Thursday, July 21, 2011

techno 293 world champs- San Francisco Ca

Its been a while since I really got involved in helping out with an event but it only seemed right given the scale and importance of the Techno 293 World Championships being held in San Francisco from July 19-24 at the St. Francis Yacht Club. Its been 20 years since the last major world windsurfing championship has been held in the US at the St.FYC for the 1991 Mistral World Champs.  From the early stages of designing and developing the event, I knew it was going to be big but it didn't strike how big till I got back to Crissy field last Sunday after a few weeks away and saw almost 100 windsurfers out on the San Francisco Bay getting ready for the event. The place rivaled the likes of Lake Garda or the South of France with beautiful sunshine, brilliant water and the flicker of hundreds of windsurfing sails on the water.

The sheer joy and excitement that the kids are getting are worth their weight in gold. Im so stoked to see so many kids enjoying the sport on the San Francisco Bay.

There are over 180 competitors from 24 countries taking part in this years world championships with 5 different fleets: under 17 boys, under 17 girls, under 15 boys, under 15 girls and finally a combined open techno and race board class. The 2 courses are set up on the San Francisco city front with the west course set just off cissy field and the the east course starting further down near Fort Mason. Each fleet will race 2-3 races a day for a maximum of 12 races over the 5 day event. Despite starting at 11 am, racers are taking the full beating the SF Bay has to offer, but these kids are tough. I was on the rescue boat today and despite being totally worn out, exhausted and not able to stand, some kids refused a ride back after the racing was done as they were flooded down past Fort Mason. Win, lose or draw every one of the kids will come out a stronger sailor having more respect for the natural world and the conditions thown at them.
After 2 days of racing, Im super excited to see local Marion Lepart at the top of the under 17 girls fleet with 4/5 bullets. She's been sailing brilliantly and nothing seems to phase her. This kid's going to go far!

As expected the euros are leading in most of the other fleets as the class is especially strong in mainland Europe as is windsurfing in general. We could really learn a few things from their programs like fleet building, investment in youth sailing and regatta preparation. To see the organization of some of the teams is simply amazing. They are still kids but nothing is left to chance when it comes to winning. Coaches, team meetings, special diets- its almost as serious as the Olympics.
But lets not forget- this is windsurfing. No blue blazers allowed.

Enjoy the videos from Patrik Pollak at SVK-1
Results so far
Offical website:
Photos and stories by waterhound

Friday July 22 update:

video via SVK1
3 more races in today for all fleets- a busy day on the water.
We rescued a few more kids as the flood tide and container ships keep the RC on their toes today.

Local SF rock star Marion Lepart stepped it up today with another 1, 4 on the scoreboard. Unfortunately the light wind got the best of her but lucky for the throwout. Shes sitting in 1st after 3 days of racing with 4 more races to go in the series.
Some great photos by SVK1 Patrik Pollak

Also Shawn Davis' impeccable eye- photo link here 

Day 4 video from SVK-1

2 more races today for all fleets- right on schedule as the SF Bay winds always deliver. This time however it was much lighter 12-14 building to 14-16k.
The girls fleet was sent out first for a back to back races and Marion was about to face her biggest foe- lightwind. SF Bay sailors typically do much better in the breeze as its just a matter of time before it fills in. After a deep 1st mark rounding she hustles back to 7th in the first race and must have had some major revelations as her lead in the 2nd race was over 3 min at the finish. Ive never seen such a huge lead on a short course. Great sailing by one of the best junior windsurfers in the world. Going into the last day- she's got a 4 point lead with 2 races remaining.
Also on the schedule for the last day is an unofficial official long distance race with a rabbit start off the beach and one big trip "around the rock" to Alcatraz and back. Im pretty sure the junior windsurfers will be talking about this race for years to come. The start will be off crissy field with a gybe mark just off Anita rock and another gybe mark in front of the StFYC and the around Alcatraz and back to the beach with the finish line up the beach requiring the racers to ditch their rigs and run up the beach to be scored.
Waterhound photos from day 4
SVK-1 photos
Shawn Davis photos

Day 5 report

Well the dogs didnt blow off their chains for the final day of the event and sailors had a pleasant 14-16k breeze to showcase their racing skills. That was just enough for Marion's British counterparts to seize victory despite Marion leading the entire regatta in the u17 girls division. In fact, the UK team swept most of the classes. A great testimony to their country's commitment to sailing programs. Im sure we will see more of them to come.

