Friday, December 8, 2006
Light- medium wind formula rig
Perfect for formula racing or light air. Good range from 8k+
2010 Neil Pyrde evo2 10.7
530 100% carbon race mast
Streamlined base & uni
Reduced price for whole kit
2011 north warp 7.8 slalom sail
Perfect for 100-130l slalom boards
Good range from 12k+
requires a 460 mast
2010 north warp 7.0 slalom sail
Perfect for 90-120l slalom boards. Good range from 16k+
requires a 460 mast
I can package the 7.0, 7.8, 460, mast, boom and extension for a great medium to low end slalom kit. Reduced price for the whole kit
2007 north warp 6.3
Perfect for 90-100l slalom boards. Good range from 20k+
Requires a 430 mast
HPL carbon formula boom 225 cm- 310 cm with carbon wrapped head and new maui sails boom head-
I can sell the booms bare or race ready with adjustable harness lines & outhaul &; easy uphaul
HPL carbon slalom boom 180cm +
Can sell the booms bare or race ready with adjustable harness lines &; outhaul &; uphaul
ml slalom board 95l
Awesome high wind slalom board with 34 cm fin.
Works best in 5.8- 7.3 sail range.
stramlined 30cm & 48 cm us extensions with or without streamlined US pin universals
Z slalom fin 45 cm- great light air flat water fin with super flexible tip
67 kashy formula fin- great medium to high wind formula fin with great control & speed
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Pretrials day 2: Is there success through failure?
Sub marginal to marginal conditions today on the racecourse.3 races in diminishing conditions: choppy 7-11, then 7-8 the finally in race 3- under 6 knots. 5 men in the course in 2 lap windward leeward races. In first 2 races today Ben, Seth and I got off the line on port tack with track back planning conditions then the wind died and back to track forward displacement mode. In the last race, it was light- light and I was in there within striking distance for 4th. My back was in a lot of pain – upwind no pumping but downwind I was doing the butterfly pump at a good rate and caught Bob for 4th- otherwise 2other races today I was too far behind in 5th to even merit trying to pump to catch up. In the front of the fleet, Ben got 3 more bullets, Seth moved up to 2nd.Pretrials day 3:Somebody please put the wind back in Olympic windsurfing!
2 races in very light conditions in 3-5 knots of breeze. It was critical to maintain an upwind pump to get any angle at all- without it, I found my angle was way off and not in the game. For me this just isn't windsurfing – more like airs rowing with a giant paddle but these are the conditions similar to the next Olympics in China. This is one of the first times I'm ready to walk away from a challenge. My heart does not seem to be in the game nor am I interested in pumping the course and calling it windsurfing but my respect goes out Ben who is going for it all the way and walking away with 7 bullets so far. I think I've got a chance for 2nd or 3rd but at this point it's not worth it seeing the amount of time and effort required and the diminishing returns I am seeing. The other 3 guys have stepped it up a level but aren't yet close to Ben in first. I'm finding it hard to let go of this Olympic dream but sometimes better to do what your good at than what your not!
Pretrials day 4: The End is near
The light wind streak continues. I got out the racecourse for a 1 pm start only to find 3-5 knots on the course. Now instead of racing to the south of the harbor entrance like the previous 3 days, our course was position a ¼ mile in front of the entrance causing a lot of confused chop around the course. I got off to a decent start near the pin with Mark just on my hip to windward. I was able to hold him off by pumping just with my upper body but the whole motion just wasn't there, as I couldn't get by back to do what I wanted. Mark tacked off but soon it was apparent the right side was favored. So much for protecting the right side! I was in for a bit but soon enough got shot out the back door into 5th where it was apparent I wasn't going anywhere fast. Back up wind, Ben was leading the race for his 8th victory with out much challenge. The real battle was Seth trying to hold off Mark and Bob for 2nd place. Despite being a good 25 lbs heavier he's really working his ass off for 2nd place. Hopefully it will pay off for him the long run. As for me, all I needed was one race to know I was finished. I told the RC I was retiring and heading in.
Monday, October 30, 2006
Sunday 2pm January 21st and Crissy Field is lighter than light. Both Jean Rathle and I missed the morning breeze, procrastinated and arrived to find the SF city front that's not even worthwhile of a 11.9 and a formula set up.
A quick call to Berkeley to see if the old men are out on the water today.
No answer on Sylvester and Percy’s cell: probably means they’re on the water now.
Wait a bit more to see if the wind comes up….nothing.
Jean suggests breaking his Kona longboards out and go paddle boarding.
Well, I thought, at least it’s a way to get wet
We suit up and paddle out to find a swift 4-knot ebb on the inside of Anita Rock.
I lose my balance a few times and take a plunge.
The January San Francisco Bay water is colder than I remembered and I’m back up on the board quicker than I can say uncle!
Standing and paddling a 12”+ long board with a lightweight carbon paddle takes more coordination that I expect. My attention goes back and forth from paddling to balancing.
I find the rhythm of it and Jean and I racing against the outgoing ebb towards the B mark in front of St. Francis Yacht Club. My course is erratic veering to the right 30 degrees than off the left 30 degrees as I switch hands to paddle. Jean is able to keep his bow into the current and make a steady progress.
We finally turn around after getting around hearts racing at a good pace. Both of us agree this is more work than windsurfing!
Paddling with the 4k current is a breeze and we arrive back at Anita Rock in no time at all. To my surprise, its like a river flowing around Anita Rock and the ebb is throwing up a standing wave. I’ve seen this a few times on a big ebb day at the north tower. Some have compared it to a magic carpet ride. The experience is unbelievable as you can ride an overhead standing wave with out much effort and with out moving at all.
Despite the Anita ebb wave maxing out at 24”, it did provide several good minutes of stoke for both Jean and I as we both paddled and found the Anita ghost wave. If you got your bow outside the current line- you got shot out the side door and ended up 50’ downstream before you knew what was up. A quick paddle back to Anita and it was surfs up again.
The session ended with us paddling back to Crissy Field and practicing 360’s by sinking the tail paddling as fast as we could turn. This ultimately ended up with a few more dunkings but oh so worthwhile on a beautiful sunny San Francisco winter day.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006-
It's the middle of September already. Most of our racing has wound down with the exception of a few more races in the Bay but I find myself in the northern Italy getting ready for my biggest regatta of the year, the 2006 RSX world Championships.
I got out for my 2nd time on Lake Garda today after a week of site- seeing with my family around the area. All I can say, is that it's an unbelievable place to sail…the steep mountains surrounding the lake, the picturesque villages on the shore and on the cliffs surrounding the lake and what makes this place really unique is all the windsurfers here, as well as other high performance sailing crafts. It is literally the sailing capital of Europe. Most importantly, a dependable breeze arrives every afternoon like clockwork as the land around the lake heats up causing a thermal breeze and funnels the wind through the steep mountains at the end of the lake crating a windsurfing paradise!
There are several windsurfing schools on the northern shore as well as several places to launch from around Torbole where the regatta will be run. Last week when I arrived there were literally hundreds of windsurfers on lake in a 15-20k breeze as well as some really cool skiffs with 6 guys on the trap; a fleet of A and C class catamarans racing; and some Moth class dinghies- all of which would give formula sailors a good run for their money!
Most of the windsurfers were Europeans on vacation here with gear ranging from vintage short boards to modern slalom set-ups. It is like turning the pages of windsurfing history here with everything represented.
they usually do as well as put a damp spirit on everything with a San Francisco- like fog and drissle. Nonetheless that doesn't stop the Olympic class windsurfers from getting out andI decided to charter my board to make traveling here easier so I picked up my RSX from the local shop last week and got set up with a place to stay in nearby Riva Del Garda- 1 mile down the shore from the regatta site. After a few days of relaxing and site seeing with wife and her family I got on the water for the first time. Unfortunately, a big low-pressure system is sitting over most of Italy at the moment and is causing the normal thermal winds not to develop as practicing. There are probably 40-50 sailors here already getting ready for the regatta a week before it begins. Most of the Olympic class sailors are campaigning full time so getting a top result at this regatta means funding for the next year as well as the first chance to qualify their countries for the 2008 Olympic regatta. It is also the 1st World Championship for the new Olympic class board so a lot attention is being given to the event.
