Tuesday, July 18, 2006

2006 FW Northamericans - 7/13-16

We had three days of racing as part of the USWindsurfing National Race Tour, concurrent with the Formula Experience PanAmericans. At the last moment, the FW class also sanctioned the event as the 2006 FW Northamericans. Besides all the GorgeCup regulars, we had the US Junior Team (competing in FE), and three Brazilian visitors (Wilhelm Schurmann, Gabriel Starosta, and Renato Pozolo).

Racing kicked off on Friday with perfect conditions (nicely powered 9.9) - a fact that I seemed not to have noticed looking at my results... After kicking off the series with probably the second-worst port start I ever had, I proceeded to go ankles up in the second race after snagging the anchor line on the windward mark. I followed that up with running into Renato (who copied that move on the anchor rope) in the third race, as well as some generally lackluster sailing in the fourth heat. Basically a case of not staying in the game in the face of minor adversity - my results for the day were 14,15, 14, 11. Being so far down in the standings, I wasn't really privy to what happened at the top. Bruce took a heat from very fast and consistent Wilhelm, and he and Dale rounded out the top three, but I didn't get to witness most of their battles as I was fighting my own.

Saturday, I bounced back with three fifths and two sixths - amazing what a little perspective will do. Wilhelm consolidated his lead with four bullets. Conditions started out with nicely powered 9.9 and, for the last course race, got downright entertaining (read windy). Darren announced he wouldn't run any more course racing that day, so the sailors on the beach clamored for slalom, and Darren obliged. We got to run two heats, which were great fun as always, even though we ended up with some big holes on the course (afternoon flukiness at the event site - note that Jay did exceedingly well on his formula gear).

Sunday was another great day of racing. Starting out with light 9.9 conditions, the breeze increased for the second heat and kept building through the 5th (and last) heat. My results for the day were 4, 9, 4, 5, 9. The second heat saw me ankles up after getting snagged on the finish pin during the sequence with 9 seconds to go (I was trying to avoid a sailor barging down on me while preserving the nice gap I'd found on the line and didn't pay close enough attention). The last heat, even though it was a deep placing, was actually my proudest one for the day, as I managed to bounce back from a big crash at the top of the course and a collision with Jan (and subsequent big crash) at the bottom of the course. I felt pretty good about staying in it and clawing my way back through much of the fleet.

As far as the formula piece was concerned, this was a one-sail regatta. The 9.9 NXfw proved its range, competing nicely with the big sails Jac and Doug had up in the light heat on Sunday, and was slippery and fast (and controllable) against the 9's when it got windy. And I keep finding that when I'm nicely powered with that 9.9, the Roberts can outpoint just about anything while keeping good speed upwind.

So there we were - three days of racing, with 14 Formula and 1 slalom heats. Conditions were generally fantastic, there was lots of spirited competition, the event was superbly organized and run (thanks Scotia and Darren!). This was definitely a great event, again made even better by the presence of the juniors. Their stoke again infected almost everyone on the beach and made a great time even more fun.

Pictures and results here

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