Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
The 2009 Nationals in the Gorge had one of the biggest junior girls fleet ever! With Marion Lepert of San Francisco (who handily took first place), Lene Botha from Abilene, TX, Margot and Charlotte Samson from Florida, Solvig Sayre from Martha's Vineyard and gorge locals (in the summer anyway) Fiona Wylde, Alyson Fromm, Kelly Watermeyer and Audrey Davis - there were girls ripping around the race course everywhere you looked! I hope the rest of you windsurfing girls join us at an event or training camp soon.....
Is it really September already? The calendar says it's so, and school is back in session and a whole lot of you have some great "what I did on my summer vacation..." stories!
Day one of the 2009 windsurfing nationals started out windy and sunny, and it only got windier. At the skippers meeting it was announced that we were going to race slalom for the day, because it was so windy, which was really cool because I had limited experience with slalom so it was great practice. The first four races I rigged a 5.9 TR-5 which was still super overpowered because the gusts were reaching close to 40. Then it got even windier so I downsized to a 5.0 and kept racing hard. I got much better throughout the day, and went from getting 7th’s and 8th’s to 3rd’s and 4th’s.
Day two started out slightly less windy than the first, but still really breezy. I rigged a 6.6 TR-5 and started to do some serious work, and finally figured out how to jibe, bending your knees really does help in chop! I was getting 3rd and 4th every race and even got a 2nd in one, which I was really stoked about. Then the wind started dropping a little bit and the holes were everywhere, and at that point the lighter sailors started to prevail. This was the end of the slalom series and I finished 4th overall out of 20 or so.
Day three was the beginning of the formula racing, and started out glassy, however by mid afternoon the wind had filled and we got in a couple good races. I was rocking the starts and was 1st around the windward mark every time, but I found that I was a bit slower on the downwind, and the second place racer was usually very close to me by the downwind mark. Then every race, at the bottom of the course there was a massive lull, and my board just would not plane through it, making for some tight racing as the rest of the fleet caught up. I ended the first formula day tied for first, but then they threw out the last race due to lack of wind, so I was in first place alone.
Day four started out even lighter than the third, with the east wind trying to fill in, and we only got two races off. The first race, I came in second, even though I was first around the windward mark I lost it on the downwind, and I was tied for first going into the last race of the series. They moved the course further up the river towards the hatchery in an attempt for more wind on the last race, so I knew there was going to be some wind involved. Instead of rigging down, I decided to have a little extra power should I need it so I just down hauled my 10.0 a little harder. Sure enough, when I got out there, it was windy. I knew that this race decided the regatta, so I went out half an hour early and did my homework, making sure I knew where the favored parts of the course were, which end of the line was favored, etc. and it paid off. I got the best start by far, hitting the pin at full blast as soon as the gun went off, tearing upwind, with the person tying me for first behind me in my dirty air. I as first around the windward mark, but seriously overpowered so I played it safe on the downwind, which was a good idea, because one person passed me then promptly crashed, and multiple others crashed behind me. With all these crashes, I just had to get around the course without falling myself, which I did, staying towards the flat water, and playing shallow angles on the downwind, and with that, I won the race, thus winning the junior formula class!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In the realm of sports, elite athletes are different, with the biggest difference often lying between the ears. Their "wiring" allows them to handle situations at a superior level. This difference can be most evident at the youth level. While some kids are easily distracted, others are highly focused. Meet Duncan Williford. Sailing Optimists for Lauderdale Yacht club in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Duncan qualified for the Optimist Worlds last year in Turkey at age 12 and this year missed the Worlds team by one point. His sixth place finish at the U.S. Team Trials (April 30-May 3) qualified him to attend either the Europeans in Slovenia or the North Americans in Dominican Republic. Now 13 years old, here is a paper he wrote for school as a persuasive essay:
Never Give Up On Your Goals
Have you ever REALLY wanted to accomplish something? Not like "Oh, that sounds nice, I would kind of like to do that," but something where it is your dream. What you can never stop thinking about, never stop dreaming about, never push out of your mind for later. It's different and the same for everybody. It can be academics, sports, a job, or something else. But what they all share is that they are inner goals. If you feel this way about a goal, and never give up, the goal is never impossible.
