The last day of a 5 day world championship is always the hardest. You need to dig the deepest to find the energy, will and determination to keep it going, knowing that in just a few hours it's all going to be over. In most cases your fate has already been established, you're throw-outs taken and it's just a matter of not dropping any deeper in the fleet. For the sailors at the top with lower scores, there’s an opportunity to gain or lose significantly.
Going into the last day, both the men’s and women leaders only needed another bullet to secure their place on the podium. Antoine Albeau got it done with 3 races to space as he was 15 points ahead of his nearest competitor. Local San Francisco prodigy Marion Lepard, however kept the excitement going letting the number 2 girl, FRA 59 get the first 2 races then finally took the 3rd race of the day and securing her spot as the youngest girl to win the formula windsurfing world championship.
Up at top of the men’s fleet Arnon Dagon from Israel showed that he had what it took taking the last few bullets of the regatta and securing his spot in 2nd place.
Gabriel Brown, another young 19 year old from Brazil sailed an impressive last 2 days and managed to take the final place on the podium.
I'm consistently reminded of a Gary Bodie article in sailing worlds several years back about 'avoiding the big bummers.' This regatta that really struck home as I saw the guys at the top of the fleet sail consistently while the rest of the middle and back of the fleet sailors had scores all over the place.
With the approaching storm, I though it would be best to take the 9.5 in the 3rd race but it turned out it wasn't enough middle of the fleet sailed right over me on the down winds. On top of that my boom slipped right out of hands on the first gybe.
One more race to give it my all. I got off the line well on starboard tack. Steve Allen and Michael Polanoski just to my leeward certainly didn't help. I guess in this case I was the marshmallow. So be it, I charged on, holding on for the short upwind and rounding the top mark in the top 20. Downwind, I held on well going strong on my 10.7. I rounded the leeward mark on the outside of the pinwheel and tacked off early despite knowing the shore was favored. Sometimes clear air is king, so I charged the the left side of the course. The reef comes in a little closer on the low end of the course but this was the last race so I was committed and still doing relatively well. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The breaking wave over the reef had reached maximum height just as I was about to cross over it. A 6' wall of vertical water smacked me so hard I think it popped my eardrums. Somehow as I went through the face of the wave I came out if it haging on in a water start position but pretty shaken. I took me about a minute to recover as I has to really give it my all to waterstart the 10.7 as the tip submerged. Not much I could do at that point but hang on as I already reached the lay line and it was just a short reach thefinish.
Overalll, a rewarding experience to sail at another world championship. Each time I try to do just a little better than the last and despite not making my goal of the top 25, it's all good. 28th is the best I've so far and still happy to be racing windsurfers for over 20 years.
Final results, photos and live ticker from event at www.formulawimdsurfong.org