Sunday, December 2, 2007

Worlds Day 5

Day 5 of the Formula Windsurfing World Championship brought another exciting day of racing and yet another course. On Sunday, the final day of the competition, sailors were tested with a triple windward leeward course finishing with a 3 leg slalom course just in front of the MarinaPak hotel.
Racing in 20knots + for the final day was a big endurance test for most sailors as, blistered hands, cut feet, tattered, limbs and even bruised egos slowed racers during the last 2 races of the series. I had my best result today finishing 26th in the first race!
With a strong breeze and chop, I finally found the groove with the mikes lab board, 9.9 north warp and 68 cm kashy fin.
I got off the line well on start 1 in the middle of the line on starboard, grinding off a few guys above me as we worked our way to the left side of the course. I was in the thick of it downwind with boards everywhere- to the left, the right, upwind, downwind. All I could do was keep the pace and sail strong. When I gybed, there were at least 5 other boards at the end of the pinwheel gybing with me. Rounding the leeward mark in the pack was bit hairy as you really had to fight for a lane at the leeward mark to keep your air during the next upwind towards the shore. It was really the only option that worked well given the geographical shift off the land. On the next upwind I made the mistake of overstading the top mark and gave up a few boards below me coming in on starboard.
Downwind it was a grind to get them back, in and out of the chicken strap but I found myself placed well at the bottom mark and had clear air to drive to the right side. I tacked early this time and even got a few of the guys who overstood.
There's nothing quite like making a mistake one leg, the learning from it and capitalizing on the next leg. For me, this is what racing is all about...learning and improving. Having fun doesn't hurt either. The grin on my face was ear to ear racing in 20k+ with the spray in my face, sun on my back, and wind in my sail.
I rounded the top mark in a tight pack and came out on top at the finish of the last 3 reaching legs.
Race 2 was much of the same but I was really running on a limited energy and didnt push myself 100% I gave up a few small battles at the end of the day but sailed smart and finished in the middle of the fleet.

Overall a good show, finishing 42nd in the fleet- just outside my goal of the top 30 but improving throughout the series. I did , however, end up placing 10th overall in the lightweight division. Although we all race together, and get scored together, at the end of the day, they break down the scores to separate the lightweights from the heavyweights.
I learned a lot of valuable lessons sailing this world championships and hopefully can take them forward to next years season. It was a real pleasure to sail in such a talented fleet of racer and my hats off to the race organizer who did a great job at organizing the event despite the shortcomings. I met a lot of new faces and got to know some old ones even better. The Brazilian hospitality was defiantly not unnoticed. Thanks guys for making it a great trip and regatta!

I m already looking forward to next years Worlds in Portugal!
Overall results
Event webpage and ticker

With a little over 6 weeks off, Ill be doing some much needed relaxation and catching up with work again before heading back to Miami in January for the Alex Cavilliga regatta.

Photo Credit: Bogo
Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Worlds Day 4

Day 4 of the Formula World Championship brought 3 more races in a shifty 14-17 knot breeze.
The course was set just off shore with a side shore breeze and the right side land shift took most of the fleet off port to the first shift. The big difference today was the "media gate" in the center of the course which required sailors to go through on 3 out of the 5 windward leeward legs. This really brought the fleet back together and changed the tactics in todays races. The finish line, a bit anti-climatically was set in the lee of the harbor just off the hotel in a giant wind shadow and 30 degree shift. If you were lucky you could pinch off the last leeward mark and just make the finish line. If not you sailed to the shore on a big knock and tacked a few times in non planning conditions just to make the line. Certainly not the best course for the World Championship but as always in racing you've got to deal with what you're dealt.
In the front of the fleet, Antoine was challenged by Gonzo and Steve Alllen and Brazilian Paulo Dos Reis but took 2 out of 3 finishes. In the final race, POL 10 and POL 11 were 1-2 with Antoine taking 3rd. Overall that gives Antoine the championship- not having to sail tomorrow's last 2 races. A real show of talent!
The Brazilian fleet has also showed some real depth with 7 sailors in the top 20! At least a half a dozen other sailors either stopped midway through as the last week of racing and training in the sun has taken its toll. My hands are ready to fall off already- with just 2 more races to go! : FW Worlds 2008 - day four from on Vimeo.

Most of todays racing was about good starts, quick transitions and some good technique on port tack. I had my biggest gains at the leeward mark when I got my nose up and stayed above the fleet below- pumping to the finish! I came out on the low end on the last race- loosing a few boards just sitting in below the finish line while boards came planning across from the left side!
That's racing!
Below are some good shots of different upwind technique:
It's amazing all the different possibilities that work with all the different gear available.
Thats the beauty of the Formula class- making your set up work for you.

I did get pinched out 2 times by this Italian sailor going upwind with his front hand on the uphaul. It gives him better angle but a bit slower. Off the starting line I was just above him and immediately had to duck below and go for speed. Then on the 3rd race our courses came together upwind on port when he sailed from behind and below into my leeward side. I shouted protest but let it slide at the end of the day as it wouldnt have mattered at the end of the day anyways
Overall some good racing today finishing in the mid pack and learning alot.
I was on 11.0 and 70 cm kashy going well.
Photos: Race 13 , Race 11
Results after 13 races
2 more races Sunday- hoping to finish strong!

Photo Credit: Bogo
Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Worlds Day 3

3 more races today in a building breeze with better results for me with 1 race in the top 30- moving me up a few spots overall. I was making some big gains today in the middle of the fleet and was finally able to make some good decisions based on my speed and angle.
Up in front of the fleet it was Antoine taking another 3 bullets with Gonzo and Steve Allen pushing hard.
Ill make this report quick as the last 3 days have taken a toll racing and being in the sun all afternoon and still another 2 more to go.
In the first race, disaster stuck as I found some plastic bags around the course and had to back down to get them off- loosing 5-10 boards each time. I wasnt too lucky holding my position off the line being slightly underpowered on the 9.9 and 68 kashy. I was forced to sail in dirty air and even had to double tack the windward mark. Thinking the race was over, it all came back the 2nd upwind when I got a great right shift putting me back in the top 25 and then finding the plastic bag on the next 2 lags.
Race 2 and 3 brought better results as I was able to find the groove and make some good moves around the course. I changed a few settings but most importantly I made my sail more powerful by sailing with a lot more draft. Upwind, I really tried to stand the rig up and hike out- using my height to all its advantage. This worked well especially off the leeward mark, climbing to the finish- gaining 10 boards on the last leg.
5 more races over the next 2 days. Forecast looks lighter....
here's the video of days 3's racing from Bogo: : 3rd racing day in Fortaleza from on Vimeo.

Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

2007 Formula Worlds Day 2

The Fortaleza breeze finally came up for Day 2 of the World Championships.
Thurday's conditions were 17-22k with chop and swell then dying off to 12-15k by the end of the day. The RC set up double windward-leeward courses with gates at the top and bottom then a broad reach to the finish just in front of the hotel.3 races were scheduled but during the first race the fleet got off without hearing the general recall flag and ran the entire race. Race 5 was rerun, a quick lunch break back on the beach then back out again for race 6 and 7.
I had a good first practice race, slipped a bit then finished strong at the end of the day with 2 finishes in the top 30 in the breeze. Up in front of the fleet, it was Antoine taking 3 more bullets.
results after 7 races : 2nd day of FW Worlds 2007 from on Vimeo.
video credit: Bogo
I finally felt back in the game again going back and forth in the middle of the fleet, rounding well, and finally getting some speed and angle to keep my position and even gain a few boards each leg.
With an oscillating breeze, both sides of the course were paying off well but more so the right side with the shift off the beach. I decided it was better to start on starboard into the waves (my favored tack) then half way up the leg tack over. With more than half the fleet starting on port on most of the races, there were some interesting starts today.

Proto Credit: Bogo
I finally found more angle and speed in the 2nd and 3rd races today after the lunch break when I added more downhaul. That was the key for the north 9.9 and 68 cm kashy fin.
Most of the fleet was on 10.0 with some staying on 10.7's in the breeze.
I played the laylines a bit more conservative today making sure I didnt have to double tack- in this fleet it will cost you 15-20 boards.
Just once I got on the wrong side of the shift and got shafted at the end of a leg - missing the mark.
Todays big lesson came with maximizing my strengths. The Mikes Lab board finally felt in the groove upwind on starboard through the chop with the 10.0. Thats the conditions I practiced in most this year, By favoring starboard tack off the start I was able to hold my position off the line and gain on the first leg. After that it was sailing smart and looking for small opportunities to move up.
Here's a video from the Dutchie's point of view: credit Gerrit de Jong
Also check out Dennis Littles blog as hes been reporting on every race as well

3 more days to move up in the fleet.
Check out for the detailed blow by blow account from the race deck.

Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2007 Formula Worlds Day 1

Things got off to a slow start at the first day of the 2007 Formula World Championships.
With 3 finishes in the mid 40's and equipment failure that forced me out of race 2, I'm sitting 18 places from my goal of the top 30. Nothing like a good challenge to keep you going for the rest of the event!

photo credit: BOGO
By 1pm the breeze was up to 13-15 knots. I choose my light wind set up of 11.9 and 73-3 cm kashy fin. The right side of the course looked favored as well as starting on port. I lined up with the fleet split around 50-50 on port and starboard. I wanted a lane so I started a bit early down the line and ducked 1/2 the fleet getting over to the right early to the first shift. Near shore, the breeze was lighter and my angle really suffered compared to the F2 and *boards. I got around the top mark just behind the pack and had some tough battles back and forth in the middle of the pack. In this fleet, a mistake will cost you 15-20 boards minimum...but then again you can pick up just as many if you come by a lucky shift or place yourself well at a mark rounding. On the last leg to the finish- a broad reach- I found myself pumping hard with BRA 5 and DEN 112 with 100m to the finish. We are running out of wind and really putting on the pressure when BAM the guy next to me breaks his mast. One less person to worry about! There was a few other breakdowns as well with Sherman breaking a mast on the starting line just before the start. I looked down and saw my number 2 batten was broken- which really did a number on my angle but you have to deal with the cards you have and make the bet out of them!
Next race things start off well, starting on port tack again getting to the right early working my way through the mid pack for the next lap when on the 2nd upwind my harness line blows out.
This was one of those things that you always say in the back of your mind- You can never be too prepared! The good thing was I only had to miss one race and yelled and cursed at myself on the sail in and then forgot about it- moving onto the next task at hand.
After a 45min lunch break we were back out on the water again- this time I switched down to my 11.0 and 70 cm kashy fin. I found better angle and speed but still didnt feel great as I got woked around the course by several other faster sailors. For the next 2 races I had a clean start on starboard getting off the line well but again not great as a few other guys popped out in front of me forcing me to tack over for clear air. I got stuck double tacking the top mark once and that immediately shot me back 15 positions- putting me in a worse position having now to deal with their dirty air at the next mark rounding.
With 3 upwind legs , there's plenty of opportunity to gain or lose but in the light stuff you really cant hide from your weakness. Again I just couldn't find the angle or speed which was killing me. I had to give up several small battles on the course forcing me back in the fleet.

Things could be worse though as I looked around at the end of the day with several guys with broken boards and in the protest room. Seth had an unfortunate incident with BRA 5 in race 3 at the leeward mark where he ended with a good 6" gash from his board. Fortunately- hes found another board and got redress for the 2 races he missed.
Results after 4 races
Up in the front of the pack it was Antoine and Gonzolo battling it out for the top sports. Lucas- BRA 25- also showed some great form getting into the top 5 in to races for the top Brazilian spot so far!
Consistency is going to be the key to this regatta!

Special thanks to the following organizations for the funding at this event:
The St. Francis Foundation, The Richmond Yacht Club Foundation and The Belvedere Cove Foundation. In addition- Eduardo Owen of NEXT SPORTS for his generous equipment sponsorship!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Finding the setup...

I managed to put together 2 decent races today finishing just in front of the peliton but out of reach from the top group. In 15-18k I was let lit on my 11.0 but switched down to a 68 cm kashy fin.
We raced 2 additional races in true course slalom fashion- with a reaching start, upwind down wind for 2 laps then up wind to the finish. More importantly I found a good set up that works in the breeze.
First race started with a general recall then a black flag- then going into the first mark beam reaching with 50 boards coming down on top of me, I thought I would be toast at the first mark but managed to get by in the mid pack. I immediately gybed for clear air but it was apparent there was more breeze outside. Rounding the leeward mark I had the chance to get a clean rounding and really gain a lot of distance to weather on the boards who rounded ahead and were getting knocked The next 2 legs progressed well- keeping my spot on most of the guys I just passed.
Race 2 started in a similar conditions. I got off the line low below the fleet and came into the top mark in good position just getting rolled at the mark rounding by the fleet coming down. Still in decent position I held my lane and position to the leeward mark rounding in a tight group. Sailing port tack effectively takes good concentration to the swells- similar to racing in Maui.
Overall just behind the group- but plenty of room to improve before Wednesday.
thanks to windbrazil and bogo for the photos

