Florida Kite Racing League
2017 Spring Foil Regatta
When: May 5th, 6th, & 7th, 2017
Where: St. Petersburg, Florida (Pass-A-Grille Beach)
Sponsors: Elite Watersports, Liquid Force, Slingshot, F-One, Delta Hydrofoil, Ride Engine
Friday: May 5th, 2017
Friday was the kick-off to the event weekend with a full day of gear-tuning and test-runs. As many racers travel from out-of-state, some even from out of the country, they use Friday to get acclimated to the conditions; testing the waterways, launch sites, wind speeds, and their gear. Along with race-prep, the racers also utilize the casual day to catch up with fellow racers; exchanging stories and advice, discussing the newest gear, and race strategies.
Friday was quite windy and proved to be a fun day for all those on the water. Racers were able to ride much of the day and finished up with dinner and drinks at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, on Pass-A-Grille. As it was Cinco de Mayo, the yacht club celebrated by hosting a fantastic Taco Bar. The Race Committee joined the racers for dinner and knocked out registration to free-up some of the early morning chaos experienced previously on day 1 of the past races. The evening wrapped up pretty early and the racers headed home for some rest before the big day.
Saturday: May 6th, 2017
Saturday was scheduled to be Race Day 1, however, while we were sleeping, the winds decided to throw their own Cinco de Mayo party! With heavy winds come large waves and an agitated sea. Our Race Committee was nervous. We held our Skipper’s Meeting at 9:30 am and, after some discussion on the conditions, we decided to postpone until later in the day. At 11:00 am Race Committee met with the racers again and, again, decided to postpone another hour in anticipation of calmer conditions in the Gulf. Unfortunately, 12:00/noon came around and the conditions were the same; our Race Committee was unable to get out of the pass or keep an anchor, resulting in a cancellation of the races on Saturday. This decision was definitely not made lightly and we decided to air on the side of safety for the sake of our racers as well as our Race Committee.
Later in the afternoon, the wind speed subsided to a race-worthy amount, however, the seas were still unorganized with faces of 3- to 4-feet. As the racers were conditioned to race Saturday, there was much disappointment on the beach. Several of our local racers and FKRL founders offered alternative locations for those still looking to get in some time on the water. Many racers launched from the race site and headed to Bunce’s Pass. Bunce’s Pass is a little-known spot favored for its protected flat waters. For the most part, everyone was able to get out on the water and enjoy some epic wind. Saturday was rounded-off with a catered dinner at Elite Watersports, where racers enjoyed a delicious Italian dinner, cold keg beer, and raffle drawing. We knew Sunday was going to be action-packed, so many racers and committee members bowed out early in hopes of getting enough rest for “the” race day ahead!
Sunday: May 7th, 2017
Sunday morning arrived and, thankfully, the conditions in the Gulf looked favorable. The Race Committee was able to set the course! Skipper’s Meeting was held at 8:30 am and the first race was scheduled for 10:30. During Skipper’s Meeting, the committee members and racers agreed to complete as many races as time (and physical fitness capabilities) allowed. We would aim to complete two sets of 3 races and if we were able, we would top those off with 2 more races; we were making up for zero races the day before! Racers were pumped and took advantage of the time remaining, before the first race, to set up their gear and get into “race-mode”.
The day went off without a hitch! We successfully completed 8 races and had some great competition. Immediately following the final race, the Awards Ceremony was held.
Congratulations to ALL the racers for a fantastic day on the water; a job well done to everyone who competed in or contributed to the 2017 Spring Foil Regatta, making it a success!
A Special CONGRATULATIONS to Our Top Racers!
1st: Jacob Olivier
2nd: Kai Cader
3rd: Jon Modica
4th: Aaron McClearnon
5th: Jason D’Agostino
6th: Raz Sayre
1st in Inflatables: Tanner Hayes
Gris Award: Vadim Polonsky
Along with amazing race participants and race committee members, we would also not be able to pull off our regattas without the help of our sponsors.
THANK YOU, SPONSORS!!!
Looking forward to seeing everyone again in the Fall!
Elite Watersports and FKRL Member
2016 Fall Foil Regatta
Friday November 4th, 2016
Competitors began arriving to Pass-A-Grille beach at 1200 to test their hydrofoil racing gear in the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Competitors lined up to test speed on the water, often switching to different foils that were available on the beach. Most of the day was spent on 15m kites. After a sufficient afternoon of warming up before the race, competitors head over to SPYC PAG for dinner and beer.
