Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aussies in/Steve out

Its always nice to do a regatta report from your own home waters and although I'm not sailing in this one, the Aussie 18's have been putting on an awesome display of high performance sailing on the San Francisco Bay. It's amazing to see these guys all run across the deck while gybing from one trap to another- like synchronized swimming! Of course with anything high performance there are some amazing crashes.
Last night around sunset near the rigging area at crissy field- a few skiff sailors were searching for some broken windsurfing mast as a replacement for their broken upper section of their mast (see photo below)Check out more skiff photos from Chris Ray, Abner Kingman, Eric Simonson and Serge Zavazin here
Ahhh... the sounds of crumbling high performance carbon- makes me quiver in my seat!
The big showdown between skiffs, kites and boards will be this Friday for the 2007 Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race.
Check out the preview here:

Crissy field has been going off for the past week- and Ive enjoyed almost every day of it- soaking up as much slalom sailing under the golden gate as possible before the big move to Holland later this week. For at least the next 2 years we will be trying out the Euro life in Amsterdam. I will continue to race and train - doing more Euro events next year and will be coming back to the SF Bay for work- and of course windsurfing in the upcoming months
Thanks for everyone here who made racing and training so much fun. You guys have taught me alot over the past 6 years. Ive really enjoyed sailing with a dedicated group of racers and having world class wind and race management- only found on the San Francisco Bay!
As Bill Graham said of the Grateful Dead- "there not the best at what they do- they're the only ones that do what they do!" Thank you credit Paul Buelow
Check out more photos from last Friday's windy racing @

Ill be keeping up the blog so check back and I'll try to update regularly. It might not be the same familiar names but I promise no wooden clog jokes!

Also if you havnt checked out Andreas race blog- hes got a good nationals post mortem thats worth reading.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day 5 US Windsurfing Nationals

San Francisco finally provided classic conditions with 25-30 knots of breeze and a stiff ebb table- providing racers at the 2007 US Windsurfing National Championships with a final day of course racing on the city front course.
For more of Shawn's photos click here
Most of the fleet had their 9.0's or stayed on the beach. There was no shame in using the chicken, double chicken and even super chicken straps to get around the course in one piece.
With only 2 more races needed for a throwout I was ready for anything and ready to give everything.
Race 1 started with Seth and I getting off the line well on starboard and carrying it into the seawall in front of StFYC. As we tacked and headed up wind, I had a slight advantage with my height and was able to climb on Seth. We rounded the top mark overlapped- well in front of the rest of the fleet who was struggling to stay upright in the challenging conditions. Off the breeze we rode it into the beach as far as we could- going deeper with each puff. I had a slight advantage here as well being able to go deeper and faster with the double chicken strap on the Mikes Lab board. I rounded just in front of Seth but soon realized we were on the same tangent as on the Blue and Gold ferry. We were forced to tack and split from the fleet who was rounding behind us. With a small hitch to the middle it was evident we didn't lose much to the rest of the fleet.
I put the pressure back on and by this time we were overlapped again at the top mark.
Coming downhill was a wild ride through the voodoo chop just west of crissy field and a careful gybe in front of the beach- full of spectators. Again I was able to carry it longer and go deeper getting better position for the next rounding. Seth was still inside with the overlap and I had to give him room at the rounding. With just enough to spare- I had a smooth rounding while Seth was still transitioning from his rounding. I got the jump and was able to put some distance on by the top mark. I rounded a good 10 seconds ahead but went for a quick dip trying to find the chicken strap while rounding.
We again were overlapped with only 1 more leg to go. Only 1 move left to make and that was to split tacks. I immediately gybed and had better angle in the middle of the course while Seth ran into some lighter stuff near shore and got lifted. As we crossed again at the bottom of the course- I had enough to cross and finish in 1st.
Wow what a great feeling- I was visualizing myself in this position all week and now was finally able to put it together.
Back to the beach for a quick break then 1 more race. After a quick breakdown of the scores- I was now ahead of Eric by 1 point for 2nd overall. All I needed to do was finish not worse than 1 point behind him for a tie and I would win the tiebreaker. To be safe I needed to stay in front of him and sail a conservative race.
Race 2 started with just as much wind but noticeably less sailors were on the line as the weeks racing had taken its toll. During the prestart another sailor fell just in front of Eric and I- who I was trying to keep careful control of. Eric got a bit ansy to clear himself from the tangled mess and jumped the gun and was over early early. Maybe I wouldn't have to do much at all.
After a quick dip he was back pushing in 3rd at the top mark.
I got off clean was even inside and climbing on Seth during the first beat. I backed off a bit- knowing that I didn't need to risk it all to win- just to stay in front of 3rd place. With that said. I sailed conservatively the rest of the race just staying alive in 2nd place. On the last beat upwind I thought- barring disaster Ive got 2nd wrapped up. With that thought I felt a slip and looked down only to see my harness bar has literally folded in half. Well at least I was still hooked in- not pretty with a dangling hook at my waist but manageable. Eric was a good distance back so I kept my composure on the last upwind and downwind - trying not to load up my bar too much. One last gybe to the finish and to cross in 2nd and take 2nd overall.
Finishing on a high note really made me happy. Earlier in the week I was just trying to shift mental gears and get over the broken mast on the first day. I knew it would come down to the end and there wasn't much I could do about it except give it my all.
2nd place earns me a spot to the worlds later this year in Brazil as well as the other guys in the top 5.