Also on the course sunday was the unofficial official long distance race around Alcatraz and back.
The Netherland's own Joris van Essen (NED 1111) took the victory with Sara Wennekes (NED 203) leading the girls around.

I was really stoked to see the windsurfers at crissy field again. It seems we are seeing a resurgence in the sport again. I cant help but grin knowing we had a part in it. In fact- 110 volunteers took part in the past 5 days in some part or another- a huge tribute to the dedication of the StFYC and local windsurfing and sailing community.
As usual- Shawn Davis was on the water shooting some great shots.
You can find his gallery of images here.
David Wells of Waterhound was there every step of the way as well with a unique recount of each of the days events. Full story at

Thats a wrap...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Digging deep on the last day of the US Windsurfing Nationals

Going into the last day of the US Nationals I knew what I had to do:
Up my game in order to get back the 4 points I lost to Sylvester in Friday's long distance race.
It wouldn't be easy as the clock was ticking down to the last possible start at 4pm and the possibility of only 2 races.
The setup couldn't be more ideal- a chance to race in light wind after having raced in mostly powered up conditionals all week.
At 2:45 we hot the water. I was ready- armed with my best light-medium air set up of a NP 10.7 and Z super soft fin.
I got rolled at the start as Schurman and Phil sailed under and on top of me. No where to go but tack off. I was still in the pack rounding the top mark with Steve, Mike, Soheil and Eric rounding in a tight group as the leaders got a good jump on the fleet. Maris was sailing a great race in 4th- finally getting his gear tuned up for the bumpy conditions the SF Bay offers
I sailed down the right side of the course with Eric as the others gybed off for more pressure near the pier.
After rolling Eric to leeward downwind with better speed, I saw that we had made significant gains on the boards inside. I kept the pace upwind sailing back to the outside where although it was a but lighter, I was able to optimize my upwind VMG. I rounded the top mark in 5th trying to real Maris in but he was flying with his 11m rig. The usual suspects rounded out the top 3 with Phil just edging out Wilhelm for 2nd and Paulo taking another bullet.
I looked back and saw Sylvester had not recovered well and got stuck in 8th.
The gap was down to 2 point. All I needed to do was put one board between us in the last race and I'd move back into 5th overall.
GBR-451 didn't fare so well breaking a mast in the opening moments of race 1 and hustling to get back to shore to get on his 10.7 for the next race.
Making sure I got a good start, I really got off the line well and played the outside with Schurman as the other tacked back for pressure at the pier.
We tacked back and looked really good. I rounded in 3rd just behind Paulo and Wilhelm.
Downwind I sailed conservatively trying not to loose anything although Phil was catching up.
We split tacks again on the upwind as Phil tried for more pressure at the pier and myself on the outside.
This time it was his turn and he just edged me out getting to the top mark a few seconds before me.
I held onto 4th looking back to see a few boards between S3 and myself.
I was super stoked. I had a goal for the day, sailed my best and met the goal.

But it wasn't over yet- S3 filed for redress in race 1 as the RC safety boat made an abrupt movement right into his path causing him to stop and loose some time.
How much time was the key factor that the jury would need to decide.
I was one point ahead so any redress points awarded to him would affect me.
As a result I was invited into hearing as an interested party.
I made sure the redress was filed correctly and listened to make sure the detais were correct.
Then, when I got the turn to speak, I made the case that S3 should be awarded average points for the day vs average points for the regatta as today's conditions were an unique set of circumstances we hadn't seen earlier in the week. If S3 was awarded average points for the regatta he would surely beat me. If he was awarded average points for the day, I would remain ahead.

The Jury decided between the 2 and gave him an average of 6th place which put us in a tie for 5th overall.
Looking at how the tie breakers are determined in windsurfing with appendix B , the sailor with the best throw out wins. I had a 7th vs S3's 8th.
I learned a lot in this hearing seeing how jury weighs their options for redress and how you need to present your case well.

