Wednesday, March 21, 2007
2-1/2 hours of slalom sailing on a 6.3 will wear you out but how about pulling some freestyle moves like Jean Rathle in the photo above. Who says you cant teach an old dog new tricks?
For more photos of sunday's epic session on the san francisco bay check out shawn davis' photos
Monday, March 12, 2007
Check out the 2007 north sail in action at the recent 24 hours on the causeway event in Miami last w-end. Local SF sailor, Steve Sylvester came out strong in 3rd with Mathias Penheiro from Brazil in 2nd and ex- SF sailor, Fernando Martinez in 1st. Looks like the F2/north/kashy combo is really working well this year.
Final results and regatta report at: http://www.miamiwindsurfing.com
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Most sailors had their light air set ups dialed in after 2 days of marginal racing. More or less this event is the first chance of the year for most sailors, including the pros, to test their new sails and boards. For most, its a chance to see what works and what doesn't in a fleet of around 40 boards. I knew from last months event in Miami that the F2 and starboards were really going well in the light air. This event was no exception. Starboard and pyrde sails placed in the top 3 positions. Needless to say it has allot to do with the indian and the arrow but when pros like Micah who arn't sponsored by any formula board company shell out and buy a starboard to race- it must be good!Back to the racing: After a long morning and afternoon wait the formula fleet got off with one general recall. I started mid line in a pack so as to not stand out but didn't jump the gun enough to get off well with a lane and was forced to tack over for clear air after 30 seconds . In the light stuff, clear air is king even if it means banging the corner. While most of the fleet went left to the layline, I lead a group over to the right side and was getting knocked the further I went. Good sign! I tacked back and was in decent position rounding the top mark around 12. Off the breeze I fought hard to stay deep and had to gybe 2x to get to the leeward mark. Once rounding, I was able to hold my lane upwind with the 70 cm fin as the group in front of me battled it out giving each other bad air. I tacked on the layline and gained a few boards who were low.
I rounded the top mark with Sylvester and he went higher for speed while I was able to go deeper with a big powerful sail. He gybed in front of me and I had to avoid the collision. Not a good show on his part. The lesson here- look over your shoulder before you gybe. I held out a few more seconds before I gybed but it really got light at the bottom so I was out of the harness pumping for a good 30 seconds to make the mark. Who says formula sailing isn't an aerobic sport? I was able to round clean but Steve behind me got a nice lift and rounded the top mark just behind me. Meanwhile I was yelling at him to do his circles and lost track of the course . I thought the top mark was the finish and actually slowed down to tell him to do his turns. Meanwhile he and one other sailor went blazing past me on the last reach to the finish. Ahh! What I had just gained I gave up as my thoughts were so focused on getting Steve to do his turns. Big lesson here- stay focused until the finish line! A 17th was good enough to move back up to 3rd place in the men's division as Fernando finished deep behind me and I won on the tie breaker. Not exactly the best performance but Ill take it. Just before the finsh line Steve did his circles- a good sign of sportsmanship on his part. Once ashore we argued about it a bit as our tempers were still hot but eventually let it be and realized what happens on the water should stay there. No need to bring it shore unless it goes to the protest room
In the rest if the fleet, Mike Percy was impressive all weekend on his new Hanson sails and edged out Sylvester for 2nd place in the masters division.Meanwhile up in front of the fleet Jesper got the bullet to secure 2nd overall in front of Micah just behind in 3rd and Jimmi in 4th. The Brazilians took both first in the men's and masters division. In the RSX, Barger- the top US Olympic hopeful just edged out Gebi for a close series.After the races I took out the starboard 161 for a test run against some other sailors. It did feel really good and lively- especially with a 70 cm kashy fin. I think it let me sail better especially in the light stuff where I was struggling on the Mikes Lab. Time will tell and with some more testing it should be evident what set up is the best. I'm looking forward to the challenge and more racing this season.
Here are some more links to photos and scores
2007 formula board photos
Until next time- sail fast
In the start that that was clean I got off near the pin end clean in what I thought was a great start but looked over my shoulder only to find the wind had switched right about a minute before the start and now the boat end was majorly favored. The lesson here is to test the line and stay aware of the shifts during the 5 minute countdown. I got caught on the wrong side of the shift from the beginning and never got back in phase the whole race.
