Saturday, December 19, 2009
Yes, there is more to life than windsurfing...something I never thought Id say!
Nonetheless, I was super exited to pick up my new ML10 formula board a few weeks ago at the Lab in northern Californian. Its always a fun trip up to see the maestro Zajicek and his lab in full action.
There are various states of formula boards and slalom boards in mid construction. Blanks of foam perched on the wall, waiting to become a finished product; boards vacuum wrapped to the rocker table halfway to their life and finally sitting their on the main table was the lightest formula board Ive picked up... 7.8 kg of pure craftsmanship.
Honestly Id rather give my $ to no one else knowing the hard work and dedication that goes into building a custom board. Seeing the other repairs he does to production boards, I noticed the inconsistencies, sub par work and materials that go into production boards and ask myself if its really worth it. Sure, it might be cheaper but Ive learned the lesson before...no one wants to blow out a fin box in the middle of a regatta or have their foot go right through the deck of the board. When you buy a ML board, you know its going to be exactly like the one produced before it and exactly like the one produced after it. You cant say that with a production board!
I only managed 2 sessions in very light winds on the new board before leaving for the holidays . It did seem to pop up on a plane sooner than my old 160 and go pretty damn fast but its going to take some adjusting to find the sweet spot in terms of angle and speed.
My goals this season are simple: Improve my upwind angle.
Something Ive been struggling with for several seasons. I gave up quite a few positions at the Worlds and even losing the US Nationals because I couldn't match my competitors angle upwind.
Furthermore, Im going to be putting some different sails into the quiver this year to see how it helps the program. Ill stick with what I know works well- the north 10.0 and will be trying out the NP evo2 10.7. Not much traveling on the agenda this season so Ill leave the 12.0 out of the equation and concentrate on racing in SF.
So if you dont hear much from me over the next few months, its not because I'm not thinking about windsurfing every moment just like you but rather the mechanical, plumbing and electrical codes are currently taking up their spots on the top of my brain.
In the meantime you can follow what sessions I do get at http://twitter.com/usa4
Also, some gear still for sale: north sails 12,3, 11, 10, 9, 8, 6.3, 5.8, north masts 550, 520, HPL booms, F2 105l and 125l slalom boards
Contact me at bodnersp @ gmail.com
Friday, October 9, 2009
We knew Bill as a great waterman. His passion for windsurfing went beyond racing as he was an ambassador for the sport- always bringing new people in with his zeal and enthusiasm for the sport and life. He even went on to document the sport of windsurfing with an amazing film on the beginnings of the sport.
His van and music were icons in the StFYC parking lot for as long as I can remember.
I spent countless sessions with him at Fort Point and on the Friday night course at StFYC but they all seam like a distant memory now. In my first years in SF, he pushed me more than anyone else, owning the Friday night course but always available for a "debreifing" in his van after the racing.
That was his course and we all knew it. When I was finally able to beat him in a Friday nite series, I was so damn happy. I had so much respect for the guy.
He was larger than life and always fist to the mark.
We'll miss you dear friend.
A memorial service will be held @ 3:30 pm Monday October 12th @ the Saint Francis Yacht Club (adjacent to Crissy Field). More info @ http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/billweir
There will be a brief service to honor Bill, followed by a reception at the yacht club.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The development lately over the past few years has really evened out with most of the shapes either leaning toward light wind performance or control as it gets windier.
But can 1 board still do it all?
In 2008, the class rules were changed so that boards needed to be registered at the beginning of a 2 year cycle. Weve just completed the 08/09 season and the new boards for 2010-11 will be class legal to race starting Jan 1. Board manufactures needed to register their boards by Sept 30 or face missing out on the next years.
Picking a board largely depends on where you'll be racing but remember you can always change rigs and fins to accomodate the conditions.
Industry leader, Starboard took the idea of that releasing 2 boards is better than 1, but unlike F2 last year, they are making both available at once: A heavy rider board and a light rider board. Its a bit of slap in the face at the formula rules (which limited new designs to a 2 year cycle) but kudos to them for making the best available to both heavy weight and light weight riders. The difficult decision will be which one to choose!
Early information suggest the LWR is based of the 160 shape that worked so well in the breeze and the HWR is based off the 162.
Gaastra will also have a new board and should be excellent as usual with the developmental input of Ross Williams and Arnon Dagon. Their 2008/9 board was one of the easiest to tune from the beginning and did not seem to be so fin sensitive like the other boards.
There's not much known about the status of the F2 program with their lead designer Patrik Diethelm bailing ship after last years financial insolvency in the F2 group. The word is little change and new graphics for the 2010 board. Look for the continued legacy of light-wind performance form F2 and maybe another Diethelm board from Patricks own label!
The all new 2010 Black Machine by Exocet will really benefit from the input of one of the best testers and forces in the industry- Gonzalo Costal Hovel. He has been living and breathing formula and slalom for the last few years and really knows his stuff. Expect the best!
With ARG-3 graphics on the hull, Im not to sure this will be popular with the Brazilians!
Legendary Bay area shaper, Mike Zajicek has also been busy making not 1 but 2 boards for the upcoming season. His signature line will have a an improved version of the L8 with longer rails and a broader nose and no doubt, almost all of the SF fleet will be one!
One official run downwind in the bridge to bridge race and the thing was flying. Expect a comfortable ride with standard double chicken for the SF voodoo chop. The lightest weight and best constructed formula board on the market!
He's also been commissioned to shape the new JP Formula board. All indications suggest something very similar to the ML10 but maybe a bit bigger in the tail for the likes of Buzianis or Albeau. The "race deck" is a new feature with raised padding under the front footstrap for better control. See more PR here.Finally there's 2 new boards from Carbon Art....780 and 820. They've made some sweet slalom board and even cleaned up at the US Nationals this summer in the Gorge! With a radically different tail and NO CUT OUTS, these 2 designs should be interesting!
