Thursday, May 15, 2003

2003 Evestrom Regatta- SF

13 competitors in the formula fleet choose to give their Easter for 2 days of course racing on the San Francisco city front. I was a little worried as I only had a 9.8m2 rig to sail with while the majority of the fleet had 11.0m2 sails in the light to medium wind. Despite this I had a great regatta finishing first overall, and learning a lot of rules in the meantime!

Day 1: 3 races on SF city front with 4k flood tide entire day! Winds were 8-12k and built to 15k by the end of the day. First race I got off the line a bit slow but managed to work my way up the fleet by staying out of the current and tacking up the shore the entire beat. Downwind it was a race to get out to the middle where the tide was flooding strong. I rounded bottom mark in 3rd behind Chris Radkowski and Bill Wier only to be passed by Alan Prussia later up the beat when the wind fell to below 10k. Nonetheless I finished a close 4th. The 9.8 m2 rig just wasn’t big enough in the light stuff nor does the Formula board respond to pumping like the IMCO board.
Race 2: After a collision with Bill Wier on the starting line, I was able to get untangled and use the same strategy of staying out of the flood upwind to get ahead of the pack and maintain a decent lead. I managed to stay ahead the entire race and finish 1st. The biggest lesson here was to avoid collisions at all cost, no matter who’s at fault. After a debriefing with the R.C. after the race we came to the conclusion that a protest would have been disallowed,it was unclear who was at fault and that we both sailed into the wind shadow of the R.C boat and lost control of our steerage. The rules for windsurfer can be a bit different than that of traditional sailing and thus need some better interpretations.
Race3: Tight battle again between Bill Wier and I the whole race. Our speed was almost identical and I made 1 small mistake that he capitalized on and beat me by 10 seconds. Breeze was filling in from right side and flood diminishing. I sailed to right corner and rounded top mark in 1st with Bill hot on my trail. Downwind he called the layline perfect and gybed leaving me to gybe a few seconds later. Rounding the leeward mark 10 seconds back I immediately tacked to get back to the right side. I was hoping for some separation but he tacked to cover and never let up to the finish.
Day 2: 10-12k with 3k flood tide. Later in day the breeze built to 15 but still shifty. My pre race strategy was to the right side. Somewhere up the first beat of the first race I got stuck over to the left where the breeze was dying. Another interesting rules incident on the 1st beat with Alan Prussia and JK. I went to duck Alan as he tacked below JK on starboard but in the process clipped the clew of his sail-knocking him in the water. Did he tack too close or did I fail to keep clear of a leeward boat sailing his proper course? The definition of a sailboard tacking is not clear in the rules, again it applies to boats that luff! Regardless it was slow and collisions need to be avoided at all cost. 2nd upwind leg I was able to gain some of the ground I lost by sailing out to the breeze and finished 3rd behind JK and C-Rad.
Race5: Good start with C-Rad right above me. Sailing in SF city front brings on some interesting rules with the sea wall acting as obstruction and calling room to tack. Sailors on port tack actually have the right of way over starboard for a few moments after they tack to keep clear of the wall. Fortunately there was no contact and we sailed on. I was able to get out in the lead again and maintain the lead to the finish by staying in the breeze the entire race.
Race 6: Interesting situation developed after 2nd upwind mark. I was leading and turned to go back downwind to sail remainder of race but the rest of the fleet sailed to the upwind finish line. I was either dead wrong or the one person sailing the course right! I would have to wait to sail what I thought was the right course till I could find out. Luckily my instincts were right and I was the only person to get scored for the race.

Overall my speed and tactics felt good, it was just a few small mistakes that other people capitalized on where I lost out. Good reassurance in the beginning of the season. Great regatta and thanks to St Francis Yacht Club for invited formula fleet at last minute.

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