Friday, April 1, 2011

Busy Spring for Junior Windsurfers!

Spring 2011 was a busy one for junior windsurfers in the US! Margot Samson and Ian Stokes competed at the Miami Olympic Classes regatta in Miami in January. They both learned a lot of RS:X skills that will help to prepare them for the ISAF Youth Worlds Championships in Cyprus this summer.

In February, Rax Sayre, from Martha's Vinyard travelled to Mexico to compete in the Techno 293 North American Championships. While he was racing he showed incredible sportsmanship when he saw a fellow competitor who had been seperated from her rig and was in danger of drowning. You can read about it here, or see the video here, .

And of course, kids from all over the country are making plans to travel to San Francisco for the Techno 293 World Championships in July. Kids from all over the world will be competing in San Francisco Bay, ripping around between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Island of Alcatraz to see who will take the world title for 2011. For more information, check out the regatta website at

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Marion's Report from the Techno 293 World's

This year’s Techno 293 World Championships was one to be remembered. There were over 400 competitors and winds ranging from 0 to 55 knots. I was eager to see how much I’d improved since last year’s Worlds, and I’d set myself a goal to finish in the top 10. I met the US team in Martigues on Saturday evening, and there were already 40 knots; I was thrilled. The following day we registered, and got our charter gear together. On Monday, we had our equipment inspected, and then we went out on the water at around 1: 00 pm. The wind was great with +20 kts. Unfortunately, around 2:30 p.m. the wind started picking up to the point where I was just getting myself exhausted; so I came back in, which was not an easy task as there were about 400 people there trying to launch at the same time. I ended up missing the practice race, but since more than half the fleet did not do it either, I did not mind. In the evening there was the opening ceremony followed by some Tahitian dancing.

Tuesday was too windy to race, so we had our first races on Wednesday, and we got out on the water at 6:00 pm. I finished 12th and 22nd, the latter one being raced in very light wind. I had the most trouble with my starts because I couldn’t figure out how to sight the line properly. I did better on Thursday, finishing 9th, 13th, and 8th because the wind was more consistent, blowing about 15kts. This made it easier for me because less pumping was involved, and since I could point higher than most girls, I was able to recover from my bad starts and move up to the top of the fleet. On Friday the girls did not get to go out because the race committee believed it was too windy for us. Unfortunately, Saturday was very light. In our first race, which had about 5 to 10 kts, I finished 31st, and we all had to be towed in because the wind disappeared after we finished. Surprisingly, my best race was the following one in the afternoon in which we also had very light winds. I had a terrific start because I port tacked the entire fleet, so I was ahead of everyone for a few minutes. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long because other girls pumped better than me, so they ended up passing me. I ended up finishing 7th in that race. In the end, I finished 11th, and just one point behind tenth place.

Overall, I had a great time. I met a lot of people, learned a lot, and I now know what I need to work on if I want to make it to the podium next year. I have to say that I was disappointed that the girls did not get a single race with the centerboard up, but I did get to see how well I’d improved in my light wind sailing. This was a great event, and I’m looking forward to competing at the Worlds again in San Francisco next year. Hopefully they will let girls go out when the wind blows above 20+ kts which does not seem to be the case in Europe...
A great thanks to my parents, my grandparents, Britt, and the St. Francis Yacht Club Foundation for all of their support.
-Marion Lepert

Monday, August 9, 2010

Junior Racers at the 2010 Nationals In San Francisco

Alyson Fromm sent the following report from the Nationals in San Francisco where she raced in both the Formula and Slalom classes:

It was July 20th at 8 AM and I was wide awake with anticipation to rip up San Francisco Bay for Nationals. I was excited , but scared at the same time, because I had only sailed on the bay a total of 45 minutes the day before. Then if you add in my major fear of sharks and huge boats, my mind was pretty occupied. When we roll into the parking lot at Crissey Field I saw people starting to rig from all over the world and I knew from then on that it was going to be an intense, but fun, week. After two races, I was exhausted, because each race was two laps around this huge course which was about 12 miles per race. Trying to get to the windward mark on an incoming tide was really hard! I underestimated the mark and had to tack a couple of extra times! During the break we were told that the junior sailors with 8.5 sails and smaller, would only do one lap from then on. What a relief that was! With that change, the four juniors in that fleet were able to finish the course before the men made it around twice. That went on for the two days. Then the last three days we did formula in the morning and slalom in the afternoon. I have to say that slalom is more my thing. I love it!

