Sunday, December 2, 2007

Worlds Day 5

Day 5 of the Formula Windsurfing World Championship brought another exciting day of racing and yet another course. On Sunday, the final day of the competition, sailors were tested with a triple windward leeward course finishing with a 3 leg slalom course just in front of the MarinaPak hotel.
Racing in 20knots + for the final day was a big endurance test for most sailors as, blistered hands, cut feet, tattered, limbs and even bruised egos slowed racers during the last 2 races of the series. I had my best result today finishing 26th in the first race!
With a strong breeze and chop, I finally found the groove with the mikes lab board, 9.9 north warp and 68 cm kashy fin.
I got off the line well on start 1 in the middle of the line on starboard, grinding off a few guys above me as we worked our way to the left side of the course. I was in the thick of it downwind with boards everywhere- to the left, the right, upwind, downwind. All I could do was keep the pace and sail strong. When I gybed, there were at least 5 other boards at the end of the pinwheel gybing with me. Rounding the leeward mark in the pack was bit hairy as you really had to fight for a lane at the leeward mark to keep your air during the next upwind towards the shore. It was really the only option that worked well given the geographical shift off the land. On the next upwind I made the mistake of overstading the top mark and gave up a few boards below me coming in on starboard.
Downwind it was a grind to get them back, in and out of the chicken strap but I found myself placed well at the bottom mark and had clear air to drive to the right side. I tacked early this time and even got a few of the guys who overstood.
There's nothing quite like making a mistake one leg, the learning from it and capitalizing on the next leg. For me, this is what racing is all about...learning and improving. Having fun doesn't hurt either. The grin on my face was ear to ear racing in 20k+ with the spray in my face, sun on my back, and wind in my sail.
I rounded the top mark in a tight pack and came out on top at the finish of the last 3 reaching legs.
Race 2 was much of the same but I was really running on a limited energy and didnt push myself 100% I gave up a few small battles at the end of the day but sailed smart and finished in the middle of the fleet.

Overall a good show, finishing 42nd in the fleet- just outside my goal of the top 30 but improving throughout the series. I did , however, end up placing 10th overall in the lightweight division. Although we all race together, and get scored together, at the end of the day, they break down the scores to separate the lightweights from the heavyweights.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons sailing this world championships and hopefully can take them forward to next years season. It was a real pleasure to sail in such a talented fleet of racer and my hats off to the race organizer who did a great job at organizing the event despite the shortcomings. I met a lot of new faces and got to know some old ones even better. The Brazilian hospitality was defiantly not unnoticed. Thanks guys for making it a great trip and regatta!

I m already looking forward to next years Worlds in Portugal!
Overall results
Event webpage and ticker

With a little over 6 weeks off, Ill be doing some much needed relaxation and catching up with work again before heading back to Miami in January for the Alex Cavilliga regatta.

Photo Credit: Bogo
Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Worlds Day 4

Day 4 of the Formula World Championship brought 3 more races in a shifty 14-17 knot breeze.
The course was set just off shore with a side shore breeze and the right side land shift took most of the fleet off port to the first shift. The big difference today was the "media gate" in the center of the course which required sailors to go through on 3 out of the 5 windward leeward legs. This really brought the fleet back together and changed the tactics in todays races. The finish line, a bit anti-climatically was set in the lee of the harbor just off the hotel in a giant wind shadow and 30 degree shift. If you were lucky you could pinch off the last leeward mark and just make the finish line. If not you sailed to the shore on a big knock and tacked a few times in non planning conditions just to make the line. Certainly not the best course for the World Championship but as always in racing you've got to deal with what you're dealt.
In the front of the fleet, Antoine was challenged by Gonzo and Steve Alllen and Brazilian Paulo Dos Reis but took 2 out of 3 finishes. In the final race, POL 10 and POL 11 were 1-2 with Antoine taking 3rd. Overall that gives Antoine the championship- not having to sail tomorrow's last 2 races. A real show of talent!
The Brazilian fleet has also showed some real depth with 7 sailors in the top 20! At least a half a dozen other sailors either stopped midway through as the last week of racing and training in the sun has taken its toll. My hands are ready to fall off already- with just 2 more races to go! : FW Worlds 2008 - day four from on Vimeo.

Most of todays racing was about good starts, quick transitions and some good technique on port tack. I had my biggest gains at the leeward mark when I got my nose up and stayed above the fleet below- pumping to the finish! I came out on the low end on the last race- loosing a few boards just sitting in below the finish line while boards came planning across from the left side!
That's racing!
Below are some good shots of different upwind technique:
It's amazing all the different possibilities that work with all the different gear available.
Thats the beauty of the Formula class- making your set up work for you.

I did get pinched out 2 times by this Italian sailor going upwind with his front hand on the uphaul. It gives him better angle but a bit slower. Off the starting line I was just above him and immediately had to duck below and go for speed. Then on the 3rd race our courses came together upwind on port when he sailed from behind and below into my leeward side. I shouted protest but let it slide at the end of the day as it wouldnt have mattered at the end of the day anyways
Overall some good racing today finishing in the mid pack and learning alot.
I was on 11.0 and 70 cm kashy going well.
Photos: Race 13 , Race 11
Results after 13 races
2 more races Sunday- hoping to finish strong!

Photo Credit: Bogo
Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!