Next 2 days are measurement and rest the big event starts wednesday.
Meanwhile back in the states- the US Olympic Windsurfing Trials are still being appealed by Gebi and Farrah for lack of a compitant jury. See Sailing Anarchy story for more. Ahh the Joys of US-Ailing!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

pre race 2

4 more races today on the water- finding out more about the course, the breeze and the fleet- as well as my equipment! As the sun came up this morning, the breeze was strong on the water but the wind here is less dense. I rigged up my 11.0 with 70 cm xs fin and found a few good legs on the course in the first 2 races. I put together race 2 finishing in the low teens and learned a lot more about sailing on port tack across the waves. Coming upwind form the leeward mark its crucial too keep your bow up or else its over. Although with the right shift off the land- it was almost equally important to go for speed towards the shift. Its all about having the advantage at the end of the leg and with a fleet like this every point counts.
Race 3 and 4 after the break- things lightened up to the point where I was searching for power on my 9.9. I think its going to be more important to fin down in the Worlds rather than rig down with this breeze. I used race 3 as my throwout as I broke a harness line- using the rest of the race to tune up with Seth- who just arrived.
So after 2 days in mixed breeze I got a chance to size up the fleet. With the majority on kashy fins and going fast - its going to be a real important to make the small details come together and take advantage of every opportunity.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Waiting to come alive...

The breeze was slow to come up today for the first day of the Brazilian Grand Prix- a 3 series regatta for the Brazilian Formula nationals and a warm up for next weeks Worlds. Racing got pushed back to 1pm and even then most of the fleet was on 11.9's. We did 2 races back to back in a building breeze from 12-14k. A quick lunch break then back on the water for 2 more races in a shifty 12-14k. The triangle course was set parallel to the shore with a side shore oscillating breeze. The finish was just off rocks at the Marina Hotel.Despite the light to medium breeze the rolling swell and chop is present on most of the course- except near the shore where its flatter. I never got quite powered on the 11.9 and got stuck in the middle of the pack. The first 2 races I went to the left off the line carrying starboard tack all the way to the layline. Big mistake as there was a big lift off the land for everyone who went right.
In race 3 I hit a plastic bag with my fin with 10 seconds to go and was immediately out of the race but for good measure found another one later in the race and had to jump off again to clear my fin.
The next race I sailed smarter (going to the right shift), and won some small battles on the course but was stuck just behind the middle of the pack.
2 costly mistakes were having to double tack the top mark- that sent me deep!
Despite having a real powerful 73-3 kashy fin and an 11.9 I just couldnt get the Lab to work well in the light breeze. I was getting killed on angle and speed unless I could really feed the board power. My advantage will come when its windy and choppy- now the F2 and starboards really perform well. Up in front it was Steve Allen who won all 4 races with the usual suspects in the top 5- Arnon, Jesper, Sherman, Gonzo. Locals Fabio Melo and Lucas Fiuza put on the pressure finding the way through the fleet and ending up near the top.
The Launch was pretty sketch at the end of the day with 30-40 sailors trying to get out at once- half of them having their rig caddies take either their sail or their board- slowing up things even more. At lunch you could tie off to the rope and swim in...not the best way to run a world championship but hopefully it get better...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Pre Worlds training- Fortaleza, Brazil-

After a day of traveling from Miami to San Paulo back to Fortaleza, and lugging 3 formula boards, and 4 formula rigs through 3 airports I was wiped out. Sleep never felt so good and with a view of the race course just out my window I knew I wasn’t far away when I woke up- unfortunately that was the next day!

On Wednesday I got out on the water for 2 sessions – lining up with Brazilians, Dutch, and American sailors. There are a lot of sailors from Europe and South America here but just 4 US sailors…Alan B. and Dave Kashy from the east coast and Seth due to arrive Friday.

By 1pm it was in the mid teens so I took out my north 9.9, 70 cm XS Kashy fin and ML7.

The water state was a strong moving swell and a 1’-2’ chop upwind on starboard. I felt right at home letting my legs work like pistons in the chop and going strong against the other sailors. It feels good to be powered up again and working through the chop. On port tack, however- getting over the swell and chop was a bit more difficult as you were almost sailing parallel to it and really needed to foot to build enough speed to climb. Downwind I was under-powered on both tacks with the 9.9 just not having enough grunt.

I came in for a break and enjoyed some local Brazilian hospitality and then switched to the 11.0 for a more powered up, tuned in session. I was able to stay powered for much longer in the chop as the wind died to the low teens in the later afternoon. Off the breeze running with the swell is really fun- especially with a beautiful Fortaleza skyline along the long beaches. There are several stone breakwaters than extend down the coast about ¼ mile out. The launch is hidden in a protected harbor with just one 10’ ramp down the water- that should be interesting with more people coming and going.

Back at the rigging area it looks like kashy fin central with most sailors having the trademark wood-laminate fin cover. A lot of the F2 riders have switched back to the 2006 board with the thought that it goes better through the chop. The L7’s advantage, I think, will come in its ability to deal with overpowered choppy conditions.

Another interesting thing is most sailors have a local (rigging boy- if you will) to help them rig, de-rig and get their stuff to and from the water. At $25 for the week- the money may be well spend. The difference in Brazilian class is just amazing with just a 5% middle class, 10% upper class and the rest living in relative poverty. To give you and idea of what Im talking about: most of the local sailors have bullet proof glass on their SUV in order not to get car jacked! Stopping at a red light at night is not advised.

I will get 1 more day of training and try out some other fins tomorrow before the 1st race starts on Friday. 3 days of the Brazilian championship series then 2 days of registration and measurement and finally by next Tuesday- the 2007 Formula World Championship will take off.

Meanwhile back in SF- the swell advisory is up for some Thanksgiving sailing- enjoy the ride guys!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Miami Pro Am Day 2

Another day of light breeze but stiff competition.
Sunday's forecast looked dim as sailors shlogged out the the starting line from the US Sailing Center on Biscane Bay in Mami Florida. Again the RC started the day off with the postponement flag as the breeze teetered to 10knots. Finally at 12pm there was enough breeze to race. The right side looked favorable with better breeze so I started on port tack with Jimmi, Fernando and Ron- all of us able to cross the fleet who sat on the line. Jimmi - on the new F2- and I made it out to the right side first but quickly ran out of wind while the left side of the course filled in and the fleet got a port lift to the mark. I sat on the outside corner watching my lead disappear. Sylvester on his 11.0 rounded in front by a good minute or 2 while the rest of the fleet struggled to get planning and around the top mark. In the cheap seats- Fernando and I waited to get a puff to get going again and rounded deep . Slowly we were able to claw back the next 3 legs and finish 7th and 8th while Sylvester got the bullet.
The next race started similarly with most of the fleet not planing off the line. Fernando was the furthest to leeward and had room to foot off and pump to a plane. I was next behind Peter and got off to the left side and some breeze. Fernando was quick to gain in the light stuff- being the master of light air racing and rounded the top mark in 1st. Jimmi and Steve snuck in there to round just in front of me and continued down on starboard. I had no choice but to gybe and find another path to the leeward mark. It worked out well enough that I found a puff just near the finish and finished in front of Jimmy for 4th.
That was enough to keep 3rd overall as Sylvester snuck into 2nd with 2 solid races under his belt today. In the end it was Fernando on the podium in first,Syvester in 2nd and myself in 3rd. I did get a chance to race the new 08 11.9 warp. It had a real good low end- especially with the adjustable downhaul setting that allows you to take up or let out a 1cm adjustment on the water. Time will tell if its durable enough to trust but my first impression was excellent. Overall a good warm up for next weeks world championshipsin Brazil. Im off traveling for the ne day to Fortalezza where I'll race the Brazillian open and the worlds next week. Look for more reports then. Untill then check out for videos, photos and reports.
Special thanks to next sports as well the Movie-star and Simona for their help during the event.
Below are some photos form the event from Ron Kern:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Miami Pro Am