At the end of the day, Steve and I were both pretty amicable about the whole thing. Its hard to let these things get in the way of the racing but it's all part of the game

Top 5:1- BRA-333
2- BRA-999
3- KA-7
4 GBR-451
5 USA-4

Full results
More event coverage from waterhound
Shawn Davis Photos:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Berkeley pier race: Day 4 US Windsurf Champs

On the schedule today for day 4 of the US Windsurfing National Champs was a long distance race 2 times around the Berkeley pier for 3 upwind and 3 downwind legs. At the start it wasn't clear by all sailors that the race had started. The leaders got out to a big lead as most weren't familiar with the rabbit start by the RC. I was one of them so it was playing catch up the whole race. Sylvester managed to sneak ahead of Xavier and I so I'm down 4 points at the end of day 4 for the 5th overall.
The leaders sailed beautifully. In fact, it was a photo finish after 20 mile + trip 2 times around the berkeley pier for BRA999, KA7 and BRA3333.
Conditions were from 16-24k and lumpy seas. I'm not sure I could have done anything differently except pay a big more attention to the top guys around the start and try to to get any separation.
1 more day to finish strong. Saturdays forecast looks like more marine layer so maybe a chance to bring out the big guns and race with the 10.7.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Berkeley delivers

Day 3 of the US National Champs saw the Brazillians dominate both the formula and slalom courses in classic SF Bay conditions. 3 formula races were run in 18-24k followed by 3 rounds if slalom in 20-25k.
Paulo Des Reis collected another string of bullets as he's on par to sail a perfect regatta, something that I'm not sure has ever been done at the US Windsurfing National Championship. Not to be outdone, Wilhelm Schurman collected 3 bullets on the slalom course followed by a string of 2nds on the formula course.
The first race started off with the breeze filled in and most on the 9.5-10m rigs.
There wasn't as big advantage to the right side today as previous so most continued to the corners to maximize their VMGs which Paulo seemed to have the best of. He simply sailed away from the rest of the fleet. Schurman played the 2nd fiddle while McGain and Ferlet battled it out for 3rd and 4th.
Sylvester managed a consitstant day closing the gap on me and we remain tied at the end the day for 5th. In all but one race he was clearly ahead and finally I tried to wear him down in race 2 when he left the door open on a wide leeward mark rounding. The next upwind I inched my way matching his speed and angle and evern rounding in front of him at the top mark only to have him call the better lay line to the finish.
The lesson to be learned is play your last move well. It doesn't matter if your ahead or behind just make sure you don't blow it before you get the finish.
After 3 races we switched to slalom but at that point I gad to listen to my body after having been in race mode for the past 16/17 days. I gladly made my slalom gear available to Paulo as he currrenly wasn't entered in the slalom comptition and showed he's pretty solid around any race course. I'm not sure I've ever seen my gear go that fast! He gave Wilhelm and Phil a run in the 2/4 races but called it quits to save strength for tomorrow an saturdays long distance and course racing.
3 races were run in 20-25k with the San Francisco city front and golden gate bridge in the background- an amazing backdrop for racing.
Schurman clearly dominated with better gybes around the course even if Phil was ahead. PRO Darren Rogers ran the fleet till 6:45 when the last race was run and racers returned to BYC for dnner and a screening of Wind and Water, a film by Bill Wier.
On the line up tomorrow is more course racing and the possibility of anlong distance race or more slalom. The freestyle competition will continue to be run from his lordships at the bottom of the basin.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TKO by the Berkeley weed on Day 2 of the US Windsurfing National Champs

Day 2 of the US Windsurfing Nationals saw 2 more rounds of formula course racing in the early afternoon & 3 rounds of slalom finishing at 6:30 pm in the South Basin off the Berkeley Pier.
Racers were greeted to a lighter than normal fogged in Bay Wednesday morning. PRO Darren Rogers made the call formula course racing at 1:30 when Paulo Des Reis continued his domination with 2 more bullets to add to his already perfect score. Australina native Phil McGain was noticeably in the mix today trading places with BRA999 Wilhelm Schurman for 2nd & 3rd while Xavier Ferlet put in another solid performance sealing his position in 4th. I managed 1 decent finsih sneaking into 5th by some efficient out of the harness pumping downwind as the wind dropped to 15k and the 9.5 just wasn't cutting it. Time for some grunt work.

