Sundays course racing on the San Francisco city front was another lesson is endurance, pain and hopefully some lessons learned at the end of the day. If theres one thing for sure in this fleet- its to make sure and leave your ego ashore. Windsurfing is a humbling sport but you just have to remember- if your hurting that bad- just imagine what the guy next to you is feeling!
I should have taken note when Steve S only rigged his 9.0 Sunday morning. My legs were still like jello from yesterdays 45+ mile jaunt. It was still borderline 9.0-10.0 when we left so I decided to take the 9.9 again with the 70 cm fin.
Race 1- Pin end favored with more wind on the outside so I decided to start on port and go right. I should have gone for the cross but decided to duck a few starboard takers and take their sterns in the beginning as to get to the favored side early. I ended up finding a lane to leeward of the rest of the port starters and began to climb with David Wells on my leeward hip and Al just above to windward. Al, Steve and I rounded the top mark and all headed downwind near the San Francisco city front. I was in the position where I could put on the heat going into the bottom mark and have a close rounding with Al or ease up a bit and stick my bow up a the rounding and go for the inside lane. The later worked as I was able to climb on Al and by the time we got to the layline was up 10 board lengths to windward. I waited for him to tack so I could cover and headed to the windward mark for the 2nd time around. I'm not sure if I was just too overpowered at this point but in hindsight I had my sail fully flattened to de-powered to deal with the gust coming down the course. I lost all my angle while the rest of the fleet made it around the top mark. I double tacked and somehow salvaged 3rd passing a few boards off the breeze before coming to a photo finish with Ben across the line. Steve S took the bullet and Al got a safe 2nd.
Race 2- the breeze was building, the chop was increasing, my energy was running low. I decided on the same strategy to go right and start on port. This time around I was getting worked to weather as I didnt have the strength to muscle the 9.9 and 70 cm fin upwind. I was in damage control and rounded in mid fleet- having to double tack the windward mark again! Racing in the pack is always fun as it keeps the pressure on. Percy and I had some runs off the breeze where I thought I was going to blow up if I pushed any further. I had to pass him to make salvage what ever was left. Up front it was Ben who worked the fleet with his great speed to take the bullet with Steve and Al close behind. I crawled across the line in 6th- trying to save face for the final race ahead!
Race 3- This time around I knew I had to pull something out from deep inside of me. I really wanted to finish strong to prove to myself that I had it in me. After all that's why we race this silly sport. Its not bragging rights or trophies, its a test of one will, determination.
The pep talk worked as I got off the line clean on starboard- heading in towards shore and the lighter (relatively speaking) breeze with the rest of the fleet in tow. Percy was putting on some serious pressure and I had to temporarily duck him to get clear air but soon enough got it back near shore. He was the first to tack as Steve S and I took our course as close to shore as possible. Meanwhile Ben was working the outside fully wound. He rounded to top mark in first while I lead the rest of the fleet coming into the top mark fully wound. I looked back to see 5 boards on the layline fully lit and out of control. Off the breeze I thought it would be safe to stay inside but really should have learned my lesson from the previous downwind legs where the guys who gybed early where coming in strong at the bottom mark. Eric did exactly this and rounded in 2nd a the bottom. I had to again keep some serious angle to work my way back upwind. At this point Ben was gone in 1st so all I had to do was not mess up and cover the fleet. Upwind I grinded with my last ounce of energy - fully wound on the outside. Immediately rounding the top mark in 2nd I gybed so to get the better breeze outside and held on to 2nd.
The fleet was so mixed I wasn't sure where we finished but it was Al who edged me out for 3rd by 1 point and Steve S grabbing 2nd and Ben getting honors again. I'm looking forward to some rest the next few days to recover before making it my mission to train hard for the upcoming US Nationals in San Francisco next month.
For all the photos of Sundays course racing, click here
Thanks to Chris for an amazing eye and lens on the water
Thanks to another stellar race provided by the StFYC and John Craig managing the RC solo.