Light wind has always been my demise.
One can look at a challenge in 2 ways: either back down from it or learn from it.
Even with failure, some of the biggest lessons can be realized.
At my last regatta in Holland I learned that I needed an 11.9 to be competitive in the light stuff.
Here in Miami I got the chance to test it all out.
Arriving a day before the event was good as it allowed me to get out on the water to test my new fin as well as some of the new north formula sails. Jimmi Diaz arrived with a some protos for the 2008 sails and wow- what a great feeling. The 11.9 had a solid pull- lots of low end grunt and easy to handle. I lined up with the rest of Team Miami for a few upwind and downwind runs. The Mikes Lab L7 is still comparative with a big sail and powerful fin. I was pleasantly surprised at its light wind performance.
Day 1- With just a slight breeze on the water- the fleet shlogged out to the starting line from the US Sailing Center on Biscane Bay. The RC immediacy put up the postponement flag to everyones relief. Finally around 1:30 the breeze filled in to 12knots. I was sailing on Jimmi's production 11.9 while he took out the 08 proto. Sylvester got the chance to sail the 08 11.0 proto-type. Just a few people planned off the line and I was not one of them. I decided to check out the anchor line on the pin end while the rest of the fleet started. I immediately tacked over and banged the right side arriving at the top mark in first. Sylvester was hot on my tail. I knew I might have the horsepower to stay head of him downwind but I sensed there was better breeze where I came from and immediately gybed back to get back to the breeze while Sylvester kept going to the right. I stayed powered downwind and got the bullet in the first race. 'Yes Ive still got it'- I though but dont let this get to your head.
Race 2 was started in the same 12knot breeze- this time though another obstacle would present itself- the famous Miami weeds. I got off to a decent start just above Jimmi and was able to keep my lane upwind. As we tacked over it was evident Jimmi's speed was a bit better than mine as we reached across the course to the right side. I kept going quite a bit past the layline thinking the breeze was dying up top but incidentally let Fernando and Steve by below me. I rounded the top mark in 3rd or 4th and worked my way back downwind only to be dead slow. I just couldn't get going. Almost 50' from the finsih I looked back and found I was dragging several strands of weed- making it possible for Ed, Ron and Brit all to pass me just before the finish. AHHH!
Race 3: The wind was getting a bit shifter and in the light stuff our angles were getting worse. I got off the line well with Jimmi again but as we approached the top mark the shifts were getting to be 10-20 degrees- making it necessary to start tacking and playing the shifts. The problem is- once you get out of phase you get screwed. One bad shift and I was toast and spent the next 10 minutes trying to get around the top mark. Most everyone was playing the same game so nothing to get too frustrated about. I rounded in 4th or 5th and kept my position to the bottom finish mark with Fernando taking the bullet. The big news was Jimmi breaking a mast just after the finish. Bad luck!
Race 4: I knew this one would be played out between Fernando and myself but as usual you can never count 'the professor' out- Sylvester started just above Fernando and myself and was able to climb. As we approached the shore it got light and Fernando was the first to tack. I struggled to get going again and Fernando got a jump on me. Fortunately for me he was going a bit slower due to the weeds and I was able to sail below him as he backed down to clear his fin. He and Steve tacked back to the left while I continued on port to the right side. I was out there alone and called the layline too early and came back on a knock. I was able to cross the 2 as the came across on port but continued to the left just short of the mark. This is where I made my mistake. If I would have tacked and covered I could have stayed ahead and even protected the right side- which I knew was more favorable. Instead I continued and let Fernando pass me. I was able to fend off Steve by pumping to the downwind finish. Nothing like a little grunt to get earn a 2nd place.
So it stands at the end of Day 1- Fernando in the lead, me in 2nd and Sylvester in a close 3rd.
Sundays forecast looks similar-and all I need to do is sail smart. Hopefully if all goes well- Ill get another chance to test the new F2 Formula board and 08 north warps. Ill try to post some photos of the new gear tomorrow. As usual the Miami hospitality was stellar with Alex and Simona throwing a great party at the US Sailing Center.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A sad day on the San Francisco Bay

Ive always tried to be an advocate for clean water through the Friends of the Water website I created. It was my attempt to try to bring awareness about the small things you can do to help protect our waterways. But last Wednesday I stood helpless on the shores of my favorite beach as oil, dead birds and other sea mammals washed ashore before my eyes.
Theres nothing worse for a waterman- or anybody for that matter to have our pristine playground be polluted with oil. Besides being a playground for surfers, windsurfer, boaters, and swimmers, the San Francisco Bay is home to a diverse group of wildlife and plays a tremendous role in the delicate balance between man and nature. Last week that balance was changed forever.
On Wednesday Nov 7th a truly ecological disaster hit the San Francisco Bay when a container ship hit the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of oil in the the San Francisco Bay. Getting out on the water to practice seems really insignificant compared to the damage that was being done to the Bay. Already hundreds of marine animals have died and the coast lined is lined with oil. I felt a little helpless standing on the shore the as the cleanup effort was being run from the water
and volunteers were being turned away. Over 500 people showed up at ocean beach on Sunday to clean the blobs of oil washing up on shore. I am sure we are just starting to see the brunt of the damage as the ecosystem will be effected for months and years to come.
To view a snapshot of the areas affected by the oil spill into the bay: check out the following google map that shows the extend of the spill so far.,-122.454987&spn=0.116605,0.235863&z=13&om=1
Ive also uploaded some photos form as well as some that I took on Wednesday that show some of the clean up efforts:

Here's an interesting link to actual path of the Busan when it hit the bay bridge:
Also the archive at the exploritorium provided some intersting views of the responce team at crissy:
While the rest of the media is focusing on someone to blame, the real effort should be towards cleaning it up.
If you want to help out with the clean up- here are some organizations that allowing the public to aid the effort:

Surfrider Foundation is conducting "unofficial" clean ups, which are advertized on their website at As always, though, please be sure to use protective gloves and clothing to keep your skin from absorbing the toxic chemicals in the oil. It is also very important not to put oily materials in the regular trash. It must go to a hazardous waste facility to keep from contaminating the groundwater.

