Monday, August 31, 2009

This past week, I began to gear up for my trip to the Formula worlds in Spain in next weeks.
The 11.0 has been getting some time on the water with the new north adjustable base.
My plan is to use it with the 12.3 in the light light stuff expected for the Worlds.
Im hoping it gives me a little advantage for putting more range in the sail- especially if Im stuck on the water and not able to return to shore between races.
The HPL carbon boom end has been re-inforced yet again!
This time I think its good to go!
Ive been running the 72-2 xxs kashy with the track back at 75% on the starboard 160 in the lightest of stuff. The fin is very responsive to pumping when trying to pump up onto a plane- more so than the 70 xs kashy but it tops out sooner- especially in the chop.

Ive also begun to sail more with the uphaul. It really makes a difference in the light stuff when you need to get the rig upright and full of power. Sailing with only 1 arm on the boom really stretches out the forearms. More bananas please!

Up later this week is the Bridge to Bridge race with the skiffs and the kites.
After lining up with Chip, Gomes and Gebi earlier this summer, its apparent the kites are going really deep with their course boards and kites loops. Its no contest anymore against the formula board DDW. As long as I dont end up shish-ka-bobed on the front end of 18's, its should all be good.
The skiffs have neen out all week racing on the city front.

Photo credit: Abner Kingman

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mid august swell

It was one of those days where I arrived at the beach fully expecting to sail formula but turned right around and headed home to get my small gear. 30 minutes later I was rigging up my favorite mikes lab slalom board and 6.3 north warp in 20k+ grey SF skies.
When I got to the south tower, it was pure bliss.
Standing ebb waves with the pacific swell punching through every few sets.
I had the whole place to myself with one other kiter.
Just outside the gate near the red nun were 6-8' breaking waves.
Inside, the ebb trough at the south side of the tower was peeling perfect 4-6' standing waves.
Further down the line, the swell punched through giving me some great opportunities to ride the swell in just to the wind line at Ft. Point.
There was about a 200' zone of no wind before the waves peeled right again and several surfers were out for a rare august ride inside the golden gate.
I must have caught 100+ waves on Sunday evenings session- riding each 20-30 seconds before having to repeat the same thing over again.

After an hour of what seemed like endless gybing and bottom turns on the standing waves and swell between Ft Point and the south tower I headed back home through a mine field off ebb along the city front. There was no relief at all compared to the butter smooth seas I had just been riding.
It was all worth it though to be at the right place at the right time.
The best birthday gift I could ask for!
Some great SF water shots of SF surfing cane be found at Chuck Lantz's site.

Meanwhile, crissy field as been taken over by the 505's for their world championships. An excellent example of how to run an event with live tracking , twitter feeds , and videos.

Here's the report from the Day 1: Conditions were so tough, that if you made it around without swimming, you would almost guarantee yourself a top 10 result. Some of the spectator boats said they recorded 40kn gusts though I am not sure that is true. There is no doubt it was high 20’s with gusts into the 30’s. At times you would be sailing upwind with no main and only the back third of the jib working and you would have to dump even that as a gust hit. On the water it was carnage. Rounding the top mark, boats were laid down everywhere; it looked like the aftermath of a squall. There were boats drifting under jib, waiting for a tow, there were boats separated from their crew who were desperately trying to swim back to them, there were shredded sails everywhere, there were boats without rudders, there were boats with snapped 3mm dyform side stays, there were so many boats without masts, it was inconceivable.
Enjoy the video.

Oh yea, we did some racing on Friday at StFYC with another twilight series.
Eric put together a consistent showing for 1st while I blew out a footstrap in race 3 and salvaged 2nd for the evening in tight racing. I was a bit to conservative at the top mark each race, thinking the flood was stronger, over-standing and letting a few guys slip in. Off the breeze, I found myself going deep in the steep chop gaining what I had just given up.
All of the fleet was on their 10's but I later realized the advantage I lost by not switching up to a 11.0 for the last 2 races as it got lighter.
With the fleet so tight this year, any edge you can take advantage of, will be worth the effort.
Equipment is just one part of the game that makes formula windsurfing so exciting.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finding the Zone

Saturdays Calcup turned into an exercise in frustration as I struggled to stay ontop and get my head around a new course. Racing was set in the lee of Treasure Island, just shy of the wind line in the middle of 2 dozen anchored barges! In more than a few cases, I got stuck double and triple tacking between the barges, their wind shadows and the raging flood tide. A 30 second shlog around the leeward mark wasn't helping much either as boards planed in from both sides around me!
A few small things got me out of the zone and I wasnt able to get my head back in the game. After 3 races, I called it quits and sailed in, missing the last race.
On the contrary, last Friday nights Twilight series found me sailing on top and taking 1,1, 2,2 for the night.
Im not sure what I can attribute it to but finding the zone is a critical part of sailing well.
For me, that involves sailing the course 20-30 minutes before the first start and having the right rig for the conditions.
I wasnt able to do that for Saturday as I arrived late and was underpowered on a 10.0.
Alot of racing is won before you even get to the starting line.
Despite the obscure location, light and shifty winds, and lack of visible laylines I should have instead focused my efforts on racing the fleet.
At the end of the day, that's what you're there to do...not to let the little distractions overcome you!
Speaking of distractions....Patrik Pollok just posted this awesome video from the speed worlds in Greece last week. One of the best video projects Ive seen to date. A great way to market our sport.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Round the Rock Race

A piece of local windsurfing history found its way out of the closet this month with the resurrection of the Round the Rock trophy. The race was originally run in 1974 on stock windsurfers when sailing downwind, across the San Francisco Bay and around Alcatraz and back to Crissy field was a major feat. Of course, there was always the ironman division which prohibited harnesses to still keep it tough as the gear evolved and the crossing became easier!
Eventually, the race got replaced by more challenging Bay crossings like the SF Classic and Bay Challenge. Sadly the trophy got forgotten in a closet of the St. Francis YC until this year when it was resurrected and put in recirculation again as a junior trophy. It couldn't be a more perfect fitting as rounding Alcatraz for a junior windsurfing can still be a major undertaking.
I helped out in this years race by sailing alongside the juniors for support and to keep them from getting in too much trouble.
Like anyone who sails around Alcatraz for the first time realizes, the wind shadow is way bigger than you think. Its like being sucked into a vacuum and once your there its even harder to get out! At all cost, you have to take the leeward side wide and stay in the breeze!That's exactly what the2009 Junior girls national course and slalom champion and SF Bay local, 13 year old Marion Lepert did to stay out in front and win with a commanding lead over the rest of the fleet on the BIC 293's.
Kimball Livingston's report on the Quite Revolution that windsurfing is undertaking at the StFYC is just what the sport needs- an injection of youth! Kudos to all thos involved to make the 2009 Bic Techno North Americans happen last week as well as the planning of the 2011 Bic Techno Worlds at the club.
As if that wernt enough, this week, the club is running the Innuagural Kite Boarding Course Racing World Championships.
Check out the action on the clubs streamling live video between 2-6 daily,
live twits @,
and flicker stream

Thanks to windydevil and examiner and rockskipper for photos.
Check out windydevils preview of the event here