Fall Classic Notice of Race

Editors note: This is the Notice of Race, a fancy document that is a required thing in the racing world. Don't let it mislead you that this isn't a fun, easy-going event and open to all even if you decide not to race but want to spend a fun weekend witih a bunch of windsurfers. Whether you race or not, you really should consider coming out. If you have any questions, post in the comments below. A pdf of the Notice of race can be downloaded here.

The Atlanta Boardsailing Club and Lake Lanier Sailing Club invite you to compete in the 38th Annual Atlanta Fall Classic.

IMAGE(/sites/default/files//pictures/fc16_art-small.jpg)Rules– The regatta will be governed by the rules as defined in the ISAF Racing Rules of Sailing 2013-2016 including Appendix B- Windsurfing Competition Rules, the Class Rules of any applicable fleet, the printed Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions. The Sailing Instructions will be available at late registration/check-in at the LLSC pavilion. Advertising is unrestricted. Entry– The regatta is open to sailboard competitors. Registration will take place at the race site Friday night and Saturday morning, October 21st & 22nd. Please email the regatta chair if you are coming: Chris Voith Any group of 5 boards may compete in a trophy group including (but not limited to): Open Unlimited • Sport (7.5 Ltd) • Kona • Formula With enough entries, a Workshop Fleet may also be included. Within any of these, divisions (i.e. light-heavy, men-women, etc) with 5 or more entries may also be formed as trophy groups. Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in up to four divisions. Fleets, Classes and other divisions may be combined, created or deleted at the discretion of the registrar.

Competition Format– Course Racing and/or Long Distance. Courses may be modified to suit the classes entered and wind conditions. The courses will be illustrated in the Sailing Instructions, available at check-in. The Low Point scoring system will be used. One race must be completed to constitute the regatta. Wind Minimum– For any Formula Class, an 8 knot wind minimum as measured on the course will be observed. For all other classes, it is intended that after one race is completed, no race will be started in which pumping would be the primary means of propulsion. IMAGE(<a href="https://windsportatlanta.com/w/images/thumb/4/45/LLSC_start.jpg/500px-LLSC_start.jpg" rel="nofollow">https://windsportatlanta.com/w/images/thumb/4/45/LLSC_start.jpg/500px-LLSC_start.jpg</a>)Schedule– Friday: 1200 Club opens • Tuning - Practice • 1700 - Happy Hour - Registration • ~1900 - Suppah Saturday: 0900-1000 - Registration & Check-in 1030 - Competitors’ Meeting 1130 - First possible start. 1800 - Happy Hour 1930 - Dinner Sunday: 1000 Racing Resumes Venue– Lake Lanier is comfortably warm in October but cold fronts can bring strong wind and cooler temperatures. Bring neoprene! Pets are allowed at LLSC except at the clubhouse, and with the usual expectations. Live lake cam looks SW from clubhouse

Accomodations– Free camping at the race site (tent/van/RV sites & hot showers, but no hook-ups). At exit 16 off I-985 (~15 minutes from LLSC): Country Inn & Suites 800-456-4000. / Comfort Inn 770-287-1000. / Jameson Inn 770-533- 9400. Exit 8 off I-985: Renaissance Pine Isle Resort 770-945-8921. / Lake Lanier Lodges (cabins w/hot tubs) 770-967-1804 For a more complete list see: www.lakelanier.com.

Entry Fee Includes– Friday munchies & brews • Continental Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday & Sunday • Dinner on Saturday • Commemorative shirt (or other thing) • Door Prizes • Trophies three deep in each division.

Directions to Lake Lanier Sailing Club– On our wiki From Atlanta: North on I-85 then I-985 to Exit 8 • Left on Lanier Islands P’way continue ~1.5 mile to traffic light (past West Marine) • Turn Right on McEver Rd continue 4 miles to • Left on to Jim Crow Rd. (this becomes Old Federal Rd.) It’s 2.3 miles from McEver Rd. to LLSC entrance on the left. From Charleston: Go to Atlanta, then see above.

For more information: Contact Chris Voith
404-386-8505 or voithphoto@gmail.com.

