Friday, July 27, 2012

8 day windsurfing bender

 8 days & 32 windsurf races later this summer windsurfing bender comes to an end. We completed 8 formula races & 12 slalom heats at the US Windsurfing National Champs in the gorge this week (and for those you following- that was after a 5 day formula north American champs in SF last week.)
Going into the last 2 races my energy level was just about depleted. My muscles ached, my feet were cut, my ronstan watch was even giving me a blank face, not with its usual count down but with a WTF are you doing look!
I think the thing that got me was starting formula races at 9:45 in the morning.  
Darren Rogers saw "the cloud in the hole," which meant accelerated breeze down the gorge corridor for the last day of racing. 
I had gotten a good jump on the 1st race of the day finishing 3rd but Xavier was 5th so that meant we were tied going into the last race. The breeze was 16-18k and I was having good speed and angle on my avanti 10.0 &  zf71 fin in my starboard 167. I arrived in a pack at the top mark with 5 other racers and gybed early following Bruce back to the middle of the river. I've learned that lesson well- don't split tacks with the undisputed king of the river. At the leeward mark I had a clear lane back up the port beat upwind. I held my own with Percey in tow. We split tacks downwind and I was able to sneak into 3rd. 
Going into the last race I switched down to my 64 fin as the breeze was up to 18-22k. I tried to protect the left side of the course as the breeze was sw but alas Phil &; Xavier got an early jump on me in the stronger breeze in the middle of the river. Xavier just edged me out by 1 point to take 2nd in the formula fleet but thus is the closest I've been this season. Phil was in a league of his own making the Maui Sails look very fast & took every bullet of the series except where he was dsq'ed for a port/starboard incident on day 2. 

The call was made to switch to slalom with a 11:30 start. I hadn't even had my morning coffee yet and I was rigging my 4th sail of the day. I went with what was working best- the ml 70cm slalom board, 44cm fin & 7.8 north warp. The board comes out beautifully from the gybes and is effortless to sail. 
I know I didn't have the top speed as the top 2-3 guys in the fleet as I don't get to race slalom as much as formula but I knew I could be consistant. I had 3s and 4s from the previous days and was sitting in 5th overall for the slalom out of 44 racers. 
First race I hit the start perfect coming into the first mark in the pack but climbed right over then and was comfortably in 3rd behind Bruce &Phil 1/2 way through the race. I fell on 1 gybe but minimized the damages by only letting one guy pass me and finished a strong 4th. 

Next 2 races I was doing well but not in the top hunt as I was getting a bit OP'ed with the 7.8 in 22-25k. Normally I would have switched down to the 7.0 but my mast snapped the previous day leaving my luff sleeve with a pretty impressive 6' tear. 
Ouch! Run with what you've got.
1 more round of slalom with 3 races. For each fleet. I went down hard the 2nd race but just held it together with a top 5 finish in the last race to take the mens masters division title (just in front of Xavier!)
Bruce had a strong slalom showing so that bumped him up in the overall for 2nd behind Phil who killed it again in slalom. Tyson Poor was the only one to properly challenge him tying him in points but Phil won the tiebreaker. 
In 3rd place overall Xavier &; I tied for points but I was able to win the tiebreaker with the better throwout from the formula & slalom series. 
3rd overall ,1st  in men's masters slalom &; 3rd in formula was how I ended things. I couldn't be more stoked. I gave it my all and came out well. 
There's still some things to improve on but with Phil the great grand master still kicking my ass I think I'll have plenty if time to get it right. 

Overall a great regatta with the AWT stepping up to run the event. 
Thanks to all the volunteers who made it happen. 

Thanks to my plethora of sponsors & team that helped make it all happen:
St.FYC, Neil Pryde, Avanti, North, Starboard, Z fins, Patagonia & Mikeslab. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

US Windsurfing Nationals: Take it while you can get it.

US Windsurfing Nationals Day 3 from American Windsurfing Tour on Vimeo.

