Woo hoo! I finished Ron Kern's annual "Inlet to Inlet" windsurfing race in Fort Lauderdale.
Ron explains the race to some of the windsurfing and kiteboarding competitors.
This is my GPS track. It was a 24.5 mile round trip. The second picture is a close-up of the southern part of the course.
The wind was 15-20 knots side-onshore from the East-Northeast, which made for rough water and intimidating shorebreak. (See what happened when a catamaran tried to launch.) Fortunately, all the windsurfers who showed up made it out successfully.
I rode my Starboard Formula 135 with a 58 cm fin, and I played it safe with the sail choice, rigging a "small" 8.0 sail- an Aerotech Freespeed. The previous day I had tried my 9.5 Ezzy Cheetah in similar conditions at the race site and found it doable, but more tiring. Since my goal was to finish the race without crashing or running out of stamina, 8.0 was the right choice. The only thing awkward about it was that my boom was too long, leaving some bare line between the clew grommet and the clew. Oh, well.
Though I was satisfied with my own time, I was way behind Ron Kern and kite racer Zack, who finished in 1:10 and 1:13, respectively. Ron was on his 9.5 Neil Pryde sail and Mike's Lab formula board with a 64 cm Ifju fin. Zack was riding a custom 70 cm wide tri-fin directional kite-race board with 42 cm side fins and 38 cm back fin. Initially I thought Zack had won the race, because he was leading on the way to the Port Everglades Buoy. But Zack said Ron passed him on the upwind leg and was untouchable after that. Both the leaders were real gentlemen who were good sports about the competition.
My video for the event didn't turn out as great as I was hoping because the !@#$ camera fogged up. If you want to see the schools of soaring flying fishes, the deep blue water, and the giant sea turtles that I saw out there you'll just have to do the race yourself next year.
Inlet to Inlet Windsurf Race, 2012 from James Douglass on Vimeo.
After the race, Ron and Sue Kern hosted a nice "debriefing" at their beautiful house. There were tons of prizes and beverages donated by the race sponsors:
Adventure Sports / Neil Pryde / JP
Liquid Surf and Sail
Sandy Point Progressive Sports / Aerotech / Exocet
I left with a purple ladies waist harness for Rhonda, plus a downhaul tool, uphaul, and rashguard for myself. Thanks! :)