Our formula windsurfing fleet had been invited to race on the Americas Cup course as part of the AC- OPEN- a showcase of different sailing, windsurfing & kiteboarding competitions run in parallel with the Americas Cup and Louis Vuitton race series this summer on the San Francisco Bay.
We waited until Italy’s Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand finished their first race before launching from Crissy Field and sailing down to the start off last chance beach in front of the AC Village on the marina green. The shores were packed with sailing fans on grandstands set up along the water front but he 2nd of 2 races between Italy & NZ was cancelled as they reached their maximum safety limit where the organization and teams agreed it was not safe to race- a meer 24 knots of breeze and a 4k flood tide. Your typical summer San Francisco day.
Too windy for America’s cup? Enter the formula windsurfer!
Things were about to get fun. If you’re going to race on the San Francisco Bay- you better have the proper equipment or chances are you won’t be coming back anytime soon. Same applies with the AC boats.
The windsurfing fleet here has been pushing the limit of the equipment and evolving the sport for the past 30 years. We’re extremely lucky to have a world class board builder and fin makers within our community. It’s all about experience and this fleet has it. The average sailors age this weekend was 50 years old and most have been racing some type of board for at last 20+ years. Anyone in the top 10 was capable of winning a race.
I chose my smaller Mikes Lab 89 cm wide board, 61cm Kashy fin and 10.0 Avanti rig for maximum power and control. Conditions looked brutal with a steep chop and 20-25 knots of westerly breeze coming through the golden gate. If you knew what you were doing it was manageable. If not it was hell. I’d been sailing on this course for the better of 10+ years. It’s my backyard, my playground. Full race report here.