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May 18th Friday Night Slalom Race report

 
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usa4



Joined: 30 Mar 2009
Posts: 86

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 11:08 am    Post subject: May 18th Friday Night Slalom Race report Reply with quote

To say it was windy would be an understatement: It blew the dogs off their chains on the evening of Friday, May 18, for the first St. Francis Yacht Club Friday Slalom Series Race. Twelve windsurfers braved the conditions, rigging up anywhere between a 5.8 and 8.6 sail for the building ebb and 20-35 knots of breeze.

An annual series started by StFYC’s Bill Weir and Staff Commodore Jim Kiriakis, it’s been drawing Bay Area windsurfers to the challenges of brisk summer onshores since the 1990s. This year, organizers are trying out a new course with just one mark set halfway between Crissy Field and the StFYC. The fleet starts on port tack just off the beach and immediately heads out to a mark set by the shipping channel. A quick gybe takes them back to the A buoy off StFYC, then back to Mark 1 and finally a screaming reach to the finish by B buoy and the Club. The whole thing takes less than 3 minutes if you can keep your board pointed in the right direction and stay out of trouble.

Race 1 caught a few of the fleet off guard with only four finishers. I try to keep in mind the most basic rule – make it to the start and finish line. The rest is arbitrary.

Race 2, the breeze was filled in solidly to the beach and Soheil Zahedi, Jean Rathle and Nick Mast quickly charged to a 1-2-3- finish, making it look easy.

Race 3 was an all-out fight to the finish. I was stupidly overpowered and in the leeward back strap to ease the fin pressure on the reach. I made a few conservative gybes and racers fell down around me like dominoes. The last mark saw a pinwheel of four racers stacked up and I came out in the lead going into the finish. I couldn’t turn my head to see where the fleet was, but I knew they were charging below me. One nasty piece of chop sent the nose of my board flying and I eased up: In that slit second, I went from first to third with Mast and Zahedi passing me to leeward and grabbing the first two finishes. Lesson learned: Never give up, even an inch.

Race 4 I was finally back in the game. Rounding the first mark in the pack, I pushed a bit too hard on the second mark rounding and went for a swim. Water-starting a 7.6 in breaking waves and 30 knots was not as easy as I remember. Vincent Fallourd showed a solid performance with a taking behind Zahedi and Rathle.

Race 5 was the final race of the night with conditions gusting over 30 nots and the building ebb making sedan-sized voodoo chop around the course. In addition, the big boat fleet was using Buoy A as their starting mark to cross the bay.

Stay out of trouble, I reminded myself, then pushed as hard as I could, but Rathle and Zahedi walked away with smaller gear and were able to get to throttle up and really send it. We approached Buoy A in a cluster of monstruous ebb, big boats and too-little time for decisions. I sent it below one of the big boats while Jean head above, putting me just in front of him as we ground back up to Mark 1. The big boats were keeping the same line as us, but just another obstacle to get around. We all made it around Buoy A, but Rathle was really able to send it on his tiny bump-and-jump gear and got the final bullet of the night.

All in all, it was more fun than I remembered, but a lot of work just to stay upright and moving fast. Thanks to all those who joined and thanks to the volunteers who helped make it happen.

If you're interested in racing, our next Friday night Slalom is June 1, starting at 5:30pm. New racers are always welcome and volunteers appreciated.

Big thanks to Maxim Panchenko for the photos.

Result- https://www.stfyc.com/files/18_slalom_Results.pdf
Photos at the the crissy field yc facebook page-
https://www.facebook.com/pg/CrissyFieldYachtClub/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1916513981706847



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Last edited by usa4 on Tue May 22, 2018 5:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DelCarpenter



Joined: 06 Nov 2008
Posts: 378
Location: Cedar Falls, IA

PostPosted: Sun May 20, 2018 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate the article and the pictures.

Big thank you to writer, photographer and racers.
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