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USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign - Finding 5th gear...

Erin Loscocco    Click Here to view large photo

As if the previous 30 mile+ day of overpowered racing wasn't enough- the RC decided to do three marathon races across the San Francisco Bay for the second day of the Ronstan Challenge.

The course was a start near the St. FYC to a quick upwind mark near the Presidio shoal- across the Bay to a boat stationed at yellow bluff, straight downwind to Harding Rock- then across the bay again to a buoy at Ft. Mason and finally another quick upwind leg to the finish.


Since there was a lot of reaching and the wind was supposed to come up quickly- I went for the smaller ml89 formula board and 60cm kashy fin with my 10m avanti m-2 machine. Both Mike Percey and I were on the smaller boards while the rest of the fleet was on normal formula boards.

There's a huge advantage with the smaller board when the wind comes up but at the same time- if you get into any lighter winds, it goes right out the back door.
Race 1- Wind- 12-18k.


Soheil sailed a clean race- staying ahead on his JP formula and NP 10.0 while I got stuck in a few holes that put me back in the cheap seats. The Ml 89 lost its edge upwind as the fleet sailed by in the light stuff.

Coming back across the bay on the bottom reach- it felt more like an upwind with the flood tide ripping down at 4k.


Race 2- increasing breeze from 15-20k. This time I made sure to stay in the breeze and really over stood the upwind mark in the flood tide and came in strong leading the pack on the first beat across to Yellow Bluff. This time- there was no boat and no mark.

Maybe its just my eyes playing tricks on me, I thought.

I turn back to see the rest of the fleet heading way downwind of me.

I put it in over gear and went to the chicken strap blazing downwind through some nasty swell around Harding Rock getting Percey as he rounded wide. It took me almost the whole leg to get above a mid fleet foiling kiter on the same beat but lost it just like that as it got lighter near Ft. Mason. I tacked as soon as I could cross the mark and Percy continued in the hole.


Back in the lead but not for long.

Soheil made a quick tack after the mark and was closing the distance.

He tacked back but was well short of the finish line.

Never ever underestimate the flood tide.

I had to make the perfect layline call or else...

I tacked and just made it across the pin end a 1/2 board length in front of Soheil who was shooting the line at the boat.

A quick break onshore only to return to the last race were it had picked up significantly- very significantly.

I made a big change to the avanti rig by moving into the inside grommet on the leach. This pulls the leach even more and depowers the sail.


I dropped my sail on the two tacks but held it together the rest of the rest of the race in some of the heaviest conditions I've experienced. I crossed the first reach to yellow bluff where I just kept sailing into Richardsons Bay to find a less chaotic place to gybe. Surely I'd overstood Harding but I was spot on. Percey went down hard behind me. No one else was in sight. It was a solid 30-35k at Harding when I rounded with 4-6' breakers all around me. I did everything just to keep the board moving while hardly trimmed in at all. The next beat across the bay was a real leg burner. No easy way around it.


I got the bullet in the last race by a few minutes and took the days racing.

While I probably would have been better off on the smaller sail, I’m stoked to have learned about the extra gear with a few small changes in the rig.


The foil kites had their handful for sure getting around the box course in that breeze. Heineken took the top spot followed by Joey and Chip in the top three.


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by Steve Bodner


  

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4:36 PM Tue 17 Jun 2014GMT


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