The forecast looks meager at best during this weeks us windsurfing nationals in the gorge.
Day 1 started with 3 formula course races in 10-16k then building to 14-18k before we switched to slalom where 6 heats were run.
So far consistency has paid off with no over earlies & no big bummers. Except for a slalom mast breaking in the beach I was pretty consistent with a 3-3-3 in formula behind Phil and Xavier. I used 10.7 in first 2 races before switching down to 10.0 for last race. Racing was close with the top 3 walking away from the rest if the fleet. Out front was McGain and then Xavier and finally myself battling it out. I was able to get good starts on starboard and hold my angle well upwind. The Np 10.7 really trucks downwind in the 12-15k range.
Last start I got below a few slow starters and had too work my back though the fleet. The 10.0 was well powered in 16-18k and I managed to get back to third by tacking back early in the 2nd upwind beat and getting a nice lift behind Wells island right to the mark.
We had a 30min break before switching to slalom where I again was constant with 3 4th places. I was playing it safe not trying to make any mistakes but fully charging in the 1st and 2nd beats.
After that it's kind of a parade so I must concentrated in making all my gybes. The slalom hears are divided into 4 groups of 11 sailed each so 22 on the line or each start.

US Windsurfing Nationals Day 2 from American Windsurfing Tour on Vimeo.

Day 2
Slow start for the breeze to fill in with a 1pm start & 3 course races followed by 3 slalom races.
Wind was lighter than the previous days so 10.7 was working well. I charged hard off the line and was going back and forth with Xavier for 2nd behind Phil. It can down to the last gybe where I was able to squeeze past him by pumping just a bit harder and get going 2 seconds sooner.
Sometimes that's all it takes!

Race 2 started with me winning the pin and getting a good jump on the fleet and was climbing on Phil on starboard tack but his angle seemed better better matched on port. I was running the z 71 fin with the 10.7 with good speed. Downwind I had Bruce for 2nd but it looked like the tacking angles were similar to yesterday so I tried to tack back and gain on Phil but ended up loosing Bruce as both he and Phil were able to make the layline in 1 tack. Downwind it was Bruce who just snuck by Phil at the finish but it turned out Bruce was osc.
Great lesson- keep your cover.

Race 3 started similarly with most of the fleet on starboard except Xavier was looking to comeback strong as he broke a harness line in the previous race. I switched down to my 10.0 as it was already 18-22k. Speed and angle were very good. Xavier was a bit closer to Phil charging the front while I was going back and forth with Bruce. He finally got me in the last downwind as I finished 4th.
Another 1/2 hour break and off again for 3 rounds of slalom.
I was way more consistent today at least for the last 2 races where I picked up a 2nd & 3rd. In race 1 I got hosed at the first mark with Percy sailing right over me as I went down.
The next 2 races I again charged hard making the big gains at mark 1. I feel really comfortable with the 7.8 and ml slalom. The board gybes really well and comes up on a plane soon after coming out of the gybes. I was running a 44cm carbon fin in 16-22k.
At the end of the day- sailing good but still some room to improve as always.
3rd in formula & 4th or 5th in slalom.
1 more day of racing to finish this 8 day windsurfing bender of 2 back to back regattas.

Monday, July 23, 2012

putting it all together

I'm not sure the regatta could have ended on a higher note.
I got my best results of the series on the last day with a 4-4-3 bumping me up 2 positions to 6th overall- just shy of my top 5 goal but at this point Im stoked to have found the speed and angle around the course to hang with the top guys.
Conditions weren't as hairy as the previous 2 days but rather a modest 15-22k and a flat water flood tide. The avanti 10.0 came alive in terms of performance and I was able to use it all 3 races. I had my mast track pegged a bit more forward and everything felt dialed. My starts were much better popping out from the pack and getting a clear lane to grind upwind. Its times like these when everything lines up that keeps me coming back.
Details form the race are a little fuzzy at this point but I do recall making the biggest gains right from the start off the line with good starts. My 1st 2 races I got off the line on port tack with a few others and held strong up the long beat to windward. Im beginning to finally realize what it takes to fly the 64cm fin efficiently. You really need to keep on your toes to keep the foil trimmed correctly or your angle suffers. Downwind- it's a dream through the chop and swell. 
I was playing things a bit conservatively in the flood tide by overstanding and that probably cost me 1 or 2 places but better to be safe than have to double tack the windward mark. Downwind, its just the opposite- you can take advantage of the flood tide by understanding the leeward gate and pushing hard in the flood tide for big gains.
Since we were sailing a single lap course, the legs were quite long so you needed to be aware of how sailing next to the shore would affect the boundaries of the course. I finally nailed it by rounding the leward gate and heading outside and not tacking back until I could cross last chance beach, Once there- you could tack and take advantage of the inside southerly lift and almost make the line wile the others who banged the outise corner had to deal with the flood tide across the bows and with out a doubt had to double tack the finish line.
The last race I rounded 3rd behind Al and Schurman. I had a good lane on Al upwind and was confident I had him but Schurman and the rest of the fleet went inside. Who to cover?
I stuck with my gut and went outside and the puffs inside were still random. The mistake I made was overestimating how much flood was left. When Al tacked for the finish, I waited another 10 seconds but this was too much as he called the layline perfectly and snagged 2nd. We almost got Schurman as he was struggling inside with lighter air.
Overall- very happy.
Now off to the gorge for the US Nationals.
Stay tuned.....

