Category Archives: windsurfing

2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater: Going Out with a Bang!

At the Baystar Race Village on Medal Race Day (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

At the Baystar Race Village before Medal Races (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

With standings so tight at the beginning of the day, all eyes were on the medal races today at the 2014 RS:X Youth World Championships in Clearwater, Florida!

Saturday on Clearwater Beach is always a busy day, and the combination of bright sunshine, strong breeze and world-class windsurfing action brought upwards of 20,000 people to the beach for the conclusion of the event.

Busy day at the beach for the conclusion of the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

Busy day at the beach for the conclusion of the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

Patrycja Lis (POL) launches for the final race of the Clearwater 2014 Youth Worlds

Patrycja Lis (POL) before final race of the Clearwater 2014 Youth Worlds (credit: Peter Forde)

While the medal racers stayed behind to get their equipment inspected and deal with the pressure of the situation, a solid 14 kt breeze kicked up from the North and the rest of the fleet launched to get one last race in. Sil Hoekstra (NED) weaved his way through the fleet on port tack, headed straight to the beach in the 3 ft chop that many competitors have found so confounding all week, hit the layline perfectly and took the men’s race in style.

In the women’s last race, Maelle Guilbaud (FRA) did the same thing and headed straight for the beach, as did Shahar Tibi (ISR). They rounded the first weather mark in the lead but were caught in the second lap by Patrycja Lis (POL), who showed why she’s always a force to be reckoned with in the heavier breeze.

Race Committee at work - in sequence for medal races (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

Race Committee at work on MarineMax 44-ft Aquila power catamarans – in sequence for medal races (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

Once all competitors were back ashore after the morning race, the international jury and class measurer hopped on chase boats to get ready to officiate on the water, the race committee switched the course from a trapezoid to a windward leeward course with a slalom finish, and the top ten men and women launched one last time this week from the Baystar Race Village on the beach.

Youth Women World Champion Emma Wilson (GBR)

Youth Women World Champion Emma Wilson (GBR)

The women started first, with four of them having a clear shot at the title, and it was Emma Wilson who showed poise beyond her years. After a good start she was the only one to hit the starboard layline, went full throttle and was gone. “When I got to the top mark,” she said, “I looked back and everyone was gone. I thought I had done something wrong! I don’t even know how I did it, I’m so happy!” Imogen Sills finished 2nd, making it an impressive 1-2 for the British squad in the race. Berenice Mege from France finished three spots ahead of reigning World Champion Marta Maggetti to take the silver medal, with Maggetti hanging on to third place to make it onto the podium for the second year in a row. The most disappointed of the group was Ma Kwan Ching, who was in control of the event early on in the week, and lost out on the podium with her performance in the medal race. But there’s plenty of positives for the young woman from Hong Kong to take away from this week. We’re going to see her name in the limelight many more times in the future.

Youth Men World Champion Radoslaw Furmanski (POL)

Youth Men World Champion Radoslaw Furmanski (POL)

With the women back ashore and celebrating, the men took to the race course, and the battle was on from the start between Mattia Camboni (ITA) and Radoslaw Furmanski (POL). The title was to be decided between those two, and with no one else within striking distance on the leaderboard, we could have excused them if they had let the others escape and focused their attention on match racing each other. But that was clearly not their intention, and the battle today took place at the front. The deciding moment in the race appears to have been at the bottom mark. “I was leading but didn’t see the mark with the sun in my face, so I gybed too late,” said Camboni. “Radoslaw gybed inside and stayed in control from that point on. I’m a little disappointed because I’m losing by 1 point in the end, but Radoslaw raced very well and deserves the win. “I’m very happy,” said Furmanski directly after the race, “because this year I also won the European Championships, and now I’m a World Champion! Toni Bonet (ESP) had a solid medal race after a consistent week of racing in Clearwater and rounds up the men’s podium.

Medal Race action at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, FL

Medal Race action in front of Pier 60 (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

“What a great event here in Clearwater this week,” said Jerome Samson, President of US Windsurfing. “Thanks to the stellar work of our race committee and its Principal Race Officer Fairlie Brinkley, we stayed on schedule all week and had a full slate of 13 races for everyone. This really demonstrates the quality of the venue here. What you want for a World Championships is a venue that tests competitors in all conditions, and Clearwater delivered! The champions today are for sure the best all-around young windsurfers in the world.”

