Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 4 US Windsurfing Nationals

I finally got things going my way on the 4th day of competition after struggling to find my groove earlier in the week. A few mistakes always put me back in the fleet around 10th place but Friday's 6th place in course racing was due to some good preparation. I got out the the water 30 minutes before the 1st start and sailed the course, tested the line and fingured out a strategy for the day.I knew I wanted a mid to pin end start and to get to the shore first to take advantage of the inside life.
With the wind still light, I choose my NP 10.7, and Z fin for maximum power.
Sure enough I popped off the line well with a good lane and speed squeezing off my competition to weather by holding onto the uphaul, standing the rig upright and getting better angle.
From there, it was just making sure I didnt make any big mistakes and stayed with the top pack. Paulo and Phil were well ahead but the rest of the pack of Wilhelm, Seth, Xavier, Aurlien and Fernando all showed the speed and consistency that's gotten them to the top of the score board.
I really wanted this one and worked so hard to get it, passing Xavier on the first downwind then having to line up behind Aurlien and Fernado at the leeward mark. There was no way I was getting my nose in to find a lane to windward so I just footed off and went for speed, gaining a few board lengthes the 2nd upwind. Finally as the 2 tacked inside me , I held out a few more board lengths to account for the building flood tide. I made it around while the other 2 had to double tack and then downwind concentrated on the next 2. Seth and Wilhelm were in a tight battle but it seemed I had better speed and was catching up. Wilhelm immediatly tacked after the leeward mark so I followed Seth up to the starboard tack layline at the finish and just as we approached the last 30 seconds of the race, Wilhelm came in to plant a good cover on me to get 5th. Migual managed a small comeback after sitting out the last few races die to injury and placed a very respectable 3rd.
With that I gained the points I lost in yesterdays long distance race and now its even closer between Al, CRad, Sylvester and myself. It looks like Saturday's last 2 races will determine the top 10.

Around 3 we switched to our 2nd day of slalom racing and got several more rounds off but not before the freestyles had their expression session. This years freestyle exhibition had bothan old school and new school division.

I honestly had no idea of half the moves they were attempting with names like poncho villas, willey skippesr air gratchos. I think everyone was stoked we included the new discipline this year as it increases participation + got loads of people interested on the beach.
Slalom racing was the most fun Ive had in a long time. A 2 minute heat brings as much adrenaline as racing a 20 min course race. Every mark, I was overlapped and rounded full lit.
Having the 130l board with the 7.0 allowed me to squeeze out of a few light spots and almost qualify for the finals but on the last gybe- having 2nd all but locked up, I let Jean and David slip by and beat me across the line for the final spots.

Thanks to Shawn Davis for the great photos.
Be sure to check out the rest of his photos here

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