With just under a week before the event begins, I hope to get a few more days on the water to tune up and let the normal weather pattern finally fill in. Ill send some more reports as the racing goes on but you can find results as well as coverage on the ISAF website at www.sailing.org
Sept 21-Its 3 days before the 1st RS-X World Championship in Torbole on Lake Garda, Italy and already close than 300 competitors have arrived. The beach in front of the Circole Surf Torbole is full of international competitors getting ready to secure a chance for their country at the 2008 Olympic regatta in China. This year’s world championship is an open entry – an opportunity to try to grow the new Olympic boardsailing class here in Europe- and by the looks of it, there is a lot of interest with lots of young sailors from Poland, France and Italy.
There is a new generation of sailors here as well as many seasoned veterans vying to compete in the 1st of many world Championships. After last months’ light wind Olympic test event in China, many sailors, including myself are looking forward to the predicable Lake Garda ‘Ora’ every afternoon. The US is represented by 4 sailors: Ben Barger, of St. Petes, FL ; Steve Bodner, of San Francisco, CA ; Karen Marriott, of Colorado, and Farrah Hall , of Tampa, FL.
Updates will be available on the new RS-X class website at www.rsxclass.com
Semptember 23rd- first day of racing:
I woke up this morning thinking the overcast skies might bring a lack of wind but was pleasantly surprised by 12 pm when the 'Ora' kicked in to a solid 12-18k knots. The anticipation of waiting for the regatta to begin finally ended as the postponement flag went down and the 244 sailors headed towards the water in a mass exodus. The men's fleet was divided into 4 fleets of 41 sailors each while the women's fleet was divided in 2 for 40 sailors in each fleet. causing some yelling a screaming by both fleets. The RC was quick to realize this and put up the postponement flag for our fleet. The women's fleet who started second also caused some disruption as the rounded their inside leeward mark set just in froThe men's andnt of the starting line. So despite going out at 1pm, my first race didn't start till close to 2pm. It was evident from sailing the course before, as well as watching the 2 fleets that going right would pay off. On the west side of the lake there is a sheer cliff several hundred meters tall making the wind overstood some knowing there would be a big parade as I got closer to the windward mark. I rounded in the middle of the fleet with the top group punching out in front and a big number of sailors around me. Downwind there was lot of pumping despite full on planning. This was the world championship with the best sailors pushing each other as hard as they could. I got around the bottom women's fleet raced on 2 different courses both sailing a trapezoid course.I was in the red fleet-which raced after 2 other fleets started on the Torbole course close to shore. It seemed like a lot of waiting around as only 2 fleets could race on the course at one time. This became evident after the first fleet rounded the outside bottom mark and headed back upwind through the starting line- mark and headed right again but didn't reach the wall as I would have overstood the outside top mark. I lost a few boards here as I caught more weeds and had to back down to clear my fin. It was a close race from then on as I battled a few sailors around me going back and forth. It really seems like and international competition with sailors from around the world pushing you as much as you can. I rounded the last windward mark with 2 sailors right on my tail. As I pumped downwind, I separated a few meters from then and then on the last gybe I go accelerate a few knots faster than the middle of the course. I started near the boat and immediately tacked off to get to the right side. Despite being gassed early, I got some clear air but managed to rake up a few weeds in the many patches circulating around the course. As I approached the cliff on the right side, the wind increased giving me a bit of a lift as well. It my foot stuck in the strap and dropped my rig and let the 2 guys who I was beating pass me to the finish. I knew points in a competition like this are super valuable with everything doubled at the end of the day due to the 4 fleets competing. I finished 26th in a fleet of 41- plenty of room to improve especially in conditions that favor me.
In the second race, conditions backed down a bit as well as a lot more chop on the course with lots of recreational sailors reaching back and forth. The Italian police was chasing a few of them down- really funny to hear a police siren on the water and police boat chasing you - telling you to leave the area. Only if we had this pleasure with the SF ferries! I tried to get off the line again but got hosed on the start forcing me to go right again despite wanting to head left as there was a bit more breeze in the middle of the lake. I rounded deep and dug my way back to 26th again. Well at least that's consistent. At the end of the day I stand in 103rd with 2 26th places. I need to step it up a bit and get better starts in order to make the top half of the fleet, which is my goal for the regatta. There is a lot of really good racers here who have devoted the better half or most of their lives to their Olympic campaigns. It is a real passion amoung the sailors here and the professionalism shows. I am learning lot by sailing my 5th world championship.
Sept 24th- 2nd day of racing:
It looked like another light wind day as the morning breeze failed to materialize but just like magic (and as soon as I ordered my lunch at the café above the sailing club) the north wind came down the lake and the postponement flags came down the pole. The 6 fleets headed out to the Torbole and Trentino courses set just in front of Riva Del Garda and up the lake where there was more wind. Luckily today I was in the Torbole course with a bit more breeze so I was excited- just my conditions!
Race 1 started with most of the fleet starting on port heading to the right side of the wall. I knew this was the way to go but was quite surprised when the fleet was already lined up at the pin. I had missed the gun in my rush to get out to the course and was not positioned well. I started deep and footed to the right and tacked at the wall but got trapped on the way back by a few guys above me. I knew I wanted to go back right but despite going a bit faster and higher I couldn't get the room to tack back and went back to the middle of the course. I could see the guys on the right gaining but nothing I could do. Sometimes its best to slow down and tack to get back to the correct side- a good lesson learned! Finally in the breeze I was feeling good with my speed passing a few boards each leg but was still deep clawing my way back through the fleet. It was a good 15knots on the course yet a lot of pumping all through out the fleet- especially off the wind where you need to be super efficient. I was going back and forth with a few sailors- especially the lighter ones who would gain downwind with better pumping but then upwind I would get them back, This type of back and forth sailing makes fleet sailing very competitive. Unfortunately for me we had a downwind finish and I thought I had enough of a lead over the small sailor from Hong Kong to keep him back but just as I gybed around the last leeward mark he sneaked inside of me and kept the lead the nest 100 meters to the finish. Good lesson learned- always close the door on the sailors behind you! Another finish around 22'nd- this is getting consistent- a bit better but consistent!
The second race started in a decent 14-16knots. I knew I had to get a good start. That was my goals for this one. I watched the first fleet all start on port and get off well. As I lined up with 40 seconds to go, I blasted down the line finding a hole and stalled a bit not to be over early as the one minute flag was up . 5- 4-3-2- 1. The fleet was off and I had clear air with a lane off the line. I held my own getting my head and shoulders out to windward as much as possible to keep climbing. I was looking good as I got to the wall and tacked and was on the layline already in really good position! I rounded the top mark in 7th and held my own down the top reach. The breeze was a bit lighter on the far side so most of the fleet gybed immediate. The first fleet was mixed up with us here so a lot of action at this mark and the bottom mark as we rounded together. I felt a bit outpaced here as the lighter sailors were very efficient in their pumping and I fell back in the fleet. As I rounded the leeward mark I had a sloppy rounding and fell back even further as it was a drag race to the right side as well as a bit of a header going there. Well I was in better position than normal- just had to keep the pace up. 3 more laps upwind and same scenario- really good upwind when I found my lane but losing boards downwind due to not pumping enough. This class is a lot of work. I need o spend more time on the rowing machine to get my cardio up to speed with the other Olympic hopefuls. After all, its not just hook in and hold on- This is Olympic class sailing- part sailing- part pumping your sail as hard and as long as you can!
As I made my way back up the final upwind leg, the wind really got lighter and I had to get my centerboard down to get around the top mark. A few guys who overstood came flying in with the track back and boards up. Down wind I struggle din the light stuff to get planning but finally managed to get going and off again. I was working hard but the lighter sailors really went pasted me like I was standing still. Despite the great start and good upwind sailing, I still finished in the mid 20's. Well it a start, one thing at a time! I'm still trying to put all the pieces together but its coming together slowly. Today was better than yesterday- always a good thing!
Sept 27th: Day 4
The day started with a bit of confusion by all: how to split the fleets. Either way, somebody would be at a disadvantage. The race committee finally decided to split the men’s fleet right down the middle with a 82 board gold fleet and an 82 board silver fleet. That means getting a bad score now counts potentially 2x as bad as it did in the qualifying rounds where we sailed in a fleet of 44 boards. Now the fun really begins!At the beginning of the day I stood in 104th 30 points out of 1st place in the sliver fleet- plenty of opportunity to move up if the conditions stayed as they did the previous 3 days.