It was hard to get my game face back on after that race but somehow after a long break waiting for the other fleets to race and having lunch- I was able to get myself back in the game after I borrowed a fin from Sylvester and finally found the groove I was looking for in the light wind. The new light wind set up consisted of a 11.7 m2 north warp with my mikes lab l7 and new 70 cm Zajicek fin. The fin was much stiffer than what I was used to using but was able to hold angle and really rocked downwind in my initial test against Sylvester and Percy. So there I was ready for race 2- with the confidence to hold my angle upwind. I was ready to go! A couple of more general recalls as the fleet was really pushing the line but all 3 times I got off well with a lane for the first 20 seconds before heading back to restart. Finally the real deal- I was pushing the line aggressive at the start getting lined up with speed down the line with 20 seconds to go when I just ran out of wind and stalled as the wind died on the line and the fleet went over the top of me. How ironic as I finally found a set up to work and screwed by the wind. Well that’s the reality of racing- you’ve got to take the ups and the downs- hopefully learning something from every situation. The big lesson I learned today was to keep my cool- no matter how bad you think things can get, no matter how desperate the situation- there’s always one more board in front of you to fight to get and at the end of the day every point counts! Today I found my 2 throwouts for the regatta so tommorow got to get everything in line for some top 10 finsihes.
Some interesting observations of the new 07 equipment: This year the sail developments have not been as dramatic as previous year. Both the north and pryde sails look really good with an improved range from last year. The Maui sails finally went to a double luff after several years of trying to make a small luff work. In regards to the formula board development- the F2 and starboards really are light air machines with thicker and more parallel rails. The F2 board has lots of things going this year with the board- airpipes, cutouts and a pickle nose (see photos above): seems to work really well in the light to medium breeze. The Starboard 161 seems to have been developed from lots of gradual evolution and may be the most well rounded board. It would be interesting to get these boards in the Bay for testing- that is if they would last the season! Even the Mikes Lab has a wider tail demanding a more powerful fin but doesn’t show its true potential till the wind comes up to the mid teens. (Who wants to race in anything under that anyways ?) Towards the end of the day yesterday I saw the guys on the starboard and F2 boards really struggling for control as the breeze came up. Even the Pro sailors were searching for a chicken strap to put on their boards. The majority of the fleet is on the F2 boards or starboards with a handful of sailors on the mikes lab. The big devlopment this year has come with custom fins. Sailors are finding the foils below their board are just as important as the foils above the board- perhaps even moreso! Most sailors are using custom carbon fins with several new protos showing a lot of potential for the upcoming season. Results and more photos can be found at www.calema.com
Saturday, March 3, 2007
There are several classes represented at the regatta giving the chance for the seasoned professional to compete against the weekend warrior. What other sport gives you the chance to compete against the likes of Tiger Woods and even get his advise on rigging?
The action started early for the formula fleet with Antione Albeau taking 4 bullets in the first day of racing. Micha Buzianis followed closely behind with Jimmi, Jesper and Gonzo all pushing hard for the top 5. There was a bit of a gap between the pros and the rest of the seasoned amateur fleet but still a good fight going in with lots of intense racing to be found. The Brazilians are always well represented with a fleet of decent sailors- and this year was no different- I constantly found myself surrounded by a pack of south american sailors giving me dirty air.
As for my own race things got better throughout the day with my scores improving from the low 20's down to around 10th or 11th in the last windy race. I found myself still struggling to hold my lane upwind and losing places because of this. I have not been able to dial in a good fin yet this season to keep the upwind pace. Yesterday I tried out a Debocheit R17 soft -- 68 cm fin with 5 degrees of forward rake- a bit of improvement but I think when your racing at the top you need to have equipment that will not under perform your sailing skills. Im going to beg borrow or steal something today to try out a new fin in order to find out the problem in my program. It looks like another windy day for Saturday as the trees are already moving and white caps are on the water. 2 more days of racing and more chances to move up in the fleet.
Daily results can be found at www.calema.com I will try to post some phots and a more detailed race report from my view at the end of today- stay tuned!
Check here for day 2's report