Friday, June 20, 2014

25 years on the SF Bay Challenge

It all started back in the mid 80's with Berkeley Windsurfing organizing a race from the rocks in from His Lordships restaurant- at the base of the Berkeley marina up to Anita Rock, on the San Francisco city front AND BACK! 

To remind you, windsurfing had just exploded internationally and California was the birthplace and one of the epicenters, hosting events like the windsurfers world championships in 1983, The O'Neill Classic and the Stroh's Pro-Am slalom tour- all drawing hundreds of competitors in what was the biggest largest one design sailing class of its time! 


At the time, windsurf racers routinely sailed upwind with the dagger boards firmly in place beneath their boards. Once around the windward mark, they pulled the dagger out and carried it around their shoulder with a strap- regularly bouncing off the waves and knocking them overboard.

The SF Bay challenge became so successful that it quickly outgrew the capacity of a the one person RC sitting on the rocks raising the start flag and recording the finishes 2-4 hours later.  

Enter- The St. Francis Yacht Club. With additional resources like safety boats, starting boats, race management and and international jury, The St.FYC stepped in to host the regatta. Only now- it would be sailed from the city front down to the Berkeley Pier and back. 

In the late 90's Ronstan became the official sponsor with an official name change to the Ronstan Bay Challenge. 

Sometime in the mid 2000's the kite boards were invited to race with the windsurfing fleet as the new sport was becoming of age. The windsurfers held onto the record for as long as they could- coming close to breaking the 1 hour mark for a 25 mile + tour of the Bay.

This year on a foiling kite board, Joey Pasquali obliterated the record  by 17 minutes with a new pace time of 54 minutes flying 3' above the water the entire race. To say- that foiling kite boarding has changed the sport- would be an understatement. They are absolutely killing it- almost 25 minutes in front of the first formula windsurfer.


A huge thanks to the St.FYC and their crew of volunteers, 35 competitors and Ronstan for their continued support of high performance sailing.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ronstan challenge.

Omfg what a race!
13-16k at the start & 25-30k at the finish just over an hour later and 20+ miles in the GPS. 
It was indeed a challenge to hang onto the same gear the entire race. My 10.0 was a bit too much as I was doing everything to depower most of the race

I sailed the top of the course and had a good idea of my plan for the race. Immediately gybe after the top mark and get into the flood for the long haul downwind. 

The mixed fleet of foiling kites, kite course boards & formula boards started on starboard & immediately out of the gates the foiling boards were off like a blur.



I had a good start just by crad and we battled the rest if the windward beat with him slowly getting the better of me with the bigger 68cm fin as the wind as at it lowest point of the day.  

I was set up for the breeze to arrive with my 64 Kashy but this was only the opening moves... Crad tacked 1st with Tom following quickly. I waited another 20 seconds as I knew the flood tide was still raging. We all understood and had to double tack and finally when I made the mark I immediately gybed away going for the stronger flood tide in the middle if the bay as Tom and Crad played the city front. This paid off for me as I crossed Crad 2/3 of the way down to Alcatraz. 

Once past Alcatraz things got heavy and I moved into the double chicken every few minutes as to maintain enough energy for the entire race. 
The foil boards were well off in front as Crad & I continued to cross each other while I maintained the slightest of leads blazing downwind through the Berkeley circle.  Going deep downwind past the end of the pier things continued to get rough but the avanti 10.0 was pulling like a truck with great power. I had the outhaul eased with the outhaul in the middle grommet.  
At the leeward mark I rounded just behind Headington on the 1st kite course board and we began the long haul back upwind. Crad was on my hip grinding hard to weather while Heady was just to leeward as we got into some pretty heavy conditions. 
Point Blunt was reading 28-32k as we passed through. 

All I could do to maintain was to pinch and try to keep the board moving as we headed upwind against the flood tide. Crad was able to do it just a bit better than me and slowly ground down my lead. 
The beat was long and painful as I was struggling if find a comfortable position to hike out. As I approached the leeward side if angel island things stated to lighten up so tacked and headed back to the pressure. 

