Monday, March 13, 2017

Trouble in the Kiddies Pool at St Kilda followed by kitesurfing

Session 407. I headed down to St Kilda with the family for an outing and some kitesurfing.  My daughter Chloe was keen for a splash/paddle and our dog Pixie loves a swim.

We entered the shallow water close the beach near the Kiddies Pool (kitesurfing spot), but about 5 kiters were doing the wrong thing and kitesurfing very close to several swimmers, including my daughter.  I was next her yelling at them to stay away and kite further out

They either don't know about the 5 knots within 50m of a swimmer sailing vessel regulation or they don't care about it.

The motive seemed to be "look cool and buzz around close to shore and other users". It was NOT cool.  This behaviour posed serious safety risks to others.

Several dog walkers were angry with them too.

One kiter very nearly crashed his kite on sunbathers when he stuffed up a trick.

If this keeps up it will attract attention from authorities and kiting could be banned.  Here are some photos of the culprits.  Note other kitesurfers further out doing the right thing . . .

I then headed out for as session and did some tacks out past the breakwater and surfed some rollers back in.  I did a short run up the Kiddies Pool well away from the shore.

St Kilda is a nice spot but the fools showing off in the Kiddies Pool took the shine off my day.


Sunday, March 05, 2017

Fawkner Beacon crosswinder and first good session on the foil board (at last)

Session 406.  Got down to Hampton in the late afternoon chasing the sea breeze.  I rigged feverishly and headed out. Stu Styles came in soon after I started.  I was keen for an adventure and could see a large cruise ship heading out from Port Melbourne along the shipping channel so I headed out for a look.  

I was nicely powered and making good progress on a tack towards Fawkner Beacon with the big ship making fast progress along the channel.  The wind softened a bit and my tack veered to the north a bit.  The ship was disappearing in the distance, I didn't get close to it, but it was a buzz being out there.  

The return tack was good and the wind held up as I returned then it dropped after a couple of runs close to the shore.  I landed my kite and started packing up then Stuart Webb arrived and headed out. 

I decided to have a go on the Cabrinha Double Agent foil board in the lighter wind so I set it up and walked out next to the southern groyn.  I was again having difficulty controlling the board while drying to board/body drag out.  It spins and twists.  I was then concerned about the reefs in the middle of the windsports section but avoided them.

Then I finally had some deep water and was able to power up the kite and keep the board under my feet but pushed out with the foil and mast almost horizontal.  It was great to get that amount of control. Then I had a go and standing up.  Its a really weird feeling when the board you stand on is not the "main board" - the foil is!  I got going a little but without much control.  

I think I should have been leaning forward more to keep the foil under, but at least I had no big stacks and kept control of the kite.

Tacking back in to the right I repeated the same technique with similar control, standing up a few times but feeling very tentative about the foil lurking under the water.  

I got back to the beach very happy to have succeeded in short session without a big stack or crashing my kite hard.   I was also able to sail the board back in flat on the water with one hand on it.

Don't let anyone tell you foil board are easy - learning is like being a rank beginner again!

Some tips:
  • Don't power the kite up too much - keep good control
  • Watch out you don't get pulled over your toes - the foil can act like a sea anchor under the board
  • Practice controlling the board when body dragging - its harder than it looks
  • Keep weight forward on the front foot when you are up.
The wind picked up a lot to around 25 knots which didn't make it any easier.

I took the Nugget out for some more runs and bigger jumps, relishing the surplus power.

GPS log