In front of me in the gold fleet, is my fellow American Ben Barger who made the cut with a finial position of 70th as well as Canadians Alain Bouldoc and Zac Plavsic in mid fleet. Those guys would be racing in the top fleet while I battled it out with the other 82 sailors. The goal was to get a decent start and off to the correct side and take it from there.
The wind was slower to fill in and they finally sent the women’s fleet and well as the men’s gold fleet around 3pm for their first of 2 races. The intensity in the men’s fleet was intense with the top few positions really close and it was anybody’s race to be won or lost. Unfortunatly the race was well offshore so now chance off seeing the action. I can see why windsurfing isn’t much of a spectator’s sport now!
My fleet was off to their first start around 5pm and the light wind had filled in. It was another race to the cliff where we started track forward and centerboard down. As we approached the wind, everybody changed gears and went track back, centerboard up. Next as we approached the windward mark the wind died again so back to first and second gear! With this type of condition where one side is favored, it’s really a parade- making putting the tactics to a minimum and making board-speed the utmost important factor. This was the way the rest of the race played out for the next 2 laps of the windward leeward course. I had some promising moments rounding near the upper pack then fell back in the upwind light stuff as the flyweights planned away. I think I finished mid fleet but cant be sure…just hoping for some more planning conditions tomorrow to minimize the damage.
Day 5 report RSX World Championship, Lake Garda, Italy
The reality of light wind sailing finally kicked in today with the silver fleet racing at 4:30 and the wind doing a nose dive to the lower single digits. It was a painful experience that makes me count my blessing from all the planning conditions we had thus far.
As I reported the last few days, there are some amazing opportunities to gain or lose lots of boards in big fleets. I had the opportunity to do both today.
I got out to the course early to watch the 2nd race of the men’s gold fleet. It was obvious that banging the right corner near the cliff was the only way to go. Now implement that on a line with 80 boards! For the first race I lined up with a nice hole to leeward but above me there were guys pushing the line, below me guys pushing the line. I was stuck in the middle with no place to go. Finally I escaped and made it to the wall. There were still a lot of boards above me so I quickly made my way back right gaining a few more boards and over-standing the layline so I could come in with speed. I immedialty gybed and headed back to the velocity. I rounded the bottom mark just behind the front pack and pumped my way upwind a few board lengths to get a clear lane so I could head right again with clear air. This is how I made the most gains. The boards below me struggled with bad air and I tacked at the wall and had them beat. I was in decent position in the top 20 in a fleet of 80. 2 more laps holding my own to a decent finish. The fun was coming back
Next race the wind was dying in a big way. Most of the fleet struggled to get off the line including myself who struggled from that point on to catch up. Probably the most important lesson I have learned in light air sailing a in a big fleet is clear air and speed are king. I don’t know how many times I’ve learned that lesson but I still continue to learn it even today! The rest of the race was like beginning to learn to race for the first time. I struggled in the light breeze trying to find a way to make the board go fast. Needless to say from my result, I didn’t find a way to make it go. I was near the back of the fleet trying to find a reason to continue as I knew this race would be my throwout…Somehow I continued making my way to the finish just before the flag came down closing the finishing line.It’s days like this I wonder if its worth continuing but then I looked around at the beautiful surroundings and thought- things could be worse and sailed in with just a bit of a smile coming through despite the curse words fuming out of my mouth form my performance.
Friday, September 1, 2006
Take some of the fastest downwind sailing crafts on the planet; wind them up like match box cars and let them go! That was the theme for 8th annual Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race in San Francisco, August 25, 2006 where 40 kite-boarders, windsurfers and skiffs raced between a starting line set outside the Golden Gate Bridge and a finish line set to the east of Treasure Island under the Bay bridge.
The only rule is to watch out for the skiffs and their 10’ carbon bow sprints- they don’t change course very easily and travel at speeds close to 30 knots. Other than that, it’s the first craft that crosses the finish line that wins!
This was my 3rd or 4th attempt at this race over the past few years. It’s a relatively easy course from point A to point B but the options are limitless in terms of tactics, strategy and survival. This year, there would be no records broken as the fleet was fighting a stiff ebb tide the whole way down the course, which made for a bumpy and slower ride than usual. Nonetheless, it was like riding a runaway coach down a mountain with a team of 100 horses in front of you for 20 minutes straight! “Control,” was the main thought going through my mind from start to finish.
As the fleets assembled outside the Golden Gate Bridge for a 5:30 start, I noticed one thing: an awesome display of sailing power in all 3 fleets. The formula class windsurfer is an evolution of the original windsurfer with a wide 100 cm hull, big fin and oversized 10m2 rig, capable of speeds up to 35 knots. Its advantage is that it is light, relatively quick and can stay powered up even in the lighter breezes. The Aussie 18 skiffs are a light weight open class sailing craft that carry a crew of 3 sailors trapezing off carbon fiber winds protruding from each side of an open hulled craft with a enormous rig and oversized asymmetrical chute. The class is known for constantly pushing the limits of design and control with amazing speeds and spectacular wipeouts. And last but certainly not least was the kite-boarders with 21 competitors on the starting line. The kiters are still the new kids on the block but are making the biggest gains each year in terms of speed and control. They can sail deep downwind with their oversized kites pulling just a few square feet of board through the water!
The starting line was set between the red nun outside the bridge and 2 rigid inflatable race committee boats holding their position in the strong ebb tide. The kiters would start at one end and the skiffs and windsurfers at the other. As the starting gun fired, it was apparent that most of the sailing craft were headed out to the middle of the bay with the stronger breeze. This was the most dangerous time of the race as the skiffs, windsurfers and kiters were all still crossing each other going downwind with relatively no concerns except to get to the finish line first!
I got off the line well with Mike Percy and Steve Sylvester, both on formula boards to each side of me. As we made our way downwind towards the St. Francis Yacht Club, the boards, kites and skiffs were all mixing it up. I could see one kiter out in front but meanwhile I was ducking skiffs and trading places with Mike and Steve near the top of the pack.
The most direct route was near the city front but that meant a lighter breeze so most of the fleet worked their way downwind gybing back and forth, fighting the ebb tide chop down wind. As we made our way around Alcatrez Island in the middle of the Bay, I could see one kiter clear ahead and one or 2 skiffs a good 15-20 seconds in front of the formula boards. Most of the boards gybed back below Alcatrez so that they could come into the finish line with speed. Jean Rathle, along with myself, both on formula boards kept a higher course hoping to get lucky puff coming off the city front. At this point, I thought the race was over as the fleet below was well powered racing towards the finish line. As anybody who’s ever raced before knows, you can never count yourself out!
As the guys who went low came in towards Treasure Island, they caught and unexpected lull as the wind lifted above the Treasure Island and left them short of breathe 200m before the finish line. Meanwhile coming under the Bay Bridge was a container ship that forced Jean and I to sail a bit longer than we expected, but gave us a good angle to come in with speed to the finish. Sylvester saw all this happening and was quick to gybe back and get over to the stronger breeze with Jean and I. I was the first to gybe back towards the finish line, around 5th overall with 2 kites already finishing and 2 skiffs just in front of us. I gybed back but lost control of my rig as it dropped into the water, letting the Yandoo skiff, Chip Wasson on his kite and Al Mirel on his formula board sneak in front of me. Never over-estimate the power of your finger tips for control, especially 50 m from the finish line!
Jean and Steve took themselves out by not finishing correctly as they mistook the press boat for the finish line. This gave me a 9th overall- all and 2nd windsurfer to finish.
Just on my heels were the rest of the boards, kites and skiffs coming down to the finish line. It was an amazing site to see as I caught my breath under the Bay Bridge.
I thing the biggest accomplishment has to go to the kiters who have made an enormous leap in progress with their abilities and kite designs over the past few years. It’s an honor to share the line with them as well as the skiffs in this amazing race. Special thanks goes out to the main sponsor, Ronstan and the St. Francis Yacht Club for running the race.
- Kafka - kiteboarder
- Anthony Chavez - kiteboarder
- Pegasus White - Aussie 18 skiff - Hamlin, Martin, Barnabus
- Pegasus Black - Aussie 18 skiff - Kahn, Allen, MacDonald
- Boylington- kiteboader
- Yandoo - Aussie 18 skiff –Winning, Hay, Bauchop
- Wasson- kiteboarder
- Mirel- Formula windsurfer
- Bodner- Formula windsurfer
- Sylvester- Formula windsurfer
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Greetings from the windy island of Maui!
