Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sopot Formula Grand Prix Day 4 morning update

We finally hit the water for the first race on Friday at 4pm. The breeze was still a light 8-10knots with holes and big shifts around the course. The steep short waves sets were also making it really hard to keep going upwind. I found you needed a very powerful set up- booms high, tack strap pulled tight, and most importantly easing off on the downhaul by 1-2cm. None of this, though, helped me get off the starting line in either races today.
The key it seems - is to get a good running approach with no chance of even falling off a plane.
Seems obvious but trying to do that with 60 other boards in a marginal winds and chop is easier said than done. The guys in front are doing an amazing job to stay in clear air and keep their speed going.
In both races there were big shifts and major holes near the beach on the left side of the course. It made it a gamble either way and some sailors were left sanding for minutes without wind. No redress in the world would even help these sailors out!
The fleet was really spread out and by the time I got going off the line the first half of the fleet was gone. It was playing catch up from there and trying to pick off a few boards every leg.
I switched to the lightwind IFJU fin today with some good results upwind. In the clear breeze, I was able to climb well but when stuck rounding behind the parade at the leeward mark- no fin is going to help you out. I had to go for speed and footed with good speed to the corner.

We waited around after the 2nd race for another 20 minutes before the RC send the fleet back ashore around 6:00 pm.
Up in front it's s till Steve Allen, Gonzolo Costel Hovel and Jesper Vesterstrom fighting it out for the top positions.
Results here
Photos here

Today is the final day and the breeze is supposed to come- maybe not in time as the last possible start is at 5 pm. You can follow the live ticker at the formula class windsurfing web site