During the open class championship Formula windsurfing on Sunday 21 October I foiled a competition for the first time. It was an experiment for the organization to learn how to deal with wind foiling in Dutch competition surfing. During the 4 races I sailed the first 2 at the racing boards and then the last 2 with the formula boards. A nice experience with a solid result.
Determine which discipline wind foils best fits
Wind foilers are already foiling at very low wind speeds and are very high upwind. Hence the thoughts to start first with the raceboarders. However, raceboarders start very differently. Almost with the point in the wind waiting for the starting line. I went windfoiling (flying) over the starting line (more towards pin end). On the other hand, the speed of wind foilers fits better with the formula boards. So there’s a match there, too. Formula boards also start at speed, so very similar to wind foils. In the end, the foilers are most comparable with formula windsurfers.
Surprising result in the Formula windsurfing class with wind foiling
In the past I have surfed a lot of competitions also on the formula board. So I’m familiar with the game of competitive surfing. However, there is about 10 years in between. During the heats there was a lot of wind. In the track, the wind went through the 20 knots at gusts! Because there were quite a few wind dips, I didn’t dare take an overly small sail. That’s why I chose my 7,8m2 slalom sail. In the gusts the sail was also way too big. I was actually surprised that I managed to keep going. The race sail now delivered so much downward pressure to the wind that I regularly hit the water with my board. The formula boys also had to pull on it with about 10.0 m2.
Although the advantage of wind foiling should be with less wind, I was the first to be at the upper buoy. Then followed a short half-winded rak followed by a deep downwind reach. Half wind was surviving. Went way too fast. Now the formula boards were a lot faster. I simply couldn’t convert the pressure into speed anymore, way too much lift through the wind foil. In the downwind I couldn’t make the speed either. At the below buoy I got a big dot of seaweed to my wind foil. So have to get it off. What a pity. I end in this heat third. Not bad.
Next race my start was very good and was first at the top mark. In the downwinde I chose to for the wind. It didn’t feel fast, but it certainly was. I was now the first at the down buoy. The second lap I lost another place to make up for it in the very last reach to the finish. First!
Despite my little racing experience, I was able to get along well with the best Formula windsurfers in the Netherlands.