Typical Florida conditions greeted sailors today with a fickle breeze- just enough to get the hybrid, kona and sport fleets racing. Meanwhile the formula fleet stayed ashore waiting for something significant to fill in. Finally around 2pm, the wind steadied out to a 8-12knot breeze- just enough for one race in the formula fleet. more photos of 2007 boards here...
Most sailors had their light air set ups dialed in after 2 days of marginal racing. More or less this event is the first chance of the year for most sailors, including the pros, to test their new sails and boards. For most, its a chance to see what works and what doesn't in a fleet of around 40 boards. I knew from last months event in Miami that the F2 and starboards were really going well in the light air. This event was no exception. Starboard and pyrde sails placed in the top 3 positions. Needless to say it has allot to do with the indian and the arrow but when pros like Micah who arn't sponsored by any formula board company shell out and buy a starboard to race- it must be good!Back to the racing: After a long morning and afternoon wait the formula fleet got off with one general recall. I started mid line in a pack so as to not stand out but didn't jump the gun enough to get off well with a lane and was forced to tack over for clear air after 30 seconds . In the light stuff, clear air is king even if it means banging the corner. While most of the fleet went left to the layline, I lead a group over to the right side and was getting knocked the further I went. Good sign! I tacked back and was in decent position rounding the top mark around 12. Off the breeze I fought hard to stay deep and had to gybe 2x to get to the leeward mark. Once rounding, I was able to hold my lane upwind with the 70 cm fin as the group in front of me battled it out giving each other bad air. I tacked on the layline and gained a few boards who were low.
I rounded the top mark with Sylvester and he went higher for speed while I was able to go deeper with a big powerful sail. He gybed in front of me and I had to avoid the collision. Not a good show on his part. The lesson here- look over your shoulder before you gybe. I held out a few more seconds before I gybed but it really got light at the bottom so I was out of the harness pumping for a good 30 seconds to make the mark. Who says formula sailing isn't an aerobic sport? I was able to round clean but Steve behind me got a nice lift and rounded the top mark just behind me. Meanwhile I was yelling at him to do his circles and lost track of the course . I thought the top mark was the finish and actually slowed down to tell him to do his turns. Meanwhile he and one other sailor went blazing past me on the last reach to the finish. Ahh! What I had just gained I gave up as my thoughts were so focused on getting Steve to do his turns. Big lesson here- stay focused until the finish line! A 17th was good enough to move back up to 3rd place in the men's division as Fernando finished deep behind me and I won on the tie breaker. Not exactly the best performance but Ill take it. Just before the finsh line Steve did his circles- a good sign of sportsmanship on his part. Once ashore we argued about it a bit as our tempers were still hot but eventually let it be and realized what happens on the water should stay there. No need to bring it shore unless it goes to the protest room
In the rest if the fleet, Mike Percy was impressive all weekend on his new Hanson sails and edged out Sylvester for 2nd place in the masters division.Meanwhile up in front of the fleet Jesper got the bullet to secure 2nd overall in front of Micah just behind in 3rd and Jimmi in 4th. The Brazilians took both first in the men's and masters division. In the RSX, Barger- the top US Olympic hopeful just edged out Gebi for a close series.After the races I took out the starboard 161 for a test run against some other sailors. It did feel really good and lively- especially with a 70 cm kashy fin. I think it let me sail better especially in the light stuff where I was struggling on the Mikes Lab. Time will tell and with some more testing it should be evident what set up is the best. I'm looking forward to the challenge and more racing this season.
Here are some more links to photos and scores
2007 formula board photos
Until next time- sail fast