Category Archives: formula

Formula Windsurfers take over Americas Cup course in San Francisco

Our formula windsurfing fleet had been invited to race on the Americas Cup course as part of the AC- OPEN- a showcase of different sailing, windsurfing , & kiteboarding competitions run in parallel with the Americas Cup and Louis Vuitton race series this summer on the San Francisco Bay.

We waited until Italy’s Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand finished their first race before launching from Crissy Field and sailing down to the start off last chance beach in front of the AC Village on the marina green. The shores were packed with sailing fans on grandstands set up along the water front but the 2nd of 2 races between Italy & NZ was cancelled as they reached their maximum safety limit where the organization and teams agreed it was not safe to race- a meer 24 knots of breeze and a 4k flood tide. Your typical summer San Francisco day.

Too windy for America’s cup?

Enter the formula windsurfer!

Things were about to get fun.

If you’re going to race on the San Francisco Bay- you better have the proper equipment or chances are- you wont be coming back anytime soon. Same applies with the AC boats.

The windsurfing fleet here has been pushing the limit of the equipment and evolving the sport for the past 30 years. We’re extremely lucky to have a world class board builder and fin makers within our community. Its all about experience and this fleet has it. The average sailors age this weekend was 50 years old and most have been racing some type of board for at last 20+ years. Anyone in the top 10 was capable of winning a race.

I chose my smaller Mikes Lab 89 cm wide board, 61cm Kashy fin and 10.0 Avanti for maximum power and control. Conditions looked brutal with a steep chop and 20-25 knots of westerly breeze coming through the golden gate. If you knew what you were doing it was manageable. If not it was hell. I’d been sailing on this course for the better of 10+ years. It’s my backyard, my playground.

Full race report at www.stevebodner.blogspot.com

2013 National Champions Crowned!

Slalom Start – Credit: Daniel Gallet

By Peter Bonello

After obtaining permits from the City, County and Federal governments and coordinating with nine agencies, the stage was finally set for this year’s National Championships at LA’s Cabrillo Beach. 46 competitors from across the nation, some hailing from as far away as New England, Hawaii, Florida and Washington State, descended onto LA’s Cabrillo Beach for the 2013 Windsurfing National Championships.

They varied in age from 16 to 63 with 36 signing up for the slalom races, 23 for the formula course racing, and 16 of these signing up for both slalom and course racing.

Out of the 36 slalom racers, 5 were women and 6 of the men also competed for the freestyle title.  Motivations to participate varied of course, but a contributing factor had to be the opportunity to sail at a venue that no Nationals had ever been run at before and possibly a welcome change from the usual venues.

Nicknamed Hurricane Gulch, Cabrillo Beach consistently delivers solid thermal afternoon breezes during the summer and the week of Nationals was no exception with the wind blowing between 15 and 20 knots for all of the racing.   This breeze is not limited to a small local area either as evidenced by the fact that the organizers confidently sent the course racers on a long distance race 8 miles dead downwind to Long Beach and back – a race that covered over 30 miles over the water and was completed by the leader in just under 1-1/2 hrs with most of the fleet finishing under 2 hours.

Phil McGain in action – Credit: Daniel Gallet

The long distance race was a part of the course racing series, counting as two course races.  Over the other four days of the regatta, ten races were held, allowing competitors to discard their three worst results.  While the overall top two positions became obvious pretty early in the regatta between the defending National Champion Phil McGain (Hawaii) in first place and Xavier Ferlet of Southern California, in second, the race for third was a real nail biter between five Bay Area sailors with Al Mirel and Soheil Zahedi finishing only 1 point apart for that coveted position.

18 year old Jack Lundquist  put on an incredible performance finishing in 6th place overall amongst a fleet dominated by grand masters with 30+ years of windsurf racing experience.  The middle of the fleet also enjoyed close and intense racing with positions jockeying back and forth through the course of the week amongst racers who each tend to dominate their local regattas and make that occasional trek out to Nationals.

Credit: Dominik Huber 2013 © dominikphoto.com

12 Slalom races were held over three of the five days.  The first race was however thrown out as the finish boat’s anchor did not hold and with menacing rocks just a short distance downwind, the crew had to focus on boat recovery efforts rather than record the finishers.  The men’s fleet raced all together with about 25 racers in each heat.  The sprint to the first downwind mark set only about a hundred or so yards off shore was exhilarating to watch and must have been nerve-racking to be in as a dense pack of blasting windsurfers charged towards the beach bearing down for that first critical gybe.