Just in Time for the Season

What better way than to get ready for the coming winds of fall than a good movie? The Windsurfing Movie II takes Levi Siver and Kai Lenny on a windsurfing odyssey. It came out in 2010 but it's now available on Red Bull TV.

The Windsurfing Movie II on Redbull.tv
Tech note: The movie didn't play well with Firefox but was fine with Chrome.

Getting Ready for the Season

Fall Classic and Nags Head

Any local windsurfer knows that we spend August mostly waiting for September. Unless you are lucky enough to travel someplace windy, the most windsurfing-ish activity you can do is repair those nicks in your fins and dings in your boards.Since I've got plenty of my own to work on (nicks and dings), I should be busy for another couple of weeks. Labor Day is always a decent rough guide to the windy season. The days will cool. The weather patterns will slowly change. Before we know it, we'll be cursing the cold and enjoying the wind.

Each fall there are some important events and happenings to keep in mind.

The 38th Annual Fall Classic, Oct 22-23

The longest continuous windsurfing event in the U.S., the Fall Classic is more than just a race. It's a weekend of food, fun and seeing friends from around the Southeast. This year's running will be October 22-23 at it's traditional home, the Lake Lanier Sailing Club and hosted by Chris Voith. It's a regatta and more. If you have any sort of competitive streak in you, it's fun. Nobody is super serious and racers are split into groups according to weight, equipment, experience, etc. so there's something for everyone including the "I can barely sail in a circle" crowd. Once every ten years, conditions favor shortboards but this is Atlanta - you'll almost always go faster on something long and with a centerboard. Many of us keep an old longboard in the garage for just this weekend.

If you don't race, you are still welcome - and encouraged to come. It's great just to hang out with windsurfers and the meals are worth the price of admission alone. Especially, if you are just starting out, it's a fantastic place to hang because you'll learn more in a weekend here than any other in Atlanta.

Barrett's Nags Head Trip

Fall (and Spring) are the best times to head to North Carolina's Outer Banks. The OBX is known world-wide for ideal conditions for windsurfing and kiting with steady breezes, shallow Sound-side sailing and waves for the more adventurous. The real attraction though is the availability of housing right on the water. Typically the houses are big enough to share and with off season rates the whole week is very affordable. Your gear stays rigged downstairs and each day you wake up ready to sail out the back door. Last spring, I sailed in planing conditions ten straight days - my whole trip.. I think Barrett's streak was around fourteen.

Barrett plans to be there the weeks of October 8-15 and 15-22; and he still has openings. PM him for more information.

Fall Opener TBA

Also keep an eye out for an informal, impromptu get together. If the weather looks good for a weekend session while it's still pleasant, we'll announce a casual picnic. Nothing fancy but a reason to sit and talk between sailing sessions. Just one more reason to check in here regularly.

Wind and Water

or how I took a left turn at Albuquerque on the way to the Gorge

"Wind and water," Marek said more than once. "The Gorge is all wind and water." When he'd found out that I was planning to spend a week in the Portland/Gorge area in early June, he was kind enough to reach out to me more than a few times with invitations, advice and encouragement. Marek, being smarter than me, doesn't spend all summer whining about the wind but actually spends time in a place where 3 meter sails and 70 liter boards are not only used but used frequently. As Marek predicted, I would find plenty of wind and water on my trip.

Back last fall, a good friend from college had come to Atlanta and met me for breakfast. We began talking and before I realized it, I'd been talked into climbing a really big hill. "It'll be fun," he said. "And, at our age we won't have that many more opportunities to do something like this." This hill is near another hill he'd climbed the previous summer with another close friend of mine. Together with some other friends, they decided it was so much fun, they'd do it again and wanted me to come along.

Where was this hill? Near Portland. So my little brain figured if I can get to Portland, I'll be able to get to the Gorge for some (to borrow Marek's phrase) wind and water.

I'd wanted to sail there for years and it looked like this summer I'd get my chance. Somewhere along the line, Marek heard about my plans to go out and since he spends a good bit of his time out there, as I mentioned earlier, was generous with his assistance. Further, Trey and Michel would be going out about the same time so a bunch of us Atlanta guys could get together.

