Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GPS Racing at the ECWF Cape Cod

We tried a couple of new things at this year's ECWF Cape Cod. One was adding a "Shortboard/SUP" division for everyone who does not own a longboard, and does not want to use a sail larger than 6.5 square meters. That class was a big success, with 8 racers on a variety of SUPs (with a length limit of 11 ft) and shortboards.

The other new thing was GPS racing: strap on a GPS, and go as fast as you can in a pre-defined time frame. Unfortunately, we did not have enough wind for GPS racing on day 1. When the wind picked up in the afternoon of the second day, many racers were exhausted after 9 races, and/or wanted to see the pros demo their freestyle skills at the Lewis Bay side.
Kiri Thode freestyling in Lewis Bay
But 4 brave souls persisted, and we got the one 15-minute GPS race going. The gear they used was quite mixed: one longboard, one freestyle board, and two slalom boards. Due to the offshore wind and lack of spectators, we had canceled the original plan to give bonus points for freestyle tricks, but that did not keep Martin from throwing in at least one 360. Here are the competitor's GPS tracks:
Interestingly, the top speed was set by the only freestyler, Martin, with 25.8 knots; the slalom boards clocked in at 22.84 knots and 23.3 knots, while the longboard maxed out at 16.96 knots. From the tracks, it seems Martin was the only one to make a few downwind speed runs, while everyone else sailed back and force on a beam reach.

But top speed was not the goal - distance was the name of the game. Here are the results:

  1. John Brown, 5.958 km
  2. Jeff Spillane, 5.756 km
  3. Martin Schauer, 4.880 km
  4. Jerry Evans, 4.506 km
Those attending the winner announcement at the festival may notice a discrepancy: I had announced that Jerry took 3rd place, instead of Martin. I must have read a number wrong ... I admit to being somewhat exhausted after 2 days of organizing the races and freestyle heats. My apologies to Martin and Jerry! Jerry will have to demo a bunch of loops for Martin to make up for it :-).

For all my GPS geek friends, here is a GPS movie of the race at 10 x speed, created with GPS Action Replay Pro:

We had purchased 10 GPS loaner units for the races (made possible through a generous donation by Hyline Ferries). One of the racers purchased his unit after the race, but we still have 9 units left. Since we don't need any buoys or boats for GPS freeracing, we can just do some impromptu races at Kalmus or Duxbury next time it's windy! Just send me a message or talk to me on the beach if you are interested. Also, if someone else wants to organize GPS races as part of a windsurfing event, we can talk about sending the loaner GPS units to you. Just contact me on Facebook or by email.

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