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Thread: Why We Race

  1. #1
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
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    Why We Race

    Despite taking 5 out of 8 bullets and carrying a 2,4 in the score sheet I still found myself outside the podium this past weekend for the Crissy field slalom series. It wasn't for lack of trying as I came out with all guns firing with a 10m rig and 89 cm board. That was enough to power through the light spots and lead at almost every mark rounding. The kicker was that despite full fleet racing, I'm in the open class while the rest if the fleet is in the slalom class. I choose my gear based on what I think will work best while the other 30+ racers have to stick within a predetermined set of equipment rules which limit how wide their board (85cm) and sail can be (10m.) Ironically, however I've got 2 boards and 2 rigs in my quiver (89cm ml board & 10m rig & 70cm ml board & 7.6 m rig) while the majority of the "slalom fleet" has 3+ boards & 3-4 rigs.

    After almost 26 years of windsurf racing, I wouldn't do it any other way.
    I've been skunked on too small or too big of equipment before and it's no fun. I believe you should have the option to pick and choose what gear works for you and not be limited to a set of criteria that may not work best for the existing conditions. This goes for both light wind and high wind. We dont tell people they can't race with a 5m rig when it's stupid windy so why should we limit the bottom end as well? Let's face it, windsurfing racing like life isn't fair. Some racers will always have better equipment, find themselves with more time in the water, more money to spend on equipment, or just be more talented. Should we penalize those racers who might be a tad heavier by saying you have to sail with the same equipment as a lighter, younger fitter pro sailor? Putting a limit on the equipment we use just sets an another artificial barrier that gets in the way of having fun.
    Bring what you've got and ride it is my motto.

    Everything you need in life should fit in a VW van!

    Just like picking your line around the gybe mark, picking the right equipment is all part of the game. You've got to use every advantage you can on the race course to win. The 89cm board and 10m rig allowed me to get a strong start every race and come out of the gybes powered up while the guys on smaller gear were often late to the start or came off a plane at the mark roundings. I've been racing on the SF city front for the past 16 years and know that the inside is always hit or miss so you want to be prepared. In most cases, you want to survive the gusts, but when racing on the city front, do not let your weakness become a vulnerability. While the 10m rig and 89 cm board isn't necessarily the quickest on a reach while the wind is up- it does have huge advantages in getting up planning sooner and through the light spots quicker. However, on the downside- the 10.0 does have some disadvantages- you need some room to gybe. Luckily I found myself in the lead most of the races and didn't have to deal with much traffic. Anytime you get close to someone- disaster is likely to strike. I got taken out on the start of race 1 as TUR-92 decided to make some space between the pin end of the starting line and my 10m as I went for it, The result- we both went down. I was able to rally and finish in 4th. On the 7th race- I was arriving to the start line super early and knew about 10 seconds Id be over early without hesitating and letting the fleet roll me. Stategicly, it made sense for me to draw over as many people over early as I could with a big lead already established. I went for it accelerating and drew another 3 sailors OCS with me. The result- they use their throw out while I've got a cushion to rest upon.

    Yes, the conditions were a bit variable with lighter winds on the inside of the course but given the choice, I think most racers still preferred racing than sitting in the beach waiting for ideal conditions that may or may not have come. While everyone has to race in the same wind, the one variable you have control over is the equipment you select.
    For me it's a no brainier- I pick the the equipment that's going to get me around the race course fastest not the one that necessarily gets me on the podium. While it's nice to get some recognition, the reward comes in proving you are the fastest.
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  2. #2
    sounds like the old One Design vs Box Rule debate.

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