This weekend we celebrated the summer solstice with the longest day of the year and 15 hours of sunshine both Saturday and Sunday.
The winds couldn't have been better, well sort of, depending on where you were.
There's an old saying that if you want the wind to be light- schedule a race- specifically a slalom race!
We had the perfect location in the middle of the SF Bay with a huge group of other sailors- celebrating the solstice at Treasure Island.
The first Cal Cup Invitational reach race was set for Saturday afternoon but alas with 15 sailors fulled rigged for slalom and potentially formula, the wind failed to come down the Bay and fill in by 3:30 and the race was called. Sure enough just as I de-rigged 3 sails, the wind started filling in.
I decided to bail and hit up the city front where Crissy Field was going off in 20-30k and huge swell at the South Tower. I managed one of the best session of the year, lit on my mikes lab slalom board and north warp 6.3. The stacked up 4'-6' swell was pumping set after set just inside the Gate with the wind line extending all the way into Ft. Point Bay allowing you to ride the sets way deeper and longer than normal. I spend a solid 30 minutes gybing back and forth between the South Tower of the Golden Gate bridge and Ft. Point while the tide pumped a river of flood like a moving moving sidewalk. By 6:30 the gust were into the 30's and I couldn't keep the momentum of gybing every 30-40 seconds - despite some of the best swell of the year.
On Sunday- despite being lighter, it was still a solid day. I squeezed out a late session on my big slalom gear lining up with a few locals tuning up for the US Nationals next month in the Gorge. By 8 pm when I left the beach, the sun was still above the span of the GG Bridge with another hour of day light left!
Ive been making sure everything is in good and tuned order this season with 5 rigs to manage between formula and slalom.
New harness lines,
Reinforced boom heads,
Double Chicken strap on the formula board,
Marked settings on bases and booms.
Lately, Ive been sailing the slalom gear with a waist harness and feeling pretty fast.
Its a different feeling than using a seat harness where you can essentially sit down and swing from the harness lines. The waist harness pulls from your core and you use your whole body against the force of the sail. That usually means shorter harness lines.
On the bigger sails, especially this years north warps, Ive been running the harness lines much further back on the boom as a result of the flatter more slalom like feel to the formula sails. You need to tune the 09 warps very full and powerful to get the most out of them. That means alot of tack strap pressure to put shape into the bottom of the sail. Also the sail requires almost no outhaul at all- with the sail touching the outhaul cleat on the boom and even the harness lines upwind. Any tighter and you start to loose angle upwind.
Also Ive been experimenting with wider booms the last 2 seasons.
The idea is the boom isnt draping as much over the boom downwind- especially in lighter conditions when you really bag the sail out. This also helps keep a clean twist all the way up the sail.
So far the modified HPL back end works best with several additional layers of carbon reinforcement this season. The Maui Sails boom works great as well but has a lot of swing weight and is still very wide and the furtherst point out.
This week-end will be a marathon of racing with the Friday Night Series at StFYC and the SF Classic on Saturday and more formula course racing on Sunday.
Break out the endurox recovery drink!