Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 Master Worlds Day One

In my opinion, the most important thing about the first day of the Master Worlds is to get off the water without an opening day disaster. I wish I could report success here...

We sailed out to the starting area in a weak westerly, down to near zero a few times on the way out, a couple periods of sailing two-blocked. The good news was that, contrary to expectations, it was a beautiful day with the clouds quickly parting and the warm sun shining down. Once out to the starting area, Peter Vessella and I did the usual stuff - side by side speed tuning, then split tacks to see if a side was favored, etc. But it was clear the breeze was dying and, if patient, money said a seabreeze would fill. And, sure enough, around 2:30 the line was apparent and the RC picked everything up and shifted back into the middle of the bay. By the time the RC was setup the breeze was in, with 12-15 knots and some higher patches. Well, of course, this was the initial pulse and, true to form, it backed off a bit for the first race.

In these conditions, and with our location, the mantra was to favor the left side of the course as it should have more pressure. This works 90% of the time... I lined up and started near the pin which was slightly favored. In the full hiking breeze I (finally!) had good speed off the line and a glance over my shoulder showed that, as expected, only two or three boats up the line were going to be issues. But then the breeze softened and shifted ever so slightly to the right. I kept going thinking I was just sailing through a slight hole but things just kept getting worse so I finally decided to bite the bullet and tack out. Things just went further downhill from there with the boats having gone right now significanttly ahead and finding a lane difficult. By the time I got to the weather mark I was very deep... not how I imagined the first race would go. I started working on getting back as many boats as I could but in the end it was pretty hopeless and I ended with an opening race 18th. Ugh.

Next race the breeze seemed steadier. This time I decided to start at the the RC boat end to better protect the right. At the start there was an Italian sailor to leeward who was working hard to pinch me off but I was able to get slightly forward on him, then put the bow down and was off to the races. In short order therre were about 4 boats poked out on the front row all going significantly faster than the rest of the fleet. While I thought my speed was great I was experiencing again the new problem of good speed but not as good point so I could see that I was slowly coming down to the line of the guys to leeward. Scott Ferguson was the first of that group to tack (after about 3 minutes on starboard) and he passed behind, Vann tacked a bit later and it was clear he would also be behind so I tacked ahead and well to leeward to not screw him up, putting me parallel to Scott. After about 3 minutes on port I rolled Scott and had moved forward on Vann, and could see the Dutch guy in my window. So, I kept going on port figuring I had everyone covered. Scott went way to the left, along with Andy Pimental, and it was clear they were making a move there. So, about 50 yards shy of the starboard layline I tacked to get back over to them, just crossing Scott, who I decided to face plant as we were making the last approach to the weather mark. So, first to weather mark, then to the run. Scott worked to the left, I got a bit too far to the right and he managed to make enough distance on my to have an inside for the port gate which, unfortunately, heavily favored. So, Scott rounds first, I follow him around and then tack to go left. The Dutch guy and Andy are next, the go a bit further on port but then both also tack. Scott goes right. This race its clear the left is working so I'm going left but then decide to hedge my bets a bit and tack. I cross the Dutch guy by a healthy amount but he keeps going left. As I'm sailing up I can see the guys on the right are fading away and when the Jan tacks I can see he has lost a lot. So, tack back to the left. The Dutch guy has come back right and he has gained a lot and manages to cross me, but lets me keep going. I get to the port tack layline, tack over, he is coming back now too but I'll probably just cross so he tacks to leeward and I'm slightly faster so am able to round first at the top mark. I hold him off on the reach and we go down the run with both of us on starboard and he is slightly better at working the waves this jibe and slowly starts to move forward. Finally, I jibe to port, the "right" jibe and start to gaini back but too late and he rounds about a boat length ahead. On the reach we both open up considerably on Andy Pimental, giving some room to try to make a move on the final beat. We went into a tacking duel and I think I was slowly gaining but then dropped the tiller extension on a tack. At this point Andy had gotten close again so best to protect second. So, great race Arnoud Hummel (winner in Roses) and very encouraged to see that when hiking the boat speed is not the issue.

So... confidence very high if I can hike. Need to pay better attention in the light stuff. And, as expected, it is going to be a very tough series. Certainly cannot afford any more 18's!!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2009 Laser Masters' World Championship Eve

It would seem that Halifax gets a hurricane every sunday during the season... "Danny" comes through this evening, not clear what will happen tomorrow though since its been downgraded to a tropical depression there is still hope for sailing. Monday and Tuesday may be problematic but there does appear to be hope for a return to "normal" by the end of the week.