Once there it was an effort just to keep the board moving through the gusts and chop. 
I had the 10.0 as flat as it would go and pinching just to stay upright in the gusts off point blunt. Crad had kept the pressure on the whole time and never let up a bit. I made a huge effort to grind upwind and give it everything I had but knew my back was the weak link. I tacked back to go to the north side if Alcatraz and thought I called the  layline to the finish but as I made the long beat across the bay I got flooded down and Crad made his final move getting me on the last tack to the finish just in front if the club. I knew I had given it my all and sometime that's all you've got. 

Win or lose it's how you play the game that matters.  I managed 10th overall with the top 8 being foiling kiters. Tom was in hot pursuit just behind us bringing up the top 3 windsurfers while Headington in the course board has a significant set back. 

There's still some pleasure beating the kites- even if it is the course boards.

In the front of the fleet, Joey kept the lead the entire race as Heinekin broke a bridle on his chronno foil kite while Chip took 2nd. Joe set a new course record of 54'- a whopping 17 minuted faster than the previous record.

Finding 5th gear...

As if the previous 30 mile+ day of overpowered racing wasn't enough- the RC decided to do 3 marathon races across the San Francisco Bay for the 2nd day of the Ronstan Challenge.

The course was a start near the St. FYC to a quick upwind mark near the Presidio shoal- across the Bay to a boat stationed at yellow bluff, straight downwind to Harding Rock- then across the bay again to a buoy at Ft. Mason and finally another quick upwind leg to the finish.

Since there was a lot of reaching and the wind was supposed to come up quickly- I went for the smaller ml89 formula board and 60cm kashy fin with my 10m avanti m-2 machine.  Both Mike Percey and I were on the smaller boards while the rest of the fleet was on normal formula boards.


There's a huge advantage with the smaller board when the wind comes up but at the same time- if you get into any lighter winds, it goes right out the back door.
Race 1- Wind- 12-18k.

Soheil sailed a clean race- staying ahead on his JP formula and NP 10.0 while I got stuck in a few holes that put me back in the cheap seats. The Ml 89 lost its edge upwind as the fleet sailed by in the light stuff.
Coming back across the bay on the bottom reach- it felt more like an upwind with the flood tide ripping down at 4k.


Race 2- increasing breeze from 15-20k. This time I made sure to stay in the breeze and really over stood the upwind mark in the flood tide and came in strong leading the pack on the 1st beat across to Yellow Bluff. This time- there was no boat and no mark.
Maybe its just my eyes playing tricks on me, I thought.
I turn back to see the rest of the fleet heading way downwind of me.
I put it in over gear and went to the chicken strap blazing downwind through some nasty swell around Harding Rock getting Percey as he rounded wide. It took me almost the whole leg to get above a mid fleet foiling kiter on the same beat but lost it just like that as it got lighter near Ft. Mason. I tacked as soon as I could cross the mark and Percy continued in the hole.

Back in the lead but not for long.
Soheil made a quick tack after the mark and was closing the distance.
He tacked back but was well short of the finish line.

Never ever underestimate the flood tide.

I had to make the perfect layline call or else...
I tacked and just made it across the pin end a 1/2 board length in front of Soheil who was shooting the line at the boat.

A quick break onshore only to return to the last race were it had picked up significantly- very significantly.
I made a big change to the avanti rig by moving into the inside grommet on the leach. This pulls the leach even more and depowers the sail.

I dropped my sail on the 2 tacks but held it together the rest of the rest of the race in some of the heaviest conditions I've experienced. I crossed the first reach to yellow bluff where I just kept sailing into richardsons bay to find a less chaotic place to gybe. Surely I'd overstood Harding but I was spot on.  Percey went down hard behind me. No on else was in sight. It was a solid 30-35k at Harding when I rounded with 4-6' breakers all around me. I did everything just to keep the board moving while hardly trimmed in at all. The next beat across the bay was  a real leg burner. No easy way around it.

I got the bullet in the last race by a few  minutes and took the days racing.

While I probably would have been better off on the smaller sail, Im stoked to have learned about the extra gear with a few small changes in the rig.

The foil kites had their handful for sure getting around the box course in that breeze. Heineken took the top spot followed by Joey and Chip in the top 3.