Its easy to react to a problem like this with an organized clean up but fundamentally we must look at the bigger picture. How did we become so dependent on oil. Granted this was not a fuel ship that spilled its load but as Americans and citizens of the global economy- we must look at our materialism and consumerism that contributed to the problem. Perhaps an incident like this will make us look our our footprint and decide to really make some changes that affect or environment. If you havnt already checked out Friends of the Water website please do so as it has several ways for you to reduce your impact on our waterways. and become more aware of the waterways role in our ecosystem. If its not you who's going to make a change that who will?
Below is another video from the great group of volunteers that is part of the grass roots effort involved with the clean up.
Thank you Californians for stepping up to the plate:

Wednesday Nov 14th update: the beaches around SF are deemed still unsafe and the Governor has put a stop to all commercial and sport fishing in the Bay.
Here is the latest update on what is being done to clean-up the spill and to protect people, wildlife and the environment:

-7 miles of containment boom has been deployed to confine/collect oil in the water
-6 vessels are skimming/collecting oil on the water
-More than1,500 people are participating in spill response
-12,745 gallons of oil have been collected.
-580 gallons have dispersed naturally
-4,060 gallons of oil have evaporated (estimated)
-53 vessels are working to remediate the spill
-3 helicopters are surveying the area
-Oiled wildlife count - LIVE BIRDS – 715 (of those, 183 are washed, and 66 have died or been euthanized) -DECEASED BIRDS - 511

The latest overflight shows very little recoverable oil offshore and inshore. Cleanup efforts are transitioning from water recovery to shoreline environmentally sensitive areas.

The Department of Public Health has determined that it is unsafe to swim in some locations and therefore has closed the following beaches:
Bay Area Beach Closures Nov. 13, 2007

  • Clipper Cove Beach, T.I.
  • Aquatic Park (Booms in place)
  • SF Municipal Pier
  • Ft. Point
  • Baker Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • China Beach (Light Oil)
  • Ft. Baker
  • Mile Rock Beach
  • Kirby Cove (Heavy Oil)
  • Rodeo Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Tennessee Valley
  • Muir Beach (Heavy Oil)
  • Angel Island (Heavy Oil)
  • Keller Beach
  • Ferry Point
  • Point Isabel
  • Baxter Creek to Lucretia Edwards Park
  • Coastal Access point to Cliffside; Pt. Richmond
  • Middle Harbor Regional Park
  • Steep Ravine Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Red Rock Beach (Mt. Tamalpais)
  • Crissy Field Beach (booms in place)
  • Stinson Beach
  • Linda Mar Beach
  • Rockaway Beach
  • Sharp Park Beach
  • Ocean Beach has an advisory posted
  • San Francisco Piers 1-39 Booms in place

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Resistance training

As I move closer to next month's World Championships- I decided to add some resistance training to my routine. With over 6 knots of ebb at the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge, the accelerated current flow around the base of the tower sped the current up to where I could no longer make forward progress downwind - despite being lit on a 9.9 in a decent 15-knot breeze!Imagine a giant rug being pulling out from underneath you as you slide down the face of some early winter pacific swell. The long autumn sun- lower on the horizon each day- was shining through the golden gate with full force at 6pm when Shawn Davis captures these shots:
With the water as smooth as butter- it was a joy to sail today.
I did several runs out to the red nun- just west of the Potato Patch where I found the standing ebb swell. Its been peeling off for the last few days now with Thursday's full moon (the largest of 2007) pulling the tides even stronger.I decided after having sailed 5 days this week in Berkeley and under the Gate- doing a 100 gybes is way better than 100 sits ups per day. It's good to be back!

I also made some small discoveries with the new kashy fin this week after lining up with Mike Z and Ben Bamer on their L8's. The fin has a lot of power and grunt- especially at the low end but it was no match for the light wind performance of L8. The new board has superior speed and handling compared to this years Lab. Leave it up to a guy who sails 2x a week to come out and show you who's the man- Thanks Mike for schooling me yet again!
In other news- Bay area kiters have been ripping into new territory- check out Jeff Kafka charging Mavericks last week

Thursday, October 18, 2007


The race to the Novembers Formula World Championship in Fortaleza has begun...well it actually began last year when I decided to stop the Olympic class windsurfing and focus on one class- the Formula. With this season having gone quite well and finishing strong at the US Nationals - I committed early and decided to go to Brazil mid season.
Earlier in the season I wasnt too sure about my fin quiver- or lack there of. With only 1 kashy 70cm I thought I would be really pushing the limit of its range. So far so good though as I was really able to utilize the one kashy 70 xs in light to moderate breeze to even wound up 9.0 formula sailing in SF voodoo chop. I think part of that is due to the double chicken strap on the mikes lab formula board. By going inboard sooner downwind on a 70 cm fin you can stay powered up longer- rather than going down to a smaller fin sooner as it gets windier. The increased tail width on this years Lab also helped take advantage of a bigger fin.
The worlds should be windy but after getting my ass kicked in Holland I decided to go for something with a bit more bottom end grunt. I ordered a second kashy fin - this one 73 cm cut down to 70 cm. The extra tip length and increased chord at the bottom should generate more lift and have better bottom end.
Also after having got back to SF last week I began testing out some new finworks formula fins with David Wells. If you havnt seen them yet- its a combination carbon core and G-10 leading and training edge. Dave has gotten down quite a precision with his CNC router. First impression was that they are very slippery. Dave Lasiila is on to something good here and has been steadily improving his product. Im anxious to find out the range in the next month ahead.
Word is theres another fin development in addition to Mike Z's custom fins as well. C-Rad and some other Bay area formula racers got a hold of Boogies old C3 molds and are making something similar to the E series of a few years back. As most recall Boogie's fins were very stiff.
Almost too stiff. Ben Bamer sailed with a softer copy of that in this years nationals until he broke the fin at the base. So far that was it for Doug Michna's creations.
I also got a chance to sail the new Mikes Lab formula board for next season. A few changes here and there but overall a really good impression the first time out. A looser feeling, wider in the tail, shallower cut outs and a chamfered rails in the first 1/2 of the board. Enjoy the photos...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Playing armchair quaterback

Its autumn - for some the sailing season has ended- but for other- its the final step in a 4-8 year campaign to represent the US at the 2008 Summer Olympics. For me its a chance to play armchair quarterback from Europe as I watch the US Olympic Trails unfold in southern California.
Despite my love hate relationship with the olympic board and sailing every trials since '96- most of you know I decided to sit the Olympic trials out and pursue other outlets this time around.

