The Kite boarding North American Course Racing Championships continued on the San Francisco Bay with blue skies and mid teens on the race course for the 2nd day of racing. It’s a spectacular site seeing a fleet of colorful kites fly across the starting line in perfect unison and then down looping around the windward mark and speeding downwind at over 30 knots. Finishes are directly in front of the beach on 30 second tight reach after 15 min of windward leeward racing.
If there’s anything that can change the perception of sailing being an old rich mans sport- this is probably it! Competitors are young and fit and are constantly developing the face of this changing sport. One success to their class has been drawing sailors from other classes and ease of travel.
Pumped up and spread across the beach- each competitor’s 3-4 kites take up a lot of room but packed away- everything fits inside the back or top of your car or easily disguised as golf gear for airline travel. The sailors are as diverse as the sport- with backgrounds from professional match racers, RSX Olympic class windsurfers and surf bums just enjoying the ride.
After 2 days of racing with 8 races for each fleet, the sailors have been divided into gold and silver fleets. Yachtsman of the year, Johnny Heineken remains on top with the slimmest of leads with just 1 point separating himself and ‘Ricki- Bob’ Leccese from Columbia.
Heineken and Leccese showed some vulnerability on the course yesterday as the rest of the top 5 charged with Adam Koch taking the first bullet in of the day in front of Heineken and Bernie Lake putting together an impressive day with a 2 bullets and 2 2nds – closing the gap on Leccese to within 4 points.
With only 1 throw out carrying through for the qualifying series, there’s no room for mistakes as sailors enter the 2nd half of the regatta. 4 more races are planned for each fleet Thursday before the top 10 get to race on Friday in a final medal race to determine the overall winner.
Live streaming starts around 1pm PST from the deck of the St. Francis Yacht Club with go pro mounted quad rc helicopters capturing the view from the starting line and mark roundings.
Huge props to the St.FYC and their impeccable race management team for a superb showing so far. Event sponsors include Live2Kite, RRD, Wind over water, Patagonia, Ultra Nectar and the IKA. Event page with videos, results and photos can be found here. – Steve Bodner.