Heres the overall results:
U.S. Windsurfing Nationals and North American Championship
Series Standing - 10 races scored
Pos Sail Skipper 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Points Pos
1 USA 64 Seth Besse 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 [2] 1 9.00 1
2 USA 4 Steven Bodner [41/DNS] 4 4 4 5 2 5 5 1 2 32.00 2
3 44 Eric Christianson 6 7 [12] 2 3 5 2 2 4 3 34.00 3
4 S 3 Steve Sylvester 3 5 3 6 [13] 8 4 4 3 5 41.00 4
5 22 Ben Bamer 2 2 2 14 2 [41/DNF] 9 9 6 4 50.00 5
6 46 David Wells 5 3 7 3 [9] 7 7 7 5 6 50.00 6
7 USA 882 Al Mirel 8 6 [13] 7 6 4 3 3 7 10 54.00 7
8 USA VYV Mike Perecy 4 9 5 5 8 6 6 6 10 [11] 59.00 8
9 G- 42 Andreas Macke 10 [13] 8 9 4 3 11 11 8 8 72.00 9
10 K Ron Kern 7 10 9 8 [11] 11 8 8 9 7 77.00 10
11 42 Fernando Martinez [41/OCS] 14 10 10 10 10 10 10 11 9 94.00 11
12 a Soheil Zahedi 12 11 14 11 7 9 14 14 [41/DNS] 16 108.00 12
13 USM 9 Uwe Dreyer 15 12 6 18 18 20 13 13 [41/DNS] 19 134.00 13
14 P Tavis Perez 13 19 18 [22] 14 15 17 17 13 12 138.00 14
15 US V Gabor Vagi 11 16 27 15 23 12 19 19 16 [41/DNS] 158.00 15
16 AP Alan Prussia 9 15 21 12 12 [41/DNF] 16 16 41/DNS 17 159.00 16
17 US 51 Alex Ioanide 18 17 [22] 19 21 14 20 20 17 13 159.00 17
18 USA 86 Royce Yen [24] 23 11 17 19 16 23 23 14 14 160.00 18
19 US 552 Derek Nielsen 16 8 25 21 15 13 15 15 [41/DNS] 41/DNS 169.00 19
20 BEL 29 Christophe Waerzeggers 14 18 17 16 17 17 18 18 [41/DNS] 41/DNS 176.00 20
21 US 1166 Jon Ernst 29 20 24 13 16 18 12 12 [41/DNS] 41/DNS 185.00 21
22 Mac Jim McGrath 17 21 28 27 [29] 22 26 26 12 18 197.00 22
23 246 Lyn Preuit [28] 24 23 23 25 21 28 28 15 15 202.00 23
24 223 or 11 John Davenport 27 22 20 26 22 19 30 30 [41/DNS] 20 216.00 24
25 USA 314 Bryan McDonald 22 [29] 29 28 27 24 24 24 19 21 218.00 25
26 FIN- 196 Lasse Uronen 23 26 26 25 26 26 29 29 18 [41/DNS] 228.00 26
27 VHV David Hop 19 [41/DNS] 16 24 24 25 25 25 41/DNS 41/DNS 240.00 27
28 JK Jim Kiriakis 20 [41/DNS] 19 20 20 41/DNF 21 21 41/DNS 41/DNS 244.00 28
29 US 213 Myles Borash 26 [41/DNS] 41/DNF 29 28 23 22 22 20 41/DNS 252.00 29
30 US - 188 Alex Morales 25 [41/DNS] 15 30 31 41/DNS 32 32 21 41/DNS 268.00 30
31 US 8 Gary Peer 21 27 30 31 30 27 31 31 [41/DNS] 41/DNS 269.00 31
32 988 Richard Adam Darriau [41/DNS] 25 31 34 32 41/DNF 34 34 41/DNS 41/DNS 313.00 32
33 21 Lynn Olinger 30 [41/DNS] 32 33 33 41/DNF 41/DNF 41/DNF 41/DNF 41/DNS 333.00 33
34 940 Bill Martinson [41/DNS] 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 27 27 41/DNS 41/DNS 341.00 34
35 US 54 John Stienstra [41/DNF] 28 41/DNF 32 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 347.00 35
36 USA 82 Robert Montgomerie [41/DNS] 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 33 33 41/DNS 41/DNF 353.00 36
37T Bill Weir [41/DNS] 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 369.00T 37T
37T TXN Kirk Simmons [41/DNS] 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 369.00T 37T
37T Z Jean Rathle [41/DNS] 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 369.00T 37T
37T USA 45 Michael Gebhardt [41/DNS] 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 41/DNS 369.00T 37T

