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!

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