Sunday, May 10, 2009

more spring training on the SFcity front

From the a week and a half of fog to regular thermals again...that's more like it!
The weather system finally switched around so that we are getting a regular sea breeze again with 15-25k in the middle of the bay but the inside has been sketchy and shutting down early.
That was the case for last Friday night's twilight series @ the StFYC.Just 4 races could be run as the fleet struggled to get around Anita rock in the building flood and dying breeze of the last race.
It was a tough call on what to rig as Eric and I rigged our 10 and 11's near the sea wall while the breeze was still pumping but signs of big holes were everywhere on the inside of the course. I ultimately choose the 11 with most of the fleet following suit.
Race 1 got off with the fleet heading heading upwind from mid line with Al and I getting a good jump at the start. I rounded Anita in first and led on the downwind only to have Al follow and immediately tack after the leeward mark to get out of the flood and into better breeze. I tacked as soon as I saw it but it was too late. Al got the bullet with myself and C-Rad following in 2nd and 3rd. Eric was buried in the fleet behind Wells and Jean- powered on the new Aerotech sails.

Race 2 started with a similar scenario as the puffs were more infrequent on the inside but as they say, timing is everything. Eric got a great lift to climb on the fleet as most of the guys started mid-line to get out to the breeze. Eric even tacked early and made the Anita while the rest of us overstood to come in with speed. The puffs were a handful with the 11.0 but we needed the exta power downwind as it lighted up.
Taking advantage of the lessons from the first race, Eric quickly tacked over after rounding the leeward mark to get the outside advantage and grab the bullet in race 2. Nothing to do but follow and cover the fleet for another 2nd.

Race 3 started in similar conditions but again Eric timed the inside puff to his advantage while the rest of us searched for better breeze down the line. As it lighted up, I was amazed to feel that my 2005 11.0 still had the power and speed to get around the course. As tempting as new sails are every year, I still think there's some advantage to knowing your gear season after season. The 2005 north sails were a great vintage as both Micah, Jimmi and Seth were involved with the development. The 11.0 had lots of low end grunt and still works great- almost 4 years later!
The starboard 160 was going well in the light stuff as well with the track back a bit further around 3/4 of the way back in the track and booms at eye level.
But not quite enouugh to get out in front as Eric managed another bullet in front of myself, Al and Chris and Jean rouunding out the top 5.
As Race 4 started, it was evident, the inside was really lightening up, so I made the call to get a good start at the pin end with speed.
30 seconds to go and I was ducking below the fleet in the middle of the line to get down to clear air.
15 seconds to go- almost clear of the last board parked on the line.
10 seconds- speed up, hooked in, feet in straps.
5 seconds- building speed down the line- approaching the pin and fast.
Gun- head up for angle and speed while trying to gas the guys behind me struggling to get going in the light stuff.
Youve got begin you run much earlier than expected in the light stuff as it takes longer to get going.
As it turned out Eric was right there with me to windward as we both got a good jump on the fleet behind. It was really light up top and the decision to tack was not one I was looking forward to making as it looked like we would be stuck in the light stuff. Eric tacked first and I continued for another 20 seconds. It was obvious Eric was not making it but soon enough I realized as well that I would fall short so I tacked again to the outside to get more breeze. Again I came across with some speed after tacking and it looked like I would make it but not quite as another light patch hit the fleet. I tacked AGAIN but quickly tacked back as I saw a small puff coming downwind. I immediatly got up on a plane and rounded Anita and was off downwind as the fleet sat parked at the top mark. That was it as I got around the rest of the course to take the final bullet and the day's racing.
With the breeze back in action and the rest of my gear finally delivered form Europe, I managed to get my slalom kit back in order for several days of training on the city front. The 7.3 is an awesome combination with the medium 105l F2 board and does almost anything in the light to medium breeze. I'm not sure you can go wrong with this combination for all around great slalom sailing! With a 42cm fin it drives upwind nicely in as little as 14k.
36cm fin sends it downwind like a bullet in anything windier.
In the lighter stuff, Ive been running the large 120l slalom F2 board with my 9.0 with the efficiency of an 11.0 and formula board. True it doesnt go upwind as well as a formula board but pumps up and drives thru the lulls easily. While the rest of the Crissy crew swims their small gear in from the outside, Ive had some great ligh twind sessions on the edge of the wind line over the past few days with this combo- even getting up to the bridge on Sunday evening and storming downwind in the flood tide. In San Francisco, its not a matter of if you can sail but when and how small to rig!
Ive scored 7 out of the last 7 days with awesome sessions.
I get more days on my 95l mikes lab slalom board and north warp 6.3 than any other combo.
Having a narrower tail board drives thru the voodoo chop better and can carve a tighter gybe in OP'ed conditions. Moving the booms to below medium on the boom cutout and adding another 1cm of down haul makes the 6.3 able to handle puffs into the 30's
As usual, Shawn Davis was there to capture some great shots this past week.
Be sure to check out his latest photo blog posting @
as well as his 2009 windsurfign gallery @

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