Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5 weekends back to back...

This weekend marked the 2nd of five weekends of back to back racing for me - last week's Gorge Cup, this weekend it was the Harrison Blowout, next weekend it will be the Exocet Gorge Blowout (14 miles downwind/upriver from Stevenson to Hood River), the weekend after that (August 1-3) will be the Gorge Challenge, and to cap it all off there'll be Canadian Nationals in Squamish Aug 8-10. Not a bad run - hopefully conditions cooperate.

This weekends racing at Harrison Lake was really fun - Carey and Jackie Caronni have been putting on a weekend of racing every summer for a very long time now. Saturday's are scheduled for the Blowout (downwind race from the Harrison boat launch to the Bear Creek campground), with formula racing and some figure 8 fun slalom at the boat launch on Sunday. Harrison is only about 1 1/2 hours from Bellingham, so it's practically in my backyard. Still, this was the first time I've been able to go - for the past five years, there's always been some scheduling conflict for me.

Saturday's downwinder had to be canceled for the first time ever due to no wind (try that on for size - the event's been running since the late 80's, and they've finally got skunked on one of the days - who says lakes are flukey?). Sunday, however, offered up really nice conditions - super smooth water (hardly any fetch upwind), good breeze, and brilliant sunshine. The lake is amazingly clear (and nice and cool), and with the mountains all around, it's quite scenic.

We had three races on a pretty fun course - start slalom style off the boat launch, go deep downwind to a mark in the middle of the lake, round that and go way upwind to the upwind shore (where you had to figure out the tradeoff between the lift on shore vs. the slighly flukier wind), then beam reach to a mark below a few hundred yards below the start, and finish upwind. I was nicely powered on 10.8 in the first race, then switched to my 9.9 which was the right call for heats 2 and 3. I got three bullets (recovered from a really big crash right after the start on the third heat when I made a lucky call in favor of the near shore lift to lay the top mark with double tacking - sorry, Carey), Carey got three 2nds. Big shout out to Elliot, who came in third and race really well - maybe he should reconsider not taking his formula gear to the Bay Area.

After the racing, I got a chance to spend some time sailing with my kids (yep, both of them at one time - nothing like a 3-year-old whooping with glee and saying he wants to go faster...). Hope's getting quite good at handling the sail, and uphauling is no big deal for her anymore; she's looking forward to doing the Big Winds kids camp next week.

Huge thanks to Carey and Jackie - this was awesome, fun grassroots racing. They had the whole thing well organized, had gotten a huge box of very cool prizes and raffle items, and just spread the stoke all over the place. Great fun - I'll be back.

Next weekend is the Exocet Gorge Blowout (big shout out to Exocet for sponsoring this heritage event!). Check out Scotia's VMG Events site for details on that, as well as the following weekend's Gorge Challenge.

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