The wisdom of "quit while you're ahead" is apparently lost on me, because I've signed up to do Ron Kern's "Inlet to Inlet" windsurfing Death Race in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. I'm "ahead" only because when I did the race in 2008 I actually finished the whole 23+ mile course from Port Everglades Inlet to Hillsboro Inlet and back. About 20 people entered the race that year, but several were destroyed by the shorebreak before reached the starting line, and most succumbed to cramps and fatigue while zig-zagging upwind through big ocean swells and chop for hours. I was the fourth and last finisher on my Kona Longboard with a 7.8 sail- far behind the top three hotshots on their formula boards and >9 msq sails.
This is a picture of race organizer Ron Kern's GPS track from 2006. This year the wind is supposed to be about 15 knots from the East-Northeast. The amount of East in the wind could have a strong effect on how many tacks it takes to get to the upwind mark. If it's more East we might be able to make the mark in one tack, but if we're on the same tack for 11.5 miles straight our legs are going to die, so I almost hope the wind is more North.
This year, since I have an old formula board and a 9.5 msq sail, I think I'm going to try that. If it's real windy I might use an 8.0 msq sail instead. I'm going to put my GPS and cell phone in waterproof bags in a "Camelback" pack with freshwater and some candy bars and stuff. If I have to drop out of the race I'll limp to the nearest shore and call for rescue.
Wish me luck.