What can be said about the San Francisco Classic and Ultra Nectar Challenge that hasn't been said before. The longest running long distance windsurfing race in some of the toughest conditions imaginable!
A 40+ mile trek taking the formula boards and kiters (for the past 5 years) out the golden gate and 8 times across the SF Bay, down to the bottom of the Berkeley pier for the SF Classic and back the the StFYC for the UN Challenge.
Seth Besse dominated both races in the 25 board formula fleet with an elapsed time of 1 hour and 46 minutes while kiters Johnny Heineken and Joey Pasquali each took the upwind and downwind portions of their race respectively but still were well off the pace of the top boards with best elapsed finish time by Chip Wasson in 2 hours and 2 minutes
The wind readings off Angel Island on Saturday pretty much sumed it up.
35-40k at Point Blunt.
Multiple blow ups on the way downwind and upwind had me thinking about about stopping to retire at Treasure Island at least a few times as that was our designated safe spot - guaranteed for a ride back to SF with the RC.
Each time, however, I was able to dig a bit deeper and hang on a little bit longer.
The reach from Blossom rock to Point Blunt was pure hell.
Somewhere between a beam reach and a close reach on a formula board is pretty much the most uncomfortable position you would ever want to put yourself in with a 67cm and 9.5m rig . Add 4-6' breaking swell and the wind now gusting above 30k .
I'm not sure how the others coped but I found just how far I could push myself to the limit without going over. Survival was the name of the game.
It was a respectable 5th for me in the SF Classic and just happy to have made it back home across the finish line for the UN Challenge.
Ive sailed in 8 or 9 SF Classics and can say this was one of the windiest and most challenging I've ever done.
The return trip home for the UN Challenge was equally as brutal. Port tack towards Angel Island seemed an eternal punishment for all the bad things I had done in my life. I was getting pounded never able to put the hammer down. Wave after wave- the board was flying well out of the water across the top of the 4-6' swell. My muscles are still sore thinking about it.
The guys that sailed up the city front had a bit tamer ride and a noticeable advantage once they reached the finish in front of the St. Francis YC.
Day 2 saw 4 course races in mild SF conditions of 12-17k flat water flood.
Besse collected another string of bullets to take the w-end's podium.
The timing for this years event couldn't be better with the 2010 US Windsurfing National Championships off Crissy Field in San Francisco from July 20-24.
Results and report @ http://www.stevebodner.blogspot.com/
Photo credit: Don Albinico