Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cracking kitesurfing downwinder from Brighton to Frankston

Session 255. With a good northerly forecast Cesar and I decided to have a go at another downwinder from Brighton to Frankston.  There were quite a few kites out in about 20 knots when we set up at Brighton just after 11:00am.  I took my Lithium 12 to ensure I had enough power.

The gear
We had took off immediately and headed out on a fast tack.  The wind was good and the water was quite flat compared to yesterday so we made good progress.  I tacked out for a while then came back to bayside near Sandringham.  The wind dropped further. I was hoping to a "pinch effect" would result in better wind closer to the shore, but as I approached Half Moon Bay and the wreck of the Cerberus it dropped some more.

Leaving Brighton

Leaving the madding crowds behind

I headed for the beach to pull the pin, but the wind picked up so I headed back out past the Cerberus.  The big decision was to go past Ricketts Point.  Cesar was way out.  I wasn't confident the wind would hold up and as I approached Ricketts Point it dropped again.  I made it to shore at a narrow beach and the wind conked out completely so I landed my kite.  I called Cesar on my marine VHF radio and told him I was on the beach and the mission was over.

The expanse of Port Phillip Bay

South of Hampton

Half Moon Bay

The Cerberus

A pit stop at Ricketts Point
 He eventually came in and brought the wind with him when he did.  With the wind back I launched my kite and headed off, still dubious about the wind holding up.  Going past Ricketts is the commitment zone into a large expanse of bay.  I got some really nice speed runs in up to 40km/h and was having a ball.

Leaving Ricketts
The surfboard is more relaxing to ride than the Sector 60 as it is much easier to turn and ride toeside.  I stayed out a fair way to avoid any wind shadow from Ricketts Point.  I cruised past an anchored boat and waved.  I crashed the kite a couple of times but had no trouble relaunching it.

More long fast runs and slalom sections with downloop turns took me to Frankston, very happy to have made it.

Speed run
We stopped for a coffee at Frankston in our wetsuits and caught the train back and walked back to the beach. Middle Brighton station is the one to get off at .

These downwinders pose a lot of challenges that make them exciting.  Good downwind technique is necessary, the wind has to hold up, you need to make choices about where the best wind is and you need to make decisions about whether to proceed and if, when and where to bail out.



Marko said...

Looks like it was a lot of fun!
Would like to join sometime when summer arrives, if you don't mind.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! I love doing downwinders at Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, USA, where almost any wind direction works somewhere, but in Cape Town in summer one can do long downwinders where the only issue is whether the wind will build too much as you go! Hugh