Nonetheless it looks like its going to be a real fight at the US Olympic trials with Gebi, Ben Barger and Bob Willis in the mens fleet and Farrah Hall and Nancy Rios in the women's fleet.

With only 7 men and 6 women competing, the question that begs to be asked is: What are we doing wrong as a country to not have generated more interest and success in the Olympic windsurfing class- your comments are welcome and appreciated!

The actioned started before the first starting signal even went off with Ben and Gebi protesting each other's boards at measurement. Gebi's 1st board filed to comply with the rocker line measurement the class specifies.

You'd think you wouldn't have to worry about something like that with one manufacture producing identical boards form the same mold- but then again they're not dealing with the precision of Zajicek's hands. We're talking Cobra and NP quality here!
Gebi was down to his 2nd choice hull and 2 protest and appeals later- Ben got to use his 1st choice hull.

Meanwhile once the first race started- Bob Willis- took the first bullet with Gebi in 2nd and Ben retiring (I know that strategy well enough to say - good luck making no other mistakes the rest of the regatta.) In the womens fleet- underdog Lisa Kramer took the first bullet with favorites Nancy Rois and Farrah Hall finishing 2-4.

Side note- the 2004 trials started the same way with underdog Phil Mueller taking the first bullet of the series with Barger and Wells cat fighting in the corner of the course.

By the 2nd race- the wind was up to the low teens and the favorites set the pace with Bager and Hall taking bullets in race 2.
With not much room for any mistakes- the favorites now have their work set out for them the rest of the regattas. It should be interesting to see how it unfolds over the next week of racing.
For results- cheek here
US Sailing Olympic Trials web site with photos.
Ill try to add some additional reports as the trials continue and even get some insight from the leaders.
Day 2 report- As I sit here a world away from the Olympic trials I have plenty of opportunities to ponder the the RSX as the Olympic board. While it may not be the fastest or do anything the best- it does do it all in most conditions. You cant say that about many boards at all. And while windsurfing in sub-planning conditions may not be my cup of tea- it does represent a lot of windsurfing conditions around the world. So to say its not representative of the sport isnt exactly fair as much as saying wave sailing or freestyle represents the sport.
And if you were going to have windsurfing in the Olympics- you would want it to be a real physical test of athletic ability and endurance- and tactics- just what the RSX is proving to be Too bad you need to fit in a 10lb window to be competitive.

Well the racing continued on day 2 with the lead going back and forth in marginal to light wind racing. According to Farrah the race " had about 4 knots of wind with a current running 90 degrees to the wind direction." Like anything in life- you've got to take the good with the bad.
Farrah looks like shes got better boat speed than most of the girls (according to her blog)but is still making some mistakes to take herself out of the game. If she can keep it together- it looks like it is hers to win or lose. The real gains it looks are coming off the breeze where she is out muscling most of the girls through better pumping.
Lisa Kramer seems to be the big surprise of the event- still leading on Day 2 despite making some moves that make you wonder.
"While she was holding onto the stern of the committee boat her sailboard kept banging against the swim step, putting five holes in her hull."- from the Rich Roberts of the Press Telegram.

Meanwhile in the men's fleet Gebi and Ben split it up with each of them taking a 1-2. Bob Willis stumbled some with a 5-3 today but still sits in 2nd. Bob could be the real wildcard in the series if he manages to get some points in between Ben and Gebi- exactly what Ben needs with a RAF on Day 1.
If reading anything on the news site at US Sailing micro site its that challenging conditions bring the best athletes to the top. It seems the whole SoCal coast is plagued with shifty, holy conditions on the first 2 days of the trials. Ahh the fun!

Day 3 and 4
report - the news is a bit slow leaking out from SoCal but it looks like Gebi and Ben are still duking it out to make it a real race. With 7 races under their belts- Ben finally got his throw out and moved into 1st- tied with Gebi on points In the breeze on Tuesday Bob Willis finally found his rhythm with a solid 1-2 finish. Ben had to settle for a 3-2 with Gebi posting a 1-3.
Meanwhile in the womens fleet, Farrah got back into the game with some consistent results on Tuesday posting 2 bullets. That puts her in 1st while Kramer and Rios are tight for 2nd and 3rd.

The conditions coming out of Long Beach have been varying- to say the least: several days of light pumpathons to Tuesday's 20k+ breeze. Apparently the trash and weeds have been playing a big part as well with everyone forced to clear the foils several times a race and thus affecting the lead.
Side note: Gebi's silver place in the 1992 Olympic was only due to his catching a plastic bag on the last race of the series.
More about the environmental impact of plastic bags here.

Final Day report: sometimes you can only do as much as you can and still thats not enough. It was a a really tough day for Farrah Im sure with emotions up and down. On the last day of the trials she won both races and finished 1 point in front of Nancy in the overall score. But things beyond her control were about to take place. Nancy who got in a collision with another competitor tore her sail in the last race and applied for redress. Ultimately the jury decided that she probably would have finished 2nd if it were not for the collision and Nancy got a 2nd instead of a 4th- giving her a 1 point advantage of Farrah at the end of the regatta. An unbelievable turn of events of both girls Im sure thinking that thry've won then lost.
In the mens fleet it was Ben who decided his own fate by taking the 2 final bullets on the last day to seal the deal. It almost didnt happed for Ben as on Friday Ben and Bob got into a collision and rendering Bens board almost useless. Eric Rathenbuller who had been finishing at the end of the fleet fo the whole regatta gave Ben the use of his board for the remaining 2 days. Now that is sportsmanship! Good on you Eric. and Congratulations to Ben Barger and Nancy Rios who will representing the US at the 2008 Olympic Games.

* After having discussed the Rios VS Hall case with a few other people and reading the post on other forums- windsuringmag & sailing anarchy it looks, in my opinion, that the jury made a significant error when deciding to give Nancy redress. Heres why I think so:
A similar case happened at the RSX worlds last year and the jury denied redress to the competitor with a ripped sail!
The decision to give Rios redress due to her ripped sail is somewhat noteworthy. The impact of a 8 inch hole can be analytically calculated easily.
If you know the total sail area, one can compute the amount of pressure lost by the 8 inch hole by subtracting the hole from the total area of the sail.

Once the new total area is computed, that can be compared to the original area to compute the degradation in performance due to the hole.
This is a simple calculation since the sail is the 'engine' of a windsurfer and one can focus solely on it and get an accurate estimate of the impact on speed.

For a rip with similar area to 8 inches by 1 inch, the net loss in area is 0.06%. If a windsurfer can go upwind at 15 mph, this net loss in area could result in a net reduction of speed to

(Please keep in mind that this is an OVERESTIMATE on the significance since the structure of the RS:X sail is composed of 8 separate panels divided by 7 rigid full length battens.