As the time approached for the trip, I actually read more about the hill I was supposed to climb. As hills out there go, it was pretty tall but people didn't have quite the habit of falling off that they did on some of the others. That was comforting. Nonetheless, the hill was tall enough that it required a bit of preparation if I didn't want the experience to be totally miserable. So I spent the spring doing useful stuff like taking a sailboat trip and almost two glorious weeks in Nags Head. Yes, denial and procrastination are great methods of training.

Mt. Hood

A hill in near the Gorge, Mt. Hood. My hill was about 1000 feet higher than that.

During one of my extensive training sessions, i.e. trying to get my Formula board to plane on an overly optimistic day (a very useful Alpine skill), a motorboat came up alongside and the driver started shouting at me. "What tha' hel...?"

Trey in the Gorge

The guy in the boat, Trey

Of all people, it was Trey. "Hey, I hear you are going to the Gorge." Yep. "You should get together with us and sail." Sounds good. "We'll have a real good time." We continued to exchange pleasantries, vague future plans and then he left me to my optimistic pumping with my 9.5.

However, my trip approached - I'd had eight months to prepare - I actually started to research and read about my little hill. I made the mistake of looking at it on Google Maps. Why are all the contour lines bunched together and why are there so many of them? Panic set in.


To get to the Gorge*, you go through Portland. Portland is rather a singular city which even has its own show: Portlandia. Portland is where hipster meets granola. It's the Mecca of craft beer, bicycles, artisanal doughnuts and ice cream; and VW campers - all with vistas on a clear day of snow-capped volcanoes.

In fact, all you need to know about Portland are in the following two pictures:

Keep Portland Weird

Beer Brats Bikes

It's also the kind of place that makes you question your life choices especially if you are imagine being back home, stuck in traffic on a hot, windless day with only office buildings for scenery.

The Gorge

We set out from Portland for the town of Hood River. Long ago, Hood River was notable for logs, fruit grown on the plain above the Gorge and a local ski hill, Mt. Hood. After I arrived, Marek got in touch with me. "Join us. Yesterday we were on 4.0s." And, he sent me a picture to prove it. From the picture, it was clear it was taken from the Washington side since the wind blows from the west 99.99% of the time.

Marek at the Wall on 4.0

Marek at the Wall on a 4.0

The next day, I set out for the Washington side myself with my friends. We paid the toll to cross the river and enter Washington. We then turned left and drove a couple of hours with seeing maybe a three cars. Now, totally lost, we got out and climbed a hill. The hill was scattered with boulders and the further we went, the boulders were replaced by sand.

St. Helen Rocks

The good news: on top of the hill was wind and water just as Marek said. Unfortunately, we didn't see anyone windsurfing. The place, quite frankly, looked like a mess. We talked to some other people and found out there had been a big fireworks explosion a few years back. That explained a lot. The bad news was the water was white but it was fun if you sat on your butt and slid down on it.

On the rim Mt. St. Helens

Behind us is where it went bang.

See an animation of the bang

All in all, I'd say it was a disappointing day. I didn't see any windsurfers like I was promised.


The hill took a bit out of me and despite the encouragement of my travelling companions, I was too knackered to windsurf. Further, it seemed that most of the Atlanta crew had headed for home. So, in the morning, I walked around Hood River and went into the windsurfing shops. Anyone who has been to the Outer Banks knows the drill. On your off day, you wonder in and see what new gear is out. This is important because this will most likely be the used gear that you'll be buying ten years hence.

Frankly, this was another disappointment. Almost every board was 100 liters or less. Almost every sail was 5.0 or smaller. I guess only little people windsurf here because, back home, these are ridiculously small sizes. I did see some good deals on 85 liter boards but since my 85 liter board back home hasn't gotten wet in five years, it didn't seem worthwhile to grab another one.

