N Wind Days

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Yoda
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N Wind Days

Post by Yoda » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:49 am

Every fall season, I tend to get questioned about kiting in the Valley. I don't really want to attract more kiters to our valley spots, but I know how it is when you're craving wind and it's been several weeks/months, so I'm going to share with you all some tips if you decide to venture our way.

Folsom Lake and Thermalito Afterbay are the closest kite'able lakes to the Bay. Occasionally Lake Berryessa can deliver too, but it tends to be quite gusty and inconsistent. The clearing winds that come from the N can be quite nice this time of year. Generally with the N winds, the coast can be good, but for those that are more comfortable in fresh water and/or no waves (or sharks) or are still progressing, the Valley lakes can be a great alternative.

Right now there's a decent sensor for Thermalito that can be found on iKitesurf. The sensor name is TWSC1. The "gust" readings are more accurate for the overall windspeed (i.e. blowing 14, but gusting to 21). In this case 21 is about the average wind speed at the launch site and across most of the lake. One bonus to kiting at Thermalito is it's only about 15-20 mins away from the Sierra Nevada Brewery and Taproom if you know what I'm saying. Apres-kite!

Folsom is a little harder to predict. iKite is working on putting a sensor there, but there's no time table on when it will be in operation. I currently use several meters and models to gage Folsom with about a 95%+ accuracy.
Btw... Folsom is just under 393ft capacity, so there's still plenty of water to kite on. One nice thing is there's now a 5mph rule for motor boats, so no more wake-chop and drunk boaters to contend with. When it gets below 370ft, it get's more interesting trying to find a good spot to rig and launch, but the lake is still very kite'able.

The key to catching the Valley lakes and not getting skunked is to watch for strong N winds forecasted for the valley with gusts to 25-35 (or higher). When it's like this, it's definitely on. If the wind is slated to be concentrated on the W side of the valley, then Thermalito is the BEST spot. If the wind is concentrated centrally down the valley or E side, both Folsom and Thermalito will be on. Simple as that!

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Re: N Wind Days

Post by Yoda » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:56 am

One thing to note...
Folsom is not advised for beginners. The shore has many obstacles that will damage and/or destroy your kite. Even intermediate and advance kiters have experienced issues here. Several of us have dedicated "rock-kites" for Folsom (like rock-skis), so be aware!

Thermalito only has a few trees as obstacles, but the rest of the shore around the lake is open and grassy. This is the best spot if you're a beginner and still progressing imo.

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Re: N Wind Days

Post by windstoked » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:21 pm

The TWSC1 sensor at Thermalito is stuck reading south all the time. Also, it is downwind of a grove of trees and reads 3-5 mph low on typical NNW days. http://www.windalert.com/spot/50439
The computer forecasts are also notorious for underestimating Thermalito's north winds. The season is October through May. Last week had the first great day of the season, and Sunday is looking good.
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tsuazbpoq
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Re: N Wind Days

Post by tsuazbpoq » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:46 pm

Tomorro/Sunday and Tues forecasts looks good for Thermalito. U guys concur?

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Re: N Wind Days

Post by tsuazbpoq » Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:51 pm

Nice write ups above. Thanks!

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Re: N Wind Days

Post by windstoked » Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:59 am

The wind is blowing now (8:00 AM), but the forecast shows it fading off this afternoon, so I'm heading out soon.
For beginners new to the site, be aware it's an onshore launch, and getting out of the little bay and into the main channel can be challenging if the wind direction is more northerly and lighter.
There's a tree on the point where the windsurfer's launch that is infamous for eating kites.
Launching farther upwind along the shore to the left is advised if in doubt.
The channel sometimes has a pretty strong current because almost all the water released from Lake Oroville comes down it, and it can come from the bottom of the lake and be cold. I imagine they will not be releasing a lot of water now because water deliveries are down from the drought. If the wind is light, the tack back into the bay is with the current and makes it harder to get past that tree.
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Re: N Wind Days

Post by tsuazbpoq » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:29 am

Thanks! On my way!

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Re: N Wind Days

Post by halibut » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:12 am

Thermalito was really nice yesterday (sunday 10/12) Probably 15 kiters mostly from Sac and areas north. This was my first time here and I was pleasantly surprised. Launch was easy but dirt surface might have been a little rough on kites. Warm air, cold water. Wore my 4/3 and was not sorry. Good to be aware of the gusty conditions on these big North wind days especially if you are used to riding Sherman during the summer where the wind is really steady. Still, no complaints. Had a blast!
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