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© AUS120 Sean O'Brien.
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Racing has begun at the 2009 Formula Windsurfing World Championships in Santa Pola, Spain. The 6-day event features the World’s best Formula sailors battling it out for the title. Sean arrived early in Santa Pola on Tuesday for a week of tuning and sailing, preparing for the event. Read the daily reports below, see the photos and stay tuned for the video as well as following Sean’s race-updates via Twitter.

Day 1:

In three races today (2 counting and one abandoned) I managed to rig all three of my sails and use all three fins; amazing!

The day started as did everyday this week with the wind a very light westerly of 5 knots in the morning then dropping out around lunchtime before swinging to the south and picking up to 10 knots very quickly. The first race we were out on 12m’s with the big fins however after a general recall in which 20 guys sailed the entire first lap we had a delay of 20 mins or so until we could restart the first race. By this time the wind had picked up and for me it was a bit of a handful with the 12m and 76 fin combo. I had an average start and was deep in the pack going round the first mark however I elected to go to the left on the second lap which the majority of the front runners didn’t do and managed to pick up 10 or so places on the second lap.

Ross Williams (GBR-83) passed me on the final downwind; I haven’t seen the results but either I was doing quite well or he was doing quite sh*te.

The wind continued to pick up and I changed down to the 11m and 73 fin and this race I got squished on the start underneath Gonzalo leaving me deep in the pack off the line. The startline is rediculously too small for the one fleet of 80 guys so the starting tactics for the majority is to just sit on the line stopped (as there is not enough room to run down the line) then start pumping with 5 seconds to go; just like an RSX race … haha.

I tacked away early in this race and got a good lift on port across to the layline to be in a decent position around the first mark. I was following Adri Keet (NED-34) downwind before he crashed in to a French sailor at the gybe in to the bottom mark and I was able to make a few places going round the mark. We had a gate for the bottom and with everyone arriving on different tacks you had to keep your eyes open to avoid hitting someone. Suffice to say, I doubt anyone (my included) noticed the boat 10m downwind of the marks holding the ‘C’ flag (course change) and luckily most of the fleet had realised the top mark had been moved 400m to the right and changed to a red mark.

I arrived at the top mark in a group with Hubert Mokrzycki (POL-25) and Lukasz (POL-320) and although they were a little faster on the downwind, Lukasz had a big crash on the run to the finish so I was able to finish just behind Hubert. I was later to discover that Hubert was OCS in this race and BFD the race before; unlucky.

A big storm arrived around this point (see the photos!) and after a big delay of 45 mins or so and myself given time to rig the 9.9m we were sent back out. Unfortunately for me the wind started to die as the storm and lightning arrived and with only 1 boom I wasn’t able to have my 11m rigged at the same time ready to go. So the countdown started and the wind dropped to around 12 knots which was a punishment on the 9.9m. I ended up getting a great start just to windward of Steve Allen (AUS-0) however as only about 15 people got off the line planing. I didn’t have particularly good angle because I was struggling to keep on the plane with the small sail but I held in under Steve for most of the run before the boats chased us down with the abandonment flag (just as I dropped off the plane!) and we started to head back to the beach to get in before the rain.

The forecast for tomorrow is the same again, so it looks like there’ll be a LOT of rigging going on this week!

Ps. Check out some photos below of the new 2010 Starboard LWR and HWR formula boards as well as the new 2010 Exocet Warp formula board developed by Gonzalo.

UPDATE. We haven’t been able to get on the internet connection here at the race site the past 2 days, so I’m stopping doing the daily reports. Sorry guys! Keep watching for more info…


  • Anne says:

    Good luck mate!

  • Jonte says:

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the great homepage.

    I am hoping that you can give me some help with the tuning of my point-7. It is a 11,0 AC-1 2008. I can not get the cambers to rotate without having to kick them over and sometimes even after that they all do not rotate. I have worked a lot on the cambers to reduce the length of the wings that raps on each side of the mast to ensure that I get minimal sticking. I am not using as long of an extension as recommended. Actually it is a few cm’s shorter but it looks as if I am getting enough downhaul. I do have a few wrinkles in the sail due to less than full tension (since I thought this would help). Any help is welcome…I am to the point where I am considering changing to a differnet sail brand…



    • Jonte says:

      With less tension I mean the Batten tension!


    • Dennis says:

      Try to cut 2mm of the backside of the camber. Meaning the section of the camber resting against the sail. This should help. Taking out the tension from the battens wont do you any good. Make sure to fully downhaul..


    • Glensdal says:

      I would not focus to much on fast camber rotation when you flip over the sail. Try instead to get planning on the new course when you have flipped over the sail. It is my experience, at least with the ac1 slalom sails, that when planning and in footstraps on the new course, the cambers rotate them self when the sails get powered up. If its to dificult in lighter wind, then maybe you should choose a bigger sail. I think that it is the point7 strategy, since both the ac1 08´ and 09´ works this ways.

      Normally if the 2 camber from the bottom rotates completely, then camber 3 and 4 will also rotate. So maybe less presure on the 2 camber will work, that is one or no spacers at all on that camber 2.

      • Jonte says:

        Thanks for the help!
        I followed the recommendations and applied a little more downhaul. In addition, I took off about 2mm on the cambers. The result was a sail that fellt good to sail on the water but still the cambers did not rotate without kicking. It was a bit on the windy side at times and if I did not manage to kick them over in the first try I had to sail with them not fully rotated until the next tack. They do not rotate even when fully powered up on the down leg. In the third race the downhaulpulley broke. Grrr :(

        On the beach I get informed by an other fellow that the downahul pulley had broke on both of his 2009 AC-1 sails. Apparently extra pulleys had been delivered with his sails….
        However, the new pulleys can’t be installed without tacking up some of the stitching.

        No more sailing for me that weekend :(

        What’s next?

  • Janis says:

    Hello Sean!
    What is that F2 formula board???
    under: Ps. Check out some photos below of the new 2010 Starboard LWR and HWR formula boards as well as the new 2010 Exocet Warp formula board developed by Gonzalo.


    • Sean OBrien says:

      Hi Janis,

      It’s actually a normal ‘Z’ board, but it has different graphics on it to be used for the F2 photoshoot I think. The board itself is nothing custom; it’s exactly the same as the other F2s. It’s Dirk Doppenberg’s …

  • Brian says:

    Hey Sean, A great report on the days windsurfing at Santa Pola. Thanks, learn’t a lot. Keep them going once you get your connection back!


    Brian James

  • Sean OBrien says:

    Thanks Brian … the internet didn’t really work out for me … so I made a video instead; hope you enjoy it ;)

  • Andrea Cucchi says:

    Dear Jonte,

    for noticing a better camber rotation, please take out 5mm. Not 2mm.
    If you had problems with the downhaul pulley send us a mail to we send you a new one, which needs no sail loft to change it. 2 minutes and it’s on. The new one are of unbeatable strength.


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