Thanks to Erin  Loscocco for the photos.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday Night Slalom

The St. FYC has put together a new downwind slalom racing format to be run on windy Friday nights in lieu of the normal upwind, downwind courses, the formula boards usually sail.

On Friday, June 13th we had our first slalom race of the season.

10-12 racers on the line-our biggest turn out yet for the year as we usually have 5-6 formula racers for upwind/downwind racing. 
We had 18-22k and 5 back to back races. 
Race 1 was won by Soheil who had the perfect start at Anita rock squeezing out in front of the pack at the 1st gybe mark. Meanwhile Jason, Jean & myself battled for the next positions around the next few marks before I was able to get past them and put the pressure on Soheil on the last leg but he held on strong for the win. 

Race 2- fleet was pushing hard at the start and as a result 4 sailors over early so the win went to CRAD of F4 fins. Sadly my bullet was a bit premature. Still close racing as Jean held the lead till the last mark where I was able to squeeze in and make a better rounding and take the lead. 

Race 3-good start with the fleet in hot pursuit breathing down my neck at every mark. Avanti 7.7 & ml 70cm slalom board pulled out of the holes well to extend a good lead on the last 2 legs as a few sailors went down at the H beam. Jason was able to beat the rest of the pack for 2nd. 


Race 4- still a good breeze on the course and Anita rock still way favored. The RC called Tim and I over early but we charged on thinking we had the perfect start. Despite the bullet, it was Jason who got the win with the clean start and great marking roundings with CRAD in 2nd. 

Race 5- final race of the night. I held back knowing 3 osc's wouldnt be ideal so I came into the 1st mark in the middle of the pack and went down as I stuffed my nose. Meanwhile Jean held on great at every mark with a tight pack of racers looking for any opportunity to get ahead. Each mark rounding had 3-4 sailors overlapped in tight positions and Jean held on for the wind. 

Such as great format as everyone was stoked. 
A huge thanks to the St. Francis YC and their volunteers for making it happen. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Biting off more than I can chew

I had this grand vision that I'd be kite board racing this season
What I failed to remember was that there's a certain amount of dues that one has to pay- regardless of one's experience...Humbling dues!
While I've paid my dues in windsurfing, this experience is like starting over again.


Sometimes you want to arrive at your destination as quickly as possible, but as I keep trying to remind myself, it's the journey that gets you there.

My goal- the St.FYC Thursday Night Series.
With a local fleet of almost 40 racers and top racers from across the US and World joining the bi-monthly series- this is the place to be if you want to be kite board racing.
Luckily- right in my backyard.

Week 1- Not sure I even ready for the race but I figured it's the best way to push myself and free rescues if needed! I made it quickly downwind in the flood tide to the start and just kept going down wind when things got light and I couldn't relaunch my kite. The safety boat got me somewhere north of Pier 39.
To be fair, I was 1 of almost 20 people who got rescued that night when the wind died and fog came it. I shared the rib rail with Jimmi Spithil on the rescue ride home as the wind knows no boundaries.

Week 2- I was determined to make the start. I timed it so I was about 30 seconds late but didn't account for all the downed kites on the line.  This isnt like windsurfing where you can just weave around people. Lines were everywhere.  I certainly dont know what my lines are doing, nonetheless the guys around me. I  gybe to get out of there ('cause I still cant tack) and make another run at the starting line. Ahh the flood tide again- pushing me downwind. I make another 2 attempts to cross the line in the strong flood only to be denied as the top racers are just about to finish. Luckily I make it back to the beach on my own accord. I call this one a victory. No rescue!


Week 3-another big flood tide, light breeze and fog. This is the curse of  Thursday Night. I choose the 11.0 for the first race and made the start and floundered in the light breeze near the top if the course.  Going upwind is still a challenge especially on starboard tack. After realizing I want going to make the top mark I hightailed it down to the starting line again to make the 2nd start- a bit late but 2 starts for the evening! I'll take the small victories when I can. 