The wind here has been excellent, providing ideal
conditions for the first 2 days of racing at the US
nationals. The race organizers decided to run slalom
right off the back as that’s what they're used to
running. The slalom fleets have been broken up into 8 age
groups with 10-15 sailors in each heat. Over the past
2 days we have ran 14 heats of slalom for each fleet-
making it really east to fall asleep at the end of the
day! In my class, the 19-34 year old men, we have some
real talent with Matt Pritchard, Seth Besse and some
impressive locals sailors taking the top of the pack
each race. I ve been a bit inconsistant with finishes
from 4th to last but more important, it's alot of fun
racing here. I come off the water with a smile on my
face after every race...something about racing in
boardshorts in great wind does that!
One thing noticable about this nationals is the local
spirit. It is more like a regonal event than a
national championships with lots of locals and
especially young kids. It's especially great to see
the younger kids here ripping around on the slalom
course. They are using 4.0- 5.0 small sails making it
Next up today is the long distance race. Windsurfers
can't get on the water before 11 am and the wind has
been up up to 20+ before that, so its going to be an
interesting day on the water with perhaps more slalom
after the long distance racing.
To give you an idea of how windy its been, Ive been on
a 5.8 slalom and 29 cm fin fully lit up. My booms have
been slowing making their way down the cut out for
more control, as the well as a bit more downhaul each
You can check out some video here:
I'll provide some more updates later in the week as we
do more racing.
How windy was it?
Well let's just say it blew the dogs off the chain
here in Maui at the us nationals for the past 4
We raced formula yesterday with 9.0s before deciding
we were too wound and switched to 7.6's. The rest of
the fleet stayed on course slalom boards in the open
class for a double windward leeward and some reaching
in the course.
We raced both inside and outside the reef, which made
calling the laylines interesting as you had to sail
through the breakers to reach the windward mark. All
of us had our share of disasters and it was the one
who recovered the fastest that made it out best. In
the first race, Percy, Steve S and I went off the line
with our 9.0's, sailing through the break before Percy
ate it and go pitched over falls. Steve and I rounded
the top mark together before he managed to escape
downwind going a bit deeper to the leeward mark and
getting a lead on me. He extended his lead and
finished first and I sailed into 2nd with Percy
recovering and placing 3rd.
In the next race, we all switched down to our big
slalom sails on our formula boards as it was a steady
25 with gust in the mid 30's. Percy and I headed off
together and lost sight of Steve- as it turned out he
had a collision with a rec sailor and took both of
them out. I had a few issues with harness lines and
was in the water trying to retie the sucker a few
times and not to succumb to defeat. Percy took the
bullet and another sailor snuck in there for second
before I finished in 3rd.
In the last race of the day, Percy and I were fighting
off the line again with out 7.6's in a solid 30k
breeze and monster swell. He rounded the top mark in
first and we both screamed down wind with our feet in
the leeward strap. Around the reach mark, Percy
looked like he was having trouble so I pulled the
trigger and sheeted in, grinding him down bit by bit.
I got just to windward of him and waited for him to
tack to cover him to the windward mark. Unfortunately
disaster struck again as I got a nice weed wrapped
around my fin and had to jump in and clear it. Percy
was gone, but that was the least of my troubles. This
time, my port harness line blew out at the webbing so
I had to be innovative to re-attach it to the boom-
needless to say it was a few times in the water which
let another sailor sneak into 2nd.
Meanwhile, the rest of the action was in the open
class with the biggest fleet of locals on course
slalom gear and medium slalom sails. Phil McGain,
Micah Buzianis and Matt Pritchard were up at the top.
it sure looked like those guys were having more fun
screaming on their small boards and catching up with
the formula fleet who started 4 minutes earlier.
One more day of course racing today before the 2006 US Nationals is over. One part of me will be really thankful but the other will be disappointed to leave
this place! It's really a unique place to race with a
strong local fleet- almost just a crazy as the formula
sailors in the Bay area!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Most sailors found their way down to Kahana beach on Friday for the last day of racing with tired limbs and sore muscles, but behind it all were smiles on everybody's faces- knowing it couldn't get much better than this!
The RC waited till noon to start the racing as the water was still coming in and filling the shallows of Kahana reef. I hadn't managed to find any coral heads with my formula fin but then again I wasn't really looking to either. We set up for a start just off the beach with the RC calling the line from the comforts lawn chairs set in the sand. A windward mark was set inside the reef in the "shallower" water and then it was back down through the gate; a small reach across and below the infamous "Portuguese triangle"; then back upwind to a windward mark set outside the reef; back down to the reach mark; back up to windward mark 1; and finally downwind to a finish just off the beach. The formula class started first with the RSX sailors and the juniors for crowded line. It was Percy, Sylvester and myself all off the line on our 9.0's. I got a good start, knowing I had to win the 2 races today to take the series. I looked back and saw Sylvester catching up with better speed. We both tacked at the layline, with Percy just behind- taking a stumble through the breakers as we headed out. Knowing it was shallow in that area, we still forged ahead, both wanting to get to the windward mark first. Steve rounded just in front of me but I was able to go a bit deeper off the breeze and gain some distance before we had to gybe a the shore. I managed to stay out in front for the rest of the race with Steve nipping at my tail all the way to the finish. One race down and now I was just a ½ point behind Percy for first going into the last race. We had a bit of a break while the other fleet got off their race. It was really exciting to see the course slalom boards making their way around the course with tons of speed and position changes. At the top, it was Phil McGain, Matt Prtichard and Micah Buzianis with Seth and the hotshot locals following close behind. From the shore, I could see the breeze building. Neither Percy, Sylvester or myself wanted to be the first to chicken out and rig down, knowing that it might cost us the race if we sacrificed speed for control. Finally as we lined up for the second and final start, it was Sylvester who rigged down to a 7.2 slalom sail while Percy and I stayed on our 9.0's.
The starting line was again filled with a lot of junior sailor- who were legitimately racing amoung themselves- but to us were another obstacle to get around. Percy wasn't so lucky and got sandwiched and got off to a slow start while Sylvester and I got a clean start in the middle of the line. I had switched to my faster fin, knowing Steve had a bit of an advantage the previous race. We rounded the top mark together and made our way towards the bottom gate. I was able to go a bit deeper with the bigger sail but was slower in my transitions. At the gate, Steve had some control issues and I went to pass him to windward just at the mark. We crossed paths with a few of the course slalom sailors -who had just started and were making their way upwind but not quite with the same angles. I got squeezed out and had to foot off to clear my wind and Steve and Mike got a clear lane to windward of me and began to climb. We all overstood a bit and came into the top mark with speed with Sylvester rounding just in front of me and Percy a few boards behind. I managed to go a bit deeper than Steve off the breeze again and we gybed for the downwind mark overlapped with the petal to the metal. I didn't have enough speed to get below him so I let up a bit as we got closer to the mark so I could find a lane upwind if he let the door open at all with his rounding. I did manage to find a lane and climb on Sylvester upwind and get to the top mark in 1st with Percy in 3rd. It was just one more leg to the finish with Steve a few board lengths behind me. I went as deep as I could that leg and gybed at the layline seeing Steve behind me as I crossed the line to take the race and the regatta. Although the formula fleet was much smaller this year than previous' years, it was a good feeling to finally finish on top in a class I've been racing in for the past 4 years.
Meanwhile, in the bigger course slalom fleet, it was Phil McGain in 1st, Matt Pritchard in 2nd, Micah in 3rd and Seth finishing in 4th overall. It was a real treat to race in Maui for the nationals and I'm looking forward to coming back again. Next years nationals will be back in San Francisco at the St. Francis Y.C.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
First big decision was what to rig. I had sailed the 9.0 the day before and it was just a great sail- perfectly balanced on the ml06 and kashy fin. The classic course is a lot of reaching so I decided on the 9.0 as its been getting big the last few afternoons and conditions can change so much across the bay. Normally for formula windward leeward racing I would choose a 10.0 as my small sail as you want to be prepared for the lulls.