Sometimes, though, one decides to stop following their dreams. Usually, it is not one of those dreams that you can't stop thinking about, but one of those "Oh, that would be nice," kind of dreams. Those are more hollow dreams. If each time you have a dream, make a goal, and then give up; your goals start to get shallower and shallower. Eventually they are going to just become thoughts. Imagine walking through the middle of an ocean, with a path for you to walk forward, but every step you take, the ocean water fills in behind you. It seems as if there is fair weather ahead of you, but there is a hidden storm. If you go back, you must swim hard against the current and work that much harder to get back to where you came from. That is what it is like if you start giving up on your goals.
Working hard to achieve your goals is almost exactly the opposite. As if you are on a trek through the desert. You don't know exactly how long it will take, but you have a clear path, and a steel determination that will give you all you need to best the twists and turns and rocks and thorns and beasts, anything that will get in your way of that crystal clear vision of what wonders lie ahead at the end of your path. That determination will stay the burning heat, turn away the beasts, crush the rocks, and straighten the twists. But if you decide to stray from your path, "just for a minute," it will turn into that salty ocean way in which it is so very hard to come back from.
If you can grind your teeth, set your jaw, and kindle a blazing fire in your eyes, and never stop to even think about straying from your path, you arrive at your oasis; your lush, green, flowering, wonderful oasis. Here you can do whatever you want and have all the time in the world. Here is where you reach your inner happiness.
Now sometimes there are those few, extraordinary, wise people, who wish to depart again from that wonderful oasis and brave again the desert. These few people realize that it is not the oasis that really brought the peace, but the journey. They wish to feel that feeling of accomplishment again, and again, and again. When they see those who have given up and who are wandering aimlessly through life, they do not laugh or consider themselves better, but pity them. They will help guide them back to the path, so that the others may too enjoy the wonderful oasis. Sometimes this brings an even greater happiness, and inspires them more. That is how it feels to accomplish ones goals and follow ones dreams. That is how it feels to never give up, and to always strive for greatness.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Friday started out with no wind despite forecasts for it to be a solid 12. The lack a wind wasn't a problem though as our skateboards laid at the ready. After a couple hours of skating and beach volleyball the Kona fleet was sent out in a light ,but manageable, breeze. This being only my second Kona regatta I made a point to begin tuning and looking at other people's technique the very second I left the beach in order to have the best chance of being in the top pack. Being slightly out of the groove off the start I tacked out right where I was able to get clear air and ended up making it to the windward mark in the top of the pack. We had one more similar race before we hit the beach and ate the great food Calema Windsurfing had ready for us.
Saturday morning was a carbon copy of the previous morning. As soon as it was realized that the wind would take a few hours to fill, a paddleboard relay race was organized and put into motion. This race was easily dominated by Team USA members Jay Watermeyer, Chris Gardiner, and myself. Not wanting to sit idle for a minute, a group of us moved on to wakeboarding behind a local sailors boat until the wind filled. The races held in the afternoon on Saturday were similar to Fridays with the exception of the wind being in a little more of a left phase. This initially hindered my race results, but I adjusted my strategy for the remaining races and produced a couple alright finishes. We ended our day by skating one of the best bowls on the East Coast at Cocoa Beach Skatepark. It was a great end to an already sick day.
The final day of Midwinters was the windiest of the regatta. The high pressure that had been sitting over the area moved out overnight allowing a for a nice ESE breeze at about 12 knots. The race committee quickly fired off two races for us Konas before sending out the Formula fleet to get in the three races the desperately needed. The last two races of the regatta were my best to date. The stronger breeze and a pin favored line helped me to get ahead and hold my position, giving me a third and then bullet in the last race.
Overall Calema Midwinters was a great event. The competition was great and although the wind was light, there were plenty of other things to do. I definitely plan on going to this regatta again next year.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Chris Gardiner reports from the Formula fleet:
The Alex Caviglia regatta held in
On the first day, there was very good conditions for formula, I was pretty powered up on my 11.0 and was going upwind and downwind comfortably. The starts were very competitive, much more than i was used to, as all 36 competitors fought for a place on the line, this taught me to be more aggressive off the line and to find a hole earlier. One of the coolest things about the regatta was watching the pros such as Gonzalo on his TR-5 tear upwind and downwind, much faster than i ever thought possible. By watching his stance and technique I was able to refine my own to go a little faster.