While the wind was slower to fill in today, it was the weeds on the course that got most competitors frustrated.
Every leg of the course I looked down to see a trail of weeds behind my fins.
Race 1 started with the top guys on port tack. I got a good jump and shot the pier finding a narrow slot to sail through and searched for the breeze on the normally favored right side. Unfortunately when you sail to the corners calling the lay lines can be a real risk. I underestimated and got the short end of then stick as the leaders sailed by. 2 more legs was enough to catch up to 5th putting a few positions between my nearest competitor behind and myself.
Race 2 saw the top guys get off the line well again on port as the RC moved the pin end down 2 times.
I got hosed from the start with a big trail of weeds from the begining wondering why I couldnt point or get speed. Local knowledge paid off for Sylvester and Percey as they sailed a solid race seemingly avoiding the weeds putting them back in the hunt.
We had a 90 min break on the beach as the RC switched from course racing to a gybe downwind slalom course. Having gotten skunked so many times before with slalom at Berkeley, I made the risky call to run the slalom course in my formula board, 9.5 rig and 60 cm fin in the 18-22k breeze. While it didn't quite get the job done pretty it did put me near the top in the first 2 races. By the 3rd race, it was more if a liability as I laid down the rig at the first mark to gybe only to have 3 sailors under neath me get crushed as well as my battens in the 9.5. McGain wasn't so lucky in race 1 as he sailed the wrong course after leading.
Sometimes you need to take a risk to win, other times you need to eliminate them.
At the top of the slalom rankings after 3 races, Brazillian Wilhelm Schurman maintains a solid lead. Tomorrow's forecast looks more of the same so expect formula course racing in the early afternoon followed by either more slalom or long distance. Friday and Saturday sees the return of freestyle so racers should get a needed rest but I'm fully expecting a full series of racing to continue through the weekend.
A big thanks to the RC for setting up and tearing down 2 courses on the water today.

Steve Bodner

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 1 regatta report US Windsurfing national championships

Day 1 of the 2011 US Windsurfig national championships took place in the San Franciso Bay off the Berkeley marina on Tuesday, July 12 with 39 competitors from the US, Australia, Brazil, England, Finland, Latvia and New Zealand.
4 course races were run in winds from 12-28k with the foreign sailors taking the top 3 spots. Paulo Des Reis, BRA-3333 walked away from his comptition by taking the 1st four bullets of the regatta with Wilhelm Schurman, BRA-999 holding on for 2nd in all the races. Xavier Ferlet, GBR-451 holds onto to 3rd place with myself in 4th as the top American.
Race 1 was delayed until 2:30 when the wind was not quite filled in but rather dead on the left side and building to 18k near the pier. Many sailors were caught off guard including myself as we found the big holes around the course and an unstable shifting wind. The lesson is to never give up. You never know what's going to happen to the guy in front of you.
Finally by race 2 the breeze built to a solid 25k with BRA-3333 and BRA-999 taking an early lead. I followed S3 & GBR-451 around the leeward mark and was able to carry it a bit further at the pier & managed the windward beat in 1 tack while the other 2 had to double tack at the windward mark. A lot of racing has to do with finding the right agles around the course so you can set a course to the next mark most efficiently. From there I stayed ahead taking 3rd.

Short break back on shore and another 2 back to back races in 20-25k the dying down to a managable 18-22k for the last race.
GBR-451 stepped it up adapting the the conditions with a 9.0 & 61cm fin while the rest of the fleet was on 10.0 and under. KA7 was noticlbly abscent missing the race. I managed a close race in race 3 just finishing 1/2 board behind Xavier at the finish of the 18 min race for 3rd place.
Finally in race 4, Sylvester Got a great jump at the start as I got rolled by Xavier who spritzed off the line for a great start at the pin end.
I had to fight my way through the fleet one board at a time rolling Percey upwind and Soheil off the breeze as I was able to call the better lay line at the bottom mark just before the shirt rexh to the finish. Unfortunately just not enough time to catch Sylvester and Ferlet who rounded out the top 5.

Tomorrows forecast looks similar with slalom on the agenda in the afternoon in the breeze builts enough.
Full report at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day 5 formula wondsurfing world championship

The last day of a 5 day world championship is always the hardest. You need to dig the deepest to find the energy, will and determination to keep it going, knowing that in just a few hours it's all going to be over. In most cases your fate has already been established, you're throw-outs taken and it's just a matter of not dropping any deeper in the fleet. For the sailors at the top with lower scores, there’s an opportunity to gain or lose significantly.

