Mission Bay is the perfect place to learn. The water is very flat and small enough for any beginner to fell safe. J - Street is more open but still with flat water. The SDWA places a lot of emphases on teaching beginners. They have 2 Starboards GO that members can rent for $5 a day! They have sails from 3.0 to5.5 to rent to. The Picnic in July and September is one of the year when Robert Van " the president" of the association teaches beginners at Mission Bay.
J-Street is famous for its turtles. Some of them up to 3 ft in diameter. We are very careful to avoid them by respect for the wild life and our fin boxes...
San Diego is blessed with a mild climate which alous the series to run all year around. The course is very simple. At J-Street it is an up wind downwind course. At Mission Bay the course is a triangle. The races are short.Usually about 10 to 15 minutes for the winner. After the first few races, the format is often handicap racing, where the riders start in a reversed order.(ie. the winner starts last)
Robert is very quick and efficient and B4 you know it you're done 5 or 6 races.
Quite often the events are a family affair with dads racing, kids and wife's learning.
I won most of the events but Lasse Uronen and Greg Redlung gave me god run for my money. Peter Bonello was also fast but he missed most of the events.
The prise giving ceremony was a very friendly affair with Robert Van and his wife hosting the event at their lovely house with a lot of food and fun.
I look forward to see the friendly bunch again in 2012.
US WINDSURFING NATIONALS 2011
The 2011 Nationals started well for me. I finished third in the first race just behind Wilhelm Schurmann.
I benefited from Steve Sylvester's advice by rigging a small sail (9.0).
Now that I know how to trim this sail it works perfectly in a very wide range of conditions form 13 to 35 knots.
All four races on the first day went well and I was able to mix it up with the top guys (Paulo dos Reis, Wilhelm Schurmann and Phil McGain) occasionally.
The event was quite physical with Slalom being run after the Formula races.
I first went out with the 7.2 and the Isonic 101 but the wind had really picked up and I didn't have the energy to handle such big sail in 30 knots.
After reaching the course area I decided to go back to the beach and change down.
Some frantic rigging up later, I made it back out in the isonic 86 and the 6.2.
That was a much better choice. I could make the jibes easily.
That hard day of racing was rewarded by climbing from fifth to fourth in slalom.
During the long distance race on day four ('Race around the Berkeley Pier') I got confused by the strange type of rabbit start. I ended up missing it by five minutes.
I couldn't even see the front runners by the time I started. I was trying to catch up all the time.
I managed to catch up with the whole fleet except the top thee and Steve Sylvester who was in good form.
The last day of the regatta started well with a flying start. I was slightly downwind of Paulo but ahead of Phil McGain. Unfortunately at the first tack my mast broke.
It took a wile to get rescued but I made it back out for the last race of the day with the 10.7.
This sail size was perfect for the wind which had dropped slightly.
Unfortunately I hadn't realised the wind had dropped so much and I didn't quite make it to the line as the gun went.
This last race was a bit of a non event catching up with the fleet but it had no bearing on the final result for me.
The prize giving was very well organized at the Berkeley Yacht Club which was hosting the event.
The final results for ME were as follow:
4th in Formula overall
1st Formula Master
4th in Slalom overall
3rd overall in Formula and Slalom combined.
In addition to this, I was overwhelmed to be awarded the Corpus Christie Bay Trophy!
It is a heavy bronze trophy with very prestigious names like Scott Steel, Steve Sylvester, Kevin & Matt Pritchard, Micah Buzianis, Dave Kashy, Mike Zajicek, Seth Besse, Paulo Dos Reis and many others.
All in all, it was a wonderful event, with all disciplines running many heats (Formula, Slalom, Freestyle) and Berkeley proving to be a windy and sunny venue.
CALCUP 2011 / THIRD ROUND
The Calcup is a series of six formula events usually run in Berkeley near San Francisco. This year the series has been well attended. The US Nationals will be run at the same venue in July. Berkeley is blessed with good sunshine and strong winds everyday from April to September.
After picking the wrong sail size a few times in the past I decided to keep my eye on windsurfing legend Steve Sylvester. Steve changed up to the 10.0 at the last minute, so did I. That was definitely the right move as the wind never picked up consistently above 15 knots.