 

Tyson Poor sailed consistently well taking an early lead in the regatta and held onto it throughout the week in spite of pressure from McGain who took second.  A very close battle for third place developed between Xavier and Casey Hauser.  The tie was broken based on the best scores of each to Xavier’s advantage.  While Phil Soltyziak was clearly in 5th place with a series of very consistent results around that position, a battle for 6th through 9th developed with another tie breaker between Wyatt Miller and Jay Watermeyer.  Local veteran sailor Dave Whittaker obtained an impressive 10th place overall for his first time ever at a national championship, also taking third place in his age division.

The women’s slalom races followed immediately after each men’s start.  Sarah Delaunay from France dominated the races except for races 4 through 6 which she obtained DNFs for failing to finish correctly.  Hawaii’s Tammy Bockius sailed consistently and placed in a solid second while a close race for third place between local sailors Johanna Yee and Kay Monteleone was developing.  Sheri Nelson was not far behind even scoring a bullet in one of the races.

Phil Soltyziak – Credit: Dominik Huber

To the delight of the onlookers, the six freestyle sailors duked it out just a few yards from the beach in spite of the inconsistent wind pressure when close to shore. Pro sailor Phil Soltyziak took first place with an unparalleled repertoire of airborne spins and maneuvers.  Wyatt Miller was judged in second place with Casey Hauser in third.  Phil’s younger brother Tom Soltyziak took fourth place ahead of Jay Watermeyer and Ben Quinn.  The event was run in a single day though many practice sessions before ensured quite the spectacle for onlookers.

As promised, both Phil’s each gave a windsurfing clinic to anybody that showed up at the beach shortly after 9 am on the pre-designated day.  While McGain discussed racing and training techniques, Soltyziak covered freestyle.

Every evening at the yacht club, the competitors and their guests were served complimentary beer, provided by our sponsors Shipyard Brewing and Sea Dog Brewing Companies.  Two evenings were pre- scheduled for dinner at two local restaurants, The Whale & Ale and Babouch, both supporters of the event.  On Tuesday it was Whale and Ale night with 30 windsurfers gathering for a nice British pub style dinner and a round of bar songs.  Wednesday night was reserved for Babouch where about 20 windsurfers gathered for authentic Moroccan food and belly dancing entertainment.

Awards – Credit: Daniel Gallet

Friday night’s awards and closing ceremony provided an opportunity to meet the volunteer officials of the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club that hosted the event and provided the many boats, marks and other resources for the regatta as well as to thank some of our sponsors in person.  Mr. Marty Bellville of the Ardagh Group was in attendance.  Marty, a local windsurfer, was also a key contributor to the event not only through his company’s financial support, but also through contribution of his time and personal resources towards the event.  Also invited, but unable to attend, was Mr. Kirk Robinson of Captain Kirk Windsurfing, the local windsurfing shop who also sponsored the event.

Other supporters include the San Pedro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and Mr. Greg Long, a friend of the organizers.  The creators of the Event Website, Debi Thompson and husband Spennie were also in attendance.  In addition to financing, designing and managing the website, the Thompsons also designed the Race Shirt graphics.  Scott Carter, a long time local windsurfer who volunteered for the role of master of ceremonies throughout the event continued in this role at the closing ceremony and brought with him members of Jim Drake’s family.  As many windsurfers know, the late Jim Drake is credited as the inventor of windsurfing.  Mr. Darren Rogers, the principal race officer, who worked tirelessly not only during the day to run the races but also after each day’s racing into the night to get the scoring recorded, was also on-hand and buying drinks for yacht club volunteers who manned the many boats.

At the awards ceremony, in addition to recognizing the top three finishers for the various age and gender divisions of each event, the overall National Champion was declared based on the combined performance of both the Formula and the Slalom Races.  Phil McGain was thus crowned 2013 US National Champion with Xavier Ferlet coming in second and Bay Area sailor, Chris RadKowski in third place.

Local Photographer Daniel Gallet, a former windsurfer, was present every day on the committee boat, at the beach or at the several evening get-togethers.  He and Dominik, another photographer who made the trip from San Diego, posted many photos of the event that can be viewed by clicking on the following links:

Daniel: http://www.flickr.com/photos/frenchyphoto/ 

Dominik: http://dominikphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery/2013-US-Windsurfing-National/G0000wuC7H_L9bFk

While this year’s Nationals were not free of challenges and glitches, especially at the onset, the event proved to be a huge success.  The wind and water conditions were fabulous, plenty of races were served up, including an awesome downwind-upwind long distance race and a very cool freestyle event.  The best part of the event, one might say, is the camaraderie of the windsurfers and their families that participate in this annual event.  Whether you are new to Nationals or a veteran that returns year after year it really is a great family atmosphere to be in and the 2013 Nationals at Cabrillo was no exception!