A hole in one panel would have virtually NO effect on the other 7 panels. Thus it's more accurate to compute the net loss in pressure as 1/8th of 0.06%.
Suffice to say that 0.06% is NOT SIGNIFICANT thus the actual impact being less is evenLESS SIGNIFICANT.)

The fact that Rios planned away from the incident proves it was probably not significant. As most windsurfers know- once planning- a smaller sail is more efficient.

This is where having a knowledgeable- windsurfing jury may have helped.

The US Sailing jury was probably more familiar with the RRS for sailboats and not aware of dynamic differences between sailboats and planning windsurfers.

Yes Hall did make a bad decision by not making herself available and knowledgeable of the redress earlier and not applying for redress herself but the fact still remains- the jury at the trials went against a previous decision made at the Worlds in a similar case and also over-judged the significance of a tear in Rios's sail.

Regardless of the situation- Dennis Parris had some good words of advice on her blog:
One of many challenges of competition is knowing how to win and how to lose. As stated in the Olympic creed, it is not only triumph that defines your life, but how you choose to handle disappointments and failure. The real challenge in life is to handle both success and failure with grace and to respect each as part of the journey

Sunday, September 16, 2007

WIND- or at least some dutch wind

After 2 weeks of being in Holland without much wind- I was beginning to wonder if I was cursed. Maybe just blessed form living in SF for the past 6 years but with no racing this w-end I finally found the "inner joy" of windsurfing again.
The wind was up- from 14-18k in Almere so I took out my 11.0 for a little bit of punishment-no not the self torture of trying to finesse a 11.0 in 8k but the grunt of holding down a 11.0 in gust up to 18k. This was the sailing I was used to. Ok the swell wasn't exactly there but I was enjoying the sunshine, the wind and the fun of exploring a new sailing venue!
With no other formula sailors around I had the lake- or 'gooimeer' to myself- well at least to share with the hordes of other dutch classic wooden sailboats making their way up channel on the lake.
Its hard to explain whats what as the dutch have actually surrounded their country with a dyke and are constantly filling in to create new land for the population to grow in. Almere is such a place of reclaimed land- so is the other side of the lake. If you look on the map- it does eventually connect to the North Seas- in a round about way. Click here for more info on the dutch wonders of the zuiderzee
Sailing a formula board is a great way to really explore an area. I was out earlier this week slalom sailing in marginal conditions when I found the bottom- real quick. Apparently the far side is a lot shallower than I thought. Better to have found that out on a production slalom fin vs a custom carbon fin.
Sailing alone can get a little dry after a hour or so so I had to keep my concentration up- working on tacks and gybes through the chop of passing boats. Practice makes perfect ...err perfect practice makes perfect. Anyways I was enjoying it all today and finally found my groove again. Cant wait to get back on the course again in some breeze.
I did remember some sailing drills from way back in the junior sailing days when the coach would blow his whistle every 15 seconds where you would need to tack or gybe.
Keep this up for a few minutes, break and then repeat for a good workout.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Day 3 and 4 Dutch Championship

More of the same conditions as we saw in day 1 and 2- this time with significant drops in the wind between 1-4pm. Winds were 7-9k with some gust up to 12-13k in the late morning and early evening with 10-20 degree shifts around the course. Timing the oscliating shifts was more important than getting the geographical shift off the shoreline, but as always in the light air- its always important to stay in the pressure!
There just wasn't enough breeze to get my set up to work efficiently so I felt out of the race in most of the last 2 days of racing. Without an 12.0 to keep up, my speed and angle was severely off and every small battle on the course was a loosing one. Just a few tactical cards I could play but I did learn some important lessons in the light air racing:
More and more the fleet was starting on port to get the first shift right shift of the land. In a fleet of 30 boards with 20 starting on port- just a few would get a good start. In the light air- it might have been better to start on starboard with better chances of getting clear air off the line. I tried this approach a few times- knowing I lacked any power w/ my 11.0.
Below are some shots from Alex @ the beach and race deck:

Finding out what went wrong: by process of elimination- its either the board, the fin, the rig, or the rider- or a combination of all of the above.
ML7- while the board is great when its lit up on a 9 and 10, it lacks some drive in the light stuff.
(might be lacking power due to 11.0 rig)
Fin- kashy xs 70 cm should be the wining ticket - but again without 12.0 there was no angle or speed.
Rig- 11.0 north warp- found out this sail does not have the low end of a 11.9. It worked better when I put more batten pressure on, tightened the tack strap to get a pocket in the foot of the sail, downhauled it a little less than I would have (2 cm),and finally moved the mast base back on he board to 70% back in the track. Also moving the booms up lighten up the board- but as a result needed to move my harness lines further back.
Rider- @ 175lbs I think it was necessary to have a 12.0 to be able to make most tactical decisions on the race course-. Not having any options, speed or angle left me back in the fleet.
Saturday- Alex came down and took some more photos:

A video from some of the day 4s racing from a big Dutch speeedsailor- Roger van Tongeren as well as days 3's racing.

Here are the top 10 results:

1-Dennis Little NED-13
2-Adriaan van Rijselberghe NED-2
3- Adri Keet NED 34
4-Dirk Doppenberg NED-51
5-Markus Bouman NED-6
6-Sean O’Brien AUS-120
7-Roy van Koolwijk NED-97
8-Klaas Jissink NED-315
9-Pieter Eliens NED-538
10/1e Jeugd-Teade de Jong NED-777

Some other race reports:
Markus Boumann - NED 6
Sean O'Brien- AUS 120

and additional photos from Tom Vos

Overall the dutch had an impressive racing scene with an up and coming junior fleet and several top world contenders. Im looking forward to my 11.9 arriving in a few weeks and actually racing with them!