Additional info on the Carbon Art boards at their forums
Sean put together a nice collection of photos of the new starboard and exocet boards shown at the Worlds in Santa Pola. Check out the photos at AUS120.com
Friday, September 25, 2009
This year’s world championship saw many professionals dominate the top positions, despite the class being dropped from the PWA circuit a few years ago. Several Olympic class windsurfer coming fresh from the RSX Worlds in England earlier in the month were also pushing the top of the fleet. It goes to show that sometimes you can have it all with professional, amateur and Olympic class windsurfers racing together.
The worlds was a huge event this year with more organization than Ive ever seen at a regatta. For every racer there must have been another volunteer, police, or security officer there with the typical Euro/Spanish organization when you ask who's in charge- everybody says "me!" Everyday they had breakfast and lunch for 150+ people. There were 3 huge tents for the sailors and their gear, a beach tower for the press and huge stage for the opening and closing ceremony. The top 16 men and 3 of the women split the 30,000 euro prize money.
The racing is what draws most to the class and this year it was tight. The pros are always f' fast but it the rest of the amateurs that are catching up. Just behind the front pack from 15th-30th were some very fast sailors mixing it up but with the typical light wind conditions, there were a lot of mixed results on the scoreboard.
Going into the last race, it was a challenge between Steve Allen, AUS-0 and Woijek Brzowski, POL-10. Steve had won all 3 Euro Grand Prix's this summer in Poland in the light breeze while Woijek (and the rest of the Poles)are known for cleaning up in the breeze. As luck would have it for the Aussie, the last and deciding race, was run in just 10-12k favoring the lightwind specialist.
That worked as well for Martha Hlavaty POL-111 as she was able to take advantage her RSX training and finesse her way to the podium in 1st followed by Allison Shreeve, AUS-911 in 2nd.
We ran 12 races over 6 days with racing usually commencing at 2-3pm when the seabreeze kicked up but Santa Pola is known for doing anything and everything. Most of the racing was done in 10-15k with few races in only 8-10k. Day 4 saw the big breeze come in with 25-30k but the RC deemed it too unsafe after only 2 races and the safety boats picking up plenty of carnage around the course.
We ran a single fleet throughout the entire regatta with all 80 boards on the line at full speed. Getting off the line was at a premium or else you faced digging your your back through a big middle pack in a short 20 min race.
For all 12 races, we ran a double windward leeward course with an offset at the top mark and a gate as the leeward rounding and finishing downwind at the beach.
As always, the gear is still a big part of the game in the Formula class.
Its what draws some of us to the class.
Being able to match your board, sails and fins to your body type, sailing style and location is what windsurfing has always been about and why one design classes never seem to work. Putting together a kit that works well for San Francisco conditions is much different than the typical euro conditions we saw at the Worlds.
The Euro sailors with the light wind sets up definitely had an advantage. As always the NP sails were going very fast with light EVO2. Most were on their 12.0 and 10.7s. The MauiSails 12.0 seemed like it was really going well in the light to medium breeze but not so with their other sails in the quiver. This year, most of the fleet had wide boom ends for their big sails and some have custom booms widened in the mid point. The gaastra sails look very consistent throughout their quiver with even some new ideas being tried.
The north's seemed very good when powered up but I hardly got the chance to put everything in the top gear.
As for the boards, there was a big variety. What worked in the light wind didn't necessarily win the heavy wind. The F2 Z and 162 because of their size had the advantage in the light stuff but became a handful in anything over 16-18k while boards like the 160 really didnt come alive till at least 14k. Boards like the 161 and the gaastra seemed to fit the middle gap.
This year, like the past few years, custom fins have made a big difference in a sailors kit. Most of the fleet is on the kashy xs fins with the lighter air boards demanding more powerful fins like 83 or 76cm cut down to 70. A few guys at the top of the fleet, as well as most of the Estonians were using a new Z fin- excelling in the light air. The Polish have also got a new white fin that's going well. Also, quite a few IFJU fins as well as a limited number of VMG fins.
No matter the kit, whats important is to find the right tuning. There are so many variables from 1-2cm of downhaul adjustment, mast track position, boom height, fin stiffness and rake... endless ways to tweak your kit.
There were also a few changes at this year at the AGM. The ranking system will now reward excellence vs the previous system which rewarded participation. The ranking now will be annual-starting and finishing each year at the Worlds.
Another big change came with how we will run the qualifying series in Championship events. 4 races will be used as a qualifying series and your result after 4 races will be carried forward to the Final Series(Gold/Silver) as the first race. Furthermore this can be discard-able after the 3rd race of the final series (ie QS result + 3 FS races = 7 and second discard according to Championship Rules).
Finally the class voted to enforce sail numbers starting at next years championship regattas. Everyone must have white backgrounds and black sail numbers. There were quite a few people complaining this year that they followed the rule which they thought would be enforced while others with white numbers or hand drawn numbers on their sails were getting away with murder on the line as the RC had a harder time calling them OCS than the sailors with the proper white background and black number!
It is a small technicality but will cost you if you don't oblige.
Here's a 2 other videos from BEL-6 and AUS-120. Enjoy!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Both Allision and Wojeck were winning their fleets by the narrowest of margins and let victory escape them. Another hour and the conditions would have suited them but sometimes in sailing, luck is a big part of the game.
The conditions were testing us all day with the offshore breeze and seabreeze fighting each other. Finally at 4:30pm, we got 10-12k on the course and headed out. Under the black flag, I started on port with the top guys as I wanted to get to the right side where the clouds were filling in. I ducked most of the starboard tackers and began to foot to the favored side. Sure enough by overstanding a bit I was able to lay the top mark ahead of the pack and managed a strong downwind. The next upwind was really lightening up and I really made a big effort to overstand again to mantain a plane while the guys that tacked too early struggled to get going. With Sean and Adri on my tail I held on and finished on a strong note- especially as the conditions were not in my favor.
Overall pleased with regatta but as always so much to learn. Next year, I'm really going to focus more on my weakest area- lightwind and make a big effort to overcome the things that have been holding me back.
Getting ready to fly back to SF today after a long night out on the beach celebrating and letting loose.
As always the Spanish know how to throw a good regatta and am even better party!
Sent from my iPhone
Friday, September 18, 2009
Some days you're the cats meow.
Other days you cant find your way out of a box.
Today was one of those days.
