|There were 16 boards on the line for the 2nd annual RSX Pacific Coast Championships, held at StFYC in San Francisco, CA.
13 races over 3 days saw all planning conditions with gusts in mid to upper 20's- providing a challenging routine to keep up for 3 days!
Competitors hailed from as far away as Slovakia and Columbia but the majority of the fleet was interested SF Formula sailors trying out the board again after last yearís inaugural event.
The StFYC RC ran 2 lap windward-leeward courses with a downwind finish with the top guys finishing in around 20 min. The flood was strong enough all 3 days that you needed to over stand the windward mark on the starboard lay line more than anybody thought- quite a few good sailors misjudged the lay line and got the short end of the stick when they had to double tack in the lighter breeze inside near the windward mark. A few times the ebb was stronger on the inside and local knowledge paid off- but you couldnít get too greedy, as it was marginal near the shore 50% of the time.
A few guys, including myself raced their RSX in the St. Francis Friday night series with the formula boards for another 5 quick races. Actually not many sailors lasted all 5 races as the breeze came up quick to the mid to high 20ís and most were well OP'ed on the 10 and 11m rigs racing up and down the city front.
On Saturday and Sunday, there were allot of people mixing it up at the top of the fleet, including 3 time US Olympian, Mike 'Gebi' Gebhardt, Seth Besse, Bill Weir, Al Mirel and myself. Ultimately Gebi's experience paid off, finishing 2 points in front of Seth who had an OCS as his discard.
Patrick Polok from Slovakia edged me out for 3rd place on the podium with the rest of the SF Formula fleet finishing close behind. Karin Marriot was the top woman in the fleet finishing mid pack!
Photos from the event can be found at http://web.mac.com/sailing/iWeb/Site/rsx%20pcc%27s.html
Adventure Sports, the US NP distributor provided a bunch of charter boards which our local fleet and a few visitors took advantage of.
After the regatta, we took a day off and then started again with a 2-day clinic with Gebi who provided some good coaching on rigging, technique and form. Seth, Phil Mueller from Florida, and myself practiced light air drills in the morning and had solid planning conditions in the afternoon.
After 5 days of RSX training and racing, I was well spend and ready for some recovery time!
My impressions after a year of sailing the board in a few events and training here: it is still a challenging board to sail in 3-30 knots but with some better technique and training, I think it's becoming more intuitive. You really need to be efficient as the board isnít quite as responsive as a formula set-up. Changing gears is very important as well as having a repertoire of pumping techniques to get going and stay planning in marginal conditions. Being super fit is not only important in light air for pumping but also in heavy air to be able to survive 5 windy days of training and racing.
Up next is a bit of cross training in the formula and slalom disciplines at the US Windsurfing Nationals next month in Maui and then its off to the RSX World Championships in Lake Garda in September. This will be the first chance to qualify the US for the 2008 Olympic Games. Regardless of who qualifies the country, the US representative will be chosen next fall at the Olympic trials in Long Beach for a winner take all event.