Despite the persistent marine layer and winter like temps in SF, the 2010 US Windsurfing Championship are getting some quality racing in after 2 solid days on the water.
7 races have been run testing sailors' abilities, tactics, stamina and most importantly- warmth retention.
The 5/3 winter wetsuits came out on day 2 as most sailors found staying warm all day long between was priority number 1. There must be enough warm blood in Paulo Des Rios Brazilian body because he hasn't let up taking a 1, 2, 2 and staying on top of the scoreboard. He did prove to have some human characteristics after all- switching down to the 10m rig for the last race after dominating on his 12m thus far.
Phil McGain is sailing as consistent as ever- even with a 6 year old starboard 159 and proving experience counts in this game!
The rest of the professional fleet are sailing in a league of their own but the SF locals are mixing it up every so often. Seth Besse is finding his groove and is now with in striking distance of Aurien le Matayer in 4th place.
Fernando Martinez of Spain and Xavier Ferlet of England are also sailing a great series- never out of the top 7 in a very competitive fleet.
Just behind the top pack, the rest of the SF fleet is battling it out amongst themselves with Al Mirel, Chris Radkowski, Steve Sylvester and myself all within 3 points of each other.
I've found myself sailing very fast this series but just havnt been able to keep it together to the finish where it counts.
The first race of the day, I got off the line well and was in the top 6 going downwind, trading gybes with Besse downwind and keeping the pressure on until disaster as i stuck my nose into the chop and had a total yard sale downwind. Taking some advise from my sometimes training partner, Seth, I got mad and sailed faster! One by one I picked off the boards in front of me and finally grinded off Crad on the last upwind leg to finish 9th.
Sometimes it's all about the recovery.
Race 6 saw me overstanding the top mark and letting Crad and Al get me at the finish.
Finally I said, enough mistakes and decided to go for it all in race 7- getting off the line super well by taking advantage of the mid line sag of the approaching starboard takers and finding a clear lane on FRA-105 leeward hip and making our way to the right side.
Downwind I practically sailed with my head looking backwards for the puffs coming down the city front. In great shape, I rode a personal puff right into last chance beach- east of the StFYC only to be stuck there for a good 30 seconds in a completely dead zone as the next 6 guys went blazing past with the puff on the outside. That's the price you pay for sailing to the corners! I wasnt able to recover from that one despite my best efforts and finished 11th.
On a more positive note, I did manage to win my protest and get some redress points- only to have Sylvester move in front of me as my throw outs are as consistent as the rest of my scores. With that in mind, it looks like the new strategy is to take some more high risk moves in order to gain as Ive the room in my scores for at least another throwout if things dont go well.
Looking at the forecast thurday morning, I wonder if its possible to have too much fog in San Francisco as we're stuck with the marine layer overhead again for Day 3.