Sunday, July 22, 2012

finding your limit

Day 4 on the formula windsurfing North American championship was about finding your personal limits. How much could you give before breaking?
It was a battle against mother nature and she served up quite a plateful on the San Francisco Bay.
Conditions were epic for racing with 20-30k of wind, voodoo chop and sunshine.
We had 3 races with BRA999 continued to dominate but the local fleet was a lot closer giving the top  pros a run for their money. Our fleet showed them what we do best- run deep in the voodoo chop. It was balls to the walls sailing downwind in viscous chop, ferry boat wake and container ship traffic.
I started off the day with 2 4th places- my best so far but the last race kicked my ass and I had to settle for 9th. Tom and I had the same idea- start on port and get to the middle of the Bay where there was a more consistent breeze. We both found holes in the starboard tack line and poked through giving up a clear lane up the first beat. At the windward mark set near the presidio shoal the winds were already gusting 25k+. The pack rounded and immediately jetted downwind through the voodoo chop and swell. I though- just keep it together- the leaders arein sight- you might actually get this one! I charged as hard as I could getting to the leeward mark in 3rd just behind Jesper. I had a batter rounding and was climbing on him but meanwhile Xavier was putting the hammer down footing below us with better speed. I let Jesper tack thinking he didnt have the layline but he just made it and Xavier was able to speed below me just grabbing 3rd.
Next race- same scenario- Tom and I on port. The fleet was tight at every mark. One mistake and you were shot out or swallowed alive. I literally saw CRAD get swallowed by a ferry wake at the leeward gate. The last upwind was brutal. I found myself in 3rd again but with Tom on my weather hip., We both had similar speed and angle but as the beat wore on I was getting knocked down in the 30k puffs with my 9.5 rig. I tacked only because I could keep my body contorted any longer. Luckily it was right on the layline but Tom just edged me out for 3rd.
The last race kicked my ass. I fell on my gybe downwind and was out the back door.
Oh well 2 out of 3 would have to do.
Im still only 1/2 way done with this bender as the US Nationals start on tuesday in the gorge.
Pace yourself is my matra

Saturday, July 21, 2012

local knowledge vs internationa lexpereince

Our fleet has stepped it up today with local knowledge paying off. Despite Schurman continuing to dominate, Eric & Al set the bar high continuing to charge the top 5.
The course was changed to a single windward/leeward with 2 mile legs so
the long beats & current played a big factor.

I've been struggling to put together a decent regatta this week with some good moves around the course but nothing yet that has popped me in the front pack.
An OCS in race 4 put a damper on my first race of the day as I came out of the gate a bit too strong but continued the race anyway & got a 5th. I rounded the leeward gate just in front of BRA999 & held him off on the long grind upwind. Good practice even if it ended up not counting.
Next 2 starts I was a bit more timid and paid the price again getting a 2nd row start. . In this fleet you can't make any mistakes & have to be on your A game every minute or else someone will be there ready to capitalize on your mistake.

Finally in race 3 the breeze and chop were up giving the locals a chance to shine. The ebb had started on the inside and the breeze was gusting to 25k+
outside.  I got taken out when I had to duck below a 50' sailboat sailing right through our windward mark layline. The wind shadow ripped the rig right out of my hands. Ouch.
I rounded the top mark deep in 8th but had a brilliant downwind catching up to 4th as there was some carnage on the inside of the course where Jesper and Al went swimming.
Downwind through the voodoo chop I made some gains sailing right to the gates while others overstood.
The regatta is at it half way point with the leaders settling in but still opportunities to make gains.
Top 5 is still within grabs!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 1 report from the trenches.

