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US Windsurfing Nationals

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

Seth Besse, Todd Selby and Bob Willis Win

Thursday August 9th 2007 The US Windsurfing Nationals completed the long distance race under sunny and windy conditions 15-25 knots. The race course took the windsurfers around the SF Bay from the Golden Gate to the Bay Bridge to Treasure Island and back up along Pier 39 to finish off Crissy Field. The race was won by Seth Besse, finishing the 14 mile course in 34 minutes. Seth Besse was followed by Eric Christensen who was 2nd and Al Mirel was 3rd. In the Junior division Pieter Botha was 1st, Aaron Cardwell was 2nd and Todd Selby was 3rd.

David Wells 46 leads the slalom

San Francisco served up classic conditions with strong wind, big chop and sunshine. David Wells consistently raced well to challenge Seth Besse for 1st, though in the end Seth was a tough match over the Slalom Course. 13 racers on the start line privided ample entertainment for the beach crowd, like the indy 500, crashes thinned the field and through the chaos, our champ emerged. Seth Besse won. David Wells finished 2nd and Jason Voss was 3rd.

Seth Besse leads the Slalom

Friday August 10th 2007 The US Windsurfing Slalom was held in 20-25 knots and sunny skies at Crissy Field. The course was a downwind 4 bouy course giving the sailors ample time to show speed and gybing skills. A series of 15 heats were held for the Formula Fleet as a qualifier for a final. 12 racers were to be chosen for the final 5 race series, but a tie for 12 brought the number of racers to 13 to give everyone a fair chance to battle for the prize of 1st in slalom.

Saturday, two more course races were held in high wind and ebb chop to decide the course racing winners. The fleet was nearly exhausted finishing up the last race in winds up to 35 knots, but back at the awards party all reported a pleasant tired buzz feeling throughout their bodies. Great food and gifts of swag put an end to the National Windsurfing Championships. The Saint Francis Yacht Club crowned Seth Besse overall Champion.

Junior fleet flying on the course

StFYC Race Results and Slalom
Video #1 Racing
Video #2 Slalom
KTVU Slide
SF Gate
Sail Magazine
Soheil's US National Journal
Andreas Mack Race Journal
Steve Bodner's Race Journal

Tight racing around the marks

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