Nothing seemed to go my way to matter how hard I tried.
Every shift, I found myself on the wrong end of.
Every sail choice was the wrong one.
My fins were going backwards.
With 2 throwouts, I might have well slept in till 4pm and got a fresh start.
You'd think at the World championships I would have figured these things out...or at least stayed home but then again you never know if you dont try.
I never really found my groove and struggled the whole day in the middle of the fleet.
We ran 4 races on a double windward-leeward course- finishing downwind just in front of the beach. The wind was pretty shifty with no side constantly paying off.
I went left. I went right, I even went up the middle a few upwind legs
In race 1, I took the 11.0 and 70cm kashy which seemed to go backwards. I didint have any power or angle upwind. I came in totally frustrated and was just about to switch to the 12.3 for race 2 when the wind jumped up to the mid to upper teens so I settled again for the 11.0 and got a bit better angle with the increased pressure. Getting buried at the start didnt help as the port tackers plowed right through my line!
In these short races, once you get stuck in the middle of the pack, its really hard to get out as everybodys got similar speed and angle.
In the 3rd and 4th race I switched down to the 67 kashy as the chop was building and wind up to 18-20k. With some better angle and speed off the wind, I was feeling better but still stuck in the middle with no where to go.
With one more day to go, there's still a chance to finish strong and any opportunity to learn something is worth it.
Up in front its the usual suspects who are making it look easy.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Everything looked in order for another day of light wind racing as the men's fleet all headed out on the 11 and 12m rigs. The forecast was due to ramp up later in the day but youve got to rig for the conditions you are facing now.
With that in mind, I took the 11m and 72xxs kashy. We had one general recall where I got off the line clean near the pin but the fleet was called back. In the next start I lined up similarly but with 30 or so port tackers it wasnt easy to get going and I got buried having to do 2 tacks in the first 2 minutes of the race. Slowly I fought my way back through the fleet giving it my all as the conditions ramped up. I was overpowered with the 11 but I knew everybody else was even more overpowered with their 12m rigs.
I thought to myself, keep grinding away, one board at a time.
Sure enough I was holding on as conditions got hairer and the mid fleet guys were dropping like flies. On the last downwind, I really caught up well as the chop and wind wewre perfectly lined up for the chicken strap to send it deep!
I finished in 29th- my best yet but was looking forward to the next race as things were heating up even more!
The fleet came ashore and it was a mad rush to rig the 10 and 67cm fin for the next race.
A bit of chaos at the event site with rigs flying and people rushing everywhere.
I went out early to get a feel for the conditions and felt really comfortable in the building seas and wind. It was up to 25-30k and 4-5' swell.
I really nailed the start and got off clean in the middle of the line, finally able to hold my own.
Boards were flying off the top off the chop with 2-3' of air below their fins.
I managed to hold it together well and rounded the top mark in the hunt with boards all around me.
Somehow, through, even with the double chicken strap I was going higher than most of the fleet but surviving as I some some spectatular wipeouts.
Rounding the leeward mark, things looked well but I dipped in the water as a piece of chop threw my board up and temporarily out of control. I quickly waterstarted and was grinding upwind well. I nailled the next windward layline but this time downwind, it was hairier than Ive sailed in a long time. 5-6' swell and pushing 30k. I was really in survival mode as was the rest of the fleet. Tactically I made a big mistake as I had to gybe 2 extra times as i misjudged the finish and that cost me a few positions but happy I survived in 1 piece and just around 30th.
It looked like we were going to race another 2 and I was all pumped up as I knew I could really climb up the scoresheet but alas the race director pulled the plug as saftey was becoming a big issue with a lot of people getting rescued.
Somwhow, even with 2 better races I mamanged move dwn to 42nd from 41st as alot of people in front of me used these 2 races as their throwouts.
Well , all I can do is keep sailing hard for the next 2 days.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Slow day here as the wind hardly showed up.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
A short report today as it was a long day on the water with 3 light
wind races followed by the class general meeting.
I'm writing this exhausted from the days racing. It really took a toll
on me, fighting for each finish. Although my results didnt improve so
much as I'm stuck in 42nd, I felt I was sailing smarter today and was
really in the hunt for a few races.
All 3 races were 10-12k, shifty and puffy making it very tactical and
demanding races. I used the 12.3 and 72xxs kashy but was giving up
alot upwind in traffic. Im still having trouble holding a lane but as the day went on and I inched my booms up, things improved. By the last race I was up there in the top
20 going around the bottom mark but got hosed at the top mark in alot
of traffic. It felt good to up there sailing in the pack but just need
to close the deal
and finish stronger.
Tommorows another day and another chance to move up in the fleet and
make my goal of the top 30!
More rain showers expected as the heavens seem to opening up in
torrential downpours at the start and finish of todays racing.
Sent from my iPhone
Monday, September 14, 2009
then again things never do!
At the mornings skippers meeting, the 2 fleet qualifying round was switched to a 80 board single fleet start. This puts a huge emphasis on starts as recovering in a 80 board fleet is much harder as the mid fleet traffic is tough to get around.
We started off the day with a 1-1/2 hour postponent untill the onshore breeze filled in. By the first start, the wind was in the low to mid teens but 1 general recall pulled the fleet back again for another try. Most were on their 12.0s as the breeze built more. I managed a decent start near the pin in relatively clear air and made my first tack just shy of the port layline when I heard a BIG CARBON CRACK and my sail cave in. Immediately I knew my boom had broken- not anywhere where I had made the previous 3 reinforcements on the wide custom tail but just a few inches back from where it fits into the back of the boom arm.
I made the slow painful sail back in (cursing myself for shotty workmanship and something totally preventable) but once ashore, tried not to think about it anymore and focus my energy on the next race. I put the new back end on the 12.3 but realized I'd be better off with the 11.0 the next race in the building breeze. Sure enough by race 2 the wind was up to 18-20k and a decent onshore chop. 1 more general recall saved me but the next start I was well below a few guys and eating dirty air the first beat up. I tacked early to find a lane and was fighting my way up the middle of the fleet. Downwind I gained a few boards by sailing deeper and faster but lost them again upwind as I rounded just behind a big pack and couldn't manage to keep a lane upwind and had to tack earlier than I wanted. By the top mark things were really heating up with some decent swell. Just as I tacked on the layline my sail bagged bagged out. Not another breakdown I thought but this time it was only the back pully that ripped out from the back of my boom. I managed to sail the final downwind with a very baggy sail but not loose anyone.
