8th of March 2012, USA, 26th Calema Midwinters

Micah Buzianis US34 report from 2012 Calema Midwinters.

Ahhhhhhhh the final leg of my trip back home to Maui, the five and a half hour flight from LAX to OGG. After a quick five day trip to Florida for the Calema Midwinters I am almost back home again. It was a very good trip with plenty of wind and warmth, seven windy races, it felt good to be on a Formula board again at a great event with a lot of great people.

It wasn't really in my preliminary 2012 plan but when the idea came up after the slalom event in Vietnam was postponed, to go to the Midwinters, I was pretty excited about it. The wind is generally a bit gusty, light and shifty but the atmosphere, organization and people are what I really enjoy about this event and I was looking forward to it from the moment I bought my ticket. With a new team in Maui Sails I was excited to get out there and show off my new gear and see exactly what it could do. How was I to know that this year was going to be one of the best years for wind ever. Seven races completed in three days in conditions from light but powered 12.0 to overpowered 10.0 and everything in between. But the wind was not its shifty and gusty self, it was actually very steady and the courses were set perfectly.

Day one started out on big gear, the biggest and most powerful stuff I had. My 12.0 TR8, JP Formula Speed and a Kashy fin(can't give all my secrets). However by the time the race actually got under way I was a little to powered up, and was fighting to control all that power I thought I was going to need. I managed to keep it together and come across in fourth behind Gabriel in first Matthias second and Wilhelm in third. I made it back to the beach and quickly put up my 11.0 and with a quick fin change was back on the water.

This was more like it, powered up perfectly in the secnd race I was first around the top mark. It wasn't until the second top mark when I tacked in a hole and stopped planning for about 45 seconds that I was passed by the two light weights Taty and Wilhelm. I did manage to catch back up to Taty but not Wilhelm and had to settle for second in the race followed by Gabriel.

After a short lunch break the wind had settled in a bit and I was back out there on the same set up as race two. I didn't manage a very good start on this race and was fifth around the top mark after having to tack out of some bad air. I did manage to do some catch up but an error on my lay line to the last mark had me reaching down to the mark and wasting valuable ground that I had gained and had to settle for third behind Paulo in first and Gabriel in second. After the finish we stayed on hold for back to back races and once the final racer crossed the line we were back out for race four of the day.

I continued on the same gear and after a much better start I arrived at the top mark about a half a board length ahead of Paulo. He was just inside of me and as we went to tack at the mark he gave me a bit of a bump and pushed me high above the mark. This allowed Gabriel to squeeze in below me so I sat in third till the last upwind. Again I thought I had made up some ground to challenge Gabriel and Paulo but again I overstayed the top mark and had to settle for another third while Paulo took another bullet and Gabriel another second. Four good races in the bag and the fleet was beat, so Darren did the right thing and called the racing for the day. With a very solid forecast for the next two days no one was worried we wouldn't have more racing.

When we arrived at the beach on Saturday morning the wind was on, it was looking like a solid day for the small gear. With a small tweak to my JP speed set up and a change of fins I rigged my 10.0 TR8 and went out for a warm up. The set up felt very good and I was ready to race. Race five of the event and I was flying off the start, clean air and good angle I was feeling good. I heard someone coming over my shoulder but felt like I could pinch them out and gave it all I had. Next thing I know Matthias's boom was in my back, as he took my wind I fell back onto his sail and he went over the front directly on the nose of my board. I managed to stay up and with his rig on the front of my board his mast against my mast base I slid down the length of his mast till I cleared his tip and was on my way again. This happened about 30 seconds after the start and I could see that most of the fleet was gone. I tacked over to get clean air and dug in deep. I didn't stop until I crossed the final top mark just ahead of Paulo and into second place. I cruised the final reach to the finish because I wasn't going to catch Gabriel who was in first and Paulo wasn't going to catch me for second. A solid come back for race one of the day and I knew I was going to be in for a good day.

The wind held for race three so I stayed on the sam set up and was very confident, so confident that I decided to film the race and threw my gopro into the fcs mount I put in the nose of my board. This turned out to be a good thing, the footage came out really good and should be out very soon with some great highlights. I had a very good race and was leading around the final bottom mark but opted not to cover Paulo on the last upwind and again overstayed the top mark handing him the victory. Gabriel rounded out the podium for this race. Two races in the bag and it was time for lunch.

After lunch the wind had backed off just slightly but was still enough for 10.0 so I kept my set up unchanged and vowed not to overstay the top mark anymore!!! I rounded the top mark in second just behind Matthias, did I mention that he was also racing on a JP but it was the Power model. So I went hard on the downwind and had good speed and angle and was able to pass him before the bottom mark. With clear air and water ahead I managed to hit all my lay lines and the final upwind one with no room to spare to take the bullet followed by Gabriel then Paulo. Before the last formula racer could finish the wind started to get lighter and shifter so we were put on hold to let it settle.

We waited about thirty minutes and then were told we were about to be called back out for race four of the day. So I rushed over and rigged up my 11.0 and was just about to do a fin change when the wind dropped almost completely and Darren decided to call it a day as it looked like it was done for the day. With nuclear conditions on tap for the next day he thought it best to let everyone get there gear secure for the night and the storm that was on its way. Of course about twenty minutes after this call the wind came back up but it had shifted nearly ninety degrees so he would have had to change the whole course anyway and it would have been to late to start another race anyway.

So everyone packed up and secured their gear as best they could in preparation for the storm that was causing severe weather across the country was scheduled to hit over night. This left the overall standings very close at the top, Gabriel in first place myself in second and Paulo in third. With winds forecasted to be in the 30-40knot range no one knew what Sundays final day would bring.

The forecast was pretty much spot on, I woke up at 7am and it was raining buckets and blowing small cars away. Well not really small cars but on our way across the causeway to the event site it looked like smoke on the water. We arrived at the beach with not much action going on, the temps had dropped and most people were still in their cars staying warm and dry. By about 11am the rain had stopped and the sun was back out however the wnd was still hovering between about 25-35 knots so we waited some more. It wasn't so much the strength of the breeze as it was the shifts, the off shore winds there were generally very gusty and shifty and at that strength posed some real difficulties in getting some good racing in. The wind was supposed to shift more to the north and drop slightly which would be a much better direction to race at Calema. Unfortunately this wasn't happening as scheduled and by about 1pm a call had to be made. It was tough to not go out and race when you have wind but it was just going to be a bit to much to be safe and fair racing so the call was made that there would be no more racing at this years Midwinters. It was not a popular call to some but I for one thought it was really the right call all things considered.

So that was how it ended, a lot to play for on the final day for the formula fleet but it wasn't meant to be. We had seven great races with only one general recall and no black flags, some very tight racing and close scores to the finish. I personally feel this was one of the best Midwinters I have ever attended. Susie and Tinho took last year off, a well deserved break after many years but they along with their son John and all of their great volunteers came back stronger and better than ever. They are all excited to come back again next year, and I know that I am too!!!

Micah Buzianis

Join the discussion

gre-969 | 9th March 2012 (08:35:59)

Great report, thanks Micah !!!


Anonym | 19th March 2012 (09:53:12)

hi ceri
when a ranking update

ceri | 20th March 2012 (08:21:39)

coming soon...

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