Thursday, August 27, 2009

Edge of Having Fun Zone

The title quote is from Douglas DeCouto, participant at the ongoing 505 Worlds on Berkeley Circle, a big wind destruction derby, crash fest, heavy air smackdown that is San Francisco Bay in August. The SAP 505 World Championship has the most comprehensive web reportage of any dinghy sailing event I've come across; with professional video by Tucker Thompson posted every day, photos and photos and more photos, and geeks on Sailing Anarchy that seem to have nothing better to do than twitter all the mark rounding positions.

I sympathize because I sailed the 1993 International Canoe Worlds on San Francisco, held also in August. We lucked out and didn't see any of our races blow over mid 20's and most days the first beat would be in the teens and then build quickly into the 20's after that. The problem with Berkeley Circle is boats like the 505 and International Canoe are too fast for the track; i.e you can't really steer around the short chop upwind because you are onto the waves too quickly so you alternately launch or plow and sometimes in the big gusts, stagger with most of the rig luffing. Downwind it's the same story but you are going so fast that launching or plowing at the wrong time is disaster. The good guys were able to keep the pedal down but I found it faster to back off and pick my way downwind. And the water is cold!

Douglas's interview fits San Francisco dinghy sailing to a tee; blasting exhilaration ending in some disaster, you're swimming and not quite sure how it happened. For Douglas Decouto and all the other 505 mid fleeters the regatta becomes somewhat of a grind, trying to put the debacle and the carnage of the last race behind and soldier onward. I finished about half the races in the 93 IC Worlds (I did have two races I can file in the sailing memory bank compartment marked good). I wasn't physically up to the rigors, which wasn't a big surprise. The IC Worlds was just the middle part of the grand adventure of driving cross country with my family. And the sailing and the trip all add up to great memories.

This is the only 93 IC Worlds sailing pic I've come across (I was in some video shot at the Worlds). This is one of my stellar starts (I'm 208 tacking over to port on the start line)

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