Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday night fog

The fog was as thick as mud.
The tide- like a bed sheet pulled tight with its corners tucked- was running flat and sticky.
There was no escape.

I tacked on what I thought was normally the layline- but then again- I had no idea.
There was no reference of land. No sun. Only a white abyss and my starting watch telling me Id been sailing upwind on port tack for just over 2 minutes.
It took me 4 more tacks to get around that windward mark on what normally takes one.

Its a surreal experience, windsurfing in the fog on the San Francisco Bay.
At times, you cant see a single thing.
Just the fog and the sound of your board slapping against the water.

The long drawn out drawl of the fog horns on the golden gate bridge are the only reference to where you are and where you're going.
The south tower has its own pitch- loud and deep.
Almost enough to knock you off your board if your close and not expecting it.
The mid span has another pitch- higher and closer in frequency.
The north tower fog horn has its own horn- set at different timing than the other 2.

I made the last minute decision to run the NP10.7 vs the 9.5 it was really starting to lighten up before the first start.  I'm glad I did as that made all the difference in getting around the course quickly and efficiently.
In all but 1 race, I lead around the course- getting in and out of the marks without much hassle as others had to double tack and piled on top of each other at the roundings.
A lot of light wind racing is won before the start of the race.
Getting yourself into the right position in the per-start is essential to getting a good start.
With the flood running hard, you had to position yourself to windward of the starting line with 1 minute to go and drift down so that you had speed and angle in the opposite direction at the gun. Easier said that done.
The one time in race 3  I didn't do that I got stuffed on the start and was ducking sterns to get clear air.
Al got the inside puff and climbed while Tom, Marion and Soheil all got the jump in front of me.
Soheil had tacked immediately after the leeward mark and was going for the bigger breeze outside
Just a few seconds later, Tom and Marion went down in a close rounding as I zipped by going to the inside.
As I tacked back I had Soheil and tacked just in front of him on the layline.
What I ddint account for was the flood pushing me down in my tack when my vmg wasn't high.
That was just enough for him to get me as I had to sail a longer distance to get across the finish line while Soheil shot the line at the pin end to grab 2nd. 
With the wind dying at Anita mark, the RC changed things up a bit and ran a course with the windward mark at the H beam.
It really didnt matter as you still had to sail to Anita to get to the layline.

After the wind died even more at the top of the course, the RC decided to really invert things.
A downwind start to X- back to A and B. Down to X and back upwind to finish.

The juniors were holding up well with Marion and Jack getting some consistent finishes amongst the fleet.
Marion was even leading one race as she got up onto a plane sooner than me and reached right underneath me on the reach to B.
Luckily for me a puff filled back in on the run to the leeward mark and I was able to regain the lead and stay in front to the finish.

On the last race of the evening, the fog came in thick.
Im not sure you could even see the windward mark until you stumbled upon it.
We all tacked at the same time hoping we were in the vicinity.
I held onto the lead rounding the leeward mark but wasnt sure that if I finished at the pin end, the RC would be able to see me.
I reached down the line out of the fog just in front of Al who had sailed up the shore and was coming on strong.
Then again- close only count sin horse shoes and hand grenades.