The breeze was still lighter on the inside near the shore so I decided to start on port tack near the boat to get out to the wind line first. I came down the line, ducking most of the starboard tackers and shot up getting a clear lane. As the fleet progressed up to windward, I was closing the angle on the guys who started above me on port. At the top mark, it was Steve S, Bill W, and Crad in front of me. The first reach down was light so we all gybed early and came into the boat at the north tower with speed. I was able to pass Crad here but knew I had to keep the leaders in sight. As we shot across the bay to the presido shoal, I knew the 9.0 was a good decision as it was a solid 18-22k already. Unfortunatly at the shoal marker we all came to stand still for several minutes and the rest of the fleet caught up. The top 3 exited just as the arrived and we were on to lap 2 of the top triangle. I overstood the red nun as to come in with speed and tack around as close to the mark as possible. There was a strong flood up at the top of the course making it difficult to get around the mark.
As we sailed downwind again, it was evident Bill with his 9.8 was going deeper than Steve and I on our 9.0s. Steve went high and had to double gybe to make the mark. I stayed as deep as I could but was well high of the mark and gybed with Mike Z on my hip at the mark.
As we reached across the bay towards Anita, I felt Mike putting on the pressure. I was in control on the 9.0 but certainly not pushing the envelope as there was some decent chop to deal with. I had enough speed to keep Mike off my tail and rounded Anita in 3rd behind Bill and Steve S. Bill went low on the next leg and I stayed in the outside strap for more speed and rolled over the top of him. With Steve 20 seconds ahead I found my pace for the rest of the race.
Once we rounded Harding, there was some commotion on the water as there was a capsized yacht nearby. I didn't think twice as there was another sailboat on station helping out. It's a split second decision you make and since Steve didn't show any signs of stopping I kept going strong in route to Blossom. I was just concentrated on the gnarly chop in front of me. Several guys in our fleet stopped to assist the situation as they saw several kids in the water and sailboat sinking! Once below Alcatrez on the reaches, the 9.0 was still a handful but I was doing everything to stay sheeting in with power and control. I looked behind several times and say David Wells pushing Mike Z but not closing the gap any one me. With each rounding (and there are several down there) I counted the seconds between Steve's rounding in front of me and my rounding. I tried to knock off a few seconds each time but Steve never let up!
It got really ugly in the middle of the bay and I was just hoping to survive with my foot in the leeward strap surfing down some decent chop and swell. Once around the Berkeley pier it was smooth sailing on a beam to broad reach to the Olympic circle mark X. I'm glad I had Steve in front or I would have never found that mark! One more reach to the finish! I was able to hold off Mike and David from behind and finished 2nd about 1 minute behind Steve S.
Going back upwind proved to be another endurance marathon. I was certainly glad I had a 9.0 at this point! With Steve leading the way out, we sailed through a lot of weeds. Steve got caught up in some of them and went down to clear with fin. I motored past him and was in the lead. At this point I had lost track of Mike Z as his dark sail was just too hard to see on the water. I made my way over to Angel Island with Steve in tow and crossed the bay again back to the SF city front where Mike Z crossed me. I knew at that point he had made up at least 30 seconds on my time so catching him would be difficult. I sailed back to the middle of the bay hoping to stay powered but overstood the finish line and came reaching in. Mike was able to finish 30 seconds in front of me to take the Challenge and me in 2nd with Steve S finishing just behind me in 3rd. Bill W. finished 3rd overall on the upwind as he as had a better time that Steve S.
Overall a good race pushing myself to the end- with only one mistake near the end of the course, I was just happy to finish!
Sunday- course racing, SF Classic
After a long and trying day yesterday in the long distance race of the SF Classic, we lost a few of the guys for today's course racing due to sheer fatigue. Otherwise, it turned out to be a great day with 3 course races and off the water by 2:30 pm.
The fog rolled in on Sunday morning delaying the breeze a bit but by 12:30 for the first gun of the formula fleet we had a gusty 14-16k with 15 boards on the line. The course was set for a double windward leeward with a small ebb tide kicking in later in the day.
It looked like the boat end was really favored but the fleet was running late at the start and there was a pile up near the boat so I decided to reach down the line for clear air. Unfortunately I got rolled by Ben on his 11.0 as he went trucking to windward of me. I tacked over and went to the left side of the course but was playing catch up from that point on already and rounded the top mark in 6th. The shore was somewhat lighter but always the chance for a nice puff to come down and take you straight to the leeward mark. Converging at the leeward mark, I caught up with Ben and Jean and rounded to the outside of them with lots of speed. With clear air, I was able to get a lane and squeeze from below and work up to the starboard layline where I was catching up with David Wells. We battled it out downwind only to cross the finish line overlapped. I went for the boat end finish, and finished 4th, as that was the favored end at the start while David crossed at the middle of the line for 5th. In front it was Percy in the lead followed by Steve S and Al Mirel.
Race 2: A few port takers trying to get to the outside breeze first but still boat end favored. As usual, only one person wins the start at the boat and the others get gassed. Percy was the first to line up near the boat at around 10-15s. He left a nice hole to windward so I put my bow up to sit on the line at 7s. Not thinking there was much room to windward of me, Steve S also managed to start there just behind with Bill Martinson getting a close call with the RC boat. I tried to keep Steve S in line but he took every opportunity to climb on me to windward n the first reach. He reached the shore first and got the inside lift from the shore to the top mark. Percy was close behind and we rounded 1-2-3 at the bottom mark. Back upwind, Steve was leading but lost sight of the windward mark and let Percy slip into fist again and take a second bullet. I finished behind Steve S. in 3rd with Al just behind coming from the middle of the bay on the downwind.
Race 3: The wind was up to 18. I knew I had to win the start to get the race. Whoever won boat usually won the race. I lined up and got a great start keeping Steve to check behind me. I was the first to the shore and got the land lift right to the top mark. Ben was coming in hot from the outside in the most favorable conditions for him- powered on his 11.0. I tacked right at the mark but he came in with such speed that it left me standing still. We split tacks going off the breeze and I rounded the bottom mark in 3rd behind Ben and David. Upwind, I was climbing on them both but Steve and Mike P. were getting a great lift climbing off the leeward mark from behind. At the top mark it was Ben just in front. He immediately gybed while I kept going hoping for the puff near-shore downwind. I should have realized that the outside was more likely to have more breeze and got stuck in a battle with Steve on the inside while Ben easily crossed in front of us. Steve out maneuvered me and finished in 2nd taking the regatta from Percy who finished 6th in the last race.
Lots of thanks to the volunteers doing rc this w-end, the StFYC, Longboard vineyards, and Ultra Nectar for their support
Thursday, June 15, 2006
With over 150 windsurfers from over 30 counties, the RSX Europeans was the biggest regatta thus far in the new Olympic windsurfing class. It might have been the world championship, as sailors were well tuned up after ending the European spring series.
I had come to the regatta with a different set of expectations- not looking for results but to find out what it takes to sail this board in light wind. I knew my weakness from the previous regatta this year and had to face up to it, in order to move on and up in the fleet.
Fortunately, we are blessed with moderate winds here in SF. I have been fortunate to develop good board-handling skills and proper endurance to race comfortably in the breeze. Unfortunately most venues are not as lucky as us in terms of getting a good breeze to make windsurfing exciting.
I arrived in Turkey several days before the event to get tuned up. In the 3 days of practice, I fell well tuned, placing in the middle of the fleet in practice races but as soon as the regatta started the breeze disappeared. Out of 5 days of racing and 10 total races, we had 2 decent planning races. The rest were light wind racing in marginal planning conditions 5-12k. The lighter sailors were able to get planning sooner and walk away with speed. Optimal weight is still a big factor in this class. I am realizing at 175 lbs, I will not be competitive in the light stuff but rather, should optimize my strengths. In the second day of the regatta, I found myself sailing near the top 10 in the breeze and finished 18th for my best race of the regatta. The remaining races were spent in challenging conditions making me realize sailing is really a lifetime sport. You never can be too humble! Regardless of my frustration, I began to pick up some good technique for upwind pumping and by the last day was sailing better than when I arrived. I guess that's all one can ask- that you improve and don't make the same mistakes twice!
I am looking forward to the rest of the season here and abroad. In the upcoming months, I have several key regattas and training camps in preparation for the World championship in September and the Olympic pre-trials in October.