Going into the last day, both the men’s and women leaders only needed another bullet to secure their place on the podium. Antoine Albeau got it done with 3 races to space as he was 15 points ahead of his nearest competitor. Local San Francisco prodigy Marion Lepard, however kept the excitement going letting the number 2 girl, FRA 59 get the first 2 races then finally took the 3rd race of the day and securing her spot as the youngest girl to win the formula windsurfing world championship.

Up at top of the men’s fleet Arnon Dagon from Israel showed that he had what it took taking the last few bullets of the regatta and securing his spot in 2nd place.

Gabriel Brown, another young 19 year old from Brazil sailed an impressive last 2 days and managed to take the final place on the podium.

I'm consistently reminded of a Gary Bodie article in sailing worlds several years back about 'avoiding the big bummers.' This regatta that really struck home as I saw the guys at the top of the fleet sail consistently while the rest of the middle and back of the fleet sailors had scores all over the place.

With the approaching storm, I though it would be best to take the 9.5 in the 3rd race but it turned out it wasn't enough middle of the fleet sailed right over me on the down winds. On top of that my boom slipped right out of hands on the first gybe.


One more race to give it my all. I got off the line well on starboard tack. Steve Allen and Michael Polanoski just to my leeward certainly didn't help. I guess in this case I was the marshmallow. So be it, I charged on, holding on for the short upwind and rounding the top mark in the top 20. Downwind, I held on well going strong on my 10.7. I rounded the leeward mark on the outside of the pinwheel and tacked off early despite knowing the shore was favored. Sometimes clear air is king, so I charged the the left side of the course. The reef comes in a little closer on the low end of the course but this was the last race so I was committed and still doing relatively well. The timing couldn’t have been worse. The breaking wave over the reef had reached maximum height just as I was about to cross over it. A 6' wall of vertical water smacked me so hard I think it popped my eardrums. Somehow as I went through the face of the wave I came out if it haging on in a water start position but pretty shaken. I took me about a minute to recover as I has to really give it my all to waterstart the 10.7 as the tip submerged. Not much I could do at that point but hang on as I already reached the lay line and it was just a short reach thefinish.

Overalll, a rewarding experience to sail at another world championship. Each time I try to do just a little better than the last and despite not making my goal of the top 25, it's all good. 28th is the best I've so far and still happy to be racing windsurfers for over 20 years.

Final results, photos and live ticker from event at

Friday, July 8, 2011

Formula world champs day 4: charging the reef

Another day of up and downs for me on the racecourse today.
Despite looking like a major front was going to park itself over Peurto Rico today, we actually got 4 races off in 14-18k. Most we're in either their 11 or 12m rigs.

The big change at the top of the leader board saw Gabriel Brown jump from 6th to 2nd with a solid show of 1,3,2,3. Antoine is still dominated with a 15 point lead and 2 bullets and a 2nd & (10th) to show for today. There was plenty of action on the course with the Dutchies continuing their unfortunate streak of bad luck. After Caspers unfortunate injury on day 2, Dennis Littel got clobbered at the windward mark today as Arnon ran right over him as Dennis tried to make a quick tack at the top mark.
Sean Obrien was the other unlucky one who got taken out at the start of race 3 in a rather large collision just after the start.
Here's a view from the boat end of the start of race 11

I had my moments today but the rest of my scores seem to have balanced me out and have kept me firmly planted in 28th for the last 2 days.
Race 3 today saw a rather big mid line sag in the starboard tackers so I jumped out in front of the fleet and charged off to the port lay line blasting right over the reefs And rounded the top mark in the top 10. Talk about an adrenaline rush. I managed to hold on loosing Jesper on the downwind and a few mlre boards at the leeward rounding as I rounded behind a big pack.
Back upwind I charged to the left side again after getting knocked at the shore.
The rest of the was breathing down my neck the whole downwind and I managed a clean rounding just behind Victor Melo from Brazil. 2 guys got inside my lane but I timed my last 2 tacks perfectly cutting them off at the last rounding and finishing 15th.

