- 12 November 2008 | Windsurfing
The i-to-i, (Inlet to Inlet Distance Race), is a windsurfing long distance ocean race that runs from Fort Lauderdale's South Beach Park, around channel markers at Port Everglades Inlet and Hillsboro Inlet, and returns to South Beach Park.
This will be the 6th year running of this exciting event. There is no entry fee for the event to view or participate.
The I-to-I will never be a cakewalk! It's a long way on anything. I have run most of the course on a slalom board myself to test things out and it's not easy on that gear either. The I-to-I is loosely modeled after the San Francisco Classic where in a good year 50% of the fleet can finish.
The I-to-I race is easier with generally lighter winds, always warmer water, an easier course to find, and not quite as far. The I-to-I isn't just about beating your competitors, it's about challenging yourself to go the distance in whatever nature throws at us the day of the race. Gnarly, is when there is no wind and the race can take 4+ hours to finish.
Last year it was won in only 1 hour and 12 minutes with just 30 seconds separating 1st and 2nd place. We had a record number of entrants and a record 13 finishers out of 18 starters, who did the whole course. Everyone that went the distance will feel like they earned it. Those that didn't can try again this year.
The I-to-I is not a slalom race, course race, or wave event, it is an exciting long distance race that is run to challenge the entrants and to have a different venue than any other race in the USA. It's one of the few races held in the ocean anywhere in the world. Negotiating the waves while on the course, launching, landing, is part of sailing in the ocean.
It is also an NRT ranking event and the classes supported are those US Windsurfing ranks; Formula, Formula FE, Hybrid, and Open. If you want to race on a slalom board, someone could enter the race in Open class, but the course will remain the same with marks at Port Everglades Inlet and Hillsboro Inlet being primary to the race.
I would suggest if someone wanted to compete using formula gear and wanted to tone things down, especially if it's onshore, is to rig a smaller sail and fin than you normally would if it were an upwind downwind course. Last year anything over 10m on formula in my opinion was too big, and a 9m for most men would have been plenty.
Carrying too much sail makes the race more difficult than it needs to be. If you can't hang on to whatever you are planning to rig for 2 hours or more, then it's too big.