As is usual, there is a tremendous change going from the Senior to Master Worlds... first the number of competitors nearly doubles, secondly the beer is much more obvious. The best part is the chance to run around and see all the people you only see once per year.

I've moved into my new regatta accommodations in a really nice waterfront home that is a mere five minutes driving to the sailing site. In our house, in addition to myself, we have Bill and LauraLee Symes, Rob and Marilyn Hodson, John Purdy, Don Hall and the wild Frenchman from Virginia, Alain Vincey. Defiinitely a great group and we're feeling pretty relaxed as Danny has already started dumping rain on us!

Last night was not only a beautiful night here but also the traditional ILCA-NA Masters' party. We had quite a turnout, though not all the competitors made it. Still, the group that made it are all pictured below:

The Canadian contingent pulled a suprise on my by giving me a team shirt at the event:

I must say, I was quite speechless by their gesture and was only able to mutter a "thank you". Quite a surprise and I can assure you very much appreciated by me! The plan is to wear the Canadian team shirt to the opening ceremonies (which Danny has postponed until Tuesday) and my US team shirt at the awards (where, of course, I intend to be on the podium!).

2009 Laser Senior World Championship Recap

What was I thinking?

7 days of racing against the top sailors in the world. Have to be a great experience, right? Short answer: it was fantastic... but...

To remind everyone, the Laser Senior Worlds Championship is "the" Laser Worlds and the very best sailors in the world are racing. The top guys train full time and travel the world for the major events and all the top guys know each other pretty well (in contrast to a Master Worlds where we see each other once per year at best). Bottom line: they are very, very fast.

The first day of qualifying had me in the "yellow" fleet (hey! I'm in gold!) which was the first start of the day. As it turned out, this was the one "normal" day for entire event with a southwest seabreeze rolling in the 10-15 knot range (so, full hike a good fraction of the time, but definitely some soft periods out there). There were also some nice waves generated from the long fetch of the bay, though they were at a slight angle to the wind making it slightly more difficult on port tack over starboard. Anyway, the first start was my wake up call, I was in the front row but the really good guys had just enough more height that my lane got narrower and narrower as we sailed on starboard. My lane got shut off a bit shy of the layline, I rolled into a tack and thought I had a nice lane going to the mark. As I approached the weather mark I was in a position where, if played right, I could get around ahead of the pack. Unfortunately, I elected to tack on the layline, got faced by a few boats which dropped me into a position where I couldn't tack back into now what was a major stack up of boats. As I finally get to the weather mark a British boat tacks right in front of me (and where he thought he as going was a complete mystery) and to avoid hitting him I have to duck, which means I hit the mark. So... a 360 later and I'm now in back. And in this fleet there is no getting that back.

Welcome to the 2009 Laser Senior Worlds! Day one lesson: left side has more pressure - go left.

Ok, next race is a bit better and it looks like if I get myself in gear it might be possible to get into the silver fleet.

As an aside, the photographer for the Laser Worlds,, is first rate and he even took some pictures of me! From Day one, here is a photo of me on the reach leg:

Day two is a frustrating day in many respects. We sail out to start on time but today we have fog and we end up reaching around in a nice breeze waiting for the fog to lift. Finally it thins enough to see the weather mark and we start racing. On this day I'm in the red fleet (last start), we have the second start sailing the outer. We start and the fog rolls back making it hard to see the marks again. Also, in contrast to day one, it looks like the boats on the right are making out big time. Still, I did end up with my best score in the qualifying (aided somewhat by a fair number of bfd's). By the time we finish its late and the RC sends us in... but with the good result I am not thinking it should be possible to make silver.

The next morning we find out that some sailors in the blue fleet filed for redress over the fog visibility and managed to get their race thrown out. So, the previous day's blue fleet needs to resail this race before we can then have our hopefully 3 races for qualifying (to get back on schedule). All except that fleet are held ashore while the one fleet goes out to race, but once again the fog acts to wreak havoc on good plans. The previous day's blue fleet is held at the entrance to the harbor until the RC finally finds a section of the bay where there is no fog. They go out and race and we are called off the beach. So, we sail through the fog in 15-18 knots and great waves only to break out on the other side of the bay in less wind and chop. Ugh! Today's racing was interesting, we are so far over that now the western shoreline is close and there is a persistent shift if you sail to the right. But if you go left you may be sailing in more pressure. First race I go left for the pressure, the boats on the right win big time. Second beat I go right and all looks ok until the wind softens considerably and boats on the left go by. Not good, and a dismal result.