Week 4 -new windsurfing gear arrived last week so no time on the kite board. I set my goal for making the windward mark despite the raging flood tide and light wind on the inside of the course. I get off the starting line and make the long haul on port tack upwind. The leaders are far gone but there's one another newbie just in front of me. I try to chase him down but we both get stuck up in the corner with no wind. I gybe again and go out to the middle of the bay for more wind. I finally make it around the windward mark and begin to head downwind as I hear Johnny Heineken take the bullet of race 1. My kite goes down in the light wind and I spend the next few minutes trying to relaunch and use most of my energy. Making it around 1 mark and back to the beach on my own accord is victory enough for tonight.

One leg at a time, Im going to conquer this course. Next weeks goal is to make it around the downwind mark.












Sunday, June 1, 2014

Twilight series

Friday night racing may 30.5 races in 18-24k. Ebb switching to flood on inside.
Looked windy before the race so I rigged ml89 & new 7.7 avanti with borrowed 57cm f4 from from Crad.
1 practice lap and I knew it was too light for that set up to be competitive. I came in and rigged 10.0 avanti and switched to Kashy 64 and just made 1st start but a few seconds late in 2nd row. Boom wasn't extended far enough so it was a handful in the gust and as a result wasn't able to put the hammer down.
The new m2 avanti has 3 horizontal grommets at the clew which take advantage of pulling the leach from different vectors and de powering the sail but as it was only my 2nd time on the sail & I still haven't got the settings dialed in yet but can feel a big difference when laced through the inside or outside grommets.
Crad extended on his lead from the start and got the first bullet of the evening on his np9.5 and 167 with Tom & Eric close behind and me in 4th.

2nd race.
Quick relacing if the booms to inside grommet for more control and sail felt better.  Off the line good but had to give up a bit upwind as I had sail really flat in gust.
Maybe more batten pressure is needed or better finessing of the board and fin upwind. The ml89 is tricky. You need to sail it incredible efficient to stay in the groove but once there it pays dividends!







Tom and Eric called the layline well in the ebb as I overstood. Downwind at buoy A there was lots off voodoo chop and Tom went down hard on the jp board  & Maui sails just in front of me. The ML 89 really excels in these conditions as I was able to sail right over chop and around Tom.
Eric's got a good handle on making his kit work on the breeze despite being a few years old and kept the pace getting the bullet in race 2 with me just behind & Crad pushing hard for 3rd.
Jean had his best race as he's been sailing the course on his slalom gear and pulled off a 4th!
Race 3 - Course B. Good angle. speed & control off the line & up the 1st beat as I eased the outhaul and opened up the sail and was able to maintain my lane. M. I called the layline well and stayed in control the whole race for the bullet. Wind was 20-25 and kit was starting to shine. Key to sailing the smaller board is to keep it in 5th gear all the time.
Tom squeaked into 2nd just in front of Eric to round out the top group.

Race 4. Again a tight race between Eric Tom and I but I gave up a few small battles that cost me some key places upwind & had to take some sterns. I may be better off on the 167 or jp board  but the smaller board is way more comfortable especially in the wound conditions we sail on the SF city front.
It was course C again and Jean on his new loft sails made an impressive push as he gybed right through me and powered by me on the reaching leg but went down hard at x as he tried to gybe and face planted!
Eric got the bullet while Tom and I were just behind.
Final race. Flood tide beginning to build at start line. I gave up some upwind as Tom squeezed me off but held on waiting for him to make a mistake on course B during the first few gybes but he sailed perfectly to take the last bullet if the evening with Eric in hot pursuit for 3rd.

Just 2 points separating the top 3 after 5 races with Eric on top and me just edging out Tom for the tiebreaker.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

City front racing

The St. Francis Yacht Club played host to another great weekend of racing at the Elevstrom-Zellerbach regatta hosting 84 dinghies, cats, windsurfers, kite boarders & foilers on 2 courses with 6 races for each fleet. Saturdays breeze pushed into the mid 20's with a building ebb tide on the city front course while Sunday's racing were a more relaxed 14-16k and flat water flood tide. 
The formula fleet saw a good turnout with 10 boards on the line and the final race determining which of the top 4 sailors would take the series. The kites- who raced just after us on the same course had 21 foilers and course boards combined.
Saturdays breeze built early and strong but by the time we started near 2:45, it was peaking at 25k.
I rigged the avanti 10.0, starboard 167 and kashy 64 fin

The course was twice around the windward mark set near the Presidio shoal and a downwind finish set next to the starting line off last chance beach. With the fleet starting on starboard- its a short beat before you hit the sea wall just at GGYC. Just like Friday night racing- if you can be the inside boat near the shore you'll capitalize on the fleet below you and be able to climb on the geographical lift coming off the shore.
It works every time-(except when it doesn't.)





