Monday, January 26, 2009

Alex Caviglia Bluewater Classic - Formula Fleet

Chris Gardiner reports from the Formula fleet:

The Alex Caviglia regatta held in Miami this past week was one of the best I have ever been to. It was  a great venue, and it was awesome to have food waiting on the table right after we came off the water. Being Formula North Americans the competition ranged from professional windsurfers looking for gold, to the average windsurfer just looking to have a good time, it was a great bunch of people to be stuck with for three days.

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.


Alex Caviglia Bluewater Classic - Kona Fleet

Here's another quick report regarding the Kona fleet - from Tom Ingram

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 Miami, air mid 70s, but no wind. Bruce, Mike and I went SUPing (Bruce on his Kona) - the highlight was Bruce falling into the water in dry clothes.

Monday -

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 Miami. The Calema midwinters should be just as fun if not more so. 


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Alex Caviglia Bluewater Classic

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 .  

Check back later for more pictures and a complete report!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jay Watermeyer's Peru Report

Formula Festival World Championships – AnconPeru
By Jay Watermeyer
I first found out about the Formula Worlds from a fellow teammate on Team USA, Todd Selby. Because of the location in Peru, it sounded like an exotic and a fun place to gain some new race experience.  After doing some research on the bay where the event was being held, I quickly found out it’s a perfect place to race.  My dad and I left Seattle on a snowy, white Christmas morning and arrived in Peru at midnight.
When we first entered the terminal in Lima, the airport was hectic.  There were about 100 people holding placards with travelers’ names on them.  My dad and I could not find our own name, despite looking around carefully, and eventually found a sign with our name on it leaning up on a wall, with a gentleman standing next to it. 
Our journey from Lima to Ancon was an adventure.  Both my dad and I  knew little Spanish, and had a hard time communicating with our friendly driver.  Despite the posted speed limit, our driver drove in the middle of two lanes going as fast as he pleased for the 50 KM journey.  It felt like we were playing X-box live. We stayed at a friend’s apartment (who previously sailed with us in Hood River) which was roughly ¼ mile walk by beach to the Yacht Club. They extended me a warm, Peruvian welcome and introduced me to some of the local kids. 
The first day we were in Ancon we participated in successful practice races in perfect Formula conditions.  Many of the other Junior and Youth racers from around the world were very friendly, and we soon got to know each other very well.  The first day of the competition, however, there was no wind and the races for that day were cancelled.  Some of my Peruvian friends and fellow competitors, Sebastian Aguirre & Mario Romero, took me, Connor Baxter, and Zane Schweitzer to a local surf spot called Pasamayo, which was only a 15 minute boat ride away. We had fairly decent waves and thoroughly enjoyed the surfing experience.  We appreciated the graciousness of the Aguirre family for taking us there.
For the next couple of days the races were cancelled due to no wind.  On December 31st, one of the local sailors knew of a place that would have wind, and it was only one hour bus ride to the north, further into the desert.  So the next morning at 7 am, all of the competitors put all of their gear into the back of a semi truck, and loaded themselves onto a Grayliner coach.  When we got to this beach, the wind was 10 – 15 knots and picking up.  It was perfect!  I had a great couple of races and everyone was stoked!
After three races, the race committee decided to call it for the day and we went back to Yacht Club in Ancon to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  The party was a lot of fun because everyone was dancing and singing and having a good time.  Many of the local neighborhood kids purchased fireworks at the local market and the streets were lit up the whole night with fireworks and bottle rockets going off. 
On New Year’s Day, everyone was hopeful we’d race, but the wind in Ancon did not cooperate.  Since we achieved our three races to make the championship legal, the race committee gave us another day off. The final day of the competition was roughly 10 – 13 knots in Ancon Bay.  The bay was a little tricky to sail in.  Out in the middle of the bay was light and unbeknownst to me there was a lot of floating trash and debris close to shore.  I had some pretty good racing until I hit a piece of a submerged mattress and lost my lead.  I was still able to catch up, but I wish we had more races in the championship to make up for less successful races.
I was stoked to be able to participate in such an important regatta and excited to meet kids from around the world who love to windsurf as much as I do.  Hopefully I will get the chance to compete in the 2009 World Championships in CadizSpain, where I will see most of these friends and fellow sailors from around the world who participated in the 2008 Formula World Championship.

Jay finished 7th in the Formula Experience fleet and Team USA was also well represented by Conner Baxter in 9th and Zane Schweitzer in 11th.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Does Christmas mean windsurfing?

Margo's Race Camp Report, she is 14yrs old

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?
The camp was run by Karen Marriott, Dominique Vallee and Britt Viehman at Cocoa Beach’s famed Banana River Resort. Ideal location: we just crossed the street every morning to jog on the beach, headed back to the lagoon’s glassy waters for hardcore windsurfing sessions, and back to the beach in the evening for smores and a chat around the fire. Half of those conversations were in French, mind you! Let me see if I can recall where we all came from: Montreal, San Francisco, Martha’s Vineyard and Clearwater. Go ahead, draw those on a map and see what you get. Yep, a sail.
Not just a sail, but a sail in a nasty jibe! Pretty fancy, don’t you think? With all of that good mojo around, we were bound to have a great time. And that we certainly did. Everyone was competitive on the water, the hours were long and loaded with instruction on both the 293 and RS:X olympic class boards, but there was always a spark to light things up. I learned to tighten my jibing, that pumping is an artform, that a stuck mast base can be a good thing and that ‘paté chinois’ has nothing to do with China and everything to do with paté - oh boy...
Great weather, great friends. Who needs caroling?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

North American Junior Race Camp

Fourteen youth windsurfers from across the US and Canada got to spend four days between Christmas and New Year's at the Banana River Resort in Cocoa Beach, Florida taking part in a super-intensive racing camp.  Each morning started with a run and warm-up exercises on the beach before breakfast, and on a couple of the days sailors were still coming off the water after the sun had set.  

Each day was a mix of on-land and on-water training and the predominantly light winds made for perfect learning-to-pump conditions.  Lots of drills on the water helped to improve board and sail handling and everyone got a lot more experience on the start line! Amazingly, even with lots of time-on-the-water, intensive instruction in pumping and race strategy and tactics, the kids still found time for surfing and football on the beach.  

We had 14 windsurfers (4 Canadians, 10 US - 9 boys, 5 girls) training on both RS:X and Bic Techno 293 and it was very cool to get to know all of these talented, hard-working kids who will likely be racing in future world championships and even the Olympics!