Below is a video from OOTO Paul with some highlights from the course racing:
(credit Paul Buelow

Shawn Davis photos
Chris Ray photos at
More photos from Chuck Lantz @
Check out the video coverage from KTVU here

Day 4 US Windsurfing Nationals

What can I say- San Francisco turned on some epic conditions for the slalom racing on Friday afternoon. By 4pm it was 25 knots with a steep ebb chop.
Racing was run right in front of crissy field.
25 rounds of slalom heats were run before going to the final 13 with 5 more rounds of finals. What a day!
I had so much fun racing slalom- my heart was pounding all day long with adrenalin.
In the qualifying rounds I took it easy not pushing the envelope too much- finishing 2 in 4 heats and missing one as it got too op'ed for my 7.3 and medium sx board.
After that I switched down to the 95 l Ml slalom and 6.3 to get some more control.
In the finals- I went for it all- charging the line with vengeance,
Unfortunately just a tad early in the first heat being called over early.
After 3 races I switched back to the medium F2 board for better mark roundings.
It was a mess in there and all you could do was hope to get out in decent position after the first rounding.
Nonetheless I ended up in 6th- a good showing for the 1st slalom race of the year!
Hopefully will get some photos up asap as these are the money shots- stay tuned.

Checks out full page of slalom photos from OOTO here
as well as the video from OOTO below:
(credit Paul Buelow
Paul did an awesome job at putting together photos and videos from the event- check out the coverage on his blog @

2007 US Windsurfing Nationals & North American Championship
Slalom Series
Final Round August 10, 2007
Place Name Sail # Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Total
1 Seth Besse USA 64 1 1 1 2 *3 5
2 David Wells 46 *6 4 3 1 1 9
3 Jason Voss 8 3 6 *11 3 2 14
4 Bill Wier M9 2 2 6 6 *7 16
5 Andreas Macke G 42 *OCS 3 2 7 8 20
6 Steven Bodner USA 4 *OCS 8 9 4 4 25
7 Jon Ernst US 1166 7 *11 5 5 9 26
8 Vlad Moroz L1 5 *10 4 8 10 27
9 Casey Hauser 634 4 9 *10 9 5 27
10 Mike Percey USA VYV *10 5 8 10 6 29
11 Jean Rathle Z 8 7 7 11 *13 33
12 Soheil Zahedi a 9 *13 12 12 12 45
13 Uwe Dreyer US 213 11 12 *13 13 11 47
Heres the link to Brian's podcast

Friday, August 10, 2007

Day 3 US windsurfing Nationals

With only 1 race today- counting as double points in the overall championship- I knew I had a chance to move up in the fleet. The competitor's debriefing was set for 11 am and the long distance course was set. Sailing down to Treasure Island and back would be tame compared to the long distance marathons we've done earlier in the season. The only difference would be the 2 gates that would keep the fleet together on the up and downwind legs.

