Wednesday, April 25, 2007

friday night series at St.FYC

The first friday night series at the St. Francis Yacht Club started of with good breeze (15-24k) with most sailors rigging the 10.0s and mikes lab formula board- the san francisco formula one design. With a strong ebb going out over the course, getting a good start and calling the layline were about the only 2 things you had to nail to finish well.
I headed out to test the course 20 minutes before the first start to get an idea of the wind and current. The ebb was evident especially coming off the bottom mark where you could almost squeeze up and make the finish in 1 tack. This bit of pre race knowledge came in handy as Ben and I rounded close together in race 3 and I was able to go for angle vs his speed to finish in front. See photo below 'tack or cross'

I got a little anxious of most all of the starts and got called back on 3 of them being OCS. While getting the gun is good, being too early negates any attempt of effort at all. The RC had some eagle eyes from the deck of the St Francis Yacht club and called my over earlies as well as one general recall to keep the fleet honest. There was no getting by this experienced RC at all. I came back on 2 of the starts to restart and claw my way back through the fleet. It puts a bit more challenge into the game starting 20 seconds late.

One of the lessons I continue to learn is to take advantage of the tide. With a strong ebb on Friday night , you could tack almost 10 board lengths early for the windward mark and still come out strong. Even if you under tacked, you could pinch up and float around the windward mark. Use the tide to your advantage but not too much that your over early!

Coming back downwind was especially fun and a good opportunity to pass a few boards- being stuck in the middle of the fleet. The inside was bit lighter so it payed to gybe early and stick with the breeze unless there was a localized puff making its way down as you rounded the top mark. As they say, its all in the timing.

Up next is 3 more w-ends of racing with the 2007 Calcup series starting Sat April 28, the Evestrom Zellerbach regatta on May 5-6 and the US Open Velocity games in Corpus Christie Texas on May 11-13. New sails arrive in a few days- just enought time to dial them in!
As usual, there were some good photos captyring the action form Friday's racing nad be found here:
Shawn Davis windsurfing photos
Brian McDonalds windsurfing photos

Monday, April 16, 2007

Windy spring training

With no short supply of breeze, the last 3 weeks have been windier than any spring I can remember. Blame it on global warming if you will , but the unusual weather patterns this year - with a lack of winter and spring storms - have pushed the thermals in earlier this year. Almost every day for the past 2 weeks has been solid slalom conditions at crissy field. On the few days Ive gone out on the formula board to train, I was so lit up, I came in a rigged down to slalom gear!
The new 07 equipment has been slow to arrive but Ive been dialing some newer equipment. First up was a north warp 7.3 from last year. It really has a lot of range and at the bottom end and can handle up to 18-20knots before becoming too much. The biggest difference this year has been the addition of a new wide compact slalom board into the quiver. The f2 sx slalom 105l board is more like a small slalom board at 70cm wide. It really shows its potential in light to medium conditions and doesn't give up too much in the breeze. Although it doesn't gybe as tightly as the smaller skinner slalom board, it does get you out of the transition quicker in lighter conditions.Most of the racers this year are putting together a slalom program for the upcoming nationals in San Francisco in August. As always Billy Weir is showing solid speed early on with David Wells, Soheil, Jean, and Royce all getting some early time on the water this spring on the city front.

I couldn't resist posting the following sequence of Seth on his freestyle gear. Shawn Davis captured the essence of a perfect catapault. Now thats a good huck! The rest of the sequence as well as 300+ photos of spring time San Francisco windsurfing can be found at Shawn Davis' smugmug photo-site.
I just found a good video posted on of David Well's session at fort point on Saturday April 13- some great swell coming in the gate and decent wave riding by David- check out the video here