Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Positive Side of Global Warming: Kiteboarding & Sailing in NYC on January 6

Typically, when you're sailing in the Northeast or Midwest in early January you're "frostbiting." In 2007, thanks to El Nino or global warming, we didn't need to put on the long johns, wool caps and drysuits to have a fun time on the water.

We were invited to sail aboard a Freedom 21 sailboat today. Its an unusual boat because it does not have any standing rigging to support its fiberglass mast. Its also a cat rigged boat, meaning it has a single mast that sit very far forward in the boat. By the time we went out, the wind was blowing from 10 to 20 knots, enough that we only hoisted a mainsail. We also weren't the only sailors departing from Sheepshead Bay today. We saw three other sailboats leave the Bay before we headed out. And once we were out in the Rockaway Inlet, we saw four or five sailboats, one policeboat, a barge and a fishing boat.

What surprised us most, besides the spring-like weather, was the strong showing of kiteboarders making the scene off of Coney Island Beach. Four kiteboarders were out on the water. While it was warm, the water was cold, so we assume they had drysuits and one really strong desire to be out. One kiteboarder in particular was really ripping it up and catching some nice air (see photos). We also came across a windsurfer who looked like he was loving life as he flew across the Rockaway Inlet propelled by the gusty January breeze.