I recently traveled back to Key West, this time by high speed ferry out of Miami. That was so much fun that it will have a post of its own soon. The northeast USA was in the grips of a violent Nor'easter the weekend of April 15, 2007. The tail end of the cold front was about to rake over Key West from the west. Paul Menta figured that as the squall line approached strong winds would be pushed before it. The low tide was to be approaching, so we hit the Flats of Key West for some speed runs. He had his new board, wanted to do some tuning and was hoping for some strong winds to rip with.
Once we arrived the winds were a bit light, perhaps 15 kts. edging higher. Paul rigged a 12 m Omega and went out with his DC speed board for some trial runs. He had planned on dropping down to an 8 m Omega if the wind really filled in.
He then changed to his new asymmetrical directional speed board.
I took both boards out for a time. You really edge the DC board hard while the directional rides flatter. Even though the winds stayed around 18 kts. perhaps a bit higher Paul hit some peak speeds of around 40 kts. It was my first time on the board but I couldn't seem break 30 kts., the shame! It is amazing how you begin to feel 3 to 5 inch wavelets. Wish the tide was lower to smooth out the water even more.
We were wind waiting during which Paul was shooting some stock footage with a helmet cam provided by JonesCAM New York. Michael Jones saw some kiters and wanted to hookup to have them test out his camera systems. I imagine some clips should appear on The Kitehouse's website in time.
An electric atmosphere, literally!
After a while, one of Paul's instructors asked if he was getting shocked because she was getting zapped on jumps and when pulling on the bar at times. He said, yes, he was getting treated to static discharges too. The sky although gray didn't have any obvious squall clouds.
Paul rides with the odd shock. The sky is darkening but no distinct storm clouds are visible, yet.
You can see the Legacy, a grounded 156 ft. sailing yacht valued at around $30 M US and entangled by some massive fines in the distance to the right. She was ripped from anchor and dragged over the flats in a Hurricane Wilma's storm surge in 2005. Kiteboarding carried a brilliant photo of Paul riding beside the yacht while the mast and rigging were still attached. Can anyone find a copy of it?
The Legacy and the channel she created as 125 mph winds pulled her across normally very shallow water in Wilma's 10 ft. storm surge.
More about the vessel and unusual plans to try to salvage it HERE
. Paul tells me he came across an unusual help wanted ad for the houseboat "village" that has been created for the salvage crew. Maybe he'll upload it so we can all get a laugh.
Another concept to free the Legacy. What does Barney eat anyway, must give him a lot of gas.
Started thinking about calling it a day particularly as the wind was easing too. Paul then got a text message from a friend on the island, saying the squall line on radar couldn't be any more red if it had to be and now would be a good time to book into shore. That is what we did. About an hour later Key West was treated to a deluge and pretty impressive lightning storm.
The wind wait continues, the Flats and Paul's speed boards await. Hope we get some good late season winds.