Thanks to Lyrah for capturing the photos from the seawall!
More photos here.
Tom, Xavier and myself all arrived at the top mark together and remained even almost the whole race till the final lay line call to the finish mark. I split the difference between the 2 and nailed the lay line perfect- getting the 1st bullet of the day.

Race 2- a bit shiftier at the top of the course as the puffs were coming in with less frequency.
We all got caught and had double tack the top mark which put me back in the cheap seats and dirty air.
It was Al USA-882 was positioned well and walked away with the bullet calling the lay lines perfectly.

Race 3- Xavier finally found with groove sailing the 7.3 slalom sail with his new starboard.
He's super efficient on that rig- especially in the wound city front conditions.
Most of the fleet was on 9.3s or 9.5's while Percy sailed the ml89 mini formula board and 7.8.


Tom and I were pushing hard in 2nd & 3rd  flying downwind through the chop and puffs before I pushed a bit too hard and went right over the front in a spectacular catapult that left me hooked in under the sail to leeward. Ouch!
Al was quick to jump in there and took 3rd while I ended up just behind Eric in 5th.

If you make 1 mistake- there's always a group just waiting to pass you.
Super tight and competitive racing!

Sunday's conditions were flatter so I put in the Z F0 fin which absolutely flies in slightly under powered conditions. I came out the gates with a good advantage and climbed on the fleet on the long port tack beat up the city front. I made it around the mark just as a huge shift hit the fleet behind me and they all had to double tack while I got jetted downwind like a rocket in a private puff. I  had a comfortable lead but nearly gave it up as I went to the outside gate and got stuck in some very light wind on the right side while the fleet behind me sailed right up the city front and almost crossed.
Time to protect the lead.
Xavier and I both sailed downwind towards shore and as it got lighter, I was able to get some distance back and took advantage of going as deep as I could knowing he was on a big slalom sail.

Sometimes that extra horsepower comes in handy.
Race 1 for the win!

2nd race of the day was another hard fought battle from the start. Eric and I pushed a bit too hard to win the start and we were both called OSC. I dipped back and took a flier to the right corner which got me back in the game. Slowly I reeled in Xavier on the 2nd long upwind as we rounded the gate together and had some boat traffic to deal with.  Tom and Al were gone but 3rd would have to do.

Going into the last race- either Xavier, Tom, Al or myself could win the series with a bullet and some mathematical luck .
It all came down who would make the least mistakes.
The fleet came into the sea wall in a tight pack

This tack is just critical to keep your position for the next long beat upwind.
You give up an inch- you loose a mile!








3/4 of the way up the leg- Tom, Xavier and I were all still tightly grouped.
Who's going to call the layline?

Too early and you've given up the race.
Too late and you've given up the race.


I took my eyes off them for 2 seconds and missed the opportunity as once they tacked they were gone-on the lay line and around the mark
I never got another chance as they both sailed flawlessly.
I held onto 3rd but with Al just behind in 4th.
He took the final spot on the podium with Xavier in 1st and Tom in 2nd.

It couldn't have been closer- and that's the way I love it.
Huge thanks to the St.FYC and all the competitors.
Results here.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Surviving the gusts

Week 3. Stfyc Friday night series. 
5 races in up and down gusty city front conditions. Gusts up to 25k & 5k holes on the starting line. Rigged 10 avanti,167 starboard & 64 Kashy. 
Good speed, acceleration & board handling around the course. In SF, it's all about surviving the gusts. On the Friday night course, it's all about board handling & calling the laylines. 