Results and more stories can be found here:

Nationals 13 Results Overall

Nationals 13 Results Formula

Nationals 13 Results Slalom Men

Nationals 13 Results Slalom Women

Nationals 13 Results Freestyle

http://www.sailworks.com/blog/?p=223

http://www.stevebodner.blogspot.com/

Hope to see you all at the 2014 US Windsurfing Nationals in Worthington, MN from June 11-15, 2014!

 

Credit: Dominik Huber 2013 © dominikphoto.com

Report from the US Nationals

I wasnt able to attend this years US Windsurfing Nationals in Cabrillo Beach last week but am taking the opportunity to post- Soheil’s report from the regatta on my blog

I think you’ll find it a good read about the trials and tribulations of sailing a regatta- the highs and lows and most importantly- the lesson of never ever giving up.

Soheil sailed one of the best regattas of his career and finished a career high 4th overall in the Formula class. Big props to him for keeping it going and sending out an report each evening.

Full report @ www.stevebodner.blogspot.com

Phil McGain to Offer Free Clinic at Nationals… and Compete!

Phil McGain to Compete at 2013 US Nationals

US National Champion Phil McGain will race and defend his title at the US Nationals at Cabrillo Beach!

 

In addition to competing in the Formula, Long Distance and Slalom events, Phil will be offering a free clinic on Tuesday August 6, prior to the day’s racing. Phil will cover almost all aspects of windsurfing but mainly focus on racing preparation, tuning and tactics.

 

If you haven’t yet registered for the Aug 4-9, 2013 US Nationals in LA, here’s the link to the event website: http://www.2013windsurfingnationals.com/

Freestyle Clinic with Phil Soltysiak at the 2013 US Nationals

Freestyle Clinic at US Nationals!

On Friday August 9th at 10am Canadian professional freestyle windsurfer Phil Soltysiak will be holding a free freestyle clinic at Cabrillo Beach, Los Angeles. Cabrillo Beach is the venue of the 2013 US Nationals where Phil will be competing in both freestyle and slalom!

During the clinic, Phil will cover the basics of freestyle windsurfing, followed by more in depth discussion of how to improve your skills, and answer any questions you may have. The clinic is open for everybody to attend, so we hope to see you all there!

For more information on Phil, check out: www.PhilipSoltysiak.com

If you haven’t yet registered for the Aug 4-9, 2013 US Nationals in LA, here’s the link to the event website: http://www.2013windsurfingnationals.com/

Report from the trenches- SF Classic & Ultra Nectar Challenge

They say- if you’ve got a secret to keep from sailors- put it in the sailing instructions as no one reads them anyway!
That was certainly the case for Sunday’s long distance race of the San Francisco Classic hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club where the top 4 leading kite boards rounded mark 3 of 14 in the wrong direction despite charging down the slalom course to Berkeley in just over 1 hour.

36 kite and formula windsurfing boards started the race but only 19 finished!

Its the details that count and veteran waterman, Chip Wasson, the only sailor to win the race on both a windsurfer and a kite board made sure he crossed his t’s, dotted his i’s and rounded the marks in the right direction and finished the race in 108:41

Saturday’s long distance race is actually 2 races rolled into 1 and one of my favorite races of the year. Ive done it about a dozen times, abandoned once after breaking down and even won the 2 races back in 2009. Its a 40 mile + grueling long distance race open to kites and boards that takes every ounce to finish.

The first part of the race is the San Francisco Classic which takes sailors on a full tour of the Bay with 2 triangles around the red nun outside the golden gate bridge from Crissy field, then a slalom course across the Bay on beam/broad reaches from Anita Rock to Harding Rock to Blossom Rock to Blunt to R4 buoy to R2 buoy to the top of the Berkeley pier, to Olympic circle X buoy and back to the bottom of the Berkeley pier. Crossing the finish line starts the 2nd half of the race – the Ultra Nectar Challenge- which brings sailors back upwind on any course they choose to a finish in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Johnny Heineken took the line honors on the return trip winning the Ultra Nectar Challenge in a time of 43:26

Full story & photos @ www.stevebodner.blogspot.com

2013 Nationals in Los Angeles

It’s just over 4 months until the 2013 US Windsurfing Nationals Championships in Los Angeles, CA.  Hosted by the Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club and organized by a dedicated group of Southern California windsurfers, this event is sure to be fantastic!