Here's the video from the finish of the 2nd race of the day with the last tack at the pin end of the line towards the finish
My other races were a bit off as I couldnt quite find my groove around the course, nor did i have the confidence to charge the reef again full speed on a borrowed board. I stuck with using the replacement starboard hwr as my repair on my ML10 didn't pan out as I thought.
(I'll leave that to the expert when I get home.) I sailed the 10.7 in all races with the 70 kashy and Z fin in the first race. It's not often you get the chamce to change boards in the middle of a regatta but after my board got a hole in ,one of the organizers lent me his spare board. Very cool!
In the girls fleet local SF junior Marion Lepaed is holding onto the slimest of leads with a 3 point lead over her nearest competitor from France. Huge props to her at her first formula world champs. I think she'll have what it takes for her big event of the season in 2 weeks at the techno 293 world champs.
I cant say enough about the hospitality of the event with shade, food and water every day.
There's a big scaffolding with an announcer on the boardwalk in front of the beach and loud music pumping all day. Several of the event sponsors have set up booths on the boardwalk with samples of all their products for the public and competitors.
One more day of racing left and if I remember how Bruno runs things, it's going to be all the racing we can fit in before the last possible starting time.
Results, photos and full ticker of the event at

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Big changes for the formula windsurfing class

We just finished the annual general meeting for the formula windsurfing class. Some difficult decisions were made in favor if cutting cost for the amateur and traveling sailor. The decision to limit the class to 2 fins and 2 sails was debated and finally voted on with 9-8 vote in favor of the reduced equipment. The thinking behind the proposal was the sailors still might buy and race 3 sails but only be able to register 2 fins and 2 sails at any regatta. This will hopefully reduce the barrier to entry for new sailors intimidated by the cost if putting together a full formula quiver. It also allows sailors traveling to regattas by airlines to fit within the current airline excess baggage limitations (or at least closer to it.) Consequently it will force the sail and fin manufacturers to make their products more efficient. On the flip side, it makes the choice much harder and might favor the heavy weight sailor with the 12.0. Looking into the future, wind maximums might be the next necessary step. Im not sure it will stop the people who have the $ from buying 3 sails, but now you'll have to register 2 sails per regatta. In places like SF, this might cause some interesting debated given the current mindset but in all honestly I've been doing well with a 9.5 and 10.7 quiver for the past 2 years. On the flip side, lightweight sailors in europe might need a 12.0 and a 10.0 to cover the range while heavier sailors might choose a 12 and 11.0. The biggest burden will be put on the the manufactures how to best develop this into their new lines which are already into r&d and ready to be put into production. Maybe they can have a later release date or maybe the solution will become from the sailors with 2 sets of battens (one for heavy air and one for light air) to fit within the rules. whatever the case, it's going to take a new midset to solve the problem. Before we could have 3 sails to fit within the wind range of 6-30k. Now we must fit 2 sails to cover the same range. Traveling to events will be easier with 2 rigs. Sean O'Brien and Sergio from Argentina even the sailed the with 1 sail in their quiver.

I was pretty torn on how to vote as the US had 2 votes but I voted in favor of trying to reduce the cost given the global economic crisis we are in now. I've always been in favor of an open development class but I think thus will force the sailors and manufactures to be more efficient. It also will allow new sailors to come into the class easier.
We also voted on class dues for sailors and manufactures to promote the class and sailors. How this is achieved is yet to be determined but the idea is that a sailor doing 1or 2 events on the tour would nor have to pay as much as a professional doing all the events. A sub committee will be formed with details to follow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hurry up and slow down

Today had its series of ups and downs.
1st race saw a big rain squall move through and kill the wind leaving me in the cheap seats with my 9.5 as the wind died down to 12k.
The 2nd race I recovered well getting my best finish of 20th with my 10.9. I started well in the mid line sag just ahead of the pack getting a jump on the fleet.
I sailed right out to the layline and rounded in the pack but still feeling a bit slow downwind as I'm probably giving up some in the double chicken strap but the 10.7 was pulling well so I went with it. 3 windward /leeward laps later I had some good legs keeping my position with Micah and Schurman in the top 20. The biggest gains came from rounding the leeward mark by hurrying up and slowing down. By getting a good rounding and getting a lane to windward, I was able to climb and gain significantly.
Video from the pin end boat at the finish:

Race 3 had an hour break giving us a time to recover but it was all to much as I went from good to bad. I made the worst mistake I have ever made trying to cross a starboard tacker and failing miserably. I put a huge hole in mine and his board. I immediately retired from the race and tried to find POL 10 a board to use for the next race. I've never felt so bad racing boards knowing I was at fault but in the end that's all part if racing. We all make mistakes but it how you recover that determines the winners. I made a decent effort to race the last race on a borrowed board but the my performance just wasn't there.

