by Steve Bodner
USA 4 Windsurfing Campaign - Ronstan challenge. Steve Bodner provides an update.
Omfg what a race!
13-16k at the start and 25-30k at the finish just over an hour later and 20+ miles in the GPS.
It was indeed a challenge to hang onto the same gear the entire race. My 10.0 was a bit too much as I was doing everything to depower most of the race
I sailed the top of the course and had a good idea of my plan for the race. Immediately gybe after the top mark and get into the flood for the long haul downwind.
The mixed fleet of foiling kites, kite course boards and formula boards started on starboard and immediately out of the gates the foiling boards were off like a blur.
I had a good start just by crad and we battled the rest if the windward beat with him slowly getting the better of me with the bigger 68cm fin as the wind was at its lowest point of the day.
I was set up for the breeze to arrive with my 64 Kashy but this was only the opening moves... Crad tacked first with Tom following quickly. I waited another 20 seconds as I knew the flood tide was still raging. We all understood and had to double tack and finally when I made the mark I immediately gybed away going for the stronger flood tide in the middle if the bay as Tom and Crad played the city front. This paid off for me as I crossed Crad 2/3 of the way down to Alcatraz.
Once past Alcatraz things got heavy and I moved into the double chicken every few minutes as to maintain enough energy for the entire race.
The foil boards were well off in front as Crad and I continued to cross each other while I maintained the slightest of leads blazing downwind through the Berkeley circle. Going deep downwind past the end of the pier things continued to get rough but the avanti 10.0 was pulling like a truck with great power. I had the outhaul eased with the outhaul in the middle grommet.
At the leeward mark I rounded just behind Headington on the first kite course board and we began the long haul back upwind. Crad was on my hip grinding hard to weather while Heady was just to leeward as we got into some pretty heavy conditions.
Point Blunt was reading 28-32k as we passed through.
All I could do to maintain was to pinch and try to keep the board moving as we headed upwind against the flood tide. Crad was able to do it just a bit better than me and slowly ground down my lead.
The beat was long and painful as I was struggling if find a comfortable position to hike out. As I approached the leeward side if angel island things stated to lighten up so tacked and headed back to the pressure.
Once there it was an effort just to keep the board moving through the gusts and chop.
I had the 10.0 as flat as it would go and pinching just to stay upright in the gusts off point blunt. Crad had kept the pressure on the whole time and never let up a bit. I made a huge effort to grind upwind and give it everything I had but knew back was the weak link. I tacked back to go to the north side if Alcatraz and thought I called the layline to the finish but as I made the long beat across the bay I got flooded down and Crad made his final move getting me on the last tack to the finish just in front if the club. I knew I had given it my all and sometime that's all you've got.
Win or lose it's how you play the game that matters. I managed 10th overall with the top 8 being foiling kiters. Tom was in hot pursuit just behind us bringing up the top three windsurfers while Headington in the course board has a significant set back.
There's still some pleasure beating the kites- even if it is the course boards.
In the front of the fleet, Joey kept the lead the entire race as Heinekin broke a bridle on his chronno foil kite while Chip took second.