The next race is only slightly better... this time its clear the the left side has more pressure, I get off the line cleanly about 4 boats up from the pin on a square line. We sail out for about 5 minutes and I look over my shoulder and see that I can a) tack and let a few boats cross, b) stay where I am where I'm starting to get shut out. I tack and things are looking good, I just need to get across one boat in a pack of 4 and I'm good - so too big to duck, I don't want to tack if I can avoid it (since we are near the layline) and if I can just cross I'm in top 10. As I apporach I yell the proverbial "Cross?" and my ears say I'm hearing a "go". Well, it doesn't make sense to hear that since it is a big duck for the boat I have to cross and, indeed, Tim Pitts is really saying "no!" Too late, I try to tack but I foul Tim rather badly and so I immedidately spin into a 720. Race over, I roll another 40's. In retrospect, even though I fouled Tim he round the first mark in twelfth, then broke his tiller extension later on the run. So... "what if?"

Qualifying is over, and I'm in bronze but in something like 6th for the fleet. So, its conceivable to at least finish near the top of my fleet.

The next day is lost to Bill. Not much to say here, my first hurricane and I wasn't impressed. Spent the day at the house we were staying out mostly talking to Eric Johnson (Clay's dad) about sailing.

Monday is the first day of "finals" and we hit the water but the aftermath of the hurricane is to leave us with no wind. After floating around most of the day the race committee makes a valiant effort to start a race. Its notable because Mike Leigh is flagged with 5 seconds to the start and at 1 second left they postpone, then send us all to shore. Oops!

Tuesday is our first real day in the finals and once again we have to sail far to the western side of the bay in order to stay clear of the fog. The breeze is from the southwest but is much lighter, at times painfully light (5 knots or so) and, occasionally, at the top end around 12 knots. This is not my stuff for sure, espeecially with the chop on top of it and it takes full concentration to keep boat speed up, meaning I'm not paying attention to the breeze much. In contrast to the other days, today the breeze has not only pressure differences but also small oscillations and I'm just not sailing them well. The second race Ii get myself in a bit better gear and have a race where I'm in the teens, until I managed to get rolled by a wave on the bottom reach and capsize, losing 12 boats. Very frustrating how poorly I'm sailing! As we set up for the final race, the breeze has filled and looks to be pushing 15 knots! Just as the we line up for the start it drops and, suddenly, nearly shuts off on the right side of the course. For the first time today I sail with my head out of the boat and play off the last of the breeze on the left to round in the top ten at the first mark. Then I stop looking around... at the gate I take a short hitch to the right to get a clear lane, then head left. I start to realize that the boats I had left cross me on my short hitch right and now going backwards in the window. Yup, a glance over the shoulder indicates the boats that went right are not well ahead. So, a lesson on how to turn a good race into a bad one: stop paying attention!

Ok, last day of the regatta, I'm determined to finish with a bang. Once again we are delayed onshore, but then sent out to sail through great breeze in the fog. We get to the "clear" starting area where the fog has come in, so the RC picks up and moves even further to the right, nearly on the shore over at the west end of the bay. We still have good breeze, probably in the 12-15 range, certainly enough for me to hike. However, Bill did quite a bit of churning and the race area is strewn with tons of seaweed, to the point where it was impossible to sail for any distance without having to clear your centerboard... and, as it turns out, rudder. I am sure the right is the way to go this race and the options are: 1) start at slightly favored pin, leg out and tack to cross as soon as possible, 2) fight it out at the boat and go right. I go for the first because I'm sure my speed will be good in this fleet. At the start, all is going according to plan as I am second boat up from pin, with Cam Cullman at pin and I roll him almost immediately. Within 1 minute all the boats starting near me are dust and I'm close to being able to cross the pack that started in the middle. I clear my centerboard and figure all is well, but start to realize that I'm no longer making distance on the pack in the middle. Now I'm stuck and we end up on the port layline before tacking... as Ii start to watch boats sailing away from me I realize that its not my centerboard that is the problem, its the rudder and I've got a big clump of stuff wedged a the top of the rudder where I can't feel it. So, clear the rudder and finally moving again. Unfortunatelly, damage is done and I'm back in the 30's - again! Anyway, I now work much harder at keeping both blades clear, play off the right on the second beat and come charging back as much as possible to finish 15th - the best finish of the regatta. A good finish but yet another "what if?" race...

