Saturday, September 5, 2015

Time to register for the ECWF Cape Cod!

If you are planning to play at the East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod on September 19-20, please register now! Advance registrations really help us to make the event go smoothly. For example, we can setup the scoring for the racing beforehand, and start to plan the freestyle heats.

If you plan to join the freeracing, but don't have a GPS, you should register right away! We will have a limited number of rental GPS units available, which will be assigned on a "first registered, first served" basis. Note that the only GPS units allowed for this event are the Locosys GT-31 and Canmore GP-102; other GPS devices, including wrist watch style GPS units from Garmin, Suunto, and others are not supported.

Since this is the first time we will have freeracing at an ECWF event, let me explain it a bit more. In normal racing, the competitors race around a triangle course; for most, this means sailing very different than usually, going way higher angles upwind and downwind. Freeracing is different: you get to pick your own course, within a pre-defined area. For the ECWF Cape Cod, this is the yellow area on the map below:
This is pretty much the area where we typically sail at Kalmus. On the east (right) side, it is limited by the boat channel. Both the Harbor Master and common sense dictate that we stay out of the boat channel for the event! On the left side, it is delimited by the old stone pier before the Sea Street beach. Note that this pier extends much further into the bay than can be seen at most tide levels! The hidden stones under water have cause many sudden catapults, so we will stay away. We have to stay out of the Hyannis Port Harbor, anyway, so it's no big loss.

What's fun about the freeracing is that is is basically one long drag race against all the other windsurfers in the race. Everyone starts at the same time, and then tries to go as fast as possible for the time of the race (15 or 20 minutes at the ECWF Cape Cod). After the race, we examine the GPS tracks to see who covered the most distance. In regular freeracing, that's the winner of the race.

But at the ECWF, we will have a number of great freestylers participating, so we added a rule to make the races more fun to watch: if you do a freestyle trick close to the spectators (within the red area in the image above), you get bonus distance. You cannot just stay there and do tricks - we will count just one trick for every crossing of the freestyle area. As a rough guideline, the bonus distance in planing conditions will be between 1/10th and 1/20th of a mile. A fast freestyler who nails all his tricks has a good chance of winning .. unless the fastest slalom sailor is quite a bit faster.

This may sound a bit complicated, but it's really easy: strap on the GPS, and go as fast as you can for 15 or 20 minutes without missing your turns; if you are a freestyler, through in a trick for the spectators every time you sail by, and don't worry too much about the slalom guys being a bit faster. The tricks have to be appropriate for the skill level: if you're an intermediate, a sail 360 or sail-body 360 will do; but if you are competing in the pro freestyle division,  we'll want to see a new school move or a crowd pleaser like a loop or body drag.

We hope to have one or two freeraces on each day of the competition, if the wind is strong enough. We won't require planing conditions, but if the wind is so light that even longboards are moving slowly, we won't have freeraces. The freerace results will count towards the overall racing results, but we will also add a discard for each freerace, so that those who don't join the freeracing still can win the racing. But I think it will be fun - so register now and increase your chance of getting a loaner GPS! But even if you plan to come only for the freestyle or the regular races, it does help us if you pre-register. We have added the option to pay online for the registration, but that is completely optional - you can still register now, and pay the registration fee at the event.

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