For the complete sideshow of Shawn's photos of the event click here
By 1pm the ebb tide was strong on the outside but growing near the shore. The line looked like it could be laid on port but was a risky maneuver considering the double points. I started on starboard halfway down the line and got a nice inside lift once tacking near the shore. Percy tacked immediately below me and blew up on the tack. One down! As I made my way up the first beat towards the windward mark set by the Presidio shoal marker- I looked to have a good lead over the pack but Ben and Seth rounded in 10 seconds front of me. We immediately gybed to get back into the breeze and made our way downwind towards the first gate set in front of the StFYC. I gybed and got Ben as it was still light for him. Seth meanwhile was putting some distance on me. One more gate downwind near Blossum rock and off the the leeward mark set off the north tip of Treasure Island. Seth provided a good opportunity for me to call the layline so I was playing it safe but called the last transit to early and ran out of room and wind near the leeward mark. Sylvester came blazing in and gybed in front of me near the mark and got me on the rounding.
By this time I was footing and trying to get clear air and a lane upwind. I was concentrating on the entire upwind leg in front of me that I completely forgot about the upwind gate and forgot the 1st basic rule of racing- keep yourself between the next mark and your competitors. In the brief 5 minutes off the leeward mark I let the next 3 guys tack and get through the gate in front of me. Eric, Steve, and Al all made it through as I was trying to gain composure again and get back in the game. Luckily that was all that slipped through as it could have been worse! I held it together and held off Percy who was pointing like a madman trying to get around me. I wasn't going to let that happen so I put it back together to finish right behind Steve in 5th.
Its now a tight race for second place with Eric, Sylvester and myself within a few points of each other. Seth has still a string of bullets and could end the regatta after only sailing 2 races tomorrow.
With 4 more course raced set for Friday its going to be a fight to the finish.
I'm determined to get this one as its my last regatta int he US for a while.
Andreas is also blogging the event @
Check out the local news channels coverage of the event here
As well as our own 'Don King of windsurfing'

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

US Nationals Day 2

With San Francisco conditions barely showing its true colors- racers got another light to medium day on the water for day 2 of the US Nationals. By 2pm the Formula fleet got the water for 2 back to back races in 15-17 knots then a short break on the beach to finish with a 3rd course race in 16-20k and a building flood tide.
More and more racers fought disaster off with one break down or another but the fleet leader- Seth Besse showed true consistency with another 3 bullets. Just behind him was Eric Christanson who scored a constant 2-3-5. Ben Bamer broke his string of 2nds places with a 14 and DNF today- moving him back in the fleet to 10th overall
I had another day in the top 5 with a 4th, 5th and finally finishing strong in 2nd in the last race.
Part of todays strategy was avoiding the big disasters as other sailors seemed to find themselves with. I tried to sail conservatively but had to make sure I had the means to move ahead in the fleet. That meant rigging an 11.0 while most of the fleet was on their 10.0's. Downwind I was able to make my move by sailing smart and really trucking in the puffs. Upwind the 11.0 was a handful but manageable with the flat flood tide.
Heres a quick recap on todays racing-
Race 1-off the line on starboard only to find myself tacking early before the seawall to get a lane upwind. I rounded deep in 10th but immediately realized I wouldn't be passing anybody by following the parade down the reach so instead I gybed and caught a decent puff outside to round the bottom mark in 3rd. I stumbled a bit on the rounding as I had to gybe and immediately round and Wells took the opening I left. I struggled for clear air the rest of the race following behind him to finish 4th while Besse and Eric were in front.
Race 2- the breeze was building to a steady 18k and I had my hands full upwind. Again- an average start and I rounded the top mark just behind the pack. I rode the puff down till it got light and gybed near the shore- catching a few guys who tried to ride out the puff. Near the leeward mark I gybed back to be in good position just behind Wells and Andreas. Upwind I fought for clear air and a lane but was forced to tack early of the layline as a container ship made its way through the fleet. Holding down the 11.0 in the breeze took a bit of concentration and finesse but I found myself still in 6th near the top. Off the breeze David took himself out by sailing to the finish while the rest of the fleet went for lap 3. Andreas kept the pressure on but now Al was in the hunt at the rounding. We made it to the top mark overlapped and immediately gybed for better breeze. I had my 11.0 strapped and had no power after the gybe. Al got the jump and was out in front of me running towards the finish. As we approached the middle of the course- we ran into the container ship again and were forced to gybe early. This time I got the jump on Al and finessed my 11.0 to 5th.
Race 3- After a 30 min break onshore we started again at 4:20. This would be my race- wella t least a better one! I started well on port between Seth and Ben sandwiched between them on the first beat. As I rounded in 3rd I looked back to see a rapidly approaching fleet hot on my tail. Any mistake and I would be shot out the back door. Ben sailed himself into a hole on the first downwind and was out of the race. Meanwhile it was Seth in front with me holding on in 2nd with a wild ride on the 11.0. Andreas held onto 3rd with Al in 5th. Back in the fleet Steve and Mike finding themselves buried in the middle of the fleet.
With 6 races down and no throwouts its still a race for 2-5th place.
Its Seth's regatta to lose at this point and the conservative approach would be to sail smart and not take any major risk till the final day. With tomorrow's long distance race counting double- it another chance to move up in the fleet.
Also check out the San Francisco Chronicles coverage of the event here

