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...

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