I had good speed straight off the line but couldn’t remember which way to round the leeward mark. I lost the lead there to Sylvester. He applied his local knowledge with perfection by staying on the right side of the course which kept him in the lead. During the remaining races I remembered to stay on the right side of the course too. Chris Radkowski had good speed too, he was mixing up with Sylvester and myself . My Neilpryde RS Racing EVO III was very effective downwind. I was able to go deep even when the wind was light.
The racing was run very efficiently by Mike Percey’s son Nic and a bunch of friendly volunteers. The race committee made the right call to do just one lap for the last race as the wind was getting lighter.
The final results for round three were as follow:
1 - Xavier Ferlet /GBR451
2 - Steve Sylvester/ S3
3 - Chris Radkowski/ USA18
There are still three events to go in the series.
Lets see who will win this year!
UKWA RACER FINISHES SECOND AT THE BAY CHALLENGE IN SAN FRANCISCO
The Bay Challenge is a unique course race in the world, imagine a giant course with one upwind mark by the Golden Gate Bridge and a downwind mark near Berkeley and no other mark except for the start and the finish near St Francis Yacht Club. The course start with a short upwind leg from StFYC to Golden Gate Bridge followed by a giant downwind leg of about 10 miles all the way down to Berkeley. The last leg is upwind from Berkeley back up to SFYC.
The course is set in the beautiful bay of San Francisco. This year the wind was averaging 30 knots in the upwind part of the course, north of Alcatraz. It was the first year that the windsurfers were racing against the kites with the same start and the same course.
The state of the water was typical of San Francisco bay in windy conditions. This place is very tidal and the wind blows a harsh chop which tests riders and kit. Seth Besse had a problem with his kit which robbed him from an almost certain victory. I did not have a very good start of the race, after getting hammered by a gust during the first upwind leg. During the long downwind leg I was battling with Mike Percey. I rounded the leeward mark in third place behind Mike Percey and Eric Christianson. There were also a few kites ahead of us, they had overtaken us during the long downwind leg.
During the upwind leg leading to the finish line I was focusing on the other windsurfers. However the wind picked up over 30 knots shortly before the finish and I fell in several times loosing several minutes in the process. In the end we all finished within a few seconds of each other.
Adam Koch (last year’s course racing kite worlds champion) won by 14 seconds, I finished in second place overall and first windsurfer just 10 seconds ahead of Chip Watson , another kiter.
St Francis Yacht Club was the perfect venue for this prestigious race.
I hope I will do better next year!
UKWA Racer Xavier Ferlet won the Calcup this weekend in Berkeley near San Francisco.
In second place was veteran racer Steve Silvester.
Xavier also won the overall competition between Kitesurfers and Windsurfers.
San Francisco is one of the Formula hotbeds in America.
The conditions there are usually rough and windy.
The first regatta of the series in May didn’t go well for Xavier who finished 10th. The following two events proved more successful with two first places. The last two events of the season were dominated by the veteran racer Steve Silvester. Steve showed everyone how to do it in strong winds including racers who were about half of his age!
The kiters have been going fast this year specially in light air but the windsurfers were faster in stronger winds.
The competition occasionally attracted top racers like current kite course racing World Champion.
No doubt that this trophy will be fiercely contested next year.
This concludes a successful season for Xavier’s first year in America.
Other results include first place in the Elvstrom Zellerbach Regatta, third place at the Bay Classic and first Master at the US Nationals / North American Championship.
California is a great place for Formula with great sailing conditions in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Next Championship is the Formula Masters Worlds in Rio , Araruama, Brasil starting on the 11th of October. Hopefully more British racers will turn up to represent the UKWA.
That may be a common sight for an American but it was very unusual for a European.
The drive from LA to San Francisco is spectacular. The interstate 5 goes on for miles and miles in a perfectly line. This is nothing like what you see in Europe. The fields are colossal in size.
Everything looks surreal, completely out of scale.
The first few racers didn’t go very well. The locals knew their way around.
Eventually I got the hang of it and won a few events, only to be beaten a few weeks later by Steve Sylvester, 62year old Steve is a legend. In 25 knots, he flies. His kit is tuned to perfection.
In the end, I won the series by one point and made some good friends.