Race 1-course A.  Off the line well with Tom on my hip. He rounded just ahead at Anita and gybed first to get back to the breeze. 10.0 really trucking & good control in building ebb.  I finally caught up on the long port tack run to X & called the layline while Tom went down in the chop.  Bullet 1. 
Race 2. Good start but had Crad in my windward hip and had to duck below him with 64 fin in light start. By the end of the 2 min. beat and building breeze, I made it back up and tacked to cross on starboard and took the lead at Anita & never looked back. Bullet 2
Race 3 - great acceleration off the line and holding angle well in breeze & chop.  Spastic gusts along city front w/ SW breeze kicking in hard. It payed win B and be the inside board getting lift off the shore. 3 gybes down wind for course E before I went down hard on the last upwind & blew the lead. I saw the gusts & went to pull in my outhaul before I got lifted out if the water & slammed down hard. Slow recovery for 5th place out of 7 or 8. 
Race 4. Bumped booms up for more leverage as breeze was lighter on inside. 10-15 at start. Good start at b & called the layline early in ebb tide. 1st to round & quick gybe to get back outside to breeze for course C. C is a bit off a slalom course with 3 quick gybes & board handling skills put at a premium. 64 fin pays dividends in these conditions. The avanti rig gybes effortlessly. It's all about knowing your kit & maximizing the positives & minimizing the negatives. Stayed clear ahead for bullet 3. 

Race 5. Lighter on the inside while big puffs still on the outside. I started a bit down the line in a crowded start with everyone pushing. Slow acceleration as I had sailed pulled flat. I finally found my lane as the breeze built near the top mark. Again 1st to tack for layline in ebb with Al chasing hard just behind. Gybes were a bit conservative barring disaster- just trying to keep it together. I stayed in front and called the rest if the laylines for the finally bullet. 
Great lead up to this weekends Elvestrom/Zellwrbach regatta.  Hope to carry the momentum forward. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 by the numbers


2013 was a good year- no matter how you look at it.  I managed to windsurf and kite 161 times over the course of the year (that's 44% of all possible days in the year but more precisely I made 53% of all possible days- given that I missed a stretch of 58 days in the fall of the year.) 
83% of my time was devoted to windsurfing while the remaining 17% went to kiting. 
I gave kiting a go this season with almost 15 days on the water learning this January in Baja and another 9 days in the summer when the wind got more reliable. I'm not hooked like I am with windsurfing but then again Ive been windsurfing for almost 25 years and kiting only 1. All good things in all good time!
The windiest months in San Francisco are in the spring and summer where I managed almost 20 sessions every month from March to August. July was noticeably cut short by 2 weeks with the arrival of a baby girl but that was indeed made up for in August and September with the help of the inlaws who arrived!
Yes- windsurfing and kiting are a family affair!
My time windsurfing (133 days total) was nearly split with 54% of it going to formula sessions (72 days) and the other 46% devoted to slalom sailing (61 days.) I used a total of 4 boards and 7 sails through the windsurfing season while I  just used 2 kites all season long. The avanti 10.0 was the most used sail with 45 sessions and the avanti 7.7 with 42 sessions. Both sails are an absolute pleasure to sail- feeling lighter than anything else Ive tried before. 
My 72  formula sessions were divided between the starboard 167 (37 sessions) and the new ML-13 mini 89cm wide formula board (35 sessions.) 

If I were to only have 1 board- the Ml13 would be it. Its so damn comfortable to ride in the San Francisco Bay where the chop and gust can make riding a 100cm formula board a real struggle.  Amazingly the ML-13 did best with the 7.7 and 10.0. I hadn't quite dialed in the fins but think there could be a lot of potential for this board once the right fin and rig can be matched.

For my slalom sessions, I rode the 70 cm wide ml board for 90% of the time.  Its a real versatile board handling the 7.7 and 6.3 rigs quite comfortably. In stupid windy conditions, I went down to a 85 l ml slalom board that handles the chop much better than anything I've ever sailed before.


I did less racing this year with the arrival of a baby + finishing my architectural licensing exams but 15 races, with the majority being in San Francisco- was enough the fill my needs. Its hard to leave SF and go to a regatta on the other side of the country or world knowing that there might not be any breeze at all.
Rule #1- Never leave wind for wind!

2014 looks like another great year as one season seems to roll right into the next. I've got a new kite course board and look forward to the challenges of learning to race in a new discipline. 