Tons of information is up on the event website at www.2013windsurfingnationals.com so you can start planning your trip.  Bring the whole family to see the sites in L.A., windsurf at Cabrillo Beach and compete at Nationals – all in one trip!  There will be Formula class racing as well as the possibility of having a variety of one-design classes (Kona, RS:One, Techno, etc) and a raceboard class depending on the number of registrants.  There will also be Slalom racing and a Freestyle competition. 

The organizers and th CBYC have gone above and beyond to make sure that this is a Nationals for everyone.  There are even a number of camping spots and motorhome parking spots available at the yacht club.  If you ever wanted to visit L.A. – this is your chance.  So make your plans now, register for the event and we’ll see you there!

Florida Events Coming Up

It may be snowing and cold in much of the US – but it is warm and windy in Florida! 

Kona racers can head to the Clearwater Community Sailing Center on November 17 & 18 for the Carlisle Classic.  You don’t want to miss 2 days of racing at this great location on the west coast of Florida.  There will also be racing for Opti, 420, Laser, O’pen Bic, Windmill and Hobie Wave classes.  More information and a notice of race can be found at http://clearwatercommunitysailing.org/2012/carlisle-classic-2012

Challenge yourself at the I-to-I in Ft. Lauderdale!   The 10th annual running of the Inlet to Inlet Long Distance Race is scheduled December 1-2, 2012.  The i-to-i helps wrap up the US Windsurfing National Race Tour for 2012.  More information, notice of race, (NOR), etc. can be found on the official race website:

 www.i-to-i.org

Ronstan Bridge to Bridge race- San Francisco, Ca

I tried to run the course a few days earlier in the week and develop a strategy based on the winds and tides along the city front and in the southern shipping channel. My goal was to stay in the breeze, gybe early if needed to and stay upright at all cost in the voodoo chop. Max ebb was a 4:54 with a 3.65k outgoing tide

I was becoming comfortable with my custom double chicken strap on the starboard 167 formula board through the disorganized chaos of chop and swell on the course.
This years starboard goes especially well off the breeze and Ive learned that it doesn’t need a big fin at all to stay powered.
My cut down 64cm kashy fin made the ride tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable.
The last piece of my quiver was the avanti 10.0 sail.
Despite being a light wind slalom sail- the sail blazes downwind.
Its my go to sail for sailing in most any condition on formula in the SF Bay.

68 other high performance sailing craft joined the fun for a 5:30 start.
Rumor had it 2 Ac 45′s were going to race plus l’hydropture- an amazing experiment in fluid hydrodynamics and all out sailing power. To give you an idea of what the hydropture is capable of- take the record they broke earlier in the week practicing speed runs on the SF Bay.

In winds just above 20 knots, the boat reached 44.5 knots driven by skipper Alain Thébault and with the CEO of America’s Cup team Artemis Racing, Paul Cayard, aboard. That’s more than 20 percent faster than even the bay’s high speed ferries (which run at 36 knots). In heavy wind the boat has a top end potential of 61 knots (more than 70 mph.)

I tried lining up with her earlier in the week and got spat out like a water melon seed in the turbulence of wind and water wake as they passed me like I was standing still.

During the line up during the pre start- it became obvious the boat wasn’t in a safe position with all the other kites and formula boards jetting in every direction. The took the wise move and started 5 min early for the safety of everyone around. No sight of the Ac45′s :/

That however still left the Aussie 18 skiffs and kite boarders to content with as well as a handful of other foiling trimaran powered kites, extreme 40 catamarans, and what not’s on the starting line.

The start was postponed as we waited for in inbound tug and an outbound freight to clear the starting area. The start line was set between the red nun buoy west of the south tower and a start boat set just north of mid span. The line was broken up into 3rds with the kite and formula boards starting in the most northern section of the line.

I knew there would be a mid line sag with the ebb and the fact the 2 mid boat lines were not sighting the line. I had Johnny Heineken just below me as we both squirted out from the pack 5 seconds early  and got a good jump on the pack at the start. I’ve sailed enough against Heineken that I know I can trap him, at least temporarily, by sailing beneath him and limiting his kite but I wasnt looking for any battles. I was just looking to go as fast as I could downwind 7.5 miles to the finish line set beneath the eastern most span of the Bay Bridge. Besides Ive given up on trying to beat the kites downwind while powered. They can go super deep. The only chance is when it lightens up and the formula board is back in the game again.


