With Saturday's forecast looking promising, and the allure of several heats of downwind slalom in the north of Holland, I made the trip up from Amsterdam to Makkum for the REAL TRIP.
Ill give you this, the dutch know how to throw a windsurfing event.
Nearly 150 competitors for a massive weekend billed for its party and great windsurfing.
The fleet was dived up into 5 randomly generated heats so that you always had juniors, hybrids, race boards and slalom boards in each start. The vintage gear was in full effect with several vanderberg long boards and other centerboard hulls on the course. The juniors were mostly on the BIC one design and the rest of the fleet on medium and larger slalom gear.
Only 2 rules: your board must be under 85 cm wide and 9.9 is the max sail area.
Thanks to Jan deJong for the photos.
As the first heat started, the wind was in full effect in the mid teens.
I had my F2 sx 105 l board on the beach with a 7.3 north warp ready to go.
But with reports of the forecast diminishing later in the day, it was time for a quick change of plan.
Time to rig the 9.0 warp and large 125 l slalom board.
With just a minute or 2 to spare, I made it upwind to the start for the start of heat 4.
It was shallow enough that you could water start with under a minute before the start.
I was the most windward board on the line and got off to a nice pumping start while most of the fleet sat parked on the line. Adrien got off well below me on the middle of the line and led around the course but he ended up sailing in the wrong heat so I took the bullet.
As we waited for the next round to be run- the wind really lightened up with a few puffs in the low teens.
I headed out early before my start to make sure I had enough time to shlog upwind with a 42 cm fin! For the most part- nobody got planning off the start. The hybrid boards and long boards all had superiour speed in the shlogging conditions but some resourceful pumping technique allowed me to pass 2 boards to finish 5th in the heat.
After that we were on postponement for another hour before a pitiful attempt at a long distance race.
So with only 1 planing race complete, I called it quits and headed home with no more racing for the day. Sundays forecast didn't even merit the the trip back.
Up next is the finals of the Dutch Championship in Monnikendam this w-end.
Hopefully a good chance to see how the Z performs in light air again.
Another IFJU fin arrived just in time to test this week before formula racing finishes for the season here in Europe. Still hoping to make it to the final Formula Grand Prix event in Brazil this November to get my ranking up into the top 20.
So far sitting in 25th for the season- a good showing from last years' 50th.