Beach venue for the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

Beach venue for the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater (credit: Russ Hendrickson)

With pictures, videos and news reports going out on the wires every day this week, the media reach of the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater has been truly global and continues to build. But equally important was the local success of the event: with the Baystar Race Village set directly on the beach, and glowing local TV and press reports building up interest throughout the week, city officials estimate that the event this week took place in front of an audience of upwards of 80,000 people. Every day this week, the launch corridor on the beach was lined with spectators cheering on the athletes. The impact on the region was clearly visible and will be long-lasting.

Racing close to the beach this week in Clearwater (credit: Jay Ailworth)

Racing close to the beach this week in Clearwater (credit: Jay Ailworth)

This event owes big to the City of Clearwater. The organizers, Tampa Bay Charities and US Windsurfing, want to extend a big thank you to Mayor George Cretekos for opening all the doors and being such a good sport at the opening and closing ceremonies; to the dedicated staff and volunteers at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, the Clearwater Yacht Club and the Dunedin Boat Club; to the Neil Pryde Group and the International RS:X Class for believing in Clearwater’s ability to organize these championships at a moment’s notice; and of course to all the enthusiastic sponsors and supporters without whom an event of this magnitude would simply not take place.

“This is the best event we’ve ever been to,” said competitor Adrien Mestre from France. “Thank you to all the organizers. We’re going to remember it forever.”

Women Champion Emma Wilson (GBR) and fellow competitor Elena Vacca (ITA) on crowded Clearwater Beach

Women Champion Emma Wilson (GBR) and fellow competitor Elena Vacca (ITA) on crowded Clearwater Beach after the action today at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds (credit: Peter Forde)

Top Youth Women:

1. Emma Wilson (GBR)
2. Berenice Mege (FRA)
3. Marta Maggetti (ITA)
(full results)

Top Youth Men:

1. Radoslaw Furmanski (POL)
2. Mattia Camboni (ITA)
3. Toni Bonet Macias (ESP)
(full results)

Top U17 Women:

1. Emma Wilson (GBR)
2. Noy Drihan (ISR)
3. Shoval Ravitzky (ISR)
(full results)

Top U17 Men:

1. Francesco Tomasello (ITA)
2. Yoay Omer (ISR)
3. Lars Van Someren (NED)
(full results)

2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater: All To Play For!

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Women Fleet in Action in the Building Breeze (credit: Jay Ailworth)

Day 4 at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, Florida, and the sound of the day was that of racers whooping and hollering past the race committee boats  (two imposing 44-ft power catamarans provided by event sponsor MarineMax) in a breeze that high-wind specialists had been waiting for all week.

After a first race in oscillating 8-12 kt side-off conditions, the wind filled in from the north: a solid cross-shore 12-15 kt breeze greeted the competitors for the second race of the day, before kicking up one more notch to a solid 16-18 kt for the third race. The action was once again set up close enough to shore for spectators to enjoy the show from the beach and Pier 60: gutsy starts, fast racing, spectacular wipe-outs, we had it all on Day 4!

Men's Leader Mattia Camboni (ITA)

Men’s Leader Mattia Camboni (ITA) enjoyed the conditions

Defending champion Mattia Camboni (ITA) and Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) traded race wins today and separated themselves from the rest of the men’s fleet. “It was great today,” said Camboni, “Radoslaw won the first two races and I won the last one, and at the end of the day I’m one point ahead in the overall. It’s going to be all to play for in the medal race!”

Indeed, nobody else is within striking distance of those two at this point in the championships, and you can count on some serious match racing in the medal race tomorrow. Toni Bonet from Spain doesn’t quite have bronze sewed up yet, and will have to look over his shoulder as Frenchman Oel Pouliquen still has a chance to climb on the podium if he wins the medal race.

Things are even tighter in the women’s fleet: while the race wins today went to Hadar Heller (ISR), Imogen Sills (GBR) and Shahar Tibi (ISR), young Emma Wilson from Great Britain impressed with steady racing in the building breeze and now stands on top of the podium entering the medal race. Her lead is razor thin though, and she’s going to have to fight for it on Saturday: Marta Maggetti (ITA), Ma Kwan Ching  (HKG) and Berenice Mege (FRA) are all within 4 points!

