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!


Labelga said...

Great reports, Steve, with many thanks. Must have been a great experience. Am no windsurfer myself, but respect, it's a very hard sport competionwise, so many factors.

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