Windsurfing & Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Michigan
Here is Don Ferguson's report from the 2012 Rondeau Bay Canadian Windsurfing Masters Association race, on Saturday June 30th:
On Friday, the windcast had downgraded to a max of 9 MPH from the SW, Yuckkk!!!!
Friday afternoon I called the Howard Johnson in Ridgetown to see if we could cancel our reservation for a room - it seemed pointless at the time. By Friday evening however the forecast had pumped up a bit to 12 or so making us think, "Oh well if we don't sail at least there would be stand-up-paddle boards and some catching up to do with some friends from Toronto, and Robert from Makani Fins".
By Saturday morning the forecast was beginning to actually look promising, with 15 mph from 11 to 2pm, which with a
Southwesterly flow of air and sunshine can be a great Rondeau Windcast. So pack up and off we go! Upon our arrival the wind is blowing okay and seemed to be on the increase The stars were aligning! Come to find out from the racers in the Canadian Windsurfing Masters Association, they had good racing Thursday and Friday, and now Saturday is looking like it may be the best day of all.
Annabel rigs up her 6.6, ventures out, and immediately jumps onto a plane. I am still not convinced and decide to take a Kona One and a 7.5 (compliments Bob Shuttleworth) for a test ride. I am not much of a longboard sailor any more but this was fun! I soon felt very powered and found myself longing for some shortboard riding. So i rigged a 7.5 and went out on my Blast 120. As the time went on the wind grew stronger and stronger. By noon I had dropped down to the 6.5, and by 2pm to a 90 litre board. I came off the water around 4pm tired and happy. I could have by dropped down at least another sail size, but as the forecast was calling for the peak around 2pm I thought I had better hang onto what I was using and tough it out! By 4pm clouds started to roll in and the wind began to ebb.
From 2pm on Brooke, Robert (from Makani) and myself were playing a great game of cat and mouse around the downwind mark of the regatta course. Come to find out, once I was off the water they had cancelled the afternoon races due to the wind pushing more than 20 knots. Everyone free-sailed for several hours that afternoon and I have not seen windsurfers outnumber kiters (who, by the way behaved themselves very well, pinching way upwind and out of the way, - I thank you!) there in a long, long time. Great to see 30 or more windsurfers on the water at once!
My only disappointment was with myself for not realizing that the afternoon course racing had been canned. Had I known I would have flagged down the race committee and tried to convince them to reset the marks into a new position for slalom racing. Hopefully they would have been receptive, as conditions were rife for outstanding slalom racing and I am sure we could have had at least fifteen entries with some of them being locals such as myself as well as Brooke. The extra race fees, and the exposure to high-speed slalom for observers from the dock would have I feel been a big boost to windsurfing that day.
Hindsight I guess, but a lesson to be learned! To the race committee: you guys did an outstanding job, but in the future
please, please stay open-minded to changes that can make our sport more enjoyable to spectators and thus help the sport to grow! (Note to self: remember this and stay diligent next time!)
All in all, a great time was had by everyone, and it was great to re-establish contact with some old friends.
The Windsurf Canada events and photos can be found: http://www.windsurfingcanada.com/english/gallery.html