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

US Windsurfing Nationals Day 1

57 windsurfers from Europe, North and South American sailed the first day of the 2007 US Windsurfing Nationals from Crissy Field in San Francisco.
The flog cleared at 1pm for the first race of the junior division, By 2pm the 40 board formula fleet was off to their first start in a building 14-16k breeze.
I started mid-line on starboard with my 9.9 with a nose out on the board to windward. As I approached the sea wall near the St. Francis YC it was evident the breeze was a bit lighter near shore. I tacked early as I knew we would be sailing back into a flood tide and wanted to be the board ahead and to leeward as we headed back to the middle of the course. Ben was far out on the right course after ducking most of the fleet for a port start and Seth was on my windward hip. I tacked on the starboard lay-line and immediately my mast snapped below the boom.
Nothing to do but try to recover as fast as I could.
I derigged on the water- got picked up by the rescue board and was back on the water within 15 min for the next start.
Thanks to Kevin Kan for the disaster recovery relief on the beach!
By race 2 my adrenaline was pumping hard as I just made the start after a brief postponement as a container ship made its way through the golden gate and our course.
I rounded the top mark in 4th after a clean start and put the pressure on David Wells downwind going for the pass to windward but just ran out of time before we gybed at the layline.
Upwind it was Ben and Seth who went back and forth in 1st and 2nd while David stretched out his lead over me by giving my bad air at the leeward rounding. 2 more times around the windward leeward course I held off Steve S who was pushing hard in 5th. Just behind him the pack was Al and Eric for a close finish.
After a 30 min. break on the beach and a quick refelling- we headed back out for race 3.
By now the flood tide was increasing and the wind died off some to 12-14k with some stronger gust but more frequent lulls. I was off with the pack on starboard as Ben and Eric went for the port tack ducking the early guys down the line. Eric went down as Ben wove his way through the fleet and off with clear air to the right side. I tacked early again just before the seawall but the guys who carried it further actually got an inside lift. I rounded the top mark in 6th or 7th and slowly clawed my way back constantly fighting for clear air at the leeward mark rounding on the long beat back upwind. It was crucial to get a lane so you could climb- otherwise with the flood you had to just foot and go for speed while the inside boards climbed.
As it got lighter it was important to shift gears. I adapted a more upright stance with a fuller sail to get as much power as I could.
On the last upwind- Seth was out ahead as Ben had to double tack the previous windward mark Percy and Sylvester were sailing comfortably in 2nd and 3rd. Ben had some wicked speed the last upwind footing over Percy then ducking below Steve for a solid 2nd place finish. Meanwhile as Percy was gased from Ben's bad air I took advantage of it and climbed on him. By the layline we tacked together and were overlapped rounding the top mark. Percy was a bit sloppy on the rounding as he really had to pinch up to make it in the 2k flood. At the rounding- I dove deep and made by move. I got below Percy and drove deep the rest of the leg to finish 4th again behind Steve, Ben and Seth.
Its conservative sailing from now on as we've got only 1 throwout for the rest of the regatta.
Every point counts from now on.
The rest of the fleets forecast looks good with a building 15-25k breeze later in the week.
Stayed tuned with the results at
The archive section of the exploritorium web cam provides some good shots from todays racing,
Click here to watch it or go to

Sunday, August 5, 2007

CAL CUP AUg 4- emeryville

Heres the poster form the 2007 Nationals in SF next week- designed by Brian Mcdougal, of Berkeley. What more can you say- GROOVY!

