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Places to play on days like today?

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I watched the offshore winds tipping the waves backwards off Nahant today--I measured an unrelenting 30 knot wind there with gusts to 40. Ended up paddling Lynn harbor, which was whipped into a nice frenzy, along with an equally certifiable windsurfer named Roland. He must have been hitting 30 to 40mph jetting back and forth along the rocks, where spray was splashing up to onto the causeway.

When we put the boat on the beach, it blew away, rolling and sliding 50 feet into a picnic table (no damage). It took three tries to launch--kept getting blown sideways. The winds were strong enough that I couldn't turn upwind without extended paddle and a strong lean. The wind shifted direction often enough that there was real danger at times of being blown into boats, rocks, piers--but it was a blast.

The downdrafts from the oil tank were amazing--the wind picked up the tops of the waves and threw them a couple of hundred feet across the water--horizontal rain. Clapotis around the piers was fantastic too.

I got off the water before sunset, worried that if I stayed too long there would be no one left to help me get my boat on the car. Was so stoked that the only thing I could think of doing was heading for the lower Charles where I dodged waves and enjoyed the wind in the dark.

Anyway, sitting here now in a warm kitchen drinking hot soup and wondering about other protected locations to play when the wind or waves make the open coast too dangerous... ? I've often paddled from the Winthrop Yacht club, out around stinky Deer Isle, but don't like to do that as much since the airport security went up (if you go too near the airport, armed guards appear--I'd rather not distract them from their work).



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Rolling boats happen even when loaded with 50lbs of gear.

Ask John Leonard about his Pintail rolling down the beach in RI. And we thought being on the wrong side of a boat in the waves was dangerous.


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I usually like to do the carry from car to water in one step, with all my gear stowed, so this type of thing can't happen. But on Friday, Roland had to go before I quite had all my gear together, so we left the boat by the water, facing into the wind. I went back to get my paddles and hood, turned around, and my boat was GONE. It took 15 or 20 heart-pounding seconds to reassure myself that it couldn't have gotten into the water, and then to see it up and along the beach, upside down so it wasn't that visible. Examining the tracks it left in the sand, I concluded it half-rolled, half-slid. I partly blame that thick coat of wax I gave it--if I put it on a slanted beach, it would slide down.

I won't forget that lesson! I guess all the folks sitting in their cars watching were laughing too hard into their coffee to beep their horns and point or something, to help me out : )


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