All of the above may seem rather negative but, in the end, I'm just trying to give a critique of each race as I remember them. At the end of the day, the main lessons are:
1) The top guys are far more fit and far more practiced than I can ever hope to be. Over any particular time I can match their speed in bursts, but they maintain their speed a much higher fraction of the time than I. They work the waves better, the effect of this is to maintain their heght better so that I eventually fall into them.

2) I'm a much better downwind sailor that I've ever been. The top guys are still faster but its not longer several hundred yards. In fact, in one race where the bronze fleet rounded the weather mark with the top of the gold fleet, I managed to hold speed with a Swedish guy and round inside at the leeward mark. However, the above mantra still holds, they are fitter and train more so they, in general, execute better and I still have enough short periods going a bit slower to lose ground to them.

3) I have to control the "what if?" factor much better than I was this event. In particular, I believe that if I had been paying a lot more attention during the races I could have made the silver fleet.

4) It was good training for the Master Worlds in terms of reminding me where the top end of the fleet should be. However, it was not good psychologically to get kicked aorund so much and I have been spending the days off remindinig myself that, at best, there are 2-3 Apprentices here that could concievably make gold fleet.

Most importantly, I did get a great chance to see up close the technique of the top Laser sailors in the world which I think can help me sail faster in the future.

Ok, on to the Master Worlds!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 Laser Senior Worlds - the day before the racing

I've managed to get settled into Halifax now... having arrived late Monday evening and spending Tuesday getting the boat, getting through registration/measurement, etc. I did go for a quick sail with the US Sailing Team guys yesterday where we did a few quick line ups and some practice starts, and couple of really short downwinds, etc. A good number of the practice starts were in a group of about 60, or so, and its always hard to tell anything from these informal line ups as often half the fleet is over the line. Anyway, I'm think it is looking about like I expected, I can match my speed with the top guys for periods of time, but probably will not be able to match for the entire race. Still, am cautiously optimistic that I can make top half of event, so top half of Silver fleet by end of regatta.

Today I'm hanging at the house with the guys I'm staying with. They've been doing a lot of sailing so want to take a day off to rest up and I figure I'm not going to learn anything new by going out today. As near as I can tell, the breeze the next few days will be "standard" and, depending on exactly where they race us, there will be a slight left favor to the course. And it does appear to be a lot like Monterey in this range.

One interesting thing: it appears that Hurricane Bill is headed more or less right at us. Its still days away, probably not really affecting us until sunday or monday, but will probably bring strong winds to the middle of the regatta. Well, hopefully it exits quickly and lets the sailing return to "normal" for the Masters'!

2009 Masters' US Championship

The 2009 Masters' US Championhip was sailed in Monterey on August 13-16. I grew up in Monterey, in fact I cut my teeth in a Laser in Monterey so I did figure I had a bit of an edge in the local knowledge department. Still, I moved away permanently in the mid-80's and really haven't done a lot of sailing there in the past 10 years... fortunately, the sailing conditions haven't changed much!

Friday was an interesting day, in the category of "its never like this." Well, obviously, it can be like that but it is rare. The racing area in Monterey is the ocean next to the Monterey Peninsula, which consists of a large hill near the harbor. The "normal" seabreeze comes in to the bay running more or less parallel to the peninsula and is very steady, with a persistent shift as you sail to the left (towards the land). As the day progresses the wind also slowly clocks to the left and as it does this you start to get puffs coming down the hillside which can make for large left hand shifts. The entire day on Friday was this latter condition on steroids with unpredictable puffs rolling off the hills packing a 20+ knot punch to them. After saying all of this I can only add that Friday was the day to not have a disaster and I managed to roll a second in each of the three races while all the other players landed a race in the teens or twenties. As Ted Newland (former UCI Water Polo Coach) always said: "I'd rather be lucky than good!"

