Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign - A unique sailing competition

by USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign on 14 Sep 2013
USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign Eric Simonson @ pressuredrop
It what has become a uniquely San Francisco sailing competition, the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race pits kite boarders, windsurfers, skiffs & cameramans against each other & mother nature in an epic seven mile downwind sprint from the Golden Gate bridge to the Bay bridge. It's a celebration of high performance sailing that never stops innovating.

This year’s running was no exception with foiling kite boarder, Johnny Heineken taking the line honors in front of 69 other sailing craft and shaving almost two minutes off last year’s record run.

It what may be the only trickle down we see from the Americas Cup, foiling is finally coming of age!

You may not even recognize it as sailing with the riders levitating almost four' above the water & being pulled by a kite 25 meters away but that's the reality of high performance sailing today.

In what started, almost 15 years ago, the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race has evolved from a 27 minute downwind run set by Charlie McKee & co in a 49er to Micah Buzianis' long time record on a formula windsurfer and finally the Aussie 18's holding dominance for several years. More recently, the kite boards have surpassed every craft out there in terms of down wind speed. Foiling is just a further extension in the evolution of kiting and sailing.

It’s a free for all on the starting line with a fleet spectator boats, upside down skiffs, kites and windsurfers all charging downwind to cross the starting line set just outside the Golden Gate bridge.

I chose the fastest set up I had- a custom mikes lab 89cm slimmed down version of a formula windsurfer, 61 cm kashy fin and avanti 10.0 rig. That kept me on pace with the front of the pack as I ducked in between skiffs and kites moments after the start.

Everyone has different angles so it takes a few minutes after the start for everyone to settle into their groove and avoid any major collisions.

Windsurfer, Soheil Zahedi had a close call with the 49er who nearly took of his head but somehow escaped unscathed as both crafts charged on downwind without missing a beat.


I errored on the side of caution ducking a few sterns so as to just stay alive and make it to the finish.
Mike Percey, longtime Bay area windsurfer was just ahead of me 1/2 way down the run as we made our way through the boiling waters between Alcatraz and Pier 39. I could tell he was a bit more comfortable on his 57cm fin and similar 89cm mini formula board as he was able to go just a bit deeper with every puff and slowly walk away.

I made one more gybe as we approached the bay bridge and the pressure was dropping and came in hot to a line starboard tackers of skiffs, kites and windsurfers on the layline to the finish.

A quick gybe back put me just shy of making the finish line but I was able to get out of the harness and pump for the last 30 seconds and squeeze into second behind Mike as we rounded out the top group.
As expected, the kites dominated with 9 out of the top 10 spots and foilers taking the top 2 spots. Tom Siebel's MOD 70 Orion was the only multi hull to keep pace with the kites finishing an impressive fifth while Smart Recruiters, an Extreme 40 catamaran and YAMAHA, an aussie 18 skiff just edged Mike and I out and the rest of the windsurfers who took 13-19th place.


Overall- one of the funniest races of the year with a great awards ceremony at the St. Francis Yacht Club following the race to a full house of sailing enthusiast.

A huge thanks to Ronstan and Alan Prussia for putting on the event as well as the race crew at the St.FYC. And the biggest thanks of all to our local board builder- Mike Zaijcek who has built almost everyone of the windsurf and kite boards in our fleet. In the last few years, his boards have won almost every major windsurfing and kiteboarding competition, including the bridge to bridge, world championships, speed championships and now open foiling championships.

Southern Spars - 100Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

World Sailing - The World Sailing Show - December 2016
December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing December 2016 edition of the World Sailing Show summarising the month in the world of sailing covering America's Cup, racing in the Southern Ocean and more. Plus, Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Sir Russell Coutts; our tribute to a spectacular year afloat along with news and views from around the world.
Posted on 28 Dec 2016
What happened to Deepwater Horizon Oil?
What happened to the 160 million gallons of oil that gushed for 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? Six years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we are continually asked two questions. What happened to the 160 million gallons of oil that gushed for 87 days into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? Was discharging 1.67 million gallons of chemicals into the ocean to disperse the oil a good or bad idea?
Posted on 24 Dec 2016
USA takes three medals at 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship
US Sailing’s 13-member 2016 Youth Sailing Worlds Team (YWT) secured three medals at the world’s premier youth regatta US Sailing’s 13-member 2016 Youth Sailing World Championship Team (YWT) secured three medals at the world’s premier youth regatta, including gold in the boy’s 420, silver in the Nacra 15 open multihull, and bronze in the boy’s Laser Radial.
Posted on 21 Dec 2016
Italians lift Nations Trophy to close Aon Youth Worlds
Burling and Meech spoke of the sailing pathway the participants could enjoy, remembering their time sailing Master of ceremonies, and affectionately known as the 'voice of yachting', Pete Montgomery began proceedings at the Auckland University of Technology City Campus by welcoming the 389 sailors from 65 nations, coaches and guests.
Posted on 20 Dec 2016
Double gold for British Team at AON Youth Sailing World Championships
Emma Wilson wrapped up RS:X crown with a day to spare before Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling sealed a dramatic victory Windsurfer Emma Wilson wrapped up the RS:X Girls crown with a day to spare on Monday before Crispin Beaumont and Tom Darling sealed a dramatic victory in 29er Boys event on the final day of racing today
Posted on 20 Dec 2016
Esctasy and despair at Aon Youth World Sailing Championships
Racing came to a thrilling climax in Auckland, New Zealand as all medals were confirmed in finale of Aon Youth Worlds. Racing came to a thrilling climax in Auckland, New Zealand as all medals were confirmed in the finale of the 2016 Aon Youth World Sailing Championships.
Posted on 20 Dec 2016
AON Youth Sailing World Championships – Wilson windsurfs to early gold
The 17-year old, who won silver at the 2015 event, dominated the girls’ windsurfing class and led from start to finish The 17-year old, who won silver at the 2015 event, dominated the girls’ windsurfing class and led from start to finish to hold such a points advantage at the close of racing on Monday (19 December) that her lead cannot be overhauled on the final day on Tuesday.
Posted on 19 Dec 2016
Golds galore at Aon Youth Sailing World Championships
French multihull sailors secured the inaugural Nacra 15 gold, the Australian 29er girl's won their first ever regatta The French multihull sailors secured the inaugural Nacra 15 gold, the Australian 29er girl's won their first ever regatta, USA's 420 boys dieting and dedication paid off and both Israel and Great Britain took the RS:X titles.
Posted on 19 Dec 2016
Aon Youth Sailing World Championship - Running away with the RS:X
There could be some early winners at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships as Great Britain and Israel There could be some early winners at the 2016 Aon Youth Sailing World Championships as Great Britain and Israel begin to run away with the RS:X gold medals on day three.
Posted on 18 Dec 2016
World Sailing publishes YOG equipment limitations for kiteboarding
World Sailing has published the equipment limitations to the kiteboarding events in the Youth Olympic Games 2018. World Sailing has published the equipment limitations to the kiteboarding events in the Youth Olympic Games 2018. The formats for all events (including kiteboarding, windsurfing and mixed multihull) will be published in a separate document, however for kiteboarding the format will be downwind slalom / boardercross, with obstacles added to the course depending on the wind strength.
Posted on 17 Dec 2016