Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Putting it all together...

It all came together this past weekend with 2 days of slalom racing at the top of my game.
I managed to win 3 bullets in the Friday Night Series, win the night, tie the series and win the tiebreaker for 1st. Saturday's light wind slalom had more of the same as I was able to get 2 bullets, secure 2nd for the day and lock in 2nd place for the series. 

Part of any racing is being prepared- from picking the right equipment, to just getting to the starting line in time. Secondly- if you've got any advantage- you've got to use it. Another big part of racing is know your competition. I did an scoring analysis last week with different scenarios going into the last race and knew before hand where I had to finish in order to move up. 

Friday- big boards and sails were the call so I had my ML89cm wide board with a kashy 59cm fin and avanti m-2 10.0 membrane sail.  The set up is perfect as it allows a huge range in the lighter spots- staying up on a plane through the lulls and coming out of the gybes with a platform you can quickly pump up onto a plane. if needed. It's smaller than a normal formula board with better control but bigger than most slalom boards with more low end. I always have the ml 70cm board and avanti 7.7 ready to go when the wind comes up but alas. not today.

Al and I were on the biggest gear and had a huge advantage over the rest of the fleet who were trying to get around the course with medium sized slalom gear in marginal winds. The bigger gear may be a bit slower in the reaches once you've got some wind  but you've always got to have power coming out of the turns in a slalom races to get any advantage.  I finished with a 1,1,1,2,2 to take the night, tie the series and win the tiebreaker while Xavier did his mandatory RC for the series.
(Huge thanks to Yves Rathle for the artistic trophies)

Saturdays sketchy conditions continued with a variable 12-18k and mid afternoon flood tide. That may sound enough for a 100 l board and 7.7 but the course was set near shore with patchy holes,   
The 10.0 and 89cm board were still the right call as Al, CRAD and myself, all on big gear, walked away from most of the fleet. Xavier quickly realized this after not even having made the 1st start in the flood tide on medium slalom gear and made the switch to bigger gear and finally his formula board.  I was doing what I need to do and that was put a few positions between myself and Jason in order to move up in the overall series but CRAD and Al were sailing very well- keeping themselves in front of a me a few races as I got hosed off the starting line in the 20 board fleet in the  middle races of the day. 

After almost 2 hours- we only had 5 races in for the A fleet and 3 for the B fleet. I knew things were close between Al Crad and I so I had to take the next bullet to order to secure things. I nailed the start and led around the course with Xavier trailing and Jason back in 4th. Going into the last race, I  had another perfect start at the pin in the light conditions jumping out in front and leading at the 1st mark and getting a great jump at the rounding  but it was so off course that the I didn't even see the 2nd mark. I let 4 boards slip in there but knew a 5th would be my throw out for the day and it didn't really matter. 

The results were super tight from 2nd-4th with Al with 17 points, CRAD with 16 and myself with 15. I just made it as Jason was back in 5th so I had him on points for the overall- moving up into 2nd place behind Xavier for the series.  Xavier sailed a perfect series carrying a 1,1,1 as his season series scores and was awarded the M9 Memorial trophy with Bill Weirs kids presenting in to him.

A fleet podium: 1st Xavier. 2nd Steve & 3rd Jason

B fleet winners: David, Matt and John

Overall- a huge success for slalom this year with almost as many B fleet racers as the A fleet.  Now, it's just getting people to show up.  I'm still not convinced setting any equipment restrictions on the fleet will encourage new sailors. There's some complaints about how using a formula board in a slalom race isnt fair and we should all use the IFCA class rules with 85 cm wide limit on board width and registered production boards.

We saw how quickly limiting equipment worked for the kite course boards. In a matter of 2 seasons- they have become almost extinct with the foil boards and foil kites leading the charge with development and constant evolution in a separate new class.
Adapt or get left behind!

This year we had no rules on equipment. Race with what you've got. I've always felt that's the best way. Who wants to be on the wrong gear- slogging around the course when you could be planing? Windsurfing and sport in general, like life is never going to be fair.  People will have different amounts of experience and money to spend. Most often, someone will always have better gear than you and more time on the water. Equipment is only part of the equation but a tactical one that should be part of the game. Sometimes you get burned with too big of gear but sometimes, just sometimes, it works even at Crissy Field.

A huge thanks to my sponsors for helping make the season a success- Avanti Sails, and Patagonia!
Also a huge thanks to all the volunteers and sponsors of the 2 race series: St.FYC, Bluerush Boardsports, 101 Surf Sports, Boardsports California, F4 Foils, West Coast Magnetics, StepStone, Adam Darriau Building & Design, Sandy Point, Aerotech, Ultra NEcta, Soheil Zahedi IT, Streetsailing, North Sails Windsurfing, Fanatic Windsurfing, Ronstan, sb design. La Ventana Windsports, Sailing Anarchy, iwindsurf, Alamo SeaFood Grill, Sports Basement and the Crissy Field Yacht Club.


James Douglass said...

Way to go Steve! That 10.0 & 89 cm board sounds like a killer combo. What kind of fin do you use with that setup in slalom racing?

Steve Bodner said...

Thanks James.
I use a 59cm kashy fin as my light air slalom set up with the 89cm wide board and 10 avanti sail. The same set up works very well as a high wind setup for upwind/downwind racing just by changing a few things. The mast track moves forward and the boom up for course racing.

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