Throughout the whole competition I had some problems with equipment and learning how to deal with the floods and ebbs, but after a while everything finally came together. Phil McGain led a small clinic and gave us some advice on how to get better starts and deal with the currents. I followed his starting advice and claimed my position right at the front of the charging, world class racers. Unfortunately, my start was a little too good, and I was over early and didn’t realize it. That was one of my better races, but I was disqualified.

It was on the second to last race of formula , as I was going up to the windward mark that I had my most memorable race. I was being followed by a pod of porpoises and they were jumping and swimming right next to me the whole way! It was really cool to be able to share the water with one of my favorite animals. That ended up being one of best races in formula. Thank you porpoises!!!

I have to say the biggest challenge was dodging all the tourist boats, fishing boats and huge tankers, because let me tell you, they don’t care about the SPLATS(aka windsurfers in their way). They mean business! Luckily, the committee boats were out there watching us and making sure we stayed clear of the biggest tankers and cruise ships. The tourist boats are another story. They fly along until they slow down to talk about the windsurfers in the bay and try to get you to wave to them. Then they jet off leaving this huge wake behind them. I know I definitely went flying off a good handful of those confused monster waves. I think my mast met the board on one of those.

After 5 days of rigging and derigging the same 3-5 sails every day, and racing non-stop, I was pretty tired. I loved windsurfing in the bay though, and it was great being part of the Windsurfing Nationals in San Francisco. I would totally do it again. Now, I can’t wait to show off what I learned at the last two Gorge Cup races in Hood River, because I feel I made a huge leap forward in my sailing. If you are a Junior racer who didn’t go the Nationals this year you should definitely try to go next year, because you get to race with some amazing talent from around the world and you learn a ton.
See you on the water!

Techno 293 2010 US National Championship

The Techno 293 East Coast Championships and US Nationals took place in Vinyard Haven last week. 15 races were run over 3 days in perfect racing conditions! Jean Sebastian from Quebec, Canada took the top spot, with Raz Sayre and Chris Waldo finishing behind him.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Techno 293 Worlds Video!

We're so proud of the performance of our US Team at the Techno 293 World Championships that just wrapped up in Martigues, France. Ian Stokes, Marion Lepert, Jack Lundquist, Charlotte Samson and Margot Samson (allong with coach Britt Viehman)raced hard all week. And you can see them in the below video inviting everyone to San Francisco for the 2011 Worlds!

In the fleet of 80 girls, Marion Lepert of San Francisco finished 11th and Margot Samson of Clearwater, FL finished 49th. In the fleet of 160 boys, Ian Stokes of Virginia finished in 68th.

Check out for more videos and results.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bic techno 293 world championship 2010

Check out this video from the Techno 293 World Championships, where Margot Samson, Charlotte Samson, Marion Lepert, Ian Stokes and Jack Lundquist are racing for the USA this week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Juniors Ripping at Nationals

The following is excerpted from, check it out for lots more coverage of Nationals and other windsurfing, kiting and sailing events!

San Francisco Bay is known for chewing up and spitting out some of the most seasoned sailors. The fleet of junior sailors at this year's event however came prepared and are dishing it right back. Starting on the same line as the rest of the fleet they are showing that the future of American Formula sailing is a bright one. Just finishing races in these challenging conditions is a serious accomplishment and these kids are not just finishing they are excelling.

In the Junior 8.5 max sail division Ben Grodner (USA 1618 Salt Lake City, Utah) is sailing a near perfect regatta with 7 bullets in 8 races. Perhaps even more impressive is the performance of the divisions two girl's entries Alyson Fromm (USA 015, Seattle, Washington, pictured at right) and Fiona Wylde (F 11, Hood River, Oregon,pictured at right) both of whom have finished every single race and are engaged in a battle that has them separated by only one point after seven races. I can testify first hand that these kids are legit contenders. In one race I wass lit up on port tack and locked in battle with Mike Percy (USA VYV Hansen Sails also an event sponsor, pictured below). We are both pushing as hard as we can to the finish line and that's when I hear a fierce, albeit high pitched, "STARBOARD"! As I peer to my right I here comes Fromm who had called the perfect lay line to the finish and she has me totally covered. I am forced to take her stern and it hands the race to Percy. Nice job Alyson – that's racing!

In the Junior division Chris Gardiner (7, St Petersburg, Florida) is mixing it up with the big boys. Day 2 saw Gardiner post three straight top 20 finishes 17-17-16 to lead the division and has him sitting in 21st place overall. Cullen Ahern (USA 163, Clear Water Florida,) also got in the action posting a 19th place in race 6 and sits in second place while Jay Watermeyer (US 45,Hood River, Oregon, pictured below body dragging) is in third. With talent this strong the adults better be watching their backs the remainder of the regatta as it's likely these three running them down.