Friday's sailing had its sobering moment as well. Lake Tahoe area sailor Tony Dahlman suffered a stroke during the first race. Fortunately, a crash boat was nearby and they acted quickly, got Tony out of the water and raced him to the Coast Guard station and to a waiting ambulance where he was then rushed to the Community Hospital. Unfortunately, Tony suffered a massive stroke and didn't make it. A real reminder to all of us of just how fragile our existence can be... but also a moment of "I hope when it happens to me that I can be doing what I love one moment and have it over quickly..."

The weather for the weekend was a little bit affected by the "Lockheed fire" in the Santa Cruz mountains. Saturday saw the fog burn off early but before the seabreeze kicked in there was a heavy layer of smoke hanging over the bay. Still, Saturday was the classic Monterey day: the fog burned off to leave bright sunshine, the seabreeze started filling in before 11:00 am and by race time we were in the mid-teens with a beautiful ocean swell running. In these conditions thinking is not necessary, you start near the pin and sail left. You go to the layline, then you keep going. You go past the layline and you keep going. You go until you can't stand it anymore before you tack. And you get to the weather mark first. The runs were spectacular surfing down the waves. Great stuff! Well, the left side is the place to be but truth is there are some little shifts over there that can be used if you keep an open mind going. Anyway, I won the first race following that with a fourth and then a third to come off the water with a solid series lead... but still three races to go.

The last day was another kind of classic Monterey day... in this one the fog takes its time burning off and the seabreeze doesn't come in as strong. We started an hour earlier and when the gun went off we were sailing in a light seabreeze, in the 5-8 knot range. This is definitely not my forte though my real problem for this race was not making good lane decisions in the traffic. I rounded the first mark deep in the fleet, managed to take an outside lane on the run to get back to the leading pack of a dozen boats and then sailed a better second beat to pass a few more boats. I held steady on the final run to take a ninth. Fortunately for me the boat in second place was not far ahead and didn't gain many points.

The next race saw a bit more breeze, probably more in the 8-10 knot range. I was confident this was the "bang the corner" race and had a great start at the pin... if the race were over after 30 seconds I would have won. However, in the "I've seen this a million times in Monterey" story line, the boats that started higher up held a little more pressure which enabled them to climb to weather on me and as I sailed to the left side I was slowly sinking away. I tacked to get out but was not barely in the top ten. The pack arrived en-masse at the weather mark and nobody was able to really extend on the run so the second beat was critical. I managed to stay in the pressure, while still getting to the left "in time" and was back to fourth by the weather mark with good separation to the boats behind. Again, positions held steady on the final run. The best news was the the second place boat, and the only threat in the regatta at this point, capsized on the final run and finished several places behind me meaning I now had the regata wrapped up on points.

The breeze felt like it was continuing to build and the last race looked like it was going to be just like those on Saturday. I had a so-so start at the boat end but couldn't make the lane work with Chuck Tripp below and pointing what felt like 5 degrees higher than me. I bailed out and that was the start of really going backwards. Instead of continuing to fill the breeze started to back off and the left side started to see the big left shifts rolling off the hill. The first boats to the left got launched. I made the classic Monterey mistake of trying to under tack the left side and sail at or just below the layline. Well, I know better, all the boats inside just rolled over the top and I rounded deep in the fleet. Still, the pack was close and we seemed to be in a hole and I was sure I could see a puff line rolling down the outside, so I took a big outside line with the idea of getting into the "new" breeze and rolling down to the mark around everyone. It worked to the extent that I may not have lost a lot of distance but I sure wasn't in first! Second beat I failed to learn from my first beat and rounded in a solid 12th. At this point I figured that the race was going to be my throwout and decided to cut the corner and head straight for the beach, so I took a DNF. Still, not the kind of race you want to have as your last in a big series.

The take away from this event is that the training has been paying off. Upwind boat speed in medium to strong breeze has always been my strong point. This year I made a real effort to change my style of downwind sailing and really work on improving my speed and that is really paying off as I don't appear to be fodder for the downwind speedsters anymore. Not the fastest by a long shot but not getting rolled by several hundred yards either. Another big area of gain is in boat handling which is probably reflective of the sheer number of hours sailed on San Francisco Bay this year.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009 Masters' Pacific Coast Championship

Here I am sailing on saturday! Chris Ray took some great photos, check them out at his website!