It's all out the comeback I remind myself as I dig a deep hole at the end of day 1.
Overall a great day of racing but the odds did not seem to be in my favor. 8-8-5 finishes in marginal conditions then a good race when the wind came up.
On top of it all my file for redress got denied for a technicality. Ouch!
The jury was pretty insistent that I hailed protest despite informing the RC after the race & informing the protestee that I intended to protest after I found him on shore. But rules are rules & I won't make that mistake again. Yell those magic words after any incident just to cover your ass!

video via Patrik Pollok
Race 1 started as the ebb built. I went out early on my 10.0 & 64 thinking breeze up at any moment but came in to switch to my big fin.  I headed into 1st start with power but got taken down at the start by a barger who dropped their sail on me. I made an effort to come back but never got through the mid pack in the 2 lap race. The  breeze was shifty 12-16k going back & forth from sw to NW puffs.  I even overstood finish letting  Crad slip in there. Eric & Al sailed a solid race grabbing the top local spots while Wilhelm slipped in there grabbing the bullet & Jesper had to settle for 2nd. Avoiding the obstacles is foremost in putting together a good series.
Race 2. Wind was still up & down & shifty. Fog cane in mixing it up alot.
I let off 1/2" of downhaul & bumped my booms up for more power as I didnt have enough time to switch rigs.  The course was shortened but I didn't take notice. I paid the price. I overstood the top mark & the finish line giving up 3-4 spots. Ahhh! Not as bad luck as Jesper who broke a boom. Wilhelm again took the bullet with the 10.7. I felt like I had great speed downwind gaining a few spots but just need to kept my head in the game.
Race 3 we had a break onshore while the kites went out again. Breeze was building. I switched to 9.5 & 64 fin and found the edge. It was a 1 lap race. I played the breeze & gained a few boards downwind outside and was in the hunt at the leeward mark with Tom & Xavier just ahead leading the charge to the shore as Wilhelm & Jesper sailed outside to the breeze. Xavier almost made the cross at the end but Jesper prevailed and got the bullet. I was 5th but felt more solid in the breeze.
3 more days to get it together.

photos via @stfyc

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Practice race

Day 1 of my 8 day windsurfing bender: 5 days of racing FW North Americans in SF then off the gorge for the US Windsurfing National Championships. Video by Patrik Pollok

Monday, July 16, 2012

the early years

 I'm working on an 'interpretive display' for our community out reach at Crissy Field for the GGNRA requirements to host our upcoming event there and came across some great history of the sport via the Original Windsurfer site.. The timeline there tells the story month by month in the early days of the sport and how it developed over the course of time. 
Enjoy- and be sure to stop by Crissy Field this week to see the display!

 windsurfing- the early years

1969: The year the sport got it's name

Hoyle and Diane Schweitzer commissioned Malibu Yacht Club member Phil Wilson and
his wife Buoy to make a promotional film to play at boat shows.



Nor Cal Windsurfing



1978 labatts beer comercial


1977: The end of the first decade

 Paul Hengstebeck's footage captures the Windsurfer lifestyle.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Local knowledge

Local knowledge goes a long way after you've been sailing the same course since 1978.
 "It was a good advantage to be screwed before," noted Chip Wasson who's the only sailor to have won the event on a windsurfer and also a kite board.  Chip took both the SF Classic & Ultra Nectar Challenge this year beating the rest of the 35 board fleet of kite boards & formula windsurfers with an elapsed time of  just over 2 hours on the 50 mile + tour of the San Francisco Bay.

The legend begins not with Mr. Wasson but within the annals of windsurfing history.
The San Francisco Classic dates itself as one of the oldest continuing running long distance windsurfing races in the world.
The start is off Crissy Field with the first leg to windward around a huge nun buoy beyond the south tower of the golden gate bridge where a washing machine of eddies and waves churn. Next the reaching begins- off to starboard to a stationed boat near the north tower and then back to the city front. (In 1982 a second triangle around the above course was added.) The course crosses the Bay 8 more times. Racers must sail either below Alcatraz to Blossom Rock and then close reach back to the nastiest mark on the course- Point Blunt on the southern tip of Angel Island. There the wind accelerates to 40k amidst swirling currents and standing waves. After Blunt, it's all down hill broader reaches and easing winds, except  that the racers are usually too spend to appreciate it. The final insult comes when the wind lightens so much that pumping is required for the last 1/2 mile reach to the finish at the eastern most gap in the Berkeley Pier.

The story goes, that after winning year after year and waiting for the rest of the fleet to finish at the bottom of the Berkeley Pier, Robbie Naish casually sailed back upwind to the St, Francis Yacht Club while the rest of the fleet hopped in their waiting cars with their boards strapped to their roofs crossing the Bay bridge back to city and the prize giving.

There lies the start of the next challenge or aptly named- "The Ultra Nectar Challenge."

