Written by GCM
Photos by Tatiana P. Ruiz
While visiting Vancouver, I had the chance to sail at Jericho Sailing Centre (JSC) for the local slalom series. It was great to sail with more than 20 sailors (plus several windsurfers taking classes and renting gear from local shops). The event was impeccably organized by Linda and her team at UBC sailing with support by JSC and Club Locarno.
At the registration event, we could elect to race one of two courses based on our own difficulty/confidence level. A shorter course was perfect for initiating novices to windsurfing races while staying in proximity to the shore and away from the many sailboats and catamarans.
Initially, the wind conditions looked good with scattered white caps and wind in the low 10s, so I rigged a NX 8.5 and Hypersonic 125/50. To avoid rigging on the sandy beach, I stayed in the sheltered parking lot. As usually, it took a while to get ready. When I got to shore with my gear, it was about time to start the first race. Lined up in the water, I realized the wind had dropped to 5-10 mph and the downwind tidal current had reinforced. This got me worried about making the first mark with a 230cm slalom board to be sailed in displacement mode, so I walked myself up the starting line trying to start as upwind as possible.
At the start, I realized my position placed me in pier's wind shadow, which resulted in proceeding very slowly toward the first mark which I made but dead last. Throughout the course, I was able to catch up on a few sailors even if I missed a mark due to the current and had to tack twice to make it.
As soon as I got to shore, I ran to the car to pick up a longboard I carried to explore the Vancouver coastline, a 1990 Fanatic Ultracat. There was no enough time to rig my raceboard sail 9.5 and make it back for the second start. With a longboard, things went better as I made second behind another racer, Friedrich. Introduced by another sailor as "Friedrich always win these races," Friedrich kept up to his reputation by always being the first out of the block (I really need some practice with these beach starts in low wind) and the first walking (yes walking) through the finish line. As a matter of fact, to complete the course, a racer had to bring her/his gear out of the water and walk through a finish line. Friedrich sailed marvelously a Exocet Warp 380 and a tight-leech Ezzy Race 7.5.
Races 3 and 4 led to similar results. Whereas I was able to reduce the start gap against Friedrich, races were a continuous, and unsuccessful attempt to catch up on Friedrich along the course.
As predicted by some of the other local racers, Friedrich won the event with four bullets. Thanks to one discard, I was able to drop the first race, so I made 2nd overall.
Grant MacDonald also attended and rigged a 8.5 on his Starboard Phantom 320. Grant raced greatly throughout the course against another couple of sailors who were very close. His results were 4/4/3/3. Since the local Dmitry did 3/3/4/4, they tied after discarding a 4th place.
Overall, the wind and tidal conditions on the course affected the results as sailors with longboards did better and were on the front of the pack followed by hybrid boards. Still the many participants on actual slalom boards did not give up (kudos to them) and raced all the events.
In the meantime, Tatiana P. Ruiz took hundred of photos (and got me a cold beer just to re-hydrate before the last race :D) while enjoying the deck of the JSC restaurant/bar (the Galley Patio&Grill). She takes the credits for all the photos included in the post and for the full photo album available on google drive here