I guess it could have been worse as I managed to finish mid fleet in 41st.
Race 3 saw some major clouds moving in from the land which killed the onshore breeze but not before we managed the start. I actually headed out early as I wanted to be fully prepared and in control this time around. I tested the line with BRA 999 and got some line sights. By 30 secs to the start I saw a huge mid line sag and just went for it starting 2-3 board lengths above the guys around me and managed a great start. 1 minute later, the RC abandoned the race as the wind
almost shut down completely.
As I put the day behind me, I realize you"re only as good as you can recover. So here's to the next 5 days and making some better luck for myself!
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Welcome to Santa Pola Spain, site of the 2009 Formula World Championships.
International competitors have been ariving all week in prep for the biggest Formula Windsurfing event this year. 100+ of the fastest sailors are expected from around the world. At the moment the Spanish Champs are going on now here but no foreigners allowed!
That's given me a bit more of a chance to informally line up with lots of top sailors in a non racing format. I've taken the opportunity to test fins and fine tune my equipment for the best performance. So far the 12.3 north warp and 73xxs kashy on the starboard 160 are going good but hopeful I'm going to get the chance to use the 10.0 in stronger winds, like I've practiced all season. Racing for the World Championships commence early in the week and run thru the wekend.
More to come over the next few days.
Sent from my iPhone
Friday, September 4, 2009
That was the case for the 2009 Bridge to Bridge race which puts kites, skiffs and boards on an all out downwind speed run of 7.5 miles across the San Francisco Bay.
By the time I left the beach to make it up to the starting line- just outside the Golden Gate bridge, I already knew I was in trouble.
I opted to make a last minute switch and go for my bigger 11.0 rig while the rest of the formula fleet choose wisely with their 10.0 rigs. I was gunning for 'hero status' but somehow my instinct noted it would be 'idiot status!'
Enjoy the video from Sailgroove
The pre-start saw mountains of swell and voodoo chop outside the Gate with gust into the mid 20's. Just getting my head turned around for a downwind start was tough enough, despite the 59 other vessels lining up for the start. I got a bit distracted with 3 minutes to go when a Aussie 18 flipped to windward of me and dragged me down. I knew the red nun of the starting line would be favored but couldn't get there in time and had to start in more turbulent waters near the starting boat.
The leaders were off before I could even get going...not that I was ever really going as I was trying to hold onto the 11.0 in 3-4' chop and 20k+ gusts coming through the Gate.
Never give up I thought to myself.
Its a long race.
Anything can happen.
Sure enough the 11.0 was more than a handful on the way down and I never really got the chance to put the pedal to the metal and light everything up.
Up in front there were some dramatic lead changes in the last 100m to the finish.
Crad had a great jump on the fleet, completely dialed on his North 9.8 and ML8 but sat parked- almost able to reach across the line but never cross it. The kiters too had their moments but just in front of the finish line they all dropped their kites when the TI bubble hit 0-5k. Sure enough, like every year, the Aussi 18's with a few hundred square feet of sail area came blazing across the parking lot of stood up windsurfers and swimming kiters to get the bullet as well as 2nd place before Frank Wittke of France, the 1st kiter finally got across for 3rd.
Almost 4 minutes later, Percy was able to cross the line in 9th place and 1st windsurfer in an unspectacular non planning finish.
I managed to finish but it wasn't pretty in 15th place- just ahead of the legendary Ragtime, a 45-year-old wooden Spencer 65 from Newport Beach, Calif.
Then again only 22 out of the 59 boards, kites and boats that entered actually got across the line in the 30 minute time limit after the first finisher.
Ill take the small victories where I can and hopefully be all the wiser for the next race.
And yes, the unveiling of the new L10 by Mike Z. Fresh out of the peel ply this morning with no paint and no grip.
Monday, August 31, 2009
The 11.0 has been getting some time on the water with the new north adjustable base.
My plan is to use it with the 12.3 in the light light stuff expected for the Worlds.
Im hoping it gives me a little advantage for putting more range in the sail- especially if Im stuck on the water and not able to return to shore between races.
The HPL carbon boom end has been re-inforced yet again!
This time I think its good to go!
Ive been running the 72-2 xxs kashy with the track back at 75% on the starboard 160 in the lightest of stuff. The fin is very responsive to pumping when trying to pump up onto a plane- more so than the 70 xs kashy but it tops out sooner- especially in the chop.
Ive also begun to sail more with the uphaul. It really makes a difference in the light stuff when you need to get the rig upright and full of power. Sailing with only 1 arm on the boom really stretches out the forearms. More bananas please!
Up later this week is the Bridge to Bridge race with the skiffs and the kites.
After lining up with Chip, Gomes and Gebi earlier this summer, its apparent the kites are going really deep with their course boards and kites loops. Its no contest anymore against the formula board DDW. As long as I dont end up shish-ka-bobed on the front end of 18's, its should all be good.
The skiffs have neen out all week racing on the city front.
Photo credit: Abner Kingman
Monday, August 24, 2009
When I got to the south tower, it was pure bliss.
Standing ebb waves with the pacific swell punching through every few sets.
I had the whole place to myself with one other kiter.
Just outside the gate near the red nun were 6-8' breaking waves.
Inside, the ebb trough at the south side of the tower was peeling perfect 4-6' standing waves.
Further down the line, the swell punched through giving me some great opportunities to ride the swell in just to the wind line at Ft. Point.
There was about a 200' zone of no wind before the waves peeled right again and several surfers were out for a rare august ride inside the golden gate.
I must have caught 100+ waves on Sunday evenings session- riding each 20-30 seconds before having to repeat the same thing over again.
After an hour of what seemed like endless gybing and bottom turns on the standing waves and swell between Ft Point and the south tower I headed back home through a mine field off ebb along the city front. There was no relief at all compared to the butter smooth seas I had just been riding.
