Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hampton Roads Sailboard Classic, Day 2

Woo hoo! It was another beautiful, "Indian Summer" day of windsurf racing in swim trunks. The forecast called for light winds, so I rigged my huge, 9.8 meter-squared sail. That was perfect for the shifty, 4-12 knot conditions that we got. It also put me closer to the leaders of the longboard fleet; John Contos from Virginia Beach, Carsten Boekholt from Germany, and Farrah Hall from Annapolis. John and Carsten had a noticeable speed advantage with their sleek raceboards. Farrah on her wide Olympic board was about the same speed as me on the Kona, but the Olympian's tactical skills and strenuous sail-pumping usually got her closer to the lead.

I placed fourth in the first two races, but pulled a major coup in the third and final round. I started on starboard tack, as usual, and stayed on that heading while John, Carsten, and Farrah all changed to port tack early. My simple strategy worked; I tacked right on the lay line and rounded the upwind mark well ahead of the rest. Yes! As I was going downwind past Farrah she said, "And we have a winner!" assuming that the race was already in the bag for me. I was not so confident- there was still plenty of time for me to screw up. On the way to the jibe mark, though, I caught a lucky gust and planed for about 20 seconds, putting a bit more distance between myself and Farrah. After that the wind got really light and I struggled to maintain speed while the rest were gradually gaining on me. I could hear the flexing cambers of Farrah's sail as she pumped like a dynamo, creating her own wind. When I was almost at the jibe mark, the others were less than 100 m behind. Then a giant cigarette boat roared between us, its wake slightly helping me and slightly hurting my competition. Ha ha. I rounded the downwind mark and tried to shoot straight to the upwind finish line, but realized I would have to tack to make it. Fortunately the others had to tack, too, so they didn't gain on me too much. My second run at the finish line was also a bit low, but I tacked again near the pin end and crossed the line on port tack. The PA on the committee boat announced "OK over!". Yeah! (O-K is my sail number).

It was a great way to finish the regatta. I didn't do so well overall, but that moment made my day.

Overall winners:

Formula class- 1 Dave Kashy (hairy), 2 Alan Bernau (black shirt), 3 Eric Rahnenfuerher (tall center)
Longboard open- 1 John Contos (left), 2 Carsten Boekholt (brown leather hat), 3 Farrah Hall (center)
Longboard women- 1 Fan Pat (right), 2 Marcy Kennedy (blue top), 3 Helen van Gelder (not pictured)
Novice- 1 John Gelinne (brown boardshorts), 2 Bruce Powers (not pictured)

Below is a picture of John Gelinne going fast on his shortboard between races Saturday. Can you believe he's only been windsurfing for a few months? Glenn Woodell has hundreds more pictures from the event here.


PeconicPuffin said...

I love the map!

John said...

I second peconicpuffin. Hilarious map.