Racer's finishing time for the SF Classic is their starting time for the UN Challenge. The course is a free upwind leg with no marks except for the finish line set in front of the St.FYC on the San Francisco city front.
Its the only race I know of that requires you to sail a 22 mile downwind slalom course  in order to start the next race.
An epic feat of proportions any way you look at it!

This years race was no exception. With a full moon just days before the flood tide was raging at almost 4 knots under the Golden Gate Bridge. The Red Nun looked like it was being towed upwind with waves stacked up on its windward side.
Any experienced racer of the SF Classic will tell you its equally about playing the wind and the currents and this is how the race was won- just 5 minutes into the 2 hour + journey.
At the start of the race, it was only 8-12k and a glassy smooth up swelling but that would change just 10 min into the race when racers had to gybe around a hellish field of voodoo chop at the north tower with puffs already into the high 20's

Both Chip and Tom Purcell lead the charge and sailed up through the gap between the South Tower and Fort Point getting some relief from the 4k flood pouring in through the gate while the rest of the fleet (myself included- d'oh) sailed almost twice the distance under the mid span in the hardest part of the flood tide. By the time they rounded the first mark they had practically already won the race as they had a 4-5 min lead coming into Anita Rock for the downwind reaching trip to Berkeley.

Thanks to Arnaud for the photos from Crissy from the start, the bottom of the triangle and the Anita rounding
I lead the rest of the port tack fleet up and under the gate getting to the lay line then sailing another 30 seconds past to account for the flood. I came in strong and was 3 or 4th at the top mark battling with  Soheil just on my tail.
I ate it at the north tower gybing in what looked like the largest mogul field you've ever seen on a 45 degree double black diamond icy mountain slope. The rest of the fleet however was still struggling to get around the top mark fumbling in the flood tide.  I caught up again with Soheil after rounding Anita and off to Harding as I had a bit more power with starboard 167 in the lighter patch just off Anita. Once we got close to Harding Rock  things began to heat up again with the puffs in mid to high 20's and a decent amount of voodoo chop to contend with. We both sailed below Alcatraz getting as close to the island as possible without losing the wind.
Blossom Rock was another mine field.  The wind was gusting to 30k+ and the race wasn't even at it hardest point yet.
Gybing was not really an option but more so just turning the board and flipping the sail over to the other side as to avoid falling in and being sucked up by a black hole of churning voodoo chop.
I wasnt so much sailing but surviving. There was no way to put the pedal to the medal even with a 64cm fin a 9.5 rig but falling would require even more effort to get going again. I kept charging even with Xavier sailing through my lee and passing me at Point Blunt.  I really didnt care that I was getting passed I just wanted to finish this race and be done.
Another harrowing reach back to R2 and back to R4.
This is where I made my mistake and let Soheil get past me. I carried on further on port tack past R4 while Soheil gybed right away. As I came into the top of the Pier I could see he had a good lead but the one rule of thumb Ive learned over the years is to never ever give up. Anything can happen.
Sure enough he went down on his last gybe at the X buoy on the Olympic circle.
A charge went off inside me telling me to push a little bit harder.
But alas not enough time to real him in as I finished in 6th place letting Headington sneak past me on his kite somewhere along the ride.
I was spend. I mean really gone. I had no energy for the upwind ride back home so I decided just to sail back conserving as much effort and not really focusing on the race. I tacked when by back start hurting, Stopped again to lower my boom. Stopped again to lower my booms again. The wind was gusting into the mid 30's with no relief in sight.
I had a brief moment of adrenalin as I saw Tom down with his second broken mast of the week.
There's one more spot I thought to myself but I really couldnt keep in going after getting knocked down several times upwind
10 min back behind the leaders I finished but nearly collapsed in the parking lot from exhaustion.

Thanks to Arnaud for the photos from the race deck at the finish of the UN Challenge
That was the toughest race Ive ever done but I didnt even have a decent story to tell compared to waht happened behind me.

Jean nearly collided with a container ship on the way downwind as he was sailing directly across its path. The safety boat reached him at the last second and they made a  effort to flag him away. He made a effort to gybe but looked over his shoulder and saw the bow of the freighter coming down on him. That's when he decided to jump off his board and swim away- which probably saved him as his gear was tossed like a rag doll form the bow wake.
Soheil had a equally harrowing experience as  his board and rig got away from him  in one of the 40k puffs and went cartwheeling down wind end over end. He swam for 5 min to catch up and just barely made it before his gear crashed onto the rocky shores of Alcatraz.

