Monday, April 27, 2009

Running on fumes in 25k+

The title pretty much says it all. For the past week Ive been TKO with what seems like bird flu or swine flu with energy levels @ 50%. Cough, Cough, Hack Hack.
But that shouldn't stop any reasonable attempts at racing, should it?
In hindsight, I probably should have stayed off the water for a few more days but damn was it windy since Andreas arrived earlier last week for some training and racing.
For the first time I can ever recall, Friday night racing was canceled @ the StFYC because of too much wind and chop. True it was gusting into the mid 30's and the chop was nastier than Ive seen it all year but we are men of steel. This is San Francisco. This is the stuff that puts hair on your chest, turns boys into men. Actually I had chickened out well in advance as my 9.0 still hasnt arrived yet and I was going to do RC for the evening but there was still some slalom sailing do be done with the boys.
I rigged up my 6.3 and 95l ML slalom board. Booms low for control. Sail flat.
I managed a hour session before being completely wound.
One thing I did take for the session is the confidence need for gybing in extreme conditions. You've got to commit 100%. There's no other way around it.
Look for a reasonable place to gybe and really carve the board hard while laying the sail down. It helps to oversheet or else you will have too much power going through the gybe.

Shawn Davis was on hand with his camera and keen eye to capture some of the action. You can find more of his shots @ his online gallery

Saturday's forecast looks equally impressive for the first running on the CalCup series.
Against my better judgment, I headed across the Bay Bridge to Berkeley.
For those of you unfamiliar, the CalCup is a local race series that is run once a month in the SF Bay area. The location is determined the day before depending on the best conditions.
Local rules guru Bryan McDonald gave a rules clinic before the race which seemed to opened a few peoples eyes that we actually had rules! This aint no PWA slalom where intimidation rules the mark rounding! We are now racing under the 2009-2012 ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing. Specifically, windsurfers have a special section with some exceptions and special circumstances (appendix B) in addition to all the regular rules.
Nonetheless Eric (44) and Mike Z (ML)still seemed to get entangled with each other in the last race at the start and were both arguing their prospective stories ashore after we came in.
Here's the scenario:
ML to windward and ahead of 44- both on starboard heading to the starting line with 20 seconds to go. 44 accelerates onto a plane and begins to pass ML to leeward. Realizing this, ML pumps onto a plane. 44 heads up and collides with the ML booms and takes him down.
Relevant rules: 11, 14, 15, and 16.1

Rule 11: On the same tack, overlapped: When boats are on the same tack and overlapped, a windward boat shall keep clear of a leeward boat.

Rule 14: Avoiding Contact: A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible.

Rule 15: Aquiring Right of Way: When a boat acquires right of way, she shall initially give the other boat room to keep clear.

Rule 16.1: Changing Course: When a right of way boat changes course, she shall give the other boat room to keep clear

So how would you decide?
My advice: know the rules well but dont get yourself into a situation where you could go down. Thats always going to cost you.

As for me, the days racing was an attempt in how low I could run my batteries and still survive. Have you ever sneezed more than 4x in a row while running deep through voodoo chop?
Not a pretty sight!
In general, it seemed the right side of the course was favored but limited due to the Pier. Alot of guys were starting on port tack and getting the lift off the pier and tacking over. Mike Z, Eric and Sylvester were pushing the front in most of the races while I had some moments but couldnt put toether a decent series. C-Rad and Al were also showing some great potential dialing in their new F4 fins in the breeze near the front of the fleet towards the end of the day.
Still waiting for my fin quiver to arrive from Europe, I was on a borrowed fin and found some interesting results with a loaner from Sylvester. The IFJU 70 MW XSC had great control but not quite as much lift as the kashys as I was used to in driving the board upwind. I suffered a bit with upwind angle @ the start in the crowd- especially in the chop but found once I had a lane and as the conditions got flatter, the fin worked well.
David Wells managed to snap some decent photos from the shore after finding an USO (unidentified submerged object) and banging his board and fin up. Thanks for taking one for the team.

We ran 4 races of double windward leeward courses and by the end I could barely make it in.
I guess in hindsight it would have been better to stay in bed for another day but the 20k rule usually trumps everything- sickness or in health.


Eric Christianson said...

Kudos on the Blog but Correction on Collision at CalCup 1


I think us racers have our hats off to you for putting together your blog on the racing scene. The perspectives give more insight into racing, beyond just looking at results. I certainly appreciate the many postings, especially from events when I wasn't there to see for myself. Even at events I attended, it's interesting to see your perspectives. Thanks.

However, I beg to differ on your statement of the scenario surrounding my and Zajicek's collison at the CalCup Saturday. I think the description above has two key things mixed up, and I'm sure Zajicek would concur.

First, in the setup 44 was AHEAD of ML, not behind. Yes, both on starboard, generally heading toward the line with something like 20 seconds to go, but ML was BEHIND 44 and to windward.

Second, at no point was 44 passing ML. 44 started ahead, and it was ML with the greater boardspeed who was approaching 44 from behind and to windward.

Certainly 44 was heading up. ML's boom and 44's back come in contact. ML and his rig catapult
across 44's board.

Anyway, without going into further detail or discussion, that's the basic scenario, and I think Zajicek would agree.

Eric Christianson, 44

bry said...

Steve, great post! Eric, I was ahead of you guys in that start (rare :-) so I did not have a front row view. Emmett got some killer shots of the incident and I'll post soon. I think they agree with what you said (ie you were ahead). So that takes out the aquiring right of way rule as you already had row.

I think the key interaction is rule 11 vs 16. In normal talk, did you as the row board give ml room to keep clear when you luffed (and the pictures show a pretty aggressive luff)? Additionally, did ml do everything he could to keep clear as the windward board? If ml did not, then he broke the windward leeward rule. If you luffed too fast, then you broke the changing course rule. It's hard to tell from the pictures how quickly mike responded but it's clear to me that the luff was pretty aggressive (there is a nice shot of your head in his sail :-).

Please keep in mind that the moment you, as the row board, need to take avoiding action to avoid ml, this is the same moment ml fails to keep clear under rule 11 (and the point I'm trying to make here is that this can be well before contact or a collision). In this scenario, the same question remains: did you give ml room to keep clear when you changed course.

bry said...

High resolution pictures by Emmett McDonald of the collision (as well as some awesome shots of the racing) are located here:

USA 4 Steve Bodner said...

Thanks Eric for setting the record straight. It all happens so fast, sometimes when your not involved things look differently.

@ Bry: thanks for the rules interpretation & photos!

Conclusion: Avoid contact at all cost. If you think you're wrong, spin a circle and move on. If you think you're right and the other boat does as well, settle your differences in the room (assuming you know the rules.)

bry said...

Photo's and words of the CalCup located here:

HD movie of the CalCup:

If you can't do HD, here are the youtube's:

thanks, bry