It was all worth it though to be at the right place at the right time.
The best birthday gift I could ask for!
Some great SF water shots of SF surfing cane be found at Chuck Lantz's site.
Meanwhile, crissy field as been taken over by the 505's for their world championships. An excellent example of how to run an event with live tracking , twitter feeds , and videos.
Here's the report from the Day 1: Conditions were so tough, that if you made it around without swimming, you would almost guarantee yourself a top 10 result. Some of the spectator boats said they recorded 40kn gusts though I am not sure that is true. There is no doubt it was high 20’s with gusts into the 30’s. At times you would be sailing upwind with no main and only the back third of the jib working and you would have to dump even that as a gust hit. On the water it was carnage. Rounding the top mark, boats were laid down everywhere; it looked like the aftermath of a squall. There were boats drifting under jib, waiting for a tow, there were boats separated from their crew who were desperately trying to swim back to them, there were shredded sails everywhere, there were boats without rudders, there were boats with snapped 3mm dyform side stays, there were so many boats without masts, it was inconceivable.
Enjoy the video.
Oh yea, we did some racing on Friday at StFYC with another twilight series.
Eric put together a consistent showing for 1st while I blew out a footstrap in race 3 and salvaged 2nd for the evening in tight racing. I was a bit to conservative at the top mark each race, thinking the flood was stronger, over-standing and letting a few guys slip in. Off the breeze, I found myself going deep in the steep chop gaining what I had just given up.
All of the fleet was on their 10's but I later realized the advantage I lost by not switching up to a 11.0 for the last 2 races as it got lighter.
With the fleet so tight this year, any edge you can take advantage of, will be worth the effort.
Equipment is just one part of the game that makes formula windsurfing so exciting.
Monday, August 17, 2009
A few small things got me out of the zone and I wasnt able to get my head back in the game. After 3 races, I called it quits and sailed in, missing the last race.
On the contrary, last Friday nights Twilight series found me sailing on top and taking 1,1, 2,2 for the night.
Im not sure what I can attribute it to but finding the zone is a critical part of sailing well.
For me, that involves sailing the course 20-30 minutes before the first start and having the right rig for the conditions.
I wasnt able to do that for Saturday as I arrived late and was underpowered on a 10.0.
Alot of racing is won before you even get to the starting line.
Despite the obscure location, light and shifty winds, and lack of visible laylines I should have instead focused my efforts on racing the fleet.
At the end of the day, that's what you're there to do...not to let the little distractions overcome you!
Speaking of distractions....Patrik Pollok just posted this awesome video from the speed worlds in Greece last week. One of the best video projects Ive seen to date. A great way to market our sport.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Eventually, the race got replaced by more challenging Bay crossings like the SF Classic and Bay Challenge. Sadly the trophy got forgotten in a closet of the St. Francis YC until this year when it was resurrected and put in recirculation again as a junior trophy. It couldn't be a more perfect fitting as rounding Alcatraz for a junior windsurfing can still be a major undertaking.
I helped out in this years race by sailing alongside the juniors for support and to keep them from getting in too much trouble.
Like anyone who sails around Alcatraz for the first time realizes, the wind shadow is way bigger than you think. Its like being sucked into a vacuum and once your there its even harder to get out! At all cost, you have to take the leeward side wide and stay in the breeze!That's exactly what the2009 Junior girls national course and slalom champion and SF Bay local, 13 year old Marion Lepert did to stay out in front and win with a commanding lead over the rest of the fleet on the BIC 293's.
Kimball Livingston's report on the Quite Revolution that windsurfing is undertaking at the StFYC is just what the sport needs- an injection of youth! Kudos to all thos involved to make the 2009 Bic Techno North Americans happen last week as well as the planning of the 2011 Bic Techno Worlds at the club.
As if that wernt enough, this week, the club is running the Innuagural Kite Boarding Course Racing World Championships.
Check out the action on the clubs streamling live video between 2-6 daily,
live twits @ www.twitter.com/SFKiteWorlds,
and flicker stream
Thanks to windydevil and examiner and rockskipper for photos.
Check out windydevils preview of the event here
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
With 83 competitors registered, it was an event to be remembered as the Gorge delivered nuclear winds on the first day of slalom racing to 10-12k on the final day to test competitors ability in all conditions.
In what seemed like a huge junior contingent from around the country, the 22 strong junior fleet held a 2 day clinic before the event, tuning in the racing skills with the help of local Sailworks guru Bruce Peterson. The juniors were sailing the Bic Techno 293 board (with some of the older fleet already on the formula boards) which provided an excellent platform for racing. Im sure in a few years, we'll see their results of hard training and will be nipping on the heals of the formula fleet.
Equally impressive, was the huge turn out from the San Francisco fleet with almost 20 sailors making the trip up and pushing at the top of the fleet in both disciplines. Up and coming SF junior racer, Marion Lepert took both the slalom and course title for junior girls while David Wells, Eric Christanson, Jean Rathle, Chris Radkowski, Mike Percy, Al Mirel and myself, Steve Bodner all made the podium on Sunday!
Days 1 and 2 saw the fleet running 11 slalom heats in conditions that can only be described as challenging! On the opening Day, the Gorge went off with gust pushing into the 40's and sailors overpowered on their traditional slalom rigs and switching down to smaller wave gear just to survive! Bruce Peterson dominated the slalom racing with bullets in 9 out the 11 heats. Carbon Art maestro James Dinnis from New Zealand was in the heat most of the races sticking some sick laydown gybes at the marks making it look easy. The rest of the fleet struggled to get around the unique 'Gorge Box slalom course' and found their crash tacks to be the best solution getting around the top mark in the course.
On day 2 the fleets were broken up into gold and silver fleets with the top dogs fighting it out around the course. Of course, the event site proved an excellent venue to watch the races as well as well as hear all the comments from the peanut gallery. Everyone on shore can always gybe better than the guy on the water!
Doc Doolitle provided the commentary to give the event a positive vibe and onlookers a clue to what was going on - on the water.