Below are some of the best moments from the 2013 season:











Friday, October 25, 2013

End of the season blowout....

Time to make room for some new gear so most of the quiver is up for sale.
I've got a ton of sails, masts, booms, bases, unis and fins available so take a look and email me back if you've got any questions- usa4windsurfing@gmail.com

Complete rigs:

Neil Pryde Evo3 9.5 with 490 X9 490 mast, HPL boom, and streamlined base + uni


I haven't used this sail outside a few sessions for the past 2 seasons. Its a great all around formula race sail or light wind slalom sail that has a very big wind range. The mast is in near perfect condition.



Neil Pryde Evo4 10.7 with 530 X100 masts, HPL boom and streamlined base + uni
No tears. No repairs. Fresh monofilm! Both sail and mast are in great condition with minimal use. This is a great light to medium wind formula sail with minimal use and little UV exposure. Start planing in as little as 8k!



Avanti M-1 10.0 with 530 C100 mast, Neil Pryde X9 boom, and streamlined base + uni
This is probably the nicest sail I have ever had in 20 years of racing windsurfers. It is a pleasure to sail weighing almost 30% less than its competitors. The 10.0 feels like a 7.0 due to the membrane technology. I have tuned this rig over the past season so it performs effortlessly with rebuilt carbon battens for better upwind performance & modified cams.  




Boards

Mikes lab custom 95l slalom board. 
This is a classic shape never goes out of style. This board has given me many years of great windsurfing and has never let me down. Like all ml boards- it practically gybes itself once you dial in the radius. It was built for the SF Bay with a narrow width and just eats the voodoo chop by soaring right over it. 







Booms 

Neil Pryde 225cm+ X9 boom This is the carbon  boom other booms are judged against. The NP x9 is the most refined carbon boom on the market with a slim front end and wide tail with integrated pullies so your adjustable outhaul stays clear of the sail. Ive got the boom race ready with adjustable outhaul ( back end line, harken micro ball bearing blocks, stopper blocks & bungee around the front of rig) adjustable harness lines and easy uphaul. The area around the harness lines is taped with sports tape for additional grip and comfort. Boom extends up to 285cm .

HPL 240cm+ This blue series HPL boom is a proven winner. Ive upgraded the head with a streamlined and have extra straps as needed. Boom comes race ready with with adjustable outhaul, adjustable harness lines and easy uphaul. It can extends up to 310cm and Ive got an extra wide back end Ill throw in for free that works for 11.0+ rigs so sail doesn't touch back of boom on downwind sailing.

HPL 190cm+ This is a blue hpl boom with reinforced carbon wrapped front end and maui sails boom head. Ive trimmed the back 30cm off the boom arms so it fits a 6.3m2 (190cm boom sail). With 60 cm of extension it goes up to 250cm which will fit a modern 10.0. This boom is race ready with adjustable outhaul, adjustable harness lines and easy uphaul.

Fins 

45cm Z carbon slalom fin- great light air & flat water slalom fin for medium sized board- $250
39cm c3 carbon slalom fin- great for high wind & chop on medium or small slalom board- $200
39 vector g10 fin- great all around medium air fin for slalom board   $150

Other stuff
Streamlined bases + unis 
Neil Pryde bases + unis
40cm North carbon extendor
2007 North 7.0, 9.0 & 11.0- make me an offer!
2010 North Warp 10.0
2012 North Warp 10.0
2012 North Warp 11.0
North platinum 520 mast
North platinum 550 mast
North gold 520 mast

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race


Run with what you've got and as fast as you can!

photo credit: Eric Simonson @ pressuredrop

It what has become a uniquely San Francisco sailing competition, the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race pits kite boarders, windsurfers, skiffs & cameramans against each other & mother nature in an epic 7 mile downwind sprint from the Golden Gate bridge to the Bay bridge. It's a celebration of high performance sailing that never stops innovating.


This year’s running was no exception with foiling kite boarder, Johnny Heineken taking the line honors in front of 69 other sailing craft and shaving almost 2 minutes off last year’s record run.

It what may be the only trickle down we see from the Americas Cup, foiling is finally coming of age!