Steve Bodner, USA 4
Here are some summaries from racing:
2 races in first day of RsX European championships. Men's fleet was split into 2 fleets of 27 sailors. First race winds were up and down with 5-12k shifty from left to right. I got off the line at the pin but had a group of sailors come over the top of me immediately so I fell off a plane. The smart choice would have been to tack away and go for clear air but I kept going instead. I ended up playing the middle right side of the course which was the wrong decision as the winds are going left middle and there was more of a geographical shift off the line coming from the left shore. The course was double windward leeward with 2 gybe slalom marks near the finish. I was all over the course trying to find wind but didn't quite get into the groove- finishing 39th.
The 2nd race the wind came up to a solid 15-20 where I felt better. Actually my speed and pointing were really well with my base set at 30. I was able to tune up before the race getting everything dialed into a good setting. I again started near the pin middle side of the line but got rolled. I knew I wanted to go to the left side so I kept going getting a lane underneath the fleet. I rounded in decent position near the top 15 and got going well downwind. I managed to pass a few boards off the breeze as well as up wind but my mark roundings had much work to do! The 2nd upwind I went the left again with good speed and angle sailing below a few sailors on the long upwind. You have to send it deep immediately after the windward mark to gain any sort of advantage. I lost 1 or 2 sailors here as they snuck past me but finished a respectable 18th.
Some things to remember:
- more downhaul in heavy wind 28-30
-rail board upwind the light stuff and go for speed rather than angle
-downwind go for the butterfly pump but shorter more efficient strokes- less side to side so the nose of the board does not swing
Day 4 Europeans:
2 races today- 1 light and medium breeze. The 2nd race I had much better results as I stayed planning the whole race and even managed to catch a few people.
I am learning some things that are useful- especially in the light breeze where you need to foot to get decent speed. Crack off a bit, rail the board and pump like hell. The board speed really increases as well as some angle- otherwise you just point and go no where!
Another big lesson is never ever give up- no matter how bad it may seem threes still room to get back in the game. In the first race today, I rounded last- dead last- but finally at the leeward mark managed to get a puff and pass 10 boards on the slalom reaches.
In the last race things headed up somewhat for decent track back planning racing. It was 12-15k from the north with some small shifts going left. I got off the line a bit slow but got over to the left side early . I reached the shore, tacked over and climbed back to the middle. I tacked near the other shore and really had to pump and make the windward mark. I bagged the sail out and pointed up, getting a few boards that overstood in the process. Downwind, I sailed down to the corner , but the wind got lighter down there. I should have gybed back early and stayed in the breeze. You really need to work to get the board planning as things get marginal. This is where some serious months of cardio would be beneficial.
Back upwind, I rounded with traffic and had to foot off to get a lane. Otherwise things looked good around the top 20. Best finish so far with a 18th. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel!
Post regatta: A lot of work here at the euros- a real eye opener but I think Ill keep giving it a push - after all you only live once and you need to find your limit somehow- Id rather find it myself rather than let someone else push me there!
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
I've just returned from the 2006 US Open in Corpus Christie, Texas.
The regatta was held in conjunction with the Velocity Games- combining freestyle skateboarding on ½ pipes, kite-boarding, formula windsurfing, slalom windsurfing and speed sailing. It was a unique way to promote our sport- in conjunction with action and excitement of other 'board sports.' There were several thousand people on the beach and boardwalk just south of downtown Corpus Christie watching the different venues throughout the day.
Six sailors from San Francisco attended (Mike Z, Steve S , Mike P, Ivan, Seth, and myself) with 5 in the top 11 spots in the most competitive formula fleet-a good showing for our local SF Formula fleet as well as several other US Sailors taking the top spots! I would guess there was close to 40-50 sailors in the formula fleet with 7 international professionals attending. There was enough prize money to keep most of the pros happy and even went into the amateur fleet. We got 3 races in on Friday and 4 more on Saturday before the weather became too much on Sunday and the regatta was called.
The formula races were run in the late morning before the breeze picked up- even then the 10.0 was almost too much to handle in the choppy Corpus Bay. Steve S. proved sometimes you don't need to go big to win- making the most of his 9.0 slalom sail every race to finish 7th overall. The event was won by professional Jimmy Diaz followed by Gonzalo Costel-Hovel in 2nd, Devon Boulon in 3rd, Wilhelm Shurman in 4th, Phil McGain in 5th, Seth Besse in 6th, Steve Sylvester in 7th, Mike Zajicek in 8th, BRA 25 in 9th, Mike Percy in 10th and Steve Bodner in 11th.
In the mid afternoon on both days we had an hour break before switching to high wind slalom sailing. The wind was side-onshore so the marks could be set close to the shore with the finish line off the beach- making it exciting to watch! Not everyone had slalom equipment but enough was there on the beach so everyone who wanted to sail could- thanks to F2 sponsor and importer Eduardo Owen for providing the extra equipment. Phil McGain went onto win the slalom discipline after 2 days of racing with Jimmy in 2nd, Gonzalo in 3rd, Wilhelm in 4th, Seth in 5th, and Devon in 6th. There were 6 other locals competing rounding up the rest of the fleet.
In the early evening, the excitement was moved over the marina where a speed course was set. All that separated 4-6' gnarly chop with 20-25k in the outside bay and a smooth speed course inside was a 5' break-wall- making ideal conditions for a speed venue. You couldn't ask for anything more! The course was set on beam to broad reach with no distant limits except the extent of the marina. Arm mounted GPS units were provided by the organizer and each sailors' top 2 speeds were averaged for their score. You could take as many runs as you wanted- the only requirement was to show your speed at the beach and clear the GPS unit for your next run. Most guys were getting in the 33-38mph on their first runs on small slalom boards and 6.3-7.6 slalom sails. The top speed was set by Jimmy Diaz with 40.5 mph. I managed a top speed of 36mph with a few runs but was outpaced by the pros who were hitting 39+ mph on each run.
Overall, it was great event that showed windsurfing is still alive and healthy and when held in conjunction with several other disciplines can be a great spectator event as well.Day 1
Practice day today before racing starts Friday.
While rigging my 10.0 on the beach I snapped my 520 just above the boom.
I stuck in my 2nd 520 mast and again it snapped just above the boom.
2 masts, and I hadn't even been on the water.
It must have been damged on the way down here as they broke in the same spots and never any trouble before!
I found a way to calm myself down after a few minutes and decided maybe I shouldn't go formula sailing today before I break anything else.
I borrowed up some slalom gear and got a decent session on my 6.4 in a 20+ breeze.
I 'll sail formula tomorrow using a 550 in my 10.0 and do the best I can with what I have.
Day 2 :
Luckily with the help of my great sponsor- North sails- I was bale to get 2 replacement mast deleivered to me over night so I could race today. Thanks alot guys!
3 formula races in morning then organizer decided to switch to slalom racing then more speed sailing in early evening. By 8pm, I was dead tired and its only day 1 of 3.
First formula race I started mid line but got rolled by devon above me. I didn't seem to have angle or speed but rounded in top 10 behind Percy and Steve. At bottom mark I was in same position but closing in on Percy. Again upwind he had better angle but I went low for speed and made up some but going to the right side there wasn't much room to pass. The chop was building but still the 10.0 and kashy fin felt ok. On the downwind, I was on Percy's tail and he gybed first and I continued a few board lengths longer. At the leeward mark, it got a bit lighter so I was able to come in with speed and pas him at the leeward mark and finish behind Steve.
2nd race- things heated up some and I got off to a better start to the left side and rounded by Steve and Mike. Off the breeze I had good speed and managed to catch up some but really got in a bad position at the leeward mark and had to go for speed again.
A few people started on port and got over to the right side early where there was flatter water and got to the top mark first.
By the last race the breeze had heated up and the swell bigger and I was getting tired. In the same position just behind the pros and Steve and Mike, I went to round the leeward mark and jammed my windward rail and fell in. I took a minute or so to get going again but by that time I was in the middle of the fleet and sailing fast.
Slalom racing was up next but I had an unexpected surprise when the board I was using had an unexpected malfunction. That was it, after 1 race, I was out. My luck had to turn for the better after this!
Next up- speed sailing in the marina where it was blowing 20+ and I got p 36 mph. Jimmi got the top score of 40.
Day 3 -
4 course races this morning into the early afternoon before switching to slalom in the afternoon and then more speed sailing in the late afternoon.
I got dialed in the first 2 races today during the formula event but lost the pace in the last 2 when I had a bad start then switched to a sail I hadn't used since last season.
