Friday, September 27, 2013

Windpower long distance race

After 3 course races Saturday morning in 10-15 mph NW winds, we ran a
long distance race (counted as R4 & R5). We started right off the
beach with a mark set just off the pier at Sunset Bar &Grill and the
RC spotting the line from the beach. We raced upwind to the same
windward mark we used for course racing, rounded to starboard and
tight-reached on port to a mark we set off of Deadwood point. We jibed
that mark and headed across the wind down towards the Fond du Lac
lighthouse where we could choose any channel marker to round however
we chose. I picked the most upwind buoy since it was the closest and
actually chose to tack it since I was in the lead and wanted to
maintain upwind ground to cover Mark, Kevin, Don, and Andy who were
close behind.

After rounding the mark the wind picked up to almost 15 mph and gave
us a nice port reach back to the course windward mark. I jibed that
buoy and started planing downwind as fast as I could since Kevin
Gratton was closing in with the help of some nice tailing puffs. We
split jibes as I headed to the south side of the course on starboard
and he pushed off the wind on port as he passed the windward buoy. I
was able to maintain speed and get to the port lay line to jibe and
head back to the beach for the first place finish.

I attached a picture that we got of the start of the race as well as a
google earth overlay of my gps track.

We had 5 more course races on Sunday in 5-10 mph winds. I'll post more
pictures and results when I get them.

I'm pleased to say that after 4 years away from winning the Windpower
Championships (with three 2nd place finishes during that time), I
finally secured another victory at this regatta with a
(3)-(1)-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 perfect final score.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lake Winnebago Super Crossing 2013

We had a great Super Crossing ahead of the Windpower Championships today. 15-25 mph wind out of the west at the start. I took my Starboard Phantom 377 with Severne Raceboard 9.5. A slalom board might have been a quicker choice (Kevin Gratton sure showed that it was, more later), but I really wanted to do the trip on a course board since I haven't done that before.

For the uninitiated, the Super Crossing is a long distance race that takes place the Friday before the annual Windpower Championships. It generally crosses Lake Winnebago on a reach, so a "true" Super Crossing is a SW to NW wind that allows us to reach from Windpower in Fond du Lac (south end of the lake) to High Cliff State Park on the north end of the lake. It is roughly 25 miles between the two points.

In 2010 several kiters made the trek in 30+ mph winds, but no windsurfers made it - including myself as I got spanked trying to use a 6.2 on a slalom board.

I made the trek solo in 2005 on a Formula board with a 9.0 in about 2:15 hr (about 1:20 there since a bit upwind, and about 0:55 back since a bit downwind). The wind was around 20-25 from the WNW that time.

This year was lined up great for a course board, so off I went. It was great being fully powered and I was able to hold a lead for about 5 miles until we were approaching Pipe, when Kevin Gratton started reeling me in. I was semi-relieved to see that he was on his trusty Naish 114L slalom board (instead of his Equipe2 course board), so I could feel a little better as he walked on past. I think he was on a 7.0 Naish sail as well.

Even with the equipment difference I didn't want to see him win without a fight, so I continued to pick my way through the swell and eventual get close to him again around the 8 mile mark (I had my gps screen display distance traveled the whole way) as the wind had backed down some. However, the wind ramped up pretty hard as we left the Pipe bay area and Kevin took off. I barely could see him by the time we got to the Brotherton point.

But at least we caught up to the kiters by the time we got to Brotherton (they had departed a bit earlier), so that gave me a nice target to focus on. Ed and Jeff had very good speed and I really had to chip away to get close to them (although Kevin was able to fly past pretty quick).

The wind and swell ramped up to their highest levels of the day as we passed the last point before the bay opens to show High Cliff State Park. It was a welcome sight since my legs were burning from holding everything together the last few miles in the steep chop.

When I got near shore I saw Kevin standing there, all smiles. I congratulated him on his speed up the lake, and told him I was going to sail back. I got to cruise back through the chop to the point just south of High Cliff and relax a bit since it was more of an upwind track that way.

Once I got around that point, the wind lulled and I sailed most of the remaining time until approximately Pipe in 10-12 mph wind. I was able to sneak into the footstraps sometimes and ride the fin, but usually got pushed towards the east shore and then would drop the centerboard and rail my board back upwind away from shore, as you can see in the gps tracks. Once I got near Pipe the wind picked up and I was able to sail on the fin most of the way back to Windpower.

It was a great day of sailing, and I'm looking forward to the races at Windpower Saturday and Sunday.

Summary Info
Start at Windpower

Get to High Cliff

Elapsed Time, North Trip = 1:21:45

Start Back
Return to Windpower

Elapsed Time, South Trip = 2:14:58

Total Trip Time = 3:36:43
Total Distance = 57 miles (this includes a bit of sailing prior to the race starting)
Peak Speed = 26 mph
Fastest Mile = 20.8 mph (indicated on 2nd picture below)
GPS Summary

GPS tracks laid onto Google Earth

GPS Data: Path with color indicating speed on top. Speed vs time on bottom.