Friday, September 7, 2007

getting schooled in dutch

The European conditions continued today with a 10-13 north westerly breeze. Racing started promply @ 11 and 5 races were run with plenty of time between races on the beach. Although the wind did puff occasionally into the low teens, no one was holding out for slalom. At most times the wind was shifting regularly and the shoreline provided a geographical lift for most playing the right side.
I tried changing gears today to get some more low end out of my 11.0 with additional batten tension,a tighter tack strap and a touch less downhaul. Although that did give me some extra juice, the board really loosened up when I bought the mast back to 60-70% back in the track.
Still I was unable to find decent angle and speed upwind. Might try standing the rig up more tomorrow or even trying the 520 mast to see whats up. At this point it's a bit frustrating not to be able to play the game upwind. I have been constantly loosing my lane up wind. Im not sure if its the 11.0, the board or some combination of rigging.
By the last race, the wind was in the mid teens and I finally got a decent start after a general recall and the black flag. I was powered upwind and holding angle until it lightened up and my angle suffered. A few times I was in the middle pack but just haven't found the groove yet.
2 more days and chances to improve...well at least figure out what the hell is going on!
Some photos of the event here from local Tom Vos

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Taking a beating in Holland

While some people pay for this type of service behind closed doors in the red light district in Amsterdam, I am taking my public flogging openly at the first day of the Dutch championship.
No excuses needed- I just couldn't put together a good race after 5 tries in marginal conditions. There is something fundamentally different about sailing overpowered compared to sailing underpowered!
While my set up was starting to feel alive when the puffs hit 12k, I was getting worked off the starting line and upwind with an 11.0. Most of the fleet was on 11.9's and some 150-lb-er's on a 11.0
Choosing the wrong side upwind 4 out 5 times doesn't help either. Nor does not being prepared.
Sometimes having all the comforts of home (like a toolbox, cell phone, supplies and a car) makes it easier to cope with the small breakdowns and trials of a regatta. But coping- nonetheless- is something everyone has to do and those that do it the best- come out on top!
Being out of my usual element really put on the pressure: How to understand whats going on at the skippers meeting. Getting the start count down in dutch!
With almost 15 years of racing experience you'd think having the fundamentals down would be something I would have gotten down in maybe say the first 5 or 10 years. Still learning after all these years- that's what makes the game so interesting and fun to play. A bit frustrating sometimes but at the end of the day- fun!
If it isn't- you've got to ask yourself why are you doing it.
Below is quick debriefing on my attempts to get around the course of day 1 of the Dutch formula and slalom championship:
After a 2-3 hour wait for the wind to build- the RC sent the fleet out around 2pm for a double windward leeward course in 8-10k. Most choose their big 12 m2 sails. I choose my biggest I had at the moment- my 11.0. Something wasn't quite right upwind- I wasn't getting any angle and getting killed off the line. By race 3 I had figured out my bottom batten was broken and preventing any chance of getting upwind efficiently. After a quick scramble to get a replacement- (thanks you Tom and Adri) I got back on the water for the lat 2 races after missing race 4.
Still no luck getting off the line with speed and power as I was being a bit conservative with the one minute flag up at most starts. As most of you know- the race is pretty much won or lost at the start. Going up wind in bad air on the first beat pretty much sucks and puts you in a bad mood for the rest of the race. Overcoming this was one of the main problems I faced today.
I wasnt too sure what was going on in the front of the fleet as I was having my own difficulties finding my way around the course. Needless the say, the dutch have a strong fleet. Looking forward to the next 3 days of racing in Almere.

This video puts the light wind sailing into perspective- at last weeks "The Mission 2007" event, 300+ participants with very light wind. But that didn't stop them from having fun on the tow in ramp! (wait for crashes at the end)
A few pros doing lightwind slalom with formula gear and 11.9's

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Its the little differences...

I Finally made to Almere windsurfing club - where I managed to keep my gear at- on Sunday afternoon after a 5 min. tram ride down Czar Peterstraat in centrum Amsterdam to Sarphaitistraat then catching the underground metro @ Weesperplein to Amstel-staation and finally a 35 min. bus ride to Almere-haaven and a 5 min walk to the club.
1/2 way there I realized I forgot my formula fin!
By the time we got there it was full slalom weather and it didn't matter anyways.
I rigged up my F2 sx medium slalom board and north 7.3 and was well lit. The local slalom fleet was have a training session for next weeks championship. With no slalom results yet for the season, next weeks 4 days Dutch Championship will be most likely slalom focused with formula under 15k.
Forecast looks promising already!

(Thanks to Alex for taking the photos from the beach!)
Wind was 18-20k when we started and the reaches were set tight. I didn't quite have the top end speed I was looking for but realized when I came I was a little under- downhauled.
Glad to have realized this now rather than in racing.
Magic spot is just past the high wind max mark on the north sail in most conditions.
The first few races I fell on my first gybes in the pack and realized if I just took it tight I could catch a lot of guys rounding wide and slopping. After that gybes were feeling better and finishing 3 or 4th.
A few mores races and my muscles I hadn't used in 10 days really began to get sore.
The windsurfing club is pretty family focused with racks to store your gear in 4 containers 20' from the water. Hot showers cost 50 cents. Warm coffee free! Plenty of local and regional racers as the coast is less than an hours drive away
The Almere beach cam (follow webcam link on lower left) is a little more low tech than the explo cam over SF Bay but it saved me a trip down on Saturday in 6-7 knots.
Life in Holland so far has been fun- adjusting to the little differences as Vincent Vega say so eloquently below.
" A lotta the same shit we got here, they got there, but there they're a little different"
- Pulp Fiction
600 sq. ft apartment and no van puts a squeeze on things but the again theres plenty of opportunities to trian on a bike!
With a few days before the Dutch championship, I hope to get out on the formula gear again to see what the 11.0 feels like. I have a feeling the 9.0 will be dormant till the Worlds in December.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aussies in/Steve out

Its always nice to do a regatta report from your own home waters and although I'm not sailing in this one, the Aussie 18's have been putting on an awesome display of high performance sailing on the San Francisco Bay. It's amazing to see these guys all run across the deck while gybing from one trap to another- like synchronized swimming! Of course with anything high performance there are some amazing crashes.
Last night around sunset near the rigging area at crissy field- a few skiff sailors were searching for some broken windsurfing mast as a replacement for their broken upper section of their mast (see photo below)Check out more skiff photos from Chris Ray, Abner Kingman, Eric Simonson and Serge Zavazin here
Ahhh... the sounds of crumbling high performance carbon- makes me quiver in my seat!
The big showdown between skiffs, kites and boards will be this Friday for the 2007 Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race.
Check out the preview here:

Crissy field has been going off for the past week- and Ive enjoyed almost every day of it- soaking up as much slalom sailing under the golden gate as possible before the big move to Holland later this week. For at least the next 2 years we will be trying out the Euro life in Amsterdam. I will continue to race and train - doing more Euro events next year and will be coming back to the SF Bay for work- and of course windsurfing in the upcoming months
Thanks for everyone here who made racing and training so much fun. You guys have taught me alot over the past 6 years. Ive really enjoyed sailing with a dedicated group of racers and having world class wind and race management- only found on the San Francisco Bay!
As Bill Graham said of the Grateful Dead- "there not the best at what they do- they're the only ones that do what they do!" Thank you credit Paul Buelow
Check out more photos from last Friday's windy racing @

Ill be keeping up the blog so check back and I'll try to update regularly. It might not be the same familiar names but I promise no wooden clog jokes!

Also if you havnt checked out Andreas race blog- hes got a good nationals post mortem thats worth reading.