Sunday, September 27, 2009
Make a bet with your life
We've had a rather windless fall season thus far, but thats about to come to an abrupt end.
Today (Sunday) South winds ahead of the front will bring us mild temps and winds 20-25 knots in the afternoon. Monday winds will switch to the Northwest and blow at storm force strength of 55 knots with higher gusts. Lake Michigan will be pumping waves 14-18 feet.
Winds subside on Tuesday and clock northerly at 30 knots.
Fall sailing on Lake Michigan is some of the most technical and challenging of places I've ever sailed. While the waves are big, they're close together and when you go down, its not like the ocean where you have time to recover. I've gotten mauled by 24+ foot waves on Maui, and while it was a challenging 45 minutes of swimming with trashed gear, it doesn't compare do getting pinned down on the Lake in the fall with its cold water. I've gown down on the outside break with my gear ripped out of my hands and being forced to swim 200 yards to the beach where my gear was waiting for me at the high water mark. There's no lifeguards with jetski's to pull you to safety. There's just you, the Lake and perhaps lady luck.
Its true survival sailing. Heading out and picking your way through the Greyhound bus sized waves I can't help but hearing The Gambler by Kenny Rogers in my head. "You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em. Know when to walk away, know when to run."