Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Session 21: Ripping in a good breeze then another drift in

The sea breeze picked up during the afternoon with me stuck at work watching the bay winds chart. I left the office at 4:45 and caught the train home. Hot and oppressive humidity so a quick trip to Hampton beach was attractive even though it was getting late.

I was on the water about 6:30, in a bit of a rush. The leading edge bladder was a bit soft but I thought I would manage OK - wrong!

Up and going with speed in the 20 knot southerley. I used my new Garmin Foretrex 101 GPS today for the first time to track my speed and course. Maximum speed was 43.0 knots, which felt that fast too. I found some water in the battery compartment when I got home, despite it being rated waterproof, but luckily I was able to quickly wash and dry it and get it going with fresh batteries.

Turning to the left is going well, but not to the right. I continued past the rock groynes then plopped in the water. On getting going my kite hit the water. When relauching it the leading edge collapsed (not enough pressure!!) then the kite jellyfished. I couldn't relaunch the kite despite pulling on rear lines and the front lines repeatedly. It was a tangle blob. I got blown in past the rock groynes (good) I ended up drifting to the sea wall short of the beach, with the 1m bay surf breaking against it (not good).

Yuk. I popped the safety and swam in to retrieve and secure the kite before it got pulverised. Luckily I was wearing "surf socks" so I was able to walk over the rocks without too much hassle. Then I retrieved kite lines and the board, deflated the kite and walked back to the car.

Here is my track log. You can see the drift in.

Lessons learned today:
  • ALWAYS put good pressure in the bladders, especially the leading edge (main) bladder
  • Do not be in too much of a hurry to check equipment, make sure you have enough time to enjoy yourself and avoid an epic
  • Don't trust electrical equipment that is supposed to be waterproof, put it in a protective case as well!
  • Watch where you turn while learning. If you stuff up the take off and tangle the kite where will you drift in to? Beach is good. Rocks, groyne, seawall or pier is not good.

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