Friday, April 22, 2011

Flailing at Hampton then redemption

Session 134, Friday 22 April 2011

Kite: Noise 12
Wind: 15-20 knots, WSW
Location: Hampton Beach
Time: 9:00 to 1:30p
Board: S-Quad and Naish Haize twin tip

I was really hanging out for a kiting session after a couple of weeks of little or no wind.  Put this in your diary: in mid-April, someone turns the wind-switch off in Melbourne.

There was a good westerly and south westerly forecast today.  When Stuart and arrived at Hampton it was on.

I decided to take out the S-Quad surfboard for a run.  Things didn't go well.  First I crashed the kite on the beach starting my first run.  Overzealous on the power stroke and maybe unused to the wind direction.  I re-rigged it.  Then I got going - sort of - and headed over to towards the marina, where I ran out of wind and came back to shore downwind.

Leaving the beach

A very wet kite

The beach

Spectators on the groyne

The marina

It was one of those days when you needed to get out to get the good wind.  

This session was very frustrating.  I crashed the kite several times and re-rigged it.  A couple of crashes were due to the donkey dick popping out. It is too short on my early version of the Noise - they have lengthened it on the production models.   When re-hooking the chicken loop the kite fell out of the sky.

Once I relaunched with the bridle lines looped and knotted so it crashed promptly.  Memo to self: check your bridle as well as the lines when re-rigging after a crash and tangle.

I was having some trouble with the surfboard too.  Its been a while since I have used it, and I found myself pulled over forwards a few times, and also, surprisingly, bogging in to the water while trying to go upwind.  The leg leash is a pain too.  I might leave it off when in the bay.  I still can't gibe turn so switching feet is frustrating too.   

In short, I felt like a beginner all over again.  Towards midday the wind picked up and I was able to get some good runs in.   Stuart headed home, but I stayed and took the twin tip out to redeem my session.  This went well.  I was well powered and headed down to Green Point through the surf on the reefs and back past the breakwater.  I was certainly tired at the end of this, but satisfied.

Note that the boat wreck is still in the water close to the shore at Hampton, and are very hard to see.  Be careful - there is a nasty piece of timber sticking up.   Apparently someone beached the boat while under the influence on their way into the marina.  It is a significant hazard and should be removed.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sandy Point in search of wind, we found some surf

We planned a trip to Sandy Point about a month ago and took a punt on the wind.  The forecast almost came good, but the wind certainly didn't on the weekend of 16-17 April.  Around this time of year, somebody flicks the "wind switch" off in Victoria.

We hung out at Shallow Inlet hoping for the wind to get stronger, to no avail.  Stuart cranked up his old Cabrinha 16m C kite but we couldn't get it going well in around 8 knots!

The inlet certainly is shallow, and usually gets very strong wind racing across the large sand bar that separates it from the sea.  Wilsons Promontory looms in the distance.

Grant and Stuart won the "crossing Shallow Inlet" competition gliding along slowly on a windsurfer.

We puttered around in my inflatable dinghy, did a bit of fishing then had a nice counter meal at the Fish Creek Hotel.

Sandy Point is a quiet place to hang out, but there is a good general store and cafe.  The burgers are great.

We had a nice surfing session on Sunday with just the four of us sharing a small break.  I was on by goat boat and having a good time, while the others got some good rides on a variety of larger boards.

Next time, we plan to watch the wind forecast more closely and only make the house booking in the final week.

Watching for the wind

Sandy Point Beach, Wilsons Prom in the distance

Sandy Point beach looking across to Waratah Bay

Shallow Inlet

 Shallow Inlet and the C kite

D'oh!  Not enough wind

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Gnotuk and a backroll that went pear-shaped

Session 135, 2 April 2011

Kite: Noise 12
Wind: 15 knots, SSW
Location: Gnotuk Avenue, Aspendale
Time: 2:00 to 4:00 (1.5h)
Board: Naish Haize twin tip

Did a nice bike ride to Arthurs Seat and back - training for the cycle leg of next weekend's Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge.

I headed to Gnotuk after the ride.  There was some wind and a few kiters out, but I needed some food so I had lunch at the seaside cafe at Edithvale Lifesaving Club.

When I returned to Gnotuk and rigged up the wind dropped. I waited for a while, and eventually it came in.  I did a few tacks, enjoying the coolness of the water after my bike ride.

The wind was coming and going, so a few more waits were required.  Then Stuart showed up, and the wind came in stronger.  I was going well and enjoying the small surf along with tours along the beach.

I did a back roll and things went pear-shaped. I got around the roll but I think I kept going.  The kite downlooped and I got yanked hard and smacked into the water.  The kite inverted and I couldn't relaunch it, so I drifted in, deployed the safety release and secured my kite on the beach.  Trying tricks does entail the risk of big prangs, but all was OK.

Tip: Put your hand in the middle of the bar when doing a backroll.  This reduces the likelihood of turning the kite.

I relaunched after checking my rigging, but the wind dropped and was onshore, so I flailed about in the surf for a while without getting out behind it.  Eventually I gave up, satisfied that I had had enough thrills and exercise for the day.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Hampton with my kitecam and not much wind

Session 135, 2 April 2011

Kite: Noise 12
Wind: 15 knots, SSW
Location: Hampton Beach
Time: 10:30 to 11:45 (1h)
Board: Naish Haize twin tip

Its getting cooler in Melbourne now.  I arrived at Hampton just after 10:00am.  There were a couple of kites on the beach and lots of yachts out past the breakwater.  One kiter went out and downwind and walked back up the beach.

I rigged up as I was keen to try out my new kite camera - the Casio Exilim EX-G1 - and to get out if the wind picked up a little.

I headed out some distance on my first tack to get the better wind that was blowing well clear of the breakwater.  The Noise 12m kite handles light wind well - this was about 15 knots - so I was able to get in a few tacks.  It then dropped out a bit so I did some kiteloops to get back to the beach (downwind) then walked back to my gear on the beach.

I got out for some more runs about 10 minutes later.  Once again, the wind was better further out, but it certainly wasn't strong.  Here are some of the kitecam shots.

Scooting past the groyne (just)

Back to the marina

Looking out across Port Phillip Bay

Hampton Beach looking towards Middle Brighton

The Walk of Shame

Friday, April 01, 2011

Missed the wind at Port Melbourne

Session 134, 1 April 2011

Kite: Noise 12
Wind: 13 knots, SSW
Location: Port Melbourne
Time: 6:10 to 6:20 (10 minutes)
Board: Naish Haize twin tip

The wind conked out, so this wasn't really as session, although I did get wet.  The wind came in strong at 5:00pm but I was not on the water until just after 6:00pm.  I was heading out on my first tack and was going very close to the end of the small pier just east of Port Melbourne Yacht Club.

The return tack took me slightly downwind so I ended up on the beach just near the pier, walked back and landed my kite.

Somebody turned off the wind switch.

But I did get these photos from my new kitecam - a Casio Exilim EX-G1.