The second day there was no wind so it gave my friends and I a chance to skate around the parking lot and have a good time. I also talked to a lot of the racers there and got to know them better along with picking up some tips to do better the next day.
The third day started out light, the first race i had trouble planing the first time, only the sailors on 12's and higher were able to plane the whole time. The second race however it started to get windier, and I was on the edge of being overpowered as i ripped through the course at top speed. This was one of my best finishes, and was a very fun race. By the end of the second race and before the third race, the wind had picked up even more, and was close to a steady 23 gusting higher. At this point most of the formula sailors went in, thinking that they were at their limit, for they had rigged big for the lighter winds in the morning. As the gun for the start of the third sequence went off, a gust hit, and as I could barely sheet in my sail, I began to have some doubts about whether I'd finish the race. I made it to the first upwind mark, and resolved to go back downwind just to try it out, and it was the fastest of my life. The gusts were hitting almost thirty as I later found out, and i was able to go almost dead down wind, strapped to my 11.0. There was spray everywhere and i could barely see, but i did manage to see some Konas doing kart wheels around me as their riders got tossed over the handlebars, This was pretty cool as long as i was the observer.
In the end it was a great regatta. We saw all sorts of wind conditions, there were great people all around, and it was a ton of fun. I'm looking forward to next year.
Saturday - the St. Pete contingent of Team USA Windsurfing together with team member Solvig Sayre of New England were dominating the fleet and humbling the old timers, showing that practice might have something to do with finishing well. I hear that the St. Pete crew is practicing fleet racing twice a week now. Their skill level is way, way up from last year. Race 3 in particular was fun, with a huge 2-lap windward leeward and yet almost all the fleet finished within a couple minutes of each other. I couldn't tell you firsthand who won because I was so far behind these guys most of the time, but the results showed that Team USA was 1-2-3 at the end of Saturday with Cullen Ahearn leading. Bruce Matlack was also up in the mix.
Sunday - a beautiful day in
Race 4 - started out in marginal planing conditions for formula and good but nonplaning wind on Kona for windward leeward racing (it was planing conditions on a reach). Solvig won and from my perspective it looked like she decided to railride across the finish line (she was standing on the rail, sailing along for a second or two) - I thought, "rub it in!" but she apparently just had the board rail up due to the higher winds.
Race 5 - full tilt, perfect planing conditions, daggerboard up the whole time other than a minute at the top of the first windward mark. The wind was increasing throughout the race, around 20 knots.
Race 6 - I would say it was survival conditions except that after Race 6, it got even windier. Completing the race was all about not falling. My tactics were to head to the flatter water, windward side of the bay where I could sheet in and not be bounced off the wave tops going upwind. I did the formula-style "super chicken" strap thing on the way downwind and that worked pretty well. My main thought was, wow, we're racing in this?
Getting back to shore - the wind nuked so hard that it took major muscle just to hold the sail up in the air during the gusts. None of us had our sails trimmed for wind like this since it was 10 knots when we left the dock. Some of us rerigged them some on the water but I know mine could have used more tweaking. The launch was a couple of miles upwind, in the lee of skyscrapers and upwind through a marina. Good times!
Congratulations to Cullen Ahearn of Team USA Windsurfing for his win in the Kona Class. He did well in the big range of conditions that we had and I hope all of you Kona racers will remember him well at the Midwinters starts in March :). Thanks also to the team coaches, Britt Viehman and Karen Marriott, who are doing a great job, and to the guys for letting me borrow their skateboards to cruise around between the races.
All in all it was another great regatta in
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Halfway through the regatta here in Miami - Team USA is well represented in the Kona fleet, in fact we make up almost the entire Kona fleet! Check out the score sheet so far (there are a few mix ups however, David - FL14 has finished races, he just isn't currently scored properly). The three races yesterday were in breezy conditions (10-15 knots) and today we are sitting around waiting for it to fill back in .
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I first found out about the Formula Worlds from a fellow teammate on Team
Monday, January 5, 2009
Just came back from a 4-day youth race camp in Cocoa Beach, FL. Happy to report that I had a blast! I wasn’t thrilled with the scheduling at first: squeezed between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s a time I’d rather be thinking about snow and double diamond stuff. Or at the very least something seasonal like hanging by the chimney, drinking eggnog or getting a group of friends to go prank caroling. But windsurfing?