On day 3, the winds lightened to a gusty15-20k and gave the fleet a chance to jump into course racing. Again, a unique course was set up to take advantage of the Columbia River's long and narrow site. 4 races were run for the 3 fleets with most sailors setting themselves up on port tack to start and get out to the favorable wind and current along the Washington shore.
Finally on the last day on competition, 2 more formula course races were run in 10-15k under the black flag as the fleet was anxious to gain any last opportunities. Eric Christanson slipped into 2nd behind Bruce Peterson while I held onto the 3rd place podium finish overall.
The competition at this event couldn't have been closer but local knowledge and experience always seems to pay off with Peterson cleaning up in both disciplines. Next year's nationals will be back in San Francisco and the bragging rights start all over again!
Monday, July 27, 2009
At that point, at the bottom of the course, the winds were less than plane-able and the fleet piled up. Race Director Darren Rogers made the right decision to abandon the race.
20 minutes later, he had the course set up a 1/2 mile upwind in the wind line and we were racing again. The fleet was well set up with the top 5 guys rounding in front. I was clawing my way through the fleet and pulled off an amazing last downwind leg going from 8th to 4th by splitting tacks after the windward mark and catching a nice puff and finessing my way through Percy, Eric and David just before the finish.
Again, kudos the race director for realizing the time crunch and running the next race back to back. One general recall pulled the fleet back after an anxious start and the last race was run under the blag flag.
The pressure was on. Bruce looked like he had things wrapped up and I was sitting 1.7 points in front of Eric for 2nd.
Again a port tack favored start to get out to the pressure on the Washington side and the favorable current. Al nailed the start and was out to a quick lead in front of Bruce. Eric went down hard on his first gybe so it looked like I had the opportunity to sail safe but on the 2nd upwind I managed to find some weeds and struggled to shake them. Eric was working his way up the middle of the course with pressure as I got caught on the sides. At the top mark, it was Al, Bruce, Eric, Chris and myself
One more move to make, if it worked I could catch Eric and Chris Prior in 3rd. I split tacks again but this time when I came across Chris and Eric were riding a nice puff down from the inside but it didnt look like they had the layline to the finish line. I overstood and came in with the pressure just behind Eric and Chris in 5th- just not enough to hold on to 2nd as Eric slipped in there.
That left me on the podium for 3rd overall behind Bruce and Eric- 2 well deserved places by great sailors!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
An unstable westerly made it's way through the gorge corridor to deliver a 12-15k breeze for 4 formula course races on Saturday.
I managed a strong start with 2- 2nds in the early day but struggled to find my stride as the afternoon progressed. A few costly mistakes took me out of the top spots and into the middle
pack of racers. Luckily with some smart sailing I'm still sitting in 2nd overall behind Bruce Peterson.
Race 1 started with me being caught on the course with my 10.0 in a dying breeze. By sailing smart I was able to hold onto 2nd but barely as the pressure was one from the fleet behind.
Race 2 was pretty much the same getting around effectively on the 10.0.
I called my downwind laylines well enough to pick off CRad and Wells on the last downwind
for another 2nd behind Bruce.
Race 3 saw things lighten up and I took the 11.0. I was looking very strong coming into the top mark and 2nd or 3rd behind Eric who nailed the start but things come to an abrupt halt with a port/starboard collision with Wells. I was on the port layline, not thinking I could cross Wells who had the right of way on statboard. I went to duck but so did he and fortunately we both bailed and the last minute and our boards went crashing into each other.
Realizing we were both ok, I went on to round and did my circles but couldn't recover enough to
place well. Thank god for the throw out!
Eric's lesson in the previous race didnt go unnoticed and in Race 4 I nailed the starboard start and got to the port layline just behind Prior and Bruce. Then on the 2nd upwind, I made a
series of costly mistakes that set me back to 7th. My upwind angle just wasn't there as I got stuck in some bad air and miscalled the top mark and had to double tack to make it around.
With some fast sailing downwind, I managed a 4th just behind Bruce, Prior and Eric.
That did it for the day as the winds lighted up and we were unable to race anymore races for the day.
Friday, July 24, 2009
By late morning, the breeze had filled into 20-30 and plenty of sunshine and 70 degree water temps. What more could you ask for!
The fleets were divided with the top half of yesterdays racing bumping up to the gold fleet.
With a bit of creative redress from yesterdays on the water fiascoes, I managed to sneak into the top half- but barely as yesterdays sad attempt at racing in 40k put me just shy of the top half of the fleet. Yesterday, Soheil and I got into a port/starboard collision while rounding the top tacking mark of the slalom course. There wasn't much either of us could do to avoid the collision but like any altercation on the course, if your in the right, it's always best to follow through with a protest and redress.
Once in the gold fleet things got progressively better with a 2nd off the bat in the first race behind Bruce and bullet in heat 4 where the top 2 were DSQ with the black flag.
Heats 8 and 9 saw me fighting in the group just behind the leaders. I had some great opportunities to pass on the short gybing legs and stayed well powered on my 105l F2 slalom board with 42 cm fin and 7.3 north warp
The final race was almost perfect.
Dennis from NZ and I peeled off from the fleet on the first leg in a solid 20-25k breeze. I held off Prior and Bruce with better speed around the course just up until the finish where I blew the last tack and they passed me.
Overall a great day of racing with a solid performance and improvements throughout the day. Now if I can just learn to close the deal!
For all the races, I was on my 105l F2 slalom board with 42 cm fin and 7.3 north warp. I made the most gains on the upwind leg where I eased off on the outhaul and used my leverage to crank on the fin. The other guys in the fleet seemed significatly off on this leg and I used everything I had to take advantage of that.
The course was very technical with 6 gybes and 2 tacks putting a favor on board handeling skills. Speed was essential off the line with the first leg a long drag strip towards the event site.
3 quick gybe marks with plenty of carnage made for some exciting mark rounding.
As Race Director, Darren Rogers started- it's a "mostly slalom course" but puts emphasis on the whole package. If you were weak in anything, this course found it and you had to deal with it somehow!
Saturday and Sundays racing will be Formula favored with lighter winds expected and no course racing yet in the Nationals.
