Calcup returns to San Francisco for city front racing. StFYC set a line and a windward mark and had an rc boat for a great day of racing. Its always fun to race on the city front as it gets 'survival' by the end of the day and there are lots of tactics to deal with with the flood and the ebb, commercial boat traffic, and of course a hundred other windsurfers and sailors on the bay enjoying the SF fog free weather. By 11 the wind was starting to fill in and I already de-rigged my 11.0 and went out on the water with my 10.0.
The swell was beginning to build and the wind was stronger on the outside. There was still a lot of flood on the inside but it was particularly tricky as it was sometimes quite light on the inside as I found out. As I warmed up, I realized it was going to be better to get to the right side early and out of the flood up wind. If there was a puff I could ride down off the breeze, the inside might be favorable. Of course, if there was wind on the inside there is always a nice geographical lift from the shore, but always a risk getting there.
I don't remember a lot of the particulars throughout the day as we had slalom racing just after course racing and it was a long day on the water. What I do remember is getting a nice starts the 1st race and rounding in the top 3-4 and keeping my position from there, With 2 laps around the course, there was some opportunity for strategy and finding your opponents weak areas and taking advantage of them. At the top, most guys are very proficient and not a lot of weak areas to take advantage of, but once you get stuck in the middle of the fleet, you can either grind people off or simply sail faster than them. Upwind on the first race, I tacked just behind and below Bill with Eric just in front. I know Bill is a footer and always goes for speed so I antcipated the squeeze and simply went for speed myself and sailed above Eric and was catching up with Ben. I really felt fast upwind with this set up. I had put on a bit more downhaul, which seemed to help the top end
In the 2ns race, it was Eric who was the lone port tacker. He looked doomed at the start, barley getting off the line having sailed under all the starboard boards coming down the line. But a the top mark, he was really out in the lead, having gotten out of the flood for longer in the stronger breeze. We all understood the windward mark and had to double tack. Just a bit further and I would have been golden. Off the breeze I made the mistake of sailing too far into shore near Crissy and got stuck with no breeze at all and really suffered as 4-5 boards sailed by well powered on the outside. Live and learn!
Don't remember much on the next race except the rest of the fleet caught onto Eric's lesson from before and there were about 10 port tackers. I had thought about it but at the time thought the current was too strong and wind too light to take the risk of not being powered up and staying up on the line to be worth it. I started on starboard sailing off the line with Mike Z and Steve. I decided to tack back early but going up the middle was just the wrong choice. You needed to pick and side and be totally committed to it. Mike Z and Steve both got the inside lift and came out on top. I struggled to make my way through the fleet down wind and got Al by gybing inside him at the last layline and pumping across the finish line. Nice strong finish. I'll take the points where I can get them.
Last race- we all came in and took a few minute break thinking that racing was over but they called us out again. The swell was big, the wind a steady 20-25k and everyone was powered on their 10.0's It was more of survival racing and not falling as that takes you out of the game. I decided port was the way to go and Ben, Jean and I all lined up on the left side taking a good run at the line. Those 2 cleared everyone but I decided to play it a bit safe and duck. Well better safe than sorry but sometimes you need to take the big risk to win. The 3 of us went to the right side while the rest of the fleet went to the shore. Ben and Jean rounded 1-2 while Bill, Steve and Mike Z slipped in just in front of me. We were all well lit going off the breeze. I felt Bill just below me coming up for speed and Steve just above me breathing down my neck. You know how close they are by the slight noise of the hull against the water without even having to look. Steve gybed first and but was forced to round wide and Bill and Mike Z had a tight rounding. I slowed down a bit, not to get in their bad air and set myself up for a tight rounding a lane to pinch up on the long beat ahead. I stayed up with Mike Z as long as I could but finally bleed off and went for speed. We had still climbed well above the Bill and Steve below. Jean and Ben were out in front going to the left side. Ok wait for the others to make mistakes! Steve was too powered up and got launched to leeward. One less to worry about! We all tacked on the layline and soon enough Jean fell to windward but was quick to water start out of it and slightly ahead at that point. Off the breeze we went on a big swell. I looked behind and there was enough of a gap for me not to worry and I just sailed conservatively not to make any falls. Bill, Jean and Mike Z were going deep and little out of control. I sailed a bit higher and let Jean make the next mistake of falling again and I picked him off and finished 4th.
We all sailed back to the beach where the shore break was just huge and Mike z was the first to go over the falls and miracuously only ended up breaking a batten despite pitch poling his ear on the shore break. I was pretty cautious getting out as someone was there to help. At that point everyone helped the sailors coming in to prevent any further damage. A real true show of sportsmanship and camaraderie we have here in our fleet.