I continued on starboard tack off the line till around the St.FYC where I gybed back and could tell the top few kites had much deeper angles and I crossed just in front of the first skiff and held a good lead on the rest of the windsurfers. The pressure was starting to drop in the middle of the Bay so I gybed back and had a nice line just above Alcatraz.  There was a lot of disorganized chop and I was going between the chicken and the double chicken strap as the pressure went from 14-22k.
The tug that delayed our start was now bearing directly towards the finish line with the top few kites weaving around it. I choose to stay north where the pressure was as I didn’t want to get trapped on the south side of the tug where the city front winds could be lighter as we turned the corner towards the Bay bridge.

The move paid off as I was still in the hunt in the top 10. Gomes went down hard just in front of me as he dipped his edge of his kite in the water while trying to stay alive on his slalom style kiteboard.
A ton of different strategies on what works best on a strictly downwind course.
Sylvester used his 9.0 and 61cm fin for maximum efficiency.
Heineken, who was using a course board, 13m Ozone edge kite but smaller fins had walked away at this point and was nearing the finish line. I was making some gain on kiter, Adam Koch on his course board in the lighter stuff but one or two puffs carried him 100m deeper and out of reach. Nearing the finish the top skiff just crossed in front of me but I had better speed bearing away for the finish.
It was going to be really close.
We were overlapped at the finish with the skiff finishing at the pin and and myself at the boat end.
I looked around and was happily surprised I was able to get all the other windsurfers and about 90 seconds back from the winner.
With the kites taking the top 7 positions, the first skiff just edging me out, I sat in 9th overall.
Johnny Heineken a new course record with a time of 14 minutes and 14 seconds blazing deeper and faster than anything else on the course.

Steve Sylvester was the 2nd windsurfer about a min back from me with Eric Christianson following close behind.
You can always count on the St.FYC to throw a good party and awards after the final competitors are picked up, boards put away and sails rolled up.

Johnny’s secret- go fast and don’t look back!

Steve
USA-4

 

results

Past winners:
1998- McKee Brothers 49′er 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′-23″
2004- Seth Besse -windsurfer 17′-10″
2005- Anthony Chazez- kitrboarder 17′-54″
2006- Jeff Kafka -kiteboarder 20′-28″
2007- Chip Wasson- kiteboarder 16′-30″
2008- Howard Hamlin- Aussie18 skiff 22′-25″
2009-John Winnning Ausie 18 skiff 19′-46″
2010- Michael C -Aussie 18 skiff 19′-44″
2011- Bernie Lake -kiteboarder (16′-15″)
2012-  Johnny Heineken -kiteboarder 14′-14″

 

2012 US Windsurfing Nationals Rocked!

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formula results (click on image to enlarge)

The 2012 US Windsurfing Nationals, presented by the American Windsurfing Tour wrapped up last Thursday.  The event was fantastic, with freestyle, formula and slalom racing all taking place in four action packed days.  The weather in Hood River was perfect; sunny, warm and windy.  Phil McGain took an early lead on the Formula course and easily held onto first place.  Xavier Ferlet and Steve Bodner (both of California) finished second and third and were often so close on the course you could hardly see space between them.  Marion Lepert, also of California sailed an impressive event, easily winning the women’s class and finishing in 8th place over all.  What a way to spend the summer before her senior year in high school!

slalom results (click on image to enlarge)

The closest racing of the event took place in slalom.  Phil McGain and Tyson Poor finished the event tied, with Phil just edging Tyson out in the tie-breaker.  Bruce Peterson and Casey Hauser rounded out the top four places with each of them winning a few heats.  15 year old Fiona Wylde had the crowd on their feet every heat she competed in, almost always finishing in the top 10 (of men, women and juniors) and finishing the last heat in 4th place!  She was the first junior in slalom, the first woman (though she was scored as a junior) and place 14th overall!  Marion Lepert, Ingrid Larouch and Tammy Bockius took first, second and third in the women’s fleet.  Overall results:

12 nationals overall results

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More pictures and stories can be found at http://americanwindsurfingtour.com/2012/07/final-day-at-the-us-windsurfing-nationals-presented-by-the-awt/ and videos at  www.windsport.com