During the windy races I kept it together and rally felt good with my speed and angle. I still have not figured out why I am not up to speed but when I am sheeted in 100% and pulling with my back hand, I really feel good. Although my angle still isn't up there compared to Steve and Mike on port tack but compared to the rest of the fleet, I feel good. With 7 pros I am just behind the SF guys but in the hunt with then. I managed to beat Steve and Mike Z in race 3 today when it got windy which was a confidence builder.
My starts have been good but some how by just being in the right place at the right time- but that's part of sailing. In race 1 I got caught up in the mass at the boat- thinking I would get a bad start but was right at the boat when the board to leeward went down for speed which left me room to get off the line with speed and angle. I popped out with Steve s on my windward hip and kept him there for some time until I when down for speed and he eventually got free and sailed his own course.
In the 2nd race things were similar going into the start but I got hosed off the line when I didn't accelerate off a big piece of chop that hit the starting line. I caught up somewhat but was never really back in the hunt. How you recover form disaster is the real sign of a victory.
In the 3rd race the wind was still up. I got a decent start going off to the left side in decent position just behind Steve and Mike Z. We rounded the leeward mark with Percy on my rtail. Up in front, the fleet was getting knocked near the shore and was taking over before the layline. I looked back and Percy was climbing on me but I decided to stay with it and sail out to the layline. Percy tacked then I tacked. It looked like we would both make it while the rest f the fleet who tacked early got caught on the outside in a lighter patch. Percy and I rounded in front of Mike Z as we all headed down wind. Steve was just infront and I was matching his speed. Then we gybed and I rolled Steve to the leeward mark with a bit more speed and finshed just behind Percy in the race.
The last race- I made the big mistake of going to my 9.0 with out having sailed it since last fall. I was rushed out to the starting line. The cams were not rotating well and the boom sliding down. I just wasn't in the groove but I kept with it and finished the race just to get some points because after all - its all about the points.
No racing today as thunderstorms were all across the area. So results stand as of yesterday. Top pros in top 7 spots with Jimmi at the top. Then it was Steve S, Mike Z, and myself in 11th.
Check out the photos on the link to the left of the speed event- some cool action shots!
Here's alink to some other shots of the event as well
Saturday, May 20, 2006
The forecast didn't look so good going into Saturday but eventually the wind came up and just as fast went away! During that brief time we got 4 races in with a fleet of 16 formula racers just of His Lordships in Berkley.
I managed to get 3 really good starts where I squired out and got clear air and a lane.
The first start, I was a little thrown off thinking we were going to start with the RC boat at the starboard end but it was the reverse so I got off the line in the middle while the rest of the fleet was near the pin end. I did have a clear lane and managed to work up on the fleet. Mike Z and Percy rounded in front of me with Steve S and Eric rounding with me a few board lengths behind. The 3 of us were overlapped going off the breeze with Steve to leeward. Steve realized Eric and I were rolling him and headed up. Unfortunately Eric got caught off guard and went over the bars and Steve and I escaped. I saw Steve fumbling with his hat and knew I had to make my move. We both gybed at the same time and got out in front of him keeping him behind me for the rest of the race. The next upwind things heated up some as we were all overpowered on our 11s and big fins. I found myself going upwind quite well with the big sail but the fin was a bit too overpowering. I managed to hang on and finish 3rd behind the 2 Mikes. We all went in to change down and got 2 more decent races off before the wind lighted up again.
The 2nd race I started well again getting a jump on the fleet but didn't quite have the speed to hang on for the rest of the race. I rounded 4th and kept my position to the end. Next race- same thing: good start off the line banging the left corner. It wasn't much of a decision as it was short 15 minute course and going left was the only choice. Mike tacked off after the next race after getting gassed but it didn't pay off too much. The 4 of us were sailing well in front of the rest of the fleet but there was still a strong pack fighting it out for 5-10.
I really only we thought we had 3 races but everyone swore we had 4 so no report on race 3.
The last race, things had lighted up to the point where a lot of the fleet wasn't planning during the race. I managed to get a real good jump on the fleet but it was too good as I was over early. I found out after rounding the leeward mark but kept going as it would be my through-out.
Overall a good day of starts but still need to work on my speed. I felt my angle was much better when I had a clear lane with the Kashy fin
Monday, May 1, 2006
is everybody? Anyways more wind for us as the breeze
was building all afternoon to a solid 22-29k in the
afternoon for the last race. The formula class raced 4
races on the same course as the Lasers, Radials, Finns
and 29'ers. The RC called for the W course which made
some interesting downwind reaching. In the first race,
the fleet was caught by surprise by the starting
sequence. Mist were on the line but with the strong
flood got a late start. I had set my watch to 6 in but
came reaching in and was 7 sec late but won the start
with good speed and racing to the middle of the Bay
where the ebb started. Percy, Soheil, JK and Royce
were all below me and tacked early for the windward
mark but I knew there was some seriously strong flood
on the inside so I overstood and made it around in 1
tack as the rest of the fleet had to double to take to
get around the 2k flood. It was follow the leader from
then on as I made my way around the downwind slalom
back up top to the outside and a downwind finish.
Percy finished 2nd, Soheil in 3rd.
Next race, everybody on the line with decent speed
going strong. Percy had a bit of a jump on me to
windward and stated to gain some angle with the inside
lift. I went for speed to get to the ebb first. He
rounded in from of me and we did the downwind slalom
course again with a typical follow the leader pattern.
Back upwind, Percy had gained a bit as I got to the
layline but realized my harness line had broke. I
tried to manhandle it for 30 sec but realized I
wouldn't make the mark so I quickly put my rig in the
water and re-tied my lines onto the boom and got back
up to stay in 2nd with Soheil and Royce on my tail.
3rd race- breeze was building and strong ebb on the
outside made a tough patch of water to get through. RC
had 'C; course posted for fleet before us and I saw
that and thought we were on C as well. Unfortunately
they switched to A course with our class flag and I
went on to sail the wrong course. Percy and Soheil
battled it out to finish 1-2 in a comedy of errors
that say Percy bouncing off the leeward mark and
Soheil quickly catching up. I was in my own race
thinking I was sailing the correct course until I got
to the finish and didn't get a horn.
4th race- Now the breeze up strong and our fleet was
down to 3 boards as the day was taking its toll on the
sailors early in the season. Both Percy and I were
overpowered upwind on our 10's but very evenly
matched. He made it to the top mark first as I
overstood a bit and came down with speed to round a 10
board lengths behind him. Off the breeze it was a
simple downwind course going as deep as we could- feet
in the chicken or even leeward strap to stay upright
in the gnarly chop. I saw Percy loose his balance and
dig his clew into the water and go down. My chance to
take over! I made it past him did a overly careful
gybe and rounded only to stumble on my transition
upwind. Percy was quick to round behind me as I was up
hauling my sail but he to floundered in his
transition- stalling out- giving me enough time so we
could head upwind overlapped. We were both Op-ed
upwind but the real struggle came when we both tacked.
I let Mike tack early but he struggled to get going
again. I overstood to put some money in the bank and
made it around in 1 tack and continued downwind to
finish first with Percy just behind and Soheil in 3rd.
4 more races planned for Sunday with the breeze
expected to be the same- looking forward to more good
racing on the city front.
Well the battle continued into Sunday with Mike's
promises of showing up holding true. The forecast
looked to be the same but it was lighter to begin
with. Mike P rigged his 10.8 while the rest of us went
for the 10. Mike walked away the first race holding
onto a plane the whole race while the rest of us
struggled in the light conditions near shore and the
In the second race of the day, Mike and I lead to the
top mark but Mike make a slow transition which I
quickly seized on and got away on the last downwind
and finished first. JK showed some amazing speed off
the starting line with a near perfect start at the pin
heading off the right side of the course wit the
rest of us in his bad air.
Going into race 7 we now had a drop race and we're
tied with 8 points a piece. Mike switched down to a
10.0 as the breeze was building and continued to
dominate with superior upwind angle. There wasn't much
I could do, I tried all the tricks in the bag- tacking
early to catch the puff, staying inshore to take
advantage of the flood but I just couldn't grind him
down and again we finished 1-2 with Mike in the lead.
On the last race things got considerably lighter on the
inside and we struggled to get going on the start.