Formula boards need not apply

Alex, I'll take places not to take my Formula board and 9.5 for $200

One thing that was not a disappointment were the cinammon rolls at Bettie's, a breakfast/lunch place. For $5, they serve a cinammon roll the size of a cake. And, it's very good. Forget Cinnabon - this one is the king of cinammon rolls. We split one four ways. Unexpectedly, almost everyone who ordered one was pretty fit and likely to burn the calories before they stuck.

Cinammon Roll

That afternoon, I took my friends down to the Event Site so we could watch the wind sports. The place was full of kites and windsurfers - about 50-50. Not only was it the week of July 4th but we had a bunch of immigrants because of Canada Week. I say, if a wall needs to be built, it should be on the Northern Border. Parking was at a premium, not like the good old days. We saw a lot of conventional kites and windsurfers plus a few foils of each variety.

Event Site

Event Site

Most impressive was a local kid who was foiling on a 5m while the conventional kiters were on 11 and 12s. He spent a lot of time close to shore and when a giggling pack of high school girls walked by, waved at him and called his name, it confirmed our suspicions why he refused to sail out further.

A Lot More Wind and Water

The next day, inexplicably, we went looking for more wind and water on the Washington side. We paid the toll and drove and drove. There were more cars this time - maybe a handful. Again, it seemed we got lost. So we got out for a look around. I've heard that the Gorge swells are pretty big but the swell I had to climb up was absolutely ridiculous. I'd say it was at least 15 ft Hawaiian**. Maybe it was more. Whatever, I can't say I was really comfortable on it.

Big Gorge swell

The swell I wanted

At least 20 Hawaiian

The swell I got

At least the wind picked up, though. I guess that was good until clouds moved in and started dumping icy stuff on us. In July. And, I'm from Atlanta. So, we crawled into these really big 3 man sail bags to wait it out.

Next morning, we had lots of wind and lots of water. It's true what they say about the Gorge and 40 mph winds. We trudged onwards trying to sort things out. After about 5 hours, the trail seemed to run out. No windsurfers again. Plenty of wind and water but no windsurfing. Again, I was very disappointed. This trip wasn't turning out anything like Marek's who had been bombing me with pics of windsurfing all week. I really like the guy but it's hard to look at someone windsurfing in a shorty while you are shivering. Did I mention it is July? I guess I did already.

Top of the Hill

Well, we kind of gave up on trying to find any windsurfing and trudged back the six miles to the car. The water was too icy to slide on our butts this time. Finally, when we made it to the car, we saw the craziest thing: people who were going to hike four to six miles while carrying equipment just to snowboard or ski. I mean, we get bent out of shape if we have to park five spaces away from the water at Van Pugh and carry our gear. These guys were going to walk four or more miles. And they don't get to jibe at the end of a run and do it in the opposite direction like we do. They hike another few miles. Weird.

Well, that was pretty much my Gorge vacation. I found wind. I found water. I'm just a bit disappointed in it all, though. Not what I had envisioned. The views were pretty good, though. Yelp review: water not as advertised. Unexpectedly hard. 1 star.

View on Adams

* For those not familiar with the Gorge, it's on the Columbia River between 70 and 90 miles east of Portland and one of the great places in the world to windsurf. Cooler air in Portland (where it's often cloudy and even sweater weather in the summer) gets sucked by hot rising air in the arid eastern parts of Oregon along the river. The Gorge part of the equation is that during the Ice Ages, catastrophic floods caused by the break up of ice dams scoured out a deep cut in the mountains east of Portland so that the easiest path for all the wind is through a narrow gap. Imagine if the thermal winds of Panama City, Cocoa or Avon were being sucked through a gap a mile wide.



But, as they say on TV: Wait, that's not all! The river has a brisk westward current of 2 mph or more in spots. This current has two wonderful effects. First, it runs upwind so that simple back and forth windsurfing that most of us do is actually sailing off the wind. No pinching to stay upwind and getting on a plane is that much easier. Second, with the long straight stretches of river, it kicks up a swell which in places can be head high or more.


** Hawaiians measure the wave not from the front but from the back. So when a Hawaiian says the surf was 5-8 ft high, that's 10-16 for us mainlanders.

Big thanks to Marek Skupien for the pics and enthusiasm. Next time, buddy.