San Francisco board heads got their fix over the weekend with long distance and course racing in the 2009 Ronstan Bay Challenge, hosted by the StFYC. 40 Formula and kite boarders took to Saturday’s long distance marathon, charging downwind in the 3k flood tide to round the Berkeley pier and back to a finish in front of the St. Francis This year, the formula boards held the record with East Bay local Ben Bamer blazing the course in 1 hour, and sixteen minutes. The top kiter, Sean Farley, finished 10 minutes back. For those not lucky enough to survive Point Blunts raging winds and current, there was a safety boat collecting sailors, their broken equipment and lost dreams!
Sunday’s windward leeward course, set along the city front had the formula boards racing in the morning’s light and shifty breeze. Those sailors smart enough to have the 11.0m2 rigs on the water got around the course the fastest. Finally by mid afternoon, the wind pumped up to 20-25 with the boards and kites taking the course for 2 more exciting races. The two fleets continue to merge and kite board designs are becoming more and more similar to the Formula Class design.
With the 1st World Course Racing Championship in San Francisco next month, the kite fleet is really pushing the envelope. Meanwhile, the rapid development of the Formula class over the last few years is reaching a peak and board, fin and rig designed have even evened out considerably.
Still, even with the best equipment tine on the water is the most valuable asset in a racers bag of tricks! Next week, the formula fleet heads up to Hood River for the US Windsurfing National Championships for the season’s biggest bragging rights. Regatta report and photos at www.stevebodner.blogspot.com. Photo credit: Sergi Zavarin.