Sent from my iPhone
outside at the starting line and significatly lighter at marks near shore.
I took 2nd in first race of gold fleet behind Bruce Peterson in a tight competitive fleet.
RC is adjusting the course now to put the gybe marks in the wind line!
Possibly formula racing in the afternoon.
Be sure to check to photo link in day 2 comments from Bryan.
More reports later.
Sent from my iPhone
Thursday, July 23, 2009
It was one of those epic days today that everyone will talk about for years to come. The Gorge went off as big as it gets! Possible the windiest day of the year and to top it off there were 70 competitors registered for slalom in 3 different heats
By the time the first slalom start rolled off at 12:30, the winds were 25-30 knots with huge gusts coming down the cooridor. By mid afternoon, the 3 fleets had run 3 heats each and the wind was still cranking in the mid 30s with gusts touching 43k!
the first of many knock downs around the course. I managed a few decent races but was still consistantly in the middle of the 24 strong mens fleet.
The gorge locals showed us how it was done with amazing technique and speed around the famous gorge box course. Most sailors were able to leave the beach at the 3 min gun and make the start in time. The 1st leg was a broad reach into 3 quick gybe marks set in front of the
event site and then around a leeward mark and back close hauled to the starting line where you had go tack across the line and then go for a second lap!
I never had too much control even with a 5.8 and 6.3 race sails. The locals switched down to 5.2 and 4.7s making it look easy. In those conditions, its all about being comfortable on your set up.
To top the day off Andre cooked us a beautiful meal at Jeans cousin place in White Salmon overlooking Hood River. An amazing view after an amazing day of racing!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Preparation was the key to Sunday's racing where the race was won before it even began...on the beach, in fact. With a first possible start at 11:30- a bit earlier than most sailors were used to, most of the fleet was haphazardly rushing to get on the starting line.
I made sure to arrive by 10:15 and had both the 11 and 10 rigged and ready to go.
At the last minute, I decided to take my 11.o as the holes where pretty sketchy on the inside of the course. The flood was ripping as well, adding another dimension to the already challenging conditions. As I sailed the course before the first start, it was obvious that the middle was the way to go as the puffs coming down the city front were less than frequent and certainly not dependable.
PHOTOS BY: SERGEI ZAVARIN
In race 1, I lined up on port tack with most of the fleet- getting off the line well to the middle of the Bay. We sailed for eternity- overstanding the layline by what seemed like a mile to over compensate for the flood and light air. Wells and I had a good lead with our 11.0s but Eric was sailing smart and staying in the puffs to keep the pace.
On the 2nd lap of the double windward leeward course, I was in the lead and had to call the layline again with both Eric and Wells putting the heat on from behind. I knew I had one chance as those guys would certainly sail beyond my line to be certain to make the mark.
It looked good but as things lighted up near the mark and the flood pushing my down, I had to tack back and was parked for the next minute watching Wells and Eric sail away.
The rest of the fleet floundered helplessly in the holes near shore armed with only their 10.0's.
I found having the extra power in the 11.0 was enough to get through most of the light stuff and by sailing smart, you could avoid most of the bigger holes.
Race 2 started much the same with the fleet getting off on port tack. I certainly didnt have the best angle upwind off the line but I was able to hold my own- going for speed in the flood tide. Ben looked like he was going to put together an impressive race footing off to the corner but got stuck in a hole and didnt get going again. Up front, it was Wells and I making sure we both overstood the top mark and stayed in the velocity. David got the jump on the last leg and was looking good heading on the finish but things lighted up on the bottom on the course and he had to gybe back for some pressure. Meanwhile I saw it happening and got to the pressure first and rode the puff down to the finish in first.
Sometimes, its all about being in the right place at the right time.
After a planned break on the beach around 1pm, it was still too light for the kiters to race so we headed back out after a 30 minute break. I knew the wind would be coming up. It's San Francisco after all but could I risk the 11.0 for 2 more races in the breeze. Sure enough like clockwork, just moments before I had to decide what to take on the water, the thermal kicked in and the Bay was full of white caps. I knew quite well, the 10.0 was going to be enough so I switched rigs, fueled up and went back out for more racing.
Race 3 kicked off with a squarer line and more of the fleet charging the line on starboard.
Again, I got a good jump and squeezed out hitting the sea wall first and getting a clear lane for the long beat to windward. I held my own but the fleet was charging hard and the top 5 arrived the top mark and got away clean. David and I were in the 2nd pack, back 10-15 seconds but caught an amazing puff driving us almost right down to the mark as the guys ahead got stuck in a light patch and all had to make an extra 2 gybes to get back on course. Eric was deep enough that he got away clean with only 1 gybe and rounded just in front of me at the leeward mark. Back upwind for the 2nd beat to windward, the chop and breeze were starting to come up but this time around the flood wasnt as strong. We kept the same order, with Eric taking the bullet and myself in 2nd while Sylvester snuck into 3rd for a strong showing.
By the time race 4 rolled along, the breeze was well into the mid 20's with some stronger gusts coming down the course. The chop had built from a smooth morning flood tide to a vicious combinations of swell, recreation boat traffic and voodoo chop.
I pulled out everything I had and put it all into the 4th race- nailing the start and leading at every mark to take the final bullet. Upwind, my legs were pumping like pistons, absorbing the chop while trying to keep the sail sheeted in hard with every gust. Downwind was like riding a bucking bronco- flying straight through the chop with my foot firmly planted in the chicken strap- even going as far as putting in in the backside of the leeward strap when things really got ugly. I watched in hidden delight as both Ben and Wells were stuck trying to manhandle their 11.0's in the big breeze. Crad finished strong right behind Eric and 2nd while Sylvester snuck into 4th- never finishing far behind the pack.
PHOTOS BY: SERGEI ZAVARIN
With the kiters anxious to get more racing in, John Craig send the formula fleet in while the kiters got 2 more course races in- in prep for their upcoming Worlds next month.
2 bullets and a 2nd and 3rd were consistent enough to take the afternoon win and the w-end overall title for the US Windsurfing NRT.
Overall-very happy with the progress in both light and strong winds.
