Thursday, July 23, 2009

US Windsurfing Nationals Day 1 Report

It was one of those epic days today that everyone will talk about for years to come. The Gorge went off as big as it gets! Possible the windiest day of the year and to top it off there were 70 competitors registered for slalom in 3 different heats

By the time the first slalom start rolled off at 12:30, the winds were 25-30 knots with huge gusts coming down the cooridor. By mid afternoon, the 3 fleets had run 3 heats each and the wind was still cranking in the mid 30s with gusts touching 43k!

3 more heats were run in crazy conditions where it seemed I was doing more swimming than slalom sailing. The carnage was spread across the course with sailors blowing up on every leg and corner of the course. I came blazing out of the gates on the first race keeping in 2nd until
the first of many knock downs around the course. I managed a few decent races but was still consistantly in the middle of the 24 strong mens fleet.
The gorge locals showed us how it was done with amazing technique and speed around the famous gorge box course. Most sailors were able to leave the beach at the 3 min gun and make the start in time. The 1st leg was a broad reach into 3 quick gybe marks set in front of the
event site and then around a leeward mark and back close hauled to the starting line where you had go tack across the line and then go for a second lap!
I never had too much control even with a 5.8 and 6.3 race sails. The locals switched down to 5.2 and 4.7s making it look easy. In those conditions, its all about being comfortable on your set up.

To top the day off Andre cooked us a beautiful meal at Jeans cousin place in White Salmon overlooking Hood River. An amazing view after an amazing day of racing!

1 comment:

bry said...

Killer pictures by former professional surf photographer Cathy Giacomini McDonald of the gorge going off with gusts over 40 knots!!! Yea baby!