UKWA Racer Finishes Second at the Bay Challenge in San Francisco
14 June 2011
The Bay Challenge is a unique course race in the world, imagine a giant course with one upwind mark by the Golden Gate Bridge and a downwind mark near Berkeley and no other mark except for the start and the finish near St Francis Yacht Club. The course start with a short upwind leg from StFYC to Golden Gate Bridge followed by a giant downwind leg of about 10 miles all the way down to Berkeley. The last leg is upwind from Berkeley back up to SFYC.
The course is set in the beautiful bay of San Francisco. This year the wind was averaging 30 knots in the upwind part of the course, north of Alcatraz. It was the first year that the windsurfers were racing against the kites with the same start and the same course.
The state of the water was typical of San Francisco bay in windy conditions. This place is very tidal and the wind blows a harsh chop which tests riders and kit. Seth Besse had a problem with his kit which robbed him from an almost certain victory. I did not have a very good start of the race, after getting hammered by a gust during the first upwind leg. During the long downwind leg I wasbattlingwith Mike Percey. I rounded the leeward mark in third place behind Mike Percey and Eric Christianson. There were also a few kites ahead of us, they had overtaken us during the long downwind leg.
During the upwind leg leading to the finish line I was focusing on the other windsurfers. However the wind picked up over 30 knots shortly before the finish and I fell in several times loosing several minutes in the process. In the end we all finished within a few seconds of each other.
Adam Koch (last year's course racing kite world champion) won by 14 seconds, I finished in second place overall and first windsurfer just 10 seconds ahead of Chip Wasson , another kiter.
St Francis Yacht Club was the perfect venue for this prestigious race. I hope I will do better next year!
Xavier - GBR451