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 http://2007uswnats.blogspot.com/
The archive section of the exploritorium web cam provides some good shots from todays racing,
Click here to watch it or go to http://cams.exploratorium.edu:8010/siteproxy.archive?doc=1&month=7&year=2007&day=7&camera=-1&alarm=0&schedule=0&preset=2&user=-1&periodic=0&custom=0&starthour=10&endhour=21&max=150&framerate=2&kind=1&getanim=Retrieve