Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Who Is Faster?

The idea: 
GPS Freeracing: put on a GPS, pick your own course, and go as fast as you can in a given period. Whoever covers the most distance wins! Could there be a simpler race format? I think not!

The attraction: 
No complicated starts, no pileups around buoys, no upwind or downwind legs - just sail as you like against a bunch of others.

The when and where:
At the 4th Annual East Coast Windsurfing Festival Cape Cod, Kalmus Beach, Hyannis, September 17 and 18, 2016.

The wind:
Just enough to get planing on larger slalom kits; sail sizes ranged up to 10 m, some competitors used their longboards. Average wind speed was around 12-15 knots, gusts never exceeded 18 knots, even after taking into account that the iWindsurf wind meter reads low in the SSW wind direction we had.

The players:
A wide mix of freeriders, freestylers, wave sailors, racers, and speed sailors. Some came from Cape Cod or the Boston area, others traveled further to be here - even all the way from Reno, Nevada. They included Mike Burns, seen by many as the best amateur freestyler in the Northeast US; and special guest "Boro" Boris Vujasinovic, the fastest windsurfer in the US. Both were on 115 l slalom boards and race sails - Mike on 7.8, Boro on 8.6. But since Boro is about a head taller than Mike and 30% heavier, he was at a disadvantage in the light winds - he would have needed a 10 m sail to be even!

Race 1:
The first GPS race was held on Saturday afternoon when the wind had picked up. Here are Mike's and Boro's tracks:
They started on opposite tacks, and would cross each other's path many times. Boro was faster, but Mike kept more speed in his jibes, and got right back to speed after every jibe. Boro, who regretted not bringing his big gear and was just marginally powered, several times had problems getting up to speed again. The result: Mike's distance of 12.14 km beat Boro's distance of 11.71 km; Arnold came in 3rd with 10.75 km. Boro's top speed during the race was 26.58 knots, Mike's 25.05 knots.

Race 2:
Boro switched to a racing tactic: he stayed close to Mike, so that they would have the same wind; any lull should affect both of them. He planned to sail just a bit further than Mike before each jibe, so that he'd make up the distance he was behind from the first race. But Mike quickly realized what Boro was up to, and turned it against him. When he saw a high-speed ferry coming, he knew that it would create a lot of chop.  Mike sailed towards the ferry, and then turned in the last possible moment to avoid the ferry wake; Boro went too far and lost precious time in the famed Kalmus voodoo chop. Perhaps falling behind Mike demoralized Boro, or perhaps the wind dropped a little - after the next jibe, Boro had to slog for more than two minutes before being able to plane again. Here are the GPS tracks for this "tactical incident":
In the end, the result for the second race was similar: Boro had the higher top speed (27.63 knots vs. Mike's 25.02), but Mike had the higher distance (11.6 km vs. Boro's 10.52; Bart, who did not sail in race one, finished 2nd with 10.78 km and 27.02 knots).

Here are the complete results for the GPS racing:

Mike ended up also winning the "Pro" freestyle and the 6.5 m class in racing, and was crowned King of the Cape (again, after passing the title to Rich Simmons in 2015). 

Boro took home one Rob Biaggi's great metal trophies for top speed:

I'm planning to write another post with results and details from racing and freestyle soon, but now, I have to take care of my lovely wife - I've passed the cold that I collected from Boro on to her...

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