The kitemare stories coming in were pretty harrowing as well with one kiter wrapping his lines up on the south tower and having to climb up the base tower on the small ladder to get rescued sans kite.

A huge congratulations to the  22 sailors who finished the race and for Tom for showing that Xavier is indeed beatable.
Also a huge thanks for all the RC, volunteers and chase boats form the St,FYC .
SF classic results
UN Challenge results

dueling winds- sf classic day 2 course racing

The iwindsurf forecast was spot on for Sunday for the SF city front
Dueling competing NW & SW winds fighting for control
The gusts were spastic and sailors 50' away would be getting lifts while others would be getting knocked.
To say the least- it was a challenging day of racing but everyone had to deal with the same conditions.
By the last race however, the wind jumped from 10-15 to 35K and only 3 of us were able to make it around the course.
I used the opportunity to try to test my 10.0 in as many conditions as possible.
The big difference was rigging with more downhaul.
The sail performed well but the 68 z f series fin felt a bit too soft especially in the spastic gusts where I would get completely lifted out of the water and spat down like a fly. Believe me- I wasn't the only one.
Cm by cm I moved the mast forward after every race for better control and by the last race it was pegged almost all the way forward.  I still think the track could be a bit more forward on the *167.
Its really important to know the limits of your equipment and to take advantage of switching to the optimal sail or fin when you've got the opportunity- or else others will .  Even how you trim your sail or your mast track position can affect  a lot of things

Thanks to StFYC for the photos

Our fleet is really tight and any number of sailors can win a race on any given day.
Tom took the weekend by surprise winning the SF Classic and the course racing on Sunday.
His equipment was optimized for the conditions.
The north 10.0 and 9.3 like a lot of wind and that's pretty much what we had.
Toms using a 68 kashy and a dialed in L10  so no excuses from his quiver.
Xavier ended up in 2nd but I could tell in the lighter stuff he was suffering on 9.0 and 61 cm fin in terms of angle.
We had 1 race where it was only 8-12 at the start and you had to stat in the pressure otherwise you were screwed.
The trick is just not to get stuck below as you'll be footing at the same angle while the rest of the local fleet pinches in the puffs.
I snuck ahead of Soheil in the last race of the series otherwise he had me in almost every race.
He's found his optimal trim conditions with his NP evo4 9.5, ML12 board and ifju 67 fin.
Awesome to see him get it all together as dialing in your kit can be one of the hardest things to do.

I was a bit up and down in terms of performance although you cant expect a results if you start in the 2nd row, I got screwed 2x upwind off the starting line in bad air and had to foot like crazy to get a lane I could sail in.
Downwind Im still very impressed with the 167.
It goes really well except when it gets too over powered.
Im finding you need to fin down sooner as the board already has plenty of power
Upwind there's a fine line of too much power or not enough.
Ive experienced the 71 Z F to be too flighty in anything over 15-16k and chop but also the 64 kashy to be not quite enough upwind when its not completely lit.
Still searching for those optimal trim settings....

Race 1 saw Xavier edge out Tom, Soheil in 3rd and myself in 4th as I got hosed off the start and didn't have enough time to recover in the 18min 2 lap races. Everyone's got their stuff dialed and there's no room for error.
Race 2 saw me ducking Eric off the start as I started on port but ended up with Soheil on my hip and no room to breath so I again went to foot and lost a lot in the 1st 20% of the race. Downwind rounding the gate- there was only one option- to go back inside and get the shore lift. A parade but it kept you on your toes. The spastic gust made it interesting as racers on the same tack were getting lifted and knocked.  Again 4th
Race 3 was really light at the start. In fact light enough that you need to stay up on the line almost 4 min before the start. I immediately tacked over with Soheil 20 seconds after the start to get back in the fresher breeze in the middle of the Bay while Tom, Xavier and Eric got stuck on the inside. Downwind it got lit up pretty quickly and Tom ate it on his gybe and it was clear sailing into 2nd as Soheil maintained control and got the bullet. I nearly lost it heading in the seas wall from the  leeward gate as I got a spastic gust that lifted me right out of the water. Luckily it spat down into a waterstart position and was able to recover relatively quickly.
Race 4- My mistake- not rigging down as Tom switched down to 9.3 and Xavier was already on 9.0. The wind shot up to 35k + on the first upwind. It was stupid windy to the point where control was the only issue with my 10.0. Tom just edged out Xavier for the win while I held it together for 3rdedging out 'Mr Comeback' Jean Rathle!
Never ever give up!

Thanks to StFYC for the photos and great day of racing