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

1 comment:

bry said...

Bummer about the battens. Hope you don't try that with the 12 :))

Stay off the weed :)