" place in May/June. The thermal potential is so strong that with just the slightest pressure gradient from the overall weather pattern you'll get 15 - 20 knots or better (if sunny of course). There are more 10 - 15 knot days in mid summer, once the water is warmer and the thermal not as strong. I very rarely haul my 85 cm wide "free formula" to the beach this time of year.

I guess with no sun and a small gradient you can get a nice setup for a Formula board if the wind is South or SW, but WITH sun it's pretty much all or none.

Below are examples of what I'd consider typical "off" (April 30: sunny but no gradient at all), and "on" (April 24: sunny with a modest gradient in place; forecast was for low to mid teens this day BTW).

I'm always amazed out how Buzzards Bay can turn a light NW gradient into a nice SW blow, like in graph 2 below. There is a threshold or tipping point involved here. As long as the thermally generated wind is strong enough at its onset, the wind itself causes an inland trough to form that feeds into the wind, and you see the rapid SW rise like in this case. Very cool! This place makes its own weather. (Note: If the strongest SW wind does not reach the 15 knot level on a day like this, watch out 'cause you'll get caught out in the Bay during a shift back to light NW. Don't ask me how I know Shocked )



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gregnw44



Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 246

PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys... VERY helpful !!!
I hear what you're saying... and it helps me figure out what I might sail there, in Buz. Bay Smile
And it sounds like chilly water temps. So would a 5/3 wetsuit work, with some tall, winter-like booties?

And what about possible air temps... it sounds like it could be sunny and semi-warm... or cloudy, cool and rainy (like Seattle Smile
Is there any reason to bring a hood and mitts or gloves for sailing?
For me, if it's 50* raining and 20 knots - a hood and gloves.
If 60* and sunny and 20 knots - no hood or gloves.

And yes slinky, you bring up the same practical things I thought about as well. The positive reasons why I started thinking about doing this trip, were - to be there for the Buzzards Bay Crossing (I remember reading about this event years ago in the mags), and I'm still fine with it being a mini-crossing and other forms of racing and sailing events... and driving across the country Seattle to Cape Cod and back again (something I've always thought would be cool to do).
You mentioned the cost of fuel... yes, it'll be even more than you guessed. I figured it'll be about $1200. The AAA website says $1250.
So yeah, the negatives for doing this trip are - burning lots of vacation days driving BAF across the US... fuel costs... all other wear and tear and costs related to putting 6200+ on my van... paying for cheap freeway motels for "both weeks" driving east and west... and lastly, possibly getting skunked at BB !!!

You mentioned options that'll cost as much in dollars AND time, but potentially be better wind and really cool places to go, like the Gorge and Maui.
Yeah I thought about that too... and not just Maui. I could do Aruba or the other spots down there.
Well, I will still get a few Gorge weekends from home in Seattle this summer anyway. HOWEVER, the thought of a tropical windy vacation instead of BB is valid.
Answer - I've been to Hawaii a few times to windsurf. And I've been to the Caribbean and windsurfed a couple times.
And as you said, you can get skunked anywhere.

You suggested, staying at BB a week, increasing odds of getting wind. Makes sense, but I will only be there for race weekend, cause of too much time away from work/home, and how many days it'll take going x-country.
So, it's just Sat/Sun over Memorial weekend right now. I'm allowing 5 days driving each way. It's possible I could do it in 4, but I want to allow time for car trouble, traffic, flat tire, whatever.

My other thought, that would cost the same $, but be way faster is. Is to just fly there from Seattle, and rent or borrow gear, which would be very efficient and cost no more money.
In fact, the cost of fuel and BAF motels, add up to more than any of these other windsurfing options.
So I guess, I really want to do this drive.
WHAT AN IDIOT I AM Smile
I've done road trips before, but nothing even close to this. Sitting on my butt driving for 5 days straight... then hanging out in BB for two days... then sitting on my butt for 5 more days... sounds horrible to me. I'm going by myself, and have no idea how I'll do it.
Yesterday and today, I got some work done on my van. So, I keep moving forward. I'm leaning towards doing it... but haven't decided 100% yet,
Greg Smile
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slinky



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 433
Location: Old Saybrook Ct.

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gregnw44, consider riding the rails, Amtrak is cheap, three days each way. I did a quick search and found a fare for $218.00! You could also ship equipment for extra, I believe. Rent a car or van and stay a week.

You will be exhausted if you drive. Driving sounds like torture to me.

http://amtrak.com
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shreddbob



Joined: 31 Mar 1987
Posts: 288
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Greg,

Some things for you to soul search on:

Could it be you're justifying a huge x-country BAF solo car trip based on a great windsurfing weekend? Like Slinky mentions, could be better to make it a windsurfing week with the BB event the icing on the cake.

Is the BB windsurfing weekend just fine by you if it's low wind course racing, SUP, and great food, lodging, and camaraderie, absent the high winds short-boarding aspect? You seem to be ok with family type activities but you are solo this trip.

Are you going to fully experience the wonder of a cross country trip that is rushed into 4 - 5 days each way, with nobody to spell you behind the wheel?

BTW: Slinky's suggestion of Amtrack sounds like a great idea. They are very accommodating with shipping gear as freight...so long as you never mention the word "windsurfer". They are fine with "surfboard", "sports gear", etc. I think they have this outdated notion of "windsurfer" meaning a 12-1/2 foot board and 15 foot one piece mast, which they can't do. But typical short boards and two piece masts and sails, booms are fine. Put the boom in with a board. Put boxes around everything. Have a handle on a board box (they really appreciate that!--I've just cut a hole and had my board-bag handle stick out), and bring the stuff to their freight counter. You'd pick it up at South Station, boston. Ask ahead about shipping time. Time it so the gear arrives a bit before you. They give you a few days grace storage before storage charges (not too high anyway) accrue.
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shreddbob



Joined: 31 Mar 1987
Posts: 288
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="gregnw44"]Thanks guys... VERY helpful !!!

And it sounds like chilly water temps. So would a 5/3 wetsuit work, with some tall, winter-like booties?

Should be fine, especially if you have some polypro or other insulating layer you can fit under in case it's cooler than normal air temp. Water probably around upper 50's by then, if not 60. Could be warmer. Depends on the weather leading up to.

And what about possible air temps... it sounds like it could be sunny and semi-warm... or cloudy, cool and rainy (like Seattle Smile
Is there any reason to bring a hood and mitts or gloves for sailing?
For me, if it's 50* raining and 20 knots - a hood and gloves.
If 60* and sunny and 20 knots - no hood or gloves.

More likely to not need hood/mitts, but can't rule it out.
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