Steve Bodner USA4 Races Steve Sylvester S3
August 7-11th 200 by Paul Buelow Ooto.com
Racing small sail boats is a dynamic form of sailing, with close contact, high speed and lots of action. Racing the highest speed small boat, the windsurfer, is more akin to Formula One than el toro racing but, each depend greatly on tactics, overall speed and the experience of the driver. The 2007 US Windsurfing Nationals and North American Championships did not disappoint either the fans nor the racers with high action racing at Crissy Field. The event was held under perfect San Francisco Bay conditions with wind 15-30 knots over the week long regatta with 8 course races, long distance (valued at two races) and slalom of racing.
Course racing, Long Distance and Slalom disciplines were run to decide the overall US Windsurfing Nationals winner. The Championships were well hosted by the Saint Francis Yacht Club. Sailors from all around the world competed head to head over 5 days of racing. Tuesday, three races were held in winds from 15 to 22 knots. Seth Besse (#1) led the Formula Gold fleet, followed by Ben Bamer (#22) in second, and Steve Sylvester (#S3) in third. The 60 racers range in age from 14 to 60 years old. All sailors were qualified to handle today's strong flood.
Seth Besse leads the start
Wednesday August 8th, the second day of racing at the US Windsurfing Nationals was completed with three races for the Formula Fleet and two races for the RSX division and Juniors. Wind was moderate most of the day 12-21 knots. After 6 races, Seth Besse is leading with 6 1st places for 6 points, David Wells is a distant second with 34 points, and Eric Christenson is 3rd with 35 points. In the Junior's division, Todd Selby is leading after 4 races with 5 points, Pieter Botha is 2nd with points and Aaron Cardwell is 3rd with 15 points. In the RSX board division Robert Willis is first with 5 points, Richard White is 2nd with 13 points, and Karen Marriot is 3rd with 14 points.
The evolution of windsurfing equipment continues to move to space land. This year equipment is even more unbelievablly hightech and advanced. The moderate wind so far in this race allowed the hightech equipment to shine. An average rig consists of a carbon tapered mast, monofilm molded sails, carbon booms, 70-80cm fins, boards 1.1 meter wide and 2.6 meters long. The racers range in age from highly competitive Steve Sylvester, 60, currently in 5th, to a fleet of juniors, many of whom are 14 years old. Lynne Olinger is the top Women in the Formula fleet.
Classic startlines of the windsurf fleet
Juniors sailed first in the day, proving that lighter weight and agile sailors could plane up on windsurfers and race aggressively in wind in the low teens. The Formula fleet (main fleet) had strong racing with many changes in position in the top 5. Ben Bamer who started the day in second suffered two setbacks, when his rigged popped out of the board finishing 14th in one race and DNF in the 6th race, allowing David Wells to move up to take over 2nd.
Formula fleet rounds the winward mark