Gutsy Start from Mateo Salles (MEX)

Gutsy Start from Mateo Salles (MEX) – credit: Jay Ailworth 

 

The rest of the fleets will enjoy a final race tomorrow morning, come back ashore and line up on the pier to cheer on their friends in what promises to be an exciting medal race for both men and women!

The Organizing Authority continued to treat competitors to first-class dinner, this time at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center (courtesy of event sponsor Bright House Networks), before everyone rushed back to Pier 60 for a fireworks show (sponsored by Pier 60 Concessions).

The stage is set!

 

2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater: Shake-Up at the Top on Day 3!

RS:X Racing on a public beach at the 2014 Youth Worlds in Clearwater

RS:X Racing on a public beach at the 2014 Youth Worlds in Clearwater

Shake up at the top on Day 3 of the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, Florida! Fully recharged thanks to the lay day yesterday, all competitors were eager to enter the final stretch of the competition in Clearwater, and the planing conditions in the forecast certainly contributed to the excitement on the beach. With cooler temperatures this morning came a 10-14 kt side-off breeze (don’t panic, cooler temperatures means 16C this time of year in Florida!) and the race committee wasted no time to set the course for the first race of the day. The windward mark for the inner loop of the course was set barely 200 yards from the tip of Pier 60, allowing spectators to enjoy the mark rounding action up close and personal.

View of the Baystar Racing Village from Pier 60

View of the Baystar Racing Village from Pier 60

It was Frenchman Clement Guevel who took charge in the first race of the day before letting a couple of competitors slip past him at the finish.  The French team found extra motivation today in the early departure of their teammate Clement ‘Boubou’ Bourgeois, who cut his foot during rest day yesterday and had to be flown back to France before the conclusion of the championships. That would be a big disappointment for any racer this week, but it was especially hard to take because Clement was standing in 3rd position this morning.

Unfortunate Early Departure for Clement 'Boubou' Bourgeois

Unfortunate Early Departure for Clement ‘Boubou’ Bourgeois

“Very good day for me today,” wrote French teammate Berenice Mege. “The wind was shifty and patchy and I was able to figure it out. The top step on the podium is really close. I want to climb up there for ‘Boubou.’ Her sentiment was echoed by her teammate Adrien Mestre, who joked that he wouldn’t make a push to the front out of respect for his wounded teammate, before promising that he would in fact fight ’til the very end in his honor. The race committee moved briskly to run two more races in very technical conditions. Those able to stay alert, read the current and find the patches of wind on the course were richly rewarded. Besides the early departure of Clement Bourgeois due to injury, there was another factor that contributed to the shake-up at the top of the men’s leaderboard: Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) and Mattia Camboni (ITA) were granted redress for an OCS earlier this week, along with four other competitors. Camboni moved straight to the top of the rankings as a result, while Furmanski stepped up to 3rd. Overnight leader Toni Bonet (ESP) lost the lead but is only 1 point behind Camboni tonight.

The Boys Fleet racing to the outer loop

The Boys Fleet racing to the outer loop

While Berenice Mege had the best combined score for the 3 races contested today in the women’s fleet, overnight leader Ma Kwan Ching (HKG) had very steady results and padded her lead a little over Marta Maggetti (ITA). With Mege, Wilson (GBR) and Czurylo (POL) all within a few points of the lead, it’s still all to play for.

Girls Fleet heading back down to leeward gate

Girls Fleet heading back down to leeward gate

Tonight’s dinner party was at Crabby Bill’s, a laid-back and colorful restaurant located directly across from the venue on Clearwater Beach. All competitors had a nice meal and headed in early: three more races are scheduled for tomorrow!

2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater: Full Schedule after Day 2!

Clearwater 2014 - Start of Women Race 6

Clearwater 2014 – Lining up for Women Race #6, as viewed from Pier 60

After two days of intense racing at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, both fleets have completed a full schedule of 6 light-wind races, and they’ve earned their lay day!

Very light and shifty winds were forecast for the day, and it was a nice surprise to see a 7 kt side-off breeze fill in early from the North. After a short postponement on shore to make sure the wind was steady, all racers were called to the water for what turned out to be three races in a row for both fleets, around the same tried-and-true trapezoid course used the day before.