Although I didnt think I had the best angle or speed in the fleet, but I made what I had work well and got around the course the fastest.
Next up is the US Nationals in the Gorge- starting next Wednesday with most of the SF fleet heading up.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Other times, you find yourself tripping over your own 2 feet.
That was the case for Saturday's long distance race- from a start set just off the St. Francis down to the Berkeley pier and back.
The fleet of 20 formula boards and 20 kiters had a 3 knot flood tide to pull them along on the down winder to Berkeley but fought the same opposing flood tide on the return trip.
As I headed out to check out the course 20 minutes before the start, I saw some decent puffs coming down the Bay but the inside was still unreliable- either hit or miss.
Photo credit: Shawn Davis
I decided it would be better to start on port and get out to some steady breeze in the middle of the Bay. That worked best and C-RAd, Mike Z and myself port tacked the rest of the fleet and made our way up the first beat. Mike Z put the pressure on immediately and squeezed me off forcing me to duck and go for speed. As we rounded the windward mark, it was Mike Z, CRad and myself off in the front of with a commanding lead. I was the first the break off and gybe as the middle of the Bay was looking lighter. I found a nice ribbon of breeze and some favorable current along the city front but was weaving my way in and out of commercial and recreational boat traffic and stuffed my nose and went down on the gybe back. A quick recovery and I found myself matched up with Mike Z for the lead again. Downwind Mike Z was able to push deeper but I had more speed. With every puff I was able to make some ground in the smooth flood tide as we blazed downwind towards the Berkeley Pier. Once we hit voodoo chop, I knew it was time to gybe but with my sail bagged out to the max from the smooth water we just came through, I knew I would have my hands full. I tucked the 10.0 in and made a good transition but the powerful sail just slipped right out form my hands as I popped it over to the new tack.
Wells took the opportunity to jump into 2nd as we made last deep reach to the bottom mark- set deep- just to the north of the gap in the Pier.
Back up wind, Mike Z and Wells had a good 30 second jump on me but both had different strategies for the next leg. Wells went for speed, not angle while Mike Z went for angle (but of course kept his speed!) I took the route in between them in what I though would yield the best VMG. As we made our way up towards the eastern tip of Angel Island, I made some real progress with great speed and caught Wells on the first tack. A few more tacks and we made our way up towards Point Blunt where the wind was really howling as it accelerated around and down the towering hills of Angel island. 25-30k with stood up chop directly on the bow of the board made for some survival sailing. I was keeping the pace, evening gaining on Mike Z with speed but I decided to split tacks from him and head back to what I thought might be some back eddies on the coast of Angel Island. Immediately after tacking, I realized I was too far up the coast for any flood relief and was forced to sail in the opposing tide as Mike Z made his way over towards Alcatraz in less tide, immediately putting some distance on me.
In hindsight, I should have stayed with him, knowing I had better speed but got greedy.
If there's one rule to remember in sailing, it's to always stay between your competitors and the next mark.
As I made my way back across the middle of the Bay on starboard tack, Mike Z had a good lead on me and covered for final beat. Meanwhile, out of nowhere, Ben Bamer pulled a horizon job banging the Angel Island corner and had a commanding lead to finish in 1 hour and 16 minutes. Mike Z was next just under a minute behind while I held onto 3rd with the rest of the fleet pushing hard and making up ground on the last leg.
Sunday's schedule is for more course racing on the city front.
Report and photos to follow.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Its been almost 4 days and no word- even after extensive on the water search and rescue missions by the Hood River sheriff and his friends canvassing the town with photos and signs. Please help by keeping an eye out for him if you're out there!!
Several SF sailors were in the Gorge this past week for a summer trip and wedding.
Paul was last seen with his friends on a stand up paddle board on Friday July 3 at roughly 12:30pm at the Hook in Hood River Oregon in calm, light wind waters. A windsurfer spotted the paddle board floating approximately 150 yards from Jensen Beach. A passing kayaker was able to help get the board (and paddle) to shore return to the rental shop. The police were contacted and a search began immediately.
Paul is 5'4" - 5'5", tan, fit, dark hair (slightly thinning hair...), and brown eyes. He was wearing a black nylon baseball hat, sunglasses with red croakies, no shirt, white board shorts with big blue flowers (old navy). The shorts had a faded orange whistle and keys in the pockets.
The Sheriff and his crew have been in search with boats, divers and a plane. Please help us by keeping an eye out for him if you're out there!!
If you see, or know something please call the county sheriff's office 24 hour number at 541-386-2711.
Paul's girlfriend Michell has started a blog to get out the latest info:
Tribute to Paul tonight at Crissy Field at 7:30PM. We will have a raising of sails in Paul's
honor since we'll be at his favorite spot hopefully having enjoyed his favorite sport earlier. So, if you're going to sail today, DON'T DERIG. If you're not going to sail come prepared to rig one of your sails and be ready to go by 7:30pm. At 7:30 we will gather on the sand at Crissy and simultaneously raise our sails in his honor and have our moment of silence and think good thoughts about him.
As the search for Paul continues, I think it would be very special if we can all get together tomorrow, Monday July 6th at 7:30pm to share in a moment of silence and to help focus our thoughts on getting Paul the help he needs. So many of you have reached out and asked what you can do to help and now we need you to act. Our intention is to bridge the cap between Hood River, San Francisco and any other place you may be on this earth.
San Francisco - Crissy Field
Bring a candle, a cigar, a guitar, a bong, a bottle of wine, beer, a picture of Paul or whatever you feel would be appropriate to help pray/channel your energy to get Paul back to us.
Meet at Crissy Field for a moment of silence at 7:30pm. Tell your friends and family to join you - we really need all the help and support we can get.
Hood River - The Hook
Bring a candle, a cigar, a guitar, a bong, a bottle of wine, beer, a picture of Paul or whatever you feel would be appropriate to help pray/channel your energy to get Paul back to us.
Meet at the Hook for a moment of silence at 7:30pm. Tell your friends and family to join you - we really need all the help and support we can get.
Sadly, earlier this morning (Tuesday July 7), the Sheriff's dept. recovered Paul's body from the Columbia river. He was found near the Event Site.