Saturday, July 13, 2013

ECWF Cape Cod 2013?

It looks like we might have an East Coast Windsurfing Festival on Cape Cod on the weekend of September 14-15 this year. It is not yet certain - there are still things to organize and permit signatures needed, but it seems likely that we will have a race and freestyle event similar to the ECWF in Long Island (which had to be canceled this year due to beach damage from hurricane Sandy). I'll give some background on what has happened so far below, and finish with a call for helpers.

In the last two years, my lovely wife, I, and a few friends made the trip to the East Coast Windsurfing Festival in Long Island, NY. The ECWF is a friendly race and freestyle competition organized since 2008 by Mike Burns. We loved the atmosphere, the people, and the experience, and wished that we had a similar festival on Cape Cod. We were quite disappointed when this year's ECWF had to be canceled because the event site had been heavily damaged by hurricane Sandy. The final straw came at the Buzzards Bay Crossing this year: after having tons of fun racing for two days, Nina, our friend Dani, and I decided to organize an event similar to the ECWF in Hyannis or West Dennis.

Nina started contacting the local windsurf shop in West Dennis soon thereafter, were Phil was very positive about the idea. Then, things slowed down a bit while we tried to sort out if we'd be able to get insurance for the event, which would likely be required for the town permit. We eventually got a verbal quote through Phil, and then proceeded to get a permit. We started out contacting town officials in West Dennis, primarily because that was were the earlier "King of the Cape" events had taken place. We got responses quite quickly, but they were only partly encouraging: we'd require approval by two different town groups which meet only every two weeks resp. once a month; we probably would need an EMT, and perhaps a few other things. This meant that it might take another month or so to get the permit, which would leave only about one month to promote the event, and for potential participants to make travel arrangements.

So we decided to explore if getting a permit to hold the event in Kalmus might be quicker. The permit process in Hyannis is very different - instead of a couple of committees, we would need approval signatures from a bunch of different department heads, starting with the Recreation Department that is responsible for the beaches. But all the offices are within a 10 minute drive from our house, and most are close to each other, so we started making our rounds. Everyone we talked to was very friendly and supportive. When they asked questions, it was very clear that it was because they cared about their town, and the questions were very reasonable. We were able to collect most signatures within a few hours, except for one town official who is on vacation for a few more days. We hope to have the last signatures before the end of next week.

The event will have races and a freestyle competition, very similar to how things are run at the ECWF in Long Island. For racing, we will have an open class and a limited class with a maximum sail size of 7.5 m. In freestyle, we may have one or two divisions ("pro" and "amateur"), depending on conditions and signup. We'll also have a separate women's division. Based on a suggestion by Mike Burns, we will call the event "East Coast Windsurfing Festival - Cape Cod". Mike will be here to compete, and plans to bring a number of fellow Long Island windsurfers.

At this time, we'd love to hear feedback from Cape Cod and Boston area windsurfers. We also would love to hear from volunteers for the event - here are a few things were we may need help:

  • Freestyle competition scoring: ideally, someone who knows the difference between complicated new school moves, and their relative difficulties
  • Buoys for the racing course
  • Jet ski / rescue boat: for buoy placement and to help sailors in trouble.
If you have any feedback or you'd like to help, please contact Peter or Nina on Facebook, or on the Cape Cod Windsurfers page on Facebook. We'll post a contact email address for non-Facebook users soon after the event is certain.