Luckily some old imco habits of pumping like a madam
were instilled in me and I was able to get off the
line clear- looking back to see the rest of the fleet
standing on the line. Unfortunately that means calling
the layline on your own and I missed it by just a few
feet as Mike P rounded just onto of me and me missing
the goods and having to double tack and let Mike get
away. Olan slipped in there as well to show a solid
performance as the breeze dying to was 10-15k.
After the race, I asked Mike if I could sail the new
Hansen sail. After a few runs, I could honestly say I
was impressed with the hard work of the past few
months. The Hansen sail had a solid feel- very stable
upwind and off the breeze! I couldn't nail it down if
it was a fin or sail difference but Mike won the
regatta with some serious angle. Congrats to him and
the new line of Hansen sails!
I look forward to the rest of the season where we can
continue to develop and push each other. I hope to
see the rest of you on the line for the next Friday
night race and CalCup next w-end.
Sunday, March 5, 2006
I did protest Peter as I was in the right of way and the protest committee agreed and threw him out of the race. My big mistake though was not asking for redress in the protest hearing. I did mark it on the form but did not present it in the argument. This ultimately cost me the potential of a few points- and we all know places are determined by just a few points. A big lesson learned but in someway I'm glad I learned it as to avoid the same mistake in the future.
Day two- typical Florida conditions- light and variable conditions. We tried at 2 races but failed to get anything off as the breeze died both times, Finally around 1pm the breeze started to build as the other fleets were racing. It came up in a big way getting to the high teens and low 20's I switched down to my 11.0 and Kashy 65 cm fin for more control. The 1st race I was well positioned on the line but has some goof drop his sail right on top of me and we both went in the water 10 sec. before the start. I tried to remain calm as there was nothing to gain from a burst of anger. I got on my way on port tack as the rest of the fleet was off the left side. Nothing to do but catch up. I managed to slowly pick one sailor off after another but finished 17th.
Next race- better start but still behind the top guys. I was off the left side with power and rounded well in the hunt. 2 upwind and downwinds later, I pretty much stayed the same with another 14th but ahead of Steve Sylvester!
Race 3- Cant remember much about this one except finishing 14th again. Room to improve. Conditions were picking up with stronger gust in the mid 20's.
Race 4- Ok I knew I had to get a decent start to do well this race. I placed myself well on the line going for a pin end start. Seth was just above me and Dave Kashy just below. We were all a few seconds early and had to stall before running out of room. With around 10 seconds to go, we all accelerated and shot across the line. Dave caught his fin on the anchor line and wiped out while Seth failed to get going with was still looking good in 9th. Off the breeze, I was fighting with a Brazilian sailor who had really good speed. Unfortunately for him, he caught something on his fin and dropped back. I was feeling good with only William Shurman behind me. He climbed on me upwind and had some leverage but I was 5 board lengths ahead. I knew he night have better angle but had gotten slammed 2x already this race. My strategy was play in conservative to the finish. I overstood the windward mark a few board lengths as to not have to double tack as there were a few guys already in that situation. BRA 999 tacked at the same time just inside me and we rounded the windward mark with in a few boards lengths of each other. The top reach was pretty hairy with a 11.0 and I got stood up a few times while Shurman on his 9.8 any speed. I however had a great start and managed to sail a decent race. I rounded the top mark in 7th with Jimmy right on m tail. I held him off till the bottom mark where the guy in front of me had a sloppy rounding and I had to leave a bit off room which Jimmy quickly too advantage of and snuck in there. He had better speed and rolled me to windward as I had to foot to get clear air. Seth too managed to sneak in there as well but I crossed just in front of me. I still managed 10th- my nest race so far of the regatta. As of Sat. Night I am in 4th in the men's fleet with 69 points for 5 races. Tommorow's forecast doesn't look so good but we'll have to wait and see.
Sunday Day 3- The Formula fleet stayed ashore today as there wasn't enough wind to get planning. The results changed some as the organizer recalculated 5 races to include a throw-out. Seth moved up to the pro fleet in 9th place and I moved up to 2nd place in the men's fleet to 13th overall. Sylvester ended up first in (+35) master's class, finishing 16th over all with Ron Kern in 2nd in the class and 17th overall. 51 sailors total in the A-Formula fleet. Overall results at calema website.
It was interesting to see all the new gear on the beach. Most innovative was the adjustable plates in the cut outs of the F2 and Exocet boards. Sailors were coming in changing according to the conditions. It brings up a greater number of possibilities for changing your setup. Now you can adjust the plates in 3 positions as well as the stiffness, rake, size and shape of your fin. Quite an opportunity to find the fastest set up. The F2 still has pipes but were elongated on the deck. Also noteworthy is the fact that the F2 boards have a very shallow Tuttle box with a recessed fin screws. A lot of people were sanding their fins to fit the box as well as finding out the top of the fin box was too thin to over-tighten their fins!
The starboard has smaller and shallower cutouts and seemed to be performing well with most of the top pro riders on it or the F2 boards.
The Fanatic board was really wide at the tail and with other set of extreme cutouts and sharp rails at the back end. Arnon and Peter were having a tough time sailing in the breeze on Saturday on the 06 Fanatic board getting stood up and noticing it took a lot of back foot pressure to control the board.
The new ML seemed almost simple compared to the all the things going on with the other boards. Less things to break or go wrong I say! I didn't find any real disadvantage to it in speed or pointing when I was sailing at the top of the fleet. The 06 ML was easy to control in the breeze with a 65 cm fin. I would guess an even smaller fin could be more efficient in medium to strong winds.
As for the new sails- the NP and North sails both took a step forward with wider luff sleeves improving the wind range of the sail. It's still a personal choice as to what strategy to follow: keep holding a big sail for as long as possible or switch down to something smaller and more efficient if the wind stays steady. Both theories seem to work as Gonzolo and Wotejk and Sylvester used a 9.8 - 10.0 on Saturday while Antoine, Jimmy, Seth and myself stayed on 10.7 - 11.0.
The Aerotech sails took a big change as well with a much straighter mast shape and luff curve. It's a wide sleeve luff with 11 battens! Devon was using his 05 Windwing sails from the worlds last December.
As suspected a few NP mast from last year breaking in the hot weather! The new NP mast seem to be improved but most sailors are now de- rigging their sails between races on shore. It didn't help that the races were getting off slowly with 20-30 minutes between heats.
Also new on the beach this year was the hybrids. The RS-X Olympic class had the most sailors, with a fleet of 25, as there are a lot of young sailors (under 20) campaigning for the Olympics. In the men's fleet, top ranked US sailor Ben Barger won over the No 2 ranked Canadian, Alain Bolduc. In the women's fleet Canadian Dominique Vallee won easily over another young fleet of sailors. The RS-X fleet raced along side the Prodigy class and the Open hybrids. The Prodigy class was mainly the older guys who switched a few years ago from long-boarding when the prodigy arrived in the scene. They are just as competitive but not using kinetics as efficiently as the younger Olympic class sailors.
In the open hybrid class the new F2 lighting looked pretty cool with a raised deck over the centerboard giving you a nice platform to rail the boards in lighter winds. It also had cut outs similar to the F2 formula board but with no adjustable plates.
On Sunday in the light winds, the hybrid and long boards raced in sub planning conditions giving everybody a workout with lots of pumping. I don't think the formula boards would have been able to get up wind like the hybrids and long-boards with the centerboards. Thus proving, maybe the hybrid class is the best thing to race when the conditions are light and you still want to race. I don't find it so exciting to race in these conditions as it is so different from the planning experience of formula racing. Perhaps that's why I ended up in San Francisco with mainly medium to high wind racing,
I wasn't able to re-open my case to get redress for Fridays race. SF rules guru, Brian McDonald coached me through some pointers on the phone on Sunday to try to get the case re-opened but to no avail. The Protest Committee said it wasn't enough to only check the box for redress. 2 SF judges disagreed! The big lesson here is never leave anything to chance in the protest room. Everything is subjective. I could appeal the decision and see what another protest committee would decide but with the added throw-out on Sunday, I wouldn't have moved up any in the fleet.
Overall, a good event early in the year with some chances to line up with top sailors and tune my gear. I feel my sailing has stepped up a notch at this event from the recent regattas Ive done in Melbourne and Miami. Hopefully I can continue the improvements with better results this year. I'm still contemplating more RS-X racing later in the year but will stay focused on formula racing with the start of our SF season soon. It's just a few more weeks before we can start seeing typical SF conditions and hopefully some exciting racing on the Bay.