16th Dec 2017 - Heat 3 Formula v Foil
Forecast was for moderate to fresh NE but in the end by my own observation it is only 5 to 10 knots.
In the morning it was a super hot day at Marmong Point Sailing Club! Overcast and looking like rain or even thunderstorms but eventually the cloud and haze cleared up and the wind fills in from the east after about a five hour long wait onshore.
We have about 20 sailors challenging, of which about half a dozen are foiling.
The pin end is favoured and Glen Morrell is well positioned to win the start. Glen is riding a foil. I position myself badly and get stuck with the committee boat and some boards to leeward of me but eventually find myself on the line. When the gun goes nobody is really going, Glen has space to leeward and gets away and I go straight after him but as soon as I start pumping my calf muscle start to cramp! Never had that before, it is going to be a though day! I look over my shoulder to see Brett Morris is also going well to windward of me. Rick Murray clears himself from traffic and gets going well upwind. It is the usual formula suspects and now add Glen on foil who has made very good progress mastering foiling since Heat 1 Formula v Foil event back in October. The conditions are marginal and often we have to bear away to nearly beam reach angle but stiil trying to go upwind just to keep the board going. It is also hard to link up from puff to puff.
Brett, Glen and myself are neck and neck around the course. Coming up to the last top mark Glen and I tack before a puff finishes but we are below the lay line. Brett continues and picks up new wind to round the mark with two less tacks and this is the moment when Brett wins the race. I don’t follow Brett down to the finish but choose a different route hoping for a miracle and then I cannot get going after my gybe as I am on the lighter side of the course but somehow I manage to hold off glen for second. Glen and I both drift over the line in very little wind.
The Race Officer moves the committee boat windward for the second race to square up the line. The wind is slowly coming around to the NorEast and very slightly above marginal planing wind strength now. However in the last minute of the sequence the wind shifts more left and the pin end is hugely favoured again and Brett is perfectly positioned for it to win the start. I am thinking dam is it over already as the rest of us probably cannot even lay the pin end of the line. Glen over my shoulder tacks onto the now lifting port tack and I follow him immediately. It ends up been a stroke of genius and Glen and I get away from the fleet and we are racing each other for the win. I hold him all the way till the last gybe where he sails faster and deeper to the bottom mark and Glen takes the win. I pushed hard and pumped hard and I picked the lay lines perfect and planed the whole race but it is not enough! Rick gets 3rd in front of Brett.
Before this regatta I thought the foils had a edge in super light conditions only, but now I think as the wind increased Glen was definitely still powering and maybe even more so. We need to do it all again and test more but foils are definitely real now.
Max Gaubert and I are working hard bringing the premium French foils into Australia. Windsurfing is on the cusp of entering the age of performance foiling!! Exciting times ahead!!
For the Formula guys I would say Formula sailing is still to remain for some time as a disciple for the big and strong. I find formula very enjoyable and challenge and a beautiful and safe way to get all around picturesque Sydney Harbour.
Next events are the Ledge to Lancelin for the lucky ones able to make the trip over and the Downunder pro for Raceboard and Formula fleets at Royal Queensland.
Regards Justin Lord