Sunday, January 25, 2015

Across the Bay kitesurfing training run off Brighton

Session 318.  After a relaxing week at Cape Paterson it was time for another training run for Across the Bay which is coming up soon.   The wind forecast for the afternoon was good so we headed down to meet and Sandy Beach cafe for a quick briefing.

Glenn and Craig from SYC graciously volunteered to provide us with boat support to do a run out to Fawkner Beacon and back. However, the wind direction had too much west in it so we changed our run to a fixed buoy off Brighton.    After a few tacks everyone was on the water and the wind was a bit over 20 knots so we headed off.  I stayed with the boat briefly then got ahead and downwind a bit to get some better photos from my kitecam.

I was scanning around looking for the buoy and eventually spotted it some distance upwind, about which time the wind dropped 5 knots.  I was a bit concerned about the wind dropping right out so I started heading back after a few tacks.  Initially it looked like I would come in at Brighton but the wind picked up again so I did a long run back towards Green Point then another tack back and out a bit.

Others who had stayed upwind made it around the buoy after a few tacks and then headed back.  It was good experience for the main event - overpowered one minute then under-powered the next!

We met up on the the beach afterwards for a quick debrief - everyone had gone very well.

Some lessons learned:

  • If in doubt, stay upwind while you can, especially when approaching major obstacles.
  • The canoing Type 3 PFDs can ride up a lot.  A short strap around the bottom of the front of the PFD under the harness hook can reduce this.  NP PFDs have this strap as standard but these vests are not easy to find and they don't have a drink bladder.
  • Its better to be a bit overpowered rather than underpowered - when selecting a kite.  You can back power off but you can't add it if its not there!
  • The VHF radio in my vest pocket is hard to use - will mount it on the shoulder strap or maybe my helmet.

Overall, it was a great training session


Friday, January 23, 2015

A demo kitesurfing run at Cape Paterson

Session 317. A very short one. There was some interest in kitesurfing among my relatives and friends while we were camping at Cape Paterson so I showed them my 7m Crossbow kite and the rest of the kitesurfing gear at the campsite.

Late the following day there was some wind on the main surf beach so I took the gear down and did a short demo run out on the 7 and back into the beach then some body dragging in the surf.

There wasn't enough wind to stay upwind but if  I was on my 9m Lithium I think I would have been going fairly well.  Its not a great place to get into difficulties though as the beach is fairly small and elsewhere there is mostly reefs and rocks.

Everyone got to hold the bar and briefly try flying the kite.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kitesurfing big waves at Inverloch main beach

Session 316.  There were a couple of kiters out in the surf at Inverloch on Sunday in lighter wind.  I decided to join them and took out my Lithium 12.  I was able to get going but the wind was soft and the bigger kite is harder to go upwind with.

There was a large swell.  Coming in on a good swell the wind dropped when I was in front of a large wave in stuck in no mans land. I got munched and dropped the kite as the wave washed me in and slackened the lines.  I was able to relaunch it but the camera was out of alignment from then on.

 Big waves, great to catch.  Its not too difficult to get out the back close to the inlet entrance and the main surf beach near the Lifesaving Club was quite crowded in any case.

I walked back along the beach a few times wishing for a little more wind, but finished the session with two really good runs out then back in on big waves.

GPS log

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Speedy kitesurfing runs at Inverloch, 48 km/h

Session 315. Lots of wind - over 30 knots - when I arrived at Inverloch so I headed for the inlet and rigged up my 7m Crossbow.  Well powered up on the water and only one other kiter (Boris) out.  I did quite a few runs out from the Angling Club and back, then eventually ventured over the very shallow sandbar into the main channel over the others side.

A few upwind tacks brought be right up close to a sandbar with flat sheltered water just behind it so I tucked in, powered up and clocked my fastest speed to date of 48 km/h kiting close to the sandbar. Very exhilarating!

I finished with some tacks back to toward the jetty then some slalom turns back to the angling club. Its great to have a smaller kite for sessions like these.



Sunday, January 11, 2015

Epic downwinder Werribee South to Altona and gruelling upwind return with Dolphins!

Session 314 was more like 5 sessions rolled into 1, 106km in total!

We headed to Werribee South beach to take advantage of the forecast easterly and to scope out this location for kitesurfing.

We were pleasantly surprised.  The wind was blowing around 15 to 20 knots so we decided to try the downwinder to Altona.

The beach was wide enough for easy kite launching and fairly clean.  We did a run first to the south west and peeked around the corner towards Point Wilson.  Coming back along the small surf was nice as we waited for Eric to get on the water.

I was well powered on my Lithium 12 so I was taking it easy.  A few upwind tacks got us past the new Wyndham Vale marina then we had some nice kiting down past the beach shacks of Campbells Cove and past the RAAF Point Cook Base.

Getting around Point Cook was interesting - I came in close the reef and hit it!  Hard to spot the rocks under the whitewash.

Past the reef it was all downwind with flatter water, some nice small waves in sections.  Downloop turns kept the momentum up.  One guy was kiting right into Skeleton Waterholes Creek on his twintip board. I wasn't going to try it on my surfboard.

We headed right up to the pier then came in to land.  We were all very happy with the downwinder, and chatted to Mike about getting a lift back to Werribee South.

Stuart suggested we kite back.  I was a bit tired but keen to give it a go, as was Eric, so we all headed off.

It was hard work kiting upwind with lots of tacks.  At one stage near the Cheetham Wetlands I heard someone yell.  An idiot had kited up behind me and nearly crashed his kite into mine! I yelled at him to stay away and not tangle the kites.  This was bizarre as there was nobody else around.  Why on earth come right up behind someone like that?

Eric was powering ahead upwind but I was getting tired.  Then we rewarded by spotting a trio of Dolphins cruising along heading slowly out - these are the first I have seen kitesurfing.  We passed them several times on the seemingly endless tacks in lightish wind.

Up at Point Cook we walked across the point to avoid the reef and had a nice short blast at good speed then the wind dropped out just before the pier at the RAAF Point Cook Base.  We were stuck!  Stuart eventually got around the pier.  It took me several goes before I did too.

Then we had some more wind and made better progress, but still needed to tack. Up at the new Marina I ventured inside it, but the wind dropped and I only just made it back out of the flat water.

Then I was schlogging back and forth to get around the rock wall and couldn't do it.  So frustrating to get so close to Werribee and not make it!  I would have made it on the Nugget. Stuart and Eric had got around though just before me.

I landed my kite on the small beach next to the marina and Stuart showed up with the car almost immediately.

This was an epic session.  We stocked up on caffiene, lollies and potatoe chips to replace our depleted energy on the drive home.

Everything is sore - arms, legs, torso, hands and neck.   Cramps are looming too so I have taken a magnesium tablet.

My GPS battery was flat again so I have mapped out our progress on the Google map.  I estimate we did 30km on the downwinder and at least 48km on the upwinder making a total of 78km!

Overall, I am very happy with this outing.  A big day out!

Update:  Stuart logged 43.03 km to Altona and 63.67 km coming back - a total of 106.7 km for the day. His GPS track logs are at the bottom of this post.

Hordes of Blue Blubber Jellyfish!

Point Cook reef - it bites!

Upwind route

Downwind route

Google Map (interactive)

Track log 1 from Stuart - Altona to Werribee South

Track log 2 from Stuart - Werribee South to Altona