Video from 3rd race start:

Video from the 4th race finish:

After racing I had a major repair to do and ended the night exhausted after adding filler and epoxy to the big gaping home in the side of my board.

Tomorrows another day so I'll give it my all and go for it all trying to break into the top 25 for the regatta.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Formula worlds day 1 report

Day 1 at the formula world champs was brutal with 18-20k on the course gusting up to the mid 20s. 3 races were run all 3 lap windward leeward finishing with a short reach around the pin end to the finish set to leeward if the starting boat. The fleet is 50 strong. The course is set up between shore and a reef a 1/2 mile out with some mini reefs in between for good nature.
The starts were insanely port tack favored so the fleet was charging in each direction. Carnage followed with some pretty close calls on the line. I narrowly avoided disaster as a port tacked POL-10 plowed into me on race 2 on the starting line putting a hole in my board but I was able to hustle back just enough so that redress wouldn't matter.
I'm sitting in 26th but it feels like I should be doing better as the fleet is one of the toughest I've ever sailed in with almost all the top pros here and just 1/3 amateurs. I'd reckon it's the closest thing to an Olympic regatta that I will ever sail in.
Everyone is making some mistakes even the guys at top so its going to be who sails the most constant that wins. So far that's Antoine, Jesper and Polanoski at the top after day 1.
You gotta love POL-10 on starboard in the video below- about 45 sec. in as he knocks in 3 port tackers with his boom and yells- "Dont fuck with my starts!"
This is from the same guy who got out of my protest and a rule 69 hearing .

Ron Kern ran into the reef and basically broke his board in 1/2 hinging just in front of the fin box. Casper got sliced with a fin and consequently got taken hospital for stitches. Nicholas from
France for t-boned by victor from Brazil rendering his board useless for the rest if the regatta. That's why you bring a spare !

The course is set up so that there's a reef and a shore limiting both sides of the course forcing most sailors tacking and gybing up the middle of the course and a more crowded race course.

To say people are running into each other would bean understatement.

To top it off, the shore is the favored side on the windward beat as you can get the geographical shift off the land after the first tack. Consequently, port tack has been favored on the starting line causing even more chaos!

I sailed the 9.5 all races with a 70 cm fin adding more downhaul than I've had before. Good upwind but a bit off the pace downwind. Maybe less tomorrow. Most others were on 10 or 10.7.
The key it seemed was to sail in clear air with the narrow course. I tacked early a few times just before the reef or shore and came back across with a good lane and gained.
Tomorrows forecast looks to be windier so hopefully a chance to move up.
More later.
Hitting the sack after a long day.
4 more days to go!

Results and photos at

Friday, July 1, 2011

Formula windsurfing world champs pre regatta update

A quick update from Puerto Rico where the Formula World Championships start next week.

The venue is awesome. Crystal clear warm bath water and a constant 12-20k breeze and so far some rain squalls almost every afternoon.

A lot of the top pros have been training here for some time and many amateurs like myself have been showing up steadily all this week. It looks like at least 50 sailors for the event with Marion and myself from the SF Bay and a 1/2 dozen US sailors from Florida. A great turn out for the first formula world champs held in north America since the inaugural worlds in 2003.

The breeze is side shore and there is a breaking reef 1/4 mile offshore so it should make for some interesting racing putting a premium on tacks and gybes just like the Friday nite series. Outside the reef there is big swell but I'm not sure we will be racing out there as there's only a few places to cross through the reef with out going over the handle bars.

It's definitely shallower than a 70cm fin! Ive lined up the last few days with some fast sailors but anything can happen on race day. I'm ready for anything with a 9.5, 10.7 and 12.0 in my quiver.

The organizers have been super helpful arranging to pick up all the sailors and their gear from the airport.

Sunday we have a practice race. Monday is registration & measurement and racing starts on Tuesday and configures through saturday. I'll update my blog and tweet @usa4.

More updates can be found at