Monday, May 21, 2007

SF double header

While the Giants and the A's were playing an inner-leagues series on the Bay this w-end, SF racers got a double header with a classic heavy weather survival twilight series at the St. Francis and some lit up calcup racing at Rio Vista on Saturday afternoon.
Conditions have been off the wall all week with 25k+ almost everyday on the city front.
Friday night was no exception. 9.0 was the call if you could hold on. By the5th race- there was just 3 racers left standing. Seth dominated with 5 bullets while I took 2nd with Al and C-Rad battling it out for 3rd and 4th place. US Windsurfing president Jim Mcgrath managed 1 race with his 10.0 and had enough before packing it up and heading home. JK rigged, started but didn't even make it around before coming in and rigging slalom gear. By he looks of it, he was a much happier camper with the small gear.
Soheil tried something new last Friday by racing his course- slalom gear around the course. Despite being off the pace of the formula boards he got around the course. Maybe he's got the right idea. He sure looked more comfortable on a 6.8 and 105l board than most of the formula racers. Last year most of the fleet raced course slalom in Maui at the US Nationals while 5 raced formula. There's was some talk at the US Open 2 weeks ago to promote both formula and slalom at events with a 20k cut off between disciplines. More info at

Thanks for Chris for providing the photos on Friday from the race deck- additional photos from Friday nights racing can be found here

Saturday the 1st calcup of the season kicked off in windy and warm Sherman island in the Delta. By 9am when I looked at the iwindsurf sensor, it was already blowing 25-30k. Alan Prussia gave a clinic regarding line and purchase and showed the fleet some good rigging tips. If you haven't already gotten some formula downhaul line from him- do yourself a favor. Its low stretch and works especially well for the high load of Formula downhaul tension. Word is hes got some even stronger more durable stuff in the works.
By the 1:30 start, the wind had died off some but most of the fleet rigged their 9.0's knowing what Rio Vista was capable of. It's not an easy launch from the docks so coming in between races was not an option. I tired out a new set up Saturday with a 70 cm fin and a 9.0. Typically you would fin down as it gets windier but with the wider tail of the ML7, you can get away with a bigger fin. In fact, its becoming necessary. I sailed with a 64cm fin on Friday and my upwind angle really suffered compared to Seth.
Race 1-Boat end extremely favored. Big crowd. Mike Z was able to escape 1/2 way down the line and get clear air. I got bad air and tacked over to avoid trailing the fleet to the left. Meanwhile with clearer air and a more favorable current, I worked my way back to 3rd at the top mark behind Steve and Mike Z. Off the breeze we all had similar speed with positions staying the same. Steve rounded close behind Mike and got bad air and had to foot for speed. That left a hole for me to stick my nose into and climb. This worked a few times throughout the day and I was able to catch Steve at the top mark. We rounded overlaped but he managed to get a smoother leeward mark rounding and beat me to the finsh.
Race 2- OCS but keep going knowing I would get more out of racing than restarting in such a short course. I was gambling here hoping I could take this as my throwout. Another close finish 10 seconds behind Steve in 3rd
Race 3- Same deal- I tacked immediately after the start and worked my way to the right side for clear air and better current- arriving at the top mark in 3rd behind Steve and Mike. This time, Eric and Percy were all breathing down our necks downwind as they caught a nice puff from behind and rounded tight with the top pack. What ever you can do to give yourself clear air while rounding- do it. It was a long battle back upwind and I was able to climb some with a 70 cm fin and get Steve at the top mark and stay lit downwind with Mike Z just ahead in first. Better finish- 2nd place.
Race 4- Breeze was building steadily and the 9.0 felt lit. A few more sailors ventured to the right to get out of the flood but ultimately it was Mike Z, Steve, myself and Eric for the top 4 again.
Race 5: breeze was up to a solid 20-25k now for the final race. I started midline with Ben just above me. I felt him trying to get by upwind and knew he would have better speed with his 200+ lbs . I pinched as to not give him an option and he dove below me going for speed footing to the corner. We tacked at the shore and headed back to the middle together. He has much better speed but I was holding him with better angle. At the top mark Ben rounded in 1st with me close behind in 2nd. Steve was just behind me in 3rd. Downwind Ben sailed too far past the layline and Steve was the first to gybe calling it right. I split their difference and had a good rounding with clear air. Steve and Ben both footed for speed wile I came into the top mark on starboard forcing Steve to slow down and almost hit the mark in the 2k flood. Ben got away clean while Steve and I fought downwind. I had to let up on the trigger a few times I was was getting really over powered back upwind. Another close finish with Ben in 1st, Steve S. in 2nd and me in 3rd. Right behind us was Eric and Mike Z.
Noticeable absent from the top of the fleet was Percy who was preoccupied with racing and race management. Kudos to him and his race crew for setting up great racing for us. Despite a few problems with the boat we got 5 races off and results up the next day. Good show calcup crew! Click here for results.
Additional photos from Friday nights racing can be found here

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