The first friday night series at the St. Francis Yacht Club started of with good breeze (15-24k) with most sailors rigging the 10.0s and mikes lab formula board- the san francisco formula one design. With a strong ebb going out over the course, getting a good start and calling the layline were about the only 2 things you had to nail to finish well.
I headed out to test the course 20 minutes before the first start to get an idea of the wind and current. The ebb was evident especially coming off the bottom mark where you could almost squeeze up and make the finish in 1 tack. This bit of pre race knowledge came in handy as Ben and I rounded close together in race 3 and I was able to go for angle vs his speed to finish in front. See photo below 'tack or cross'
I got a little anxious of most all of the starts and got called back on 3 of them being OCS. While getting the gun is good, being too early negates any attempt of effort at all. The RC had some eagle eyes from the deck of the St Francis Yacht club and called my over earlies as well as one general recall to keep the fleet honest. There was no getting by this experienced RC at all. I came back on 2 of the starts to restart and claw my way back through the fleet. It puts a bit more challenge into the game starting 20 seconds late.
One of the lessons I continue to learn is to take advantage of the tide. With a strong ebb on Friday night , you could tack almost 10 board lengths early for the windward mark and still come out strong. Even if you under tacked, you could pinch up and float around the windward mark. Use the tide to your advantage but not too much that your over early!
Coming back downwind was especially fun and a good opportunity to pass a few boards- being stuck in the middle of the fleet. The inside was bit lighter so it payed to gybe early and stick with the breeze unless there was a localized puff making its way down as you rounded the top mark. As they say, its all in the timing.
Up next is 3 more w-ends of racing with the 2007 Calcup series starting Sat April 28, the Evestrom Zellerbach regatta on May 5-6 and the US Open Velocity games in Corpus Christie Texas on May 11-13. New sails arrive in a few days- just enought time to dial them in!
As usual, there were some good photos captyring the action form Friday's racing nad be found here:
Shawn Davis windsurfing photos
Brian McDonalds windsurfing photos