You may not even recognize it as sailing with the riders levitating almost 4' above the water & being pulled by a kite 25 meters away but that's the reality of high performance sailing today.
 



 In what started, almost 15 years ago, the Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race has evolved from a 27 minute downwind run set by Charlie McKee & co in a 49er to Micah Buzianis' long time record on a formula windsurfer and finally the Aussie 18's holding dominance for several years. More recently, the kite boards have surpassed every craft out there in terms of down wind speed. Foiling is just a further extension in the evolution of kiting and sailing.

Here's a record of the winning teams & times over the last 15 years:

1998 McKee brothers- 49er 27'18"
1999 Bill Wier- windsurfer 25'20"
2000 Vlad Moroz Windsurfer 21'20"
2001 Rob Hartman, Windsurfer 20'20"
2002 Chip Wasson, Kiteboarder 18'04"
2003 Micah Buzianis, Windsurfer 16'12"
2004 Seth Besse, Windsurfer 27'10"
2005 Anthony Chavez, Kiteboarder 17'54"
2006 Jeff Kafka, Kiteboarder 20'28"
2007 Chip Wasson, Kiteboarder 16'30"
2008 Howie Hamlin,Mike Martin, Paul Allen, Aussie 18 22'25"
2009 John Winning, David Gibson, Andrew Hey. Aussie 18'19"
2010 Michael Coxon. Trent Barnabasa, Aaron Links Aussie 18 19'41"
2011 Bryan Lake, Kiteboarder 16'15"
2012 John Heineken, Kiteboarder 14'14"
2013 John Heineken, Kiteboarder 12'00"


It’s a free for all on the starting line with a fleet spectator boats, upside down skiffs, kites and windsurfers all charging downwind to cross the starting line set just outside the Golden Gate bridge.
photo credit: Eric Simonson @ pressuredrop

I chose the fastest set up I had- a custom mikes lab 89cm slimmed down version of a formula windsurfer, 61 cm kashy fin and avanti 10.0 rig. That kept me on pace with the front of the pack as I ducked in between skiffs and kites moments after the start.


Everyone has different angles so it takes a few minutes after the start for everyone to settle into their groove and avoid any major collisions.

photo credit: Eric Simonson @ pressuredrop

Windsurfer, Soheil Zahedi had a close call with the 49er who nearly took of his head but somehow escaped unscathed as both crafts charged on downwind without missing a beat.
photo credit: Eric Simonson @ pressuredrop

I errored on the side of caution ducking a few sterns so as to just stay alive and make it to the finish. 

Mike Percey, longtime Bay area windsurfer was just ahead of me 1/2 way down the run as we made our way through the boiling waters between Alcatraz and Pier 39. I could tell he was a bit more comfortable on his 57cm fin and similar 89cm mini formula board as he was able to go just a bit deeper with every puff and slowly walk away.

I made one more gybe as we approached the bay bridge and the pressure was dropping and came in hot to a line starboard tackers of skiffs, kites and windsurfers on the layline to the finish.

A quick gybe back put me just shy of making the finish line but I was able to get out of the harness and pump for the last 30 seconds and squeeze into 2nd behind Mike as we rounded out the top group.
As expected, the kites dominated with 9 out of the top 10 spots and foilers taking the top 2 spots. Tom Siebel's MOD 70 Orion was the only multi hull to keep pace with the kites finishing an impressive 5th while Smart Recruiters, an Extreme 40 catamaran and YAMAHA, an aussie 18 skiff just edged Mike and I out and the rest of the windsurfers who took 13-19th place.

Overall- one of the funniest races of the year with a great awards ceremony at the St. Francis Yacht Club following the race to a full house of sailing enthusiast. 

Full results here

A huge thanks to Ronstan and Alan Prussia for putting on the event as well as the race crew at the St.FYC. And the biggest thanks of all to our local board builder- Mike Zaijcek who has built almost everyone of the windsurf and kite boards in our fleet. In the last few years, his boards have won almost every major windsurfing and kiteboarding competition, including the bridge to bridge, world championships, speed championships and now open foiling championships.

In Mike we trust!

And finally- more video of the Aussie 18s, with bridge to bridge highlights starting around 3:50- enjoy!