This was a two day event hosted by St Francis but sailed out of Treasure Island. On saturday we raced just off south end of the Berkeley Pier, on sunday further to the east into Emeryville. Saturday saw the most breeze with average around 20 knots and some gusts higher, sunday was more mid-teens. There were 26 boats registering, though by the end of saturday we probably had 22 actually racing.

The first race on saturday was clearly warmup for everyone. With the early flood tide, the right was favored for tide, but the left slightly favored for breeze. The fleet arrived at the first mark fairly close, I was around in first with a few boat length lead but in trying to make sure I didn't hit the weather mark I neglected to let the vang off, in trying to round the boom hit the water and I capsized. Fortunately, the fleet behind managed to entered in a mutual screwup so I only lost a few boats on the rounding. First run was back to round in third, managed to get back to top of fleet on second beat only to make another horrible rounding, hitting the mark, and let Peter Vessella and Peter Phelan back in. Then, sailed to the wrong finish line! Ok, third in that race, glad it was over!

Next three races I had great upwind speed and was able to win all three. Races 2 and 3 played off the right side, but by the last race the flood was no longer favoring the right and played off the left. Important thing from these races: good downwind speed in the big waves and strong breeze, so nobody catching me on the runs!

First race on sunday was in the 10-12 range. Mediocre start at the boat, follow Boomer to the right back in the pack. Peter comes in from left with nice lead, I round in 7 or 8. Manage to come back to around 4 at the leeward gate and then sail hard for second beat to get around in second and closing on Peter. Can't quite catch him on the run, finish second.

Good start in next race, lead all the way to win.

If I can beat Peter, or finish right behind him, can win the regatta without the fourth race. But... not so good start and have to clear out of traffic before trying to figure out where Peter is going. Get to weather mark with potential to be first around, coming in on port but can't cross Boomer. Figure a tight leebow will force him to tack since he "can't possibly" lay in the current.. but I don't execute and Boomer lays. I have to wait for him to go by, Peter and Peter round with me and inside and in no time I'm in fourth. On run I try to stay on Peter Vessella's wind to stay one place behind but get complacent and Peter slips away to pass Boomer. He is second, I'm fourth!

Technically, we are tied on points and I won the tie breaker but I figure I better race the last race. Fortunately, I get a good start and am able to get in front and not screw up and win race. So, take the series.

In general, very happy at this event with speed. Be very interesting to see how that works this weekend in Monterey and, of course, next week in Halifax!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Best angle downwind wrt to waves?

Chris Boome loaned me his "The Boat Whisperer - Downwind" DVD and I've been watching it in some detail. In general, I completely agree with the philosophy of not trying to "muscle" the boat, instead to listen to what it is saying and act accordingly. Well, I believe in it, but in the heat of battle I think one often reverts to unconscious action and since a kid I have always tried to "muscle" the boat (and in my old age that means throwing my stomach "muscle" at it!).

An interesting segment is on the angle to take with the waves. OK, the discussion is really the angle to take in waves in strong breeze where I'm guessing strong to Steve is mid-twenties and above (hey, strong to me too!). He advocates taking the by-the-lee angle running more or less parallel to the primary (largest) wave pattern.

In light to medium breeze I think one should assume the gybe that allows you to run by-the-lee going down the wave. In these conditions you are not likely to be running into the backs of the wave in front at high speed so this angle keeps you powered as you are surfing the the wave and helps to keep you on it longer. It is also easier to initiate the turn to windward since you aren't fighting the angle the wave wants the boat to take. Of course, at my weight (over 200 lbs) I can't turn as often as the pinners (anyone under 200 lbs) can, so sailing by the lee works to keep me moving fast longer than if I were trying to turn too much

But what about in strong breeze? Here running into the backs of the waves can be an issue. In this case I think you need to assume the gybe that has you square to broad reaching on the primary waves. In this much breeze you will, as Steve says, be primarily concerned with trying to avoid running into the backs of the waves in front of you and this gybe allows you more control over which direction you can go.

Still, I'm not sure that running by-the-lee parallel to the primary set is really the fastest... will have to try that today...

Yesterday we had a good ebb tide with breeze straight down the Golden Gate. Peter Vessella and I did two nice long runs from Anita Rock down to Blossom Rock. There must be a nice swell running off the coast, the waves in the bay were as big as I can remember seeing and the ebb pushed them up to make nice, steep runways for surfing. I hope we get that again today!