Riccardo

Riccardo Enrique Perez Gio (MEX), in 44th place after Day 2

“It was much steadier than yesterday,” said Ricardo Enrique Perez Gio from Mexico. “It was still very hard, but I enjoyed it more.”

The breeze eventually turned to side-on, but the race committee was on top of it and by 3pm, all racers were back to shore licking their wounds, counting their blessings, and looking forward to a great dinner party.

After the jitters of opening day and most likely a word or two from their coaches, racers were much more disciplined on the start line today, with no OCS in the three races of the day in either fleet. “I saw people being extra careful on the start line today,” observed Mateo Salles. “We all added five seconds to the countdown!”

Even with conservative starts, the leaders worked hard all the way around the course. “These guys are really good,” added Mateo’s teammate Federico Vega. “I’m learning a lot on every race.”

Toni Bonet - Men's Leader after Day 2

Toni Bonet – Men’s Leader after Day 2

With one discard in play already, Angel Granda Roque (ESP) and Mattia Camboni (ITA) made major gains in the men’s rankings: from 37th to 12th overall for Mattia and from 27th all the way to 5th for Angel. But Toni Bonet (ESP) has increased his lead with very steady racing and a bullet to end the day.

On the women’s side, French teammates Berenice Mege and Delphine Jariel showed their talent, with two bullets for Berenice vaulting her from 17th to 5th, and Delphine’s steady finishes allowing her to climb from 14th to 7th. Ma Kwan Ching (HKG) still leads the proceedings, but 2013 World Champion Marta Maggetti (ITA) has closed the gap, and Emma Wilson (GBR) is well positioned with the lowest discard among all the girls in the fleet.

The day ended in style, with trolleys picking up hungry sailors at the beach venue for a drive down the shoreline to local favorite restaurant Salt Rock Grill. A great opportunity for all to meet one of the Championships’ major sponsors, the Baystar Restaurant Group, and refuel after two long days on the water.

Race organizers are keeping an eye on a tropical depression brewing in the Bay of Campeche. Winds are expected to pick up when racing resumes on Thursday. But not before some much-needed R&R!

Dinner Party at Salt Rock Grill

Dinner Party at Local Favorite Restaurant ‘Salt Rock Grill’

 

2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater: Hard Work on Day 1!

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Launching off the beach on Day 1 at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, FL USA

The 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds kicked off today in Clearwater, USA, and it was hard work from the start: in 5-6 kt of breeze, offshore to start the day and side-on to close it, pumping was in order for the 54 boys and 28 girls gathered here for the 2014 RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championships.

Races started on the dot at 11am in offshore conditions, with the knowledgeable race committee opting for a trapezoid course to keep the two fleets well clear of one another. After a long break ashore to recover from the morning workout, and to give the afternoon side-on breeze a chance to settle, the fleets were called back for two more races. Racing in those pumping conditions is very technical. It’s also a real test of a sailor’s stamina and psychological endurance, and the hot Florida weather can be the straw that literally breaks the Camelbak!

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Brenno Francioli from Brasil

“It was very hard out there for me today,” said Brenno Francioli from Brasil. “I’m better in high winds, but it was a good day. We should have higher winds later this week. I can’t wait!” Brenno currently sits in 29th place.

The boys are racing as one fleet, and errors on the start line are costly. With 6 boys OCS (early over the start line) in the 1st race, 8 in the 2nd race and 6 again in the 3rd, and a few boys scored OCS more than once already, there’ll be plenty of catching up to do the rest of the week. One of those affected is Mattia Camboni, the 2013 Youth World Champion, who scored 1, OCS, OCS for the three races of the day and will have no option but to race aggressively the rest of the way if the provisional results hold. Toni Bonet from Spain was incredibly regular and leads the Men’s fleet by 10 points over Frenchmen Clement Bourgeois and Oel Pouliquen, but the discard is likely to make the contest much closer once it gets into play. On the women’s side, Ma Kwan Ching from Hong Kong came out swinging in the afternoon with two bullets. Behind Ma Kwan Ching, Sara Wennekes (NED), Noy Drihan (ISR) and Emma Wilson (GBR) are lurking, but here too the discard will bring many more racers closer to the front.