There's something about the east Bay that just doesnt do it for me.
Perhaps I'm spoiled from sailing at Crissy Field all the time and blessed with good wind, an easy launch and a hot shower after sailing everyday.
Nonetheless- the Calcup is a traveling series- chosen the day before.
Point Emmery in Emmeryville was the location of Saturdays calcup.
Mike Percy deserves alot of credit for putting the whole series together and sometimes you can just get unlucky with the wind.
But the best sailors usually win no matter the conditions.
Picking the right gear also helps!
With the forecast looking to ramp up- most of the fleet choose their 9.0s- only because that would be the go to sail next week at the nationals.
The wind gods were not smiling on us as they only gave us a weak 10-15 knot breeze- just at the low end for the 9.0
I was struggling to keep power in my sail as I could have been on an 11.0
Even so It was a good test to find the low end and reassured me when its time to switch to a bigger sail.
With 4 races before the wind petered out I sailed in the top 5 every race- usually around 5th.
I got killed off the wind with the guys who rigged bigger and at the leeward mark when I needed some power to round.
Race 1- Off the line of starboard with the most of the fleet. I tacked about 3/4 way up the beat as the wind was getting lighter. The guys who tacked early got the pressure on the right and came across my bow. The guys who kept sailing till the layline also arrived up top before me.
Lesson learned- in light wind- pick a side and go for it all the way.
Downwind, Fernando and I spared with his F2 board going a bit deeper in the lighter stuff. Having a 9.0 didnt help my power either. At the leeward mark- we both choose the right gate to get over to the pressure on the right side. I was able to work upwind well with the 70 cm fin and climb on him. I rounded the top mark just in front of him. Meanwhile the breeze started to fill on the left and the guys who sailed there cam out on top.
Damed if you do, damed if you dont!
Off the breeze Fernando got the edge and gybed inside of my on the layline to the finsh. With better downwind angle n the light stuff he finished a few board lengths in front of me. Up front was Percy, Mike Z, Steve S, and Eric and Ben.
Race 2- I decided to go for the port start with Ben as the right side looked favored again with better pressure. The line was pretty short so we had to duck alot of the starbord tackers and weave our way through the fleet. I kept my lane just above him but arrived at the top mark finding the left side was favored. Off the breeze it was a battle just to hold my position as I was very underpowered. I lost a position to Al who skipped the first race to go back in and rig a10.0 Race 3- I started just a the boat trying to shut down the late starters but with better speed they came in and rolled me to windward. I was trying to foot to get some speed but with no lane it was difficult to find clear air. Al and I went below Mike Z out to the port layline and continued form there to the first mark. There were 4 or 5 guys in front breaking away. Off the breeze- it got light and we were struggleling to keep planning a the leeward mark. I had a slow rounding and let Al get out in front. The lesson here is control your nearest competitor by getting better position at the mark. If I waited just a few seconds later to gybe, I could have rounded with power and kept Al behind me. Another 5th or so finsih.
Race 4: I decided to go for a clear lane at the start 3/4 of the way down the line. Clear air is king as it gets lighter. Mike Z was on my windward hip and with a bit of clear air I was able to climb up on him but not get any further as our speed was so close. Oh well it was a short race anyways. I let him and Percy tack first and extended out a few more boards to get clear air. When I tacked I was just below Steve. We fought for some time and it was evident both of us could not make the mark. At that point I opted to foot off and go for speed but doublw tacking always kills you not matter what circumstances. I dropped back to 5th again but more importantly realized where the cut off point for the 9.0 is. I know I wont be making that mistake next week!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Friday night racing August 3rd- 2007

It was full on summer city front conditions tonight as the fog rolled in early and the breeze was up and down and back up again. By 6:00 pm the ebb was in full effect making the Friday night course a handful by anybody’s standard.
I choose the 9.0 as the gust looked to be in the mid 20’s and the ebb would be building all night. With a just a few minutes to spare- I got out the course only after making some emergency repairs to my board as it went flying across the parking lot of the StFYC without me!

