2010 Ronstan Bay Challenge: windsurfers and kitesurfers united

The Ronstan Bay Challenge Long Distance Race look doomed from the start. San Francisco’s weather however can turn in an instant and thankfully for the 21 windsurfers and 18 kiteboarders it did just that.

With 20 knots of North wind greeting the racers the Ronstan Bay Challenge was looking like a reaching race. With temperatures nearing 80 degrees at the beach the North winds never last longer than mid day and today was no exception. As the North winds subsided the westerly breeze filled in the bay by about 2 o’clock. Most racers grabbed their 11.0’s and the Big Kites and got ready for the start.

The race committee sent the Windsurfers out first and by the time of the first gun there was 13-20 mph of wind across the course. The beach itself was in a huge wind shadow but the experienced race committee set the line far out in the bay and also shortened the leeward mark to Treasure Island. The Ronstan Bay Challenge usually goes to Berkeley but well founded fears of no wind in Berkeley made the Treasure Island mark a prudent idea.

The top half of the course had far better wind than the bottom half with winds in the 8-15mph range at the bottom. With Ferries, Barges, and Freighters to avoid staying in the wind was going to be the name of the game. Steve Bodner got off a fantastic first half of a race rounding the leeward mark well clear of the nearest competitor. It looked like his race to lose. Showing the perseverance and wily determination that has made him a champion many times over Steve Sylvester rounded the mark and put the hammer down with Eric Christian and Seth Besse hot on his heels. Bodner was on a 10.7 while Sylvester and Christianson were sporting 11.0’s. It just wasn’t going to be Bodner’s day. All three racers picked him off one by one. Sylvester and Christianson were a bit fortunate Besse had chosen to take his beloved 9.5 out rather than risk sailing his Franken-ProtoType 11.0.

After sailing for just under an hour the finish was going to come down to seconds. Christianson still smarting from his troubles last Friday Night wanted this one bad and was pushing Sylvester for all he had. After 55 minutes and 16 miles of sailing only 13 seconds separated the two. The Prize went to Sylvester, Christianson Second, Besse Third.

For the Kites starting about 25 minutes after the Windsurfers presented a slightly fresher breeze. As the fleet rounded the weather mark it was Chip Wasson and current World Champion Adam Koch neck and neck. As the two blew down the city front it was a blazing battle with Wasson pushing Koch for all he was worth. As they flew past Alcatraz it was anyone’s race and the two had extended quite a bit on the rest of the field. Koch rounded the leeward mark ahead of Wasson and from there it was all Adam. Showing the speed and angle that made him World Champ he extended his lead on Wasson and ended up finishing just under 2 minutes in front of Ultra Nectars Wasson. Koch finished his race with a pump of the fist; he was stoked to win this one.

As the battle for the lead was being fought another war was being waged for third. Geoff Headington was digging deep to do everything he could to hold of Andrew Koch. Andrew is Adam's older brother and beginning to show that he soon may be atop the fleet. Headington was not going to let this one slip away however and as the two closed in on the finish it was Headington taking the final podium spot over Koch by – you guessed it 13 seconds.

Formula Results:

1 Steve Sylvester
2 Eric Christianson
3 Seth Besse
4 Steven Bodner
5 Xavier Ferlet
6 Al Mirel
7 Chris Radkowski
8 Soheil Zahedi
9 Tom Purcell
10 Marion Lepert

Kitesurf Results:

1 Adam Koch
2 Chip Wasson
3 Geoff Headington
4 Andrew Koch
5 Frank Wittke
6 Christopher Brown
7 John Gomes
8 Nils Stolzlechtner
9 Tobin Fisher
10 Bill Plautz


SOURCE: Waterhound