The competitors this week have a venue unlike any other: the Baystar Race Village is set up directly on the sugar-white sand of Clearwater Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in America. A big tent provides well-needed shelter from the sun, overnight storage for the equipment, and a corridor has been set up from the tent to the limits of the 300 ft zone to allow everyone to launch and land without obstacles. Wind conditions today didn’t allow for racing very close to shore, but that didn’t stop regular beach-goers from lining up the boundaries of that corridor to watch the competitors up close. They took pictures, asked questions, waved flags and cheered for their favorite countries.

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Baystar Race Village on Clearwater Beach, FL USA

Planting an enormous Race Village smack in the middle of a touristic beach is a logistical challenge for sure, but it creates real excitement for everyone: for the racers who get to spend a day at the beach, for the spectators who get introduced or re-introduced to the sport, and for the local community that gets to promote its incredible natural assets and the can-do attitude of its leaders.

“It’s a throwback to the early days of windsurfing,” said Jerome Samson, President of US Windsurfing. “Most sailing events are run out of yacht clubs, and for very good reasons, but it’s often at the expense of visibility. One thing we can say with certainty is that our venue this week is very visible!”

Racing continues Tuesday Oct 21 through Saturday Oct 25.

This event would not be possible without the energy and passion of Frank Chivas and Tampa Bay Charities, the city of Clearwater, the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the Clearwater Yacht Club and many more generous sponsors.

The i-to-i Celebrates its 11th Year

Ready for some Long Distance action?

 

Ron Kern: “Coming up just 30 days from today will be the 11th year of the i-to-i!  Time flies.  It doesn’t seem that long ago we ran the first one.  Check out the website to learn the history of the event.  Last year set a record for the shortest overall time to complete the race.  We’ll have to see if we set some records this year.”

 

The 11th annual running of the Inlet to Inlet Long Distance Race is scheduled December 7-8, 2013.  The i-to-i helps wrap up the US Windsurfing National Race Tour for 2013.  More information, notice of race, (NOR), etc. can be found on the official race website: www.i-to-i.org

Success at the 2013 Halloween Regatta in Clearwater, FL!

Racing Starts at the Halloween Regatta in Clearwater, Florida

 

By Connor Oursler – USA 313

With the advent of cooler weather the Clearwater Windsurfing Team is anything but reluctant to get out on the water. To commence this year’s season, the Clearwater Community Sailing Center hosted its first annual Halloween Windsurfing Regatta this past weekend. Led by Coach Britt Viehman, the eight youth racers consisted mainly of those from the local racing team, age 12 to 19. Nevertheless, with three current members of the US Sailing Youth Development Team on the start line, it was enough for some successful and intense racing from the RS:X and Techno classes. Accompanied by light to marginal conditions and crisp October skies, these committed sailors were ready to put two months of rigorous training to the test.

 

In order to take advantage of the 6-8 knots of morning breeze from the East, day one was an early start. Immediately after the skippers meeting, the competitors headed across the flat and brilliant waters of Clearwater Harbor to catch the 10:15 start. It was a strong start too as Jonathan Rudich earned three straight bullets leaving the others to fight for second. However, by noon the winds were shifting to the West, causing a two hour postponement, yet the racers were back on the harbor in no time for three more races in 10 knots of sea breeze. This time, Margot Samson finished in the lead by only two points.The following morning presented ten knots of more Easterly winds to allow four more races of an intense battle for first. Conclusively, and not without a great performance by all, Margot Samson was able to hold her position in the RS:X fleet, but only barely with Connor Oursler and Malo Ouallet trailing by only two and four points respectively. Being the only competitor in the Techno fleet, Noah Lyons received his well deserved prize. Ultimately, Coach Viehman expects a very successful season for each of his students with the exceptional results and outstanding display of skill from this exciting weekend of great racing.

 

Top Finishers: 1. Margot Samson; 2. Connor Oursler; 3. Malo Ouallet

 

A big thank you to the Clearwater Community Sailing Center for hosting the event, and to US Windsurfing for making it happen!

 

Awards Ceremony – Group Portrait of Smiling Competitors

 

Overall Results:

1. 28 pts. Margot Samson
2. 30 pts. Connor Oursler
3. 32 pts. Malo Ouallet
4. 33 pts. Jonathan Rudich
5. 35 pts. Diego Becerra
6. 44 pts. Charlotte Samson
7. 50 pts. Tucker McElwaney
8. 68 pts. Noah Lyons (1st Techno)

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