Race 1- Off the line well with David and Eric in tow to the windward mark. On the first beat up we were all dodging our way through the returning fleet of J-105s blazing downwind form an off shore race. I did the chicken dance a few times with some out of control broaching J-105’s coming downwind and me going upwind- up, down, up, down, NO YOU GO UP AND ILL GO DOWN! Finally after a bit of confusion I got through the pack but overstood the weather mark. A few guys understood so we were all coming in hot together. Off the breeze David gybed too early to make the bottom mark and was going deep. I knew he would have to gybe again. Comfortably in the lead I fought my way through the voodoo chop between mark A and mark X on the city front. Just as I as was surfing down a decent piece of chop- working my way as deep as possible I got the foot of my sail caught on the wave- fully sheeted in I couldn’t do anything!
In the water I recovered as fast as I could but David, Eric and Soheil snuck in there to round the bottom mark in front of me. Not really in control at the rounding I again took a dip to windward and was in the water again. Not a good way to start the series with a 4th.

Race 2- Off the line well again getting the start at B and taking advantage of the inside lift. It looked very marginal near the top so I decided to overstand again- thinking Id come in with speed but a lucky puff got the guys who tacked early to the mark first. I immediately gybed around Anita with David to get back to the breeze outside while Eric continued inside catching a nice puff down. Not sure how but David was working deeper off the breeze and going strong- getting some separation between us. I mis-judged the bottom mark again due to the fog and let David and Eric and Soheil round in front of me. Sailing the last beat upwind I noticed from the previous race, you didn’t need to go all the way to the wall to make the layline to the finish. Soheil graciously pointed this out to me as he got stick in a no wind bubble while tacking at the wall and went down- handing me 3rd.
Race 3: Still a bit frustrated at my mistakes, I put it into my mind that I would win the next race. Visualizing winning the race helped as I got off the line well and rounded in top form with David getting stuck at the top mark with no wind. Eric and I took off downwind together with him gybing just in front of me at mark B. I let up on the throttle downwind so that I could get a clean rounding around the leeward mark. I knew that I would have some angle on him. Approaching the wall I was bit above him and let him tack while I continued a few seconds as there was plenty of wind. In hind sight I should have tacked when he did- knowing we would already make the layline for the finish. Nonetheless I got my speed up and made my move to windward- crossing the finish in 1st with Eric just a board length or 2 behind.

Race 4: Another tricky one as the breeze was up and down and shifty. I went for the start at B but Eric was holding his position on the line well and I didn’t get a good chance to accelerate off the line well. Eric punched out clean while I tried to maintain a lane just to windward. It took me the whole upwind beat to put some distance on him and it looked like another good opportunity to overstand the windward mark as it was dead at Anita rock. David- well off the pace upwind was behind but tacked early. We all fell off a plane rounding- like going from a high speed chase to slow motion- in a an instant!
I gybed around Anita to get the hell out of that no wind zone but somehow David caught that lucky puff near the shore and got some separation off the breeze. This was the 2nd time this happened and in hindsight I should have paid more attention to the trends happening around me. It would have been better to ride the puff down near shore than to gybe early. David got the bottom mark in first with myself a few board lengths behind. I knew I had better speed upwind than him but with only 1 leg to go I had to make my move. I footed below him with better speed and went for the pass. As it got lighter towards the wall I made a huge mistake and let David tack first. He got the bullet- crossing the line just in front of me for the final race of the evening.
Unfortunately the breeze was dying so no chance for a throw-out in race 5.
Another good night of racing and a tune up for next week’s nationals.
The important thing to remember is that its ok to make mistakes- just that you don’t need to make the same mistake more than once! Also pay attention to how the fleet is across the course. Is there an obvious trend that is evident after 1 race or even 2 or 3 races- take advantage of this.
Be sure to check out Brian pre nationals pod-casting interviews- available here.
Up next is Saturdays Calcup race in the east bay before a 2 day rest before Nationals next week.

My predictions for nationals: its anybodys race to win and lose. There are several guys capable of wining but in no particular oder heres my top 5 and top 10 predictions:
Top 5: Mike Z, Steve Sylvester, Seth Besse, Steve Bodner, David Wells
Top 10: top 5 + Ben Bamer, Mike Percy, Al Mirel, Eric Christanson, Bill Weir.

And by the way- as you've probably heard- we're about to make a move to Europe in the next few weeks- most of our stuff is for sale. You can check it out here before it goes to craiglist or the sidewalk!