Saturday, February 03, 2007

Session 20: Hampton beach in 20 knots - the best day so far

On the water at 3pm with a strong consistent 22 knot Southerly blowing. The water was warm, the sun was shining, and there were quite a few beachgoers about. Also a lot of kites - about 10 to 15 were out, and about a dozen windsurfers too.

Managed to launch on a section of beach that the kites had staked out, with assistance. Good speed heading out and back. I did some great runs - the longest one so far I think - and I spotted some large jellyfish in the water some distance out. Not sure if they sting, but I didn't want to find out.

I tried some heel turn jibesl, and was pleased to succeed. I was much better turning to the left - I got the board planing down wind and did not have much trouble converting to a left tack. Turning to the right was less successful. Not enough planing, and I stalled back into the water.

Turns are great to do - it really puts it all together - and they reduce the risk of being pulled off your feet when doing a water start.

I was kiting for about 2 hours, experimenting with leaning back, edging and board direction to get maximum speed. Exhiliarating, fast, ripping through the water. This is my best day on water to date.

I need to perfect turns, then I will think about some tentative jumps.

One guy lost his board, I stopped to assist him, which was a mistake. His kite was low on the water, and I couldn't get away from him cleanly. When our kite lines got crossed I immediately pulled the safety to release my kite. After the last time when my lines were damaged, I was keen to avoid a repeat. He held onto his, and was hoiked into the air a bit until mine came free.

I swam quite some distance after my kite which blew into the beach and was secured by a bystander. I re-rigged and did a few more runs, but was very tired so I stopped at about 6pm.

The moral of the story is: don't render assistance unless you are quite sure you can avoid getting your kite tangled with someone elses.

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