Saturday November 5th, 2016
The RC arrived at the North Skyway beach for a competitors meeting at 900 with an intention to start the first race at 10:30. Kiters were eager to get on the water and most launched soon after the meeting. The breeze was fantastic. Tampa Bay blessed us with a solid northeast wind in the teens. Most kiters elected to use an 11m 12m for the first 2 races. The line was very pin favored but very boat end crowded. Zack and Jon were able to take advantage and started on port at the pin. Most of the upwind was spent on port tack. But despite their great starts and a course skewed in their favor, Jon and Zack could not hold off Riley who rounded the windward mark in first. That would be a trend for most of the regatta. After 2 races competitors came ashore for a very quick break to change kites. The wind was slowly abating, but most kiters were unsure if it was light enough to use their 15m or 13m kites. 2 more races were completed after the break. Most competitors had a hard time making it to race 3. So for the 2nd break before race 5, there was a longer break. By this time, the wind had definitely lighted up enough for 15m kites. Except for Kai Calder who always rides the 18m! Another 2 races were completed before calling it a day. Riley had a substantial speed advantage and was able to walk away from the first day undefeated. After racing competitors and volunteers enjoyed dinner, beer, and Mt Gay Rum at Elite Watersports. Kiters relived the days racing swapping their stories at dinner.
Sunday November 6th, 2016
The arrival and start times were the same, but the breeze was slightly lighter. Competitors were prepared though. Some rode 15m kites and some rode 18m kites. The game plan was to do 3 races and see how much wind there was after that. Those who chose 18m kites were very powered for the first races and those who chose 15m kites were very underpowered for the 3rd race. Not exactly an easy call on what size with 3 races in a row. Riley continued to dominate the fleet except in the last race. Riley and Zack both had mediocre starts near the boat and had to tack out to find a clean lane. Unfortunately as the breeze reached it’s lightest during the entire regatta, there was a significant difference in pressure on the left versus the right. Riley and Zack quickly found themselves behind Jon, Jacob, Kai, and Kevin who had all come out of the left side. Riley, Zack, Jon, and Jacob were still on 15m kites but Kai and Kevin were seeing their decision to ride 18m kites start to pay dividends. Jon rounded first followed by Kai. Zack struggled to have a great angle downwind, but Riley was slowly making up lost ground. At the gate Jon was still first. The rest of the fleet was close behind. Again there was more breeze on the left and those who stayed over there made gains on those who did not. Jon held onto the lead being the only kiter to defeat Riley all weekend.
2016 Spring Foil Regatta Report
Friday May 13th
A light west wind greeted competitors on Friday afternoon for the scheduled distance race at 15:30. The course was simple, but long. Reaching start in front of Pass-A-Grille beach, round a mark to starboard, head offshore to the PG marker, go up the coast to the JP marker at John’s Pass, back down to mark 1, then reach back across the finish. Because of the light wind, most competitors were on kites in the 18m to 15m range, with a few riders on the bigger or smaller side. All competitors were close during the blast reach start, but things quickly spread out from there.
Despite the light wind competitors were going fast and pushing hard. The hardest part of the race was the nearly 7 mile one tack beat all the way to the JP mark. Many competitors had to move their feet around to help retain feeling. If foiling tacks and gybes were not hard enough, imagine getting your legs to do an explosive move after they have been locked in one position for several miles. After it was all said and done, the local prevailed with Zack Marks taking first followed by Nico Landauer. Jacob Olivier Olivier and Kevin Reali finished neck and neck in that order. 4 kiters were recused by RC and 1 found his own way home by landing at his hotel on Treasure Island. For dinner, Elite Watersports’ Aaron McClearnon and Vanessa L. McClearnon hosted us. All competitors were treated to a stellar BBQ dinner at the new Elite Watersports shop.
Saturday May 14th
The scheduled plan for the day was 6 races and everything went according to plan. The RC started promptly at 14:00 and most competitors were packing up their gear at 17:30. Unfortunately the mid-day lull came later in the day and the lightest part of the day was actually during race 1 and 2. But competitors persevered and the breeze continued to build all day. By the last 2 races most kiters were well powered. Competitors in the front of the pack rotated between 18m and 15m kites. After racing everyone headed over to the extremely welcoming SPYC PAG clubhouse. Racers were treated to beers and tacos.
Sunday May 15th
Arriving at the beach on Sunday many competitors were surprised to see the wind. The forecast had been dismal for most of the week so it was a shock to see over 10 knots. In fact Sunday ended up being windier than Saturday. 4 races were scheduled for the day. Most competitors rigged 15m kites for the first 2 races, but ended up switching down to smaller kites (12m to 11m) for the final 2 races. Overall it was a fun and unbelievable weekend. It was truly amazing to see over 40 racers come to St Pete to enjoy absolutely amazing conditions. Clear and warm water, fantastic wind, and of course shorts weather all day. There are many people that deserve thanks for making it happen. All of the tireless RC members, the planners, and of course the sponsors. Elite Watersports, Slingshot Kite, F-One America, Liquid Force Kites, Delta Hydrofoil, Flyboy Foil Covers, and Radeberger Gruppe. Hope to see everyone at the next event. Congrats to Nico Landauer for the win.