Sunday, July 28, 2013

Kitesurfing tour Rosebud to Blairgowrie tour

Session 237.  We headed down to Rosebud in the morning to find the forecast northerly blowing nicely.  It wasn't strong wind so I rigged up my Lithium 12 and took out the surfboard.  Nice, really nice!  Well powered, nice and warm in my 4/3 Ripcurl wetsuit, booties and gloves. There were some small waves to have fun in.  I kept a wary eye on the shallow sandbars close to shore though.

After about 30 minutes I decided a downwinder was on.  I couldn't convince the others to come so I headed off alone into the unknown.  No phone or money, I would see if if I could cadge a lift back from Sorrento.

It was really good fun following the bay surf break along the sandbar towards Rye; there were some nice waves to be had.  Along the way I spotted a big man boosting high on a surboard - yes, it was Franz.  I sad hello and continued on.

There were quite a few windsurfers fanging about just before Rye pier.  I did a run in there to check it out.  There were some deeper channels there that suit the bigger fins of their boards.

I then got on a tack past Rye Pier and kept going, and going.  I could see the Sorrento ferry berthed and aimed at it, working to stay upwind.  It was a nice long tack.  Eventually I came up to Blairgowrie, not quite able to make it around to Sorrento.  Then the wind dropped.  I abandoned my plans to call in at Sorrento Yacht Club and turned back.

I considered going into the beach next to Blairgowrie but the wind was holding up.  I lined up Rye pier in the distance and headed back on another long and enjoyable tack.  I got past the pier then the wind dropped.  I cruised back into where the windsurfers were based (Daly Ave) and packed down my kite.

After chatting to a few of the windsurfers, Kurt kindly offered me a lift back to Rosebud. I got changed and had lunch with them in a local cafe.

The tour was great.  Its nice to have an adventure.  However, I think I will take to always carrying a small phone and some cash in a waterproof case for when such situations arise again.

I realised a week later that I had left my kitebag with a pump in it on the beach at Rosebud.  I drove down to have a look the following Sunday and put some signs up there and at the more popular kiting location.  Then I visited the Rosebud police station and got a pleasant surprise - a nice local had found it and handed it in.  I rang and thanked him for his considerations.

TIP:  Put your name and mobile number on ALL year gear and bags; pump, kitebags, harness, kites, boards.  That way if it ever gets found you can be contacted.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Kitesurfing Reverse Across the Bay attempt

Session 236. Nine kiters attempted a "Reverse Across the Bay" kitesurfing crossing in winter.  Cesar Aldea organised the event and has been waiting for the right conditions. Several wind forecasts indicated a 25-30 knot northerly for the day so we decided to give it a go.

There was just enough wind to launch at about 8:30.  The water was cold, but I was fairly warm in my eBomb 4/3 wetsuit with booties, gloves and a helmet.

We were about to find out how much more difficult winter conditions are.

I went downwind as slowly as possible so the others could catch up.  I was cruising well on the Sector 60 but caught the nose a few times and came off.

I dipped my kite in the water a couple of times as I followed it downwind.  Relaunching in the light wind was tricky.  Then we hit a major lull - I could only just keep the kite flying.  Our support boat was helping relaunch kites as they went down.

After a delay relaunching my kite I set off in pursuit of the others who had got a surprising distance ahead.  It was nice to go fast, flying the kite back across the wind to bear more downwind.  However, when doing this the surges as it comes back across with wind window can be tricky - I came off my board a couple of times.

Then my concentration lapsed and my kite dipped into the water as I was chasing it.  I could relaunch it in the 8-10 knots, so the support boat grabbed it, I wound my lines up then got in the boat.

They took off and met one of the Coast Guard boats so I could transfer too it. A friendly seal was cavorting off the back of the boat. The lull was continuing as we kept an eye on the kiters still on the water.

Then a big ship came down the channel, so we approached all the kiters and gave them directions to continue on tacks out of the channel.  Soon after it passed the wind conked out completely so all kiters were picked up and transferred to two Coast Guard boats who took us into Martha Cove.

It was disappointing not to make it but a relief that we were all safe.  Cold water and dodgy wind is not a good combination.  After we untangled our lines and packed down our gear our mini bus took us to Sorrento for a nice lunch in the Sorrento Yacht Club overlooking the bay.  There was still not much wind . . .

We were all happy to have made the attempt.

I would also like to thank:

Our support boat crew, who did a great job providing assistance and picking up kiters from the water.

The Volunteer Coast Guard, for the guidance they provided us on the day. They are a great team and very well trained.

I have increased respect for the difficulties of kiting in winter with cold water, rain and dodgy winds.  A howling northerly might be better, but it too could conk out in the middle of the bay.

Its interesting to note that Fawkner Beacon and South Channel wind meters showed strong winds all day, even though we ended up with no wind and there was very little wind at Sorrento.


It was difficult to navigate. I used landmarks and kept going as far downwind as I could at a slow pace. I tracked out toward Port Arlington then turned back just before a channel marker, then tracked back towards Frankston. The aim was to stay out where the best wind was but not in the shipping channel.  At times, rain squalls obscured Mt Martha and Athurs Seat too.

Cesar rigging up

Our rescue boat crew

GPS log

Monday, July 01, 2013

Kitesurfing tour upwind from 4 Mile Beach to Mowbray River in good wind

Session 235. The forecast good wind arrived. As a rigged up my kite, a kiter mentioned they were heading upwind past the Mowbray River mouth to a good surf spot.  However, as I headed out the wind dropped so I lost ground, only just making it back to the car park.

After a few more runs the wind picked up and I was able to work my way out past the reef.  I passed close to a turtle who was not perturbed to see me.  Its tricky getting past the reef though, I passed over it a couple of times.

Cruising past a sea turtle!

There was one kite way upwind above the Mowbray River, but I was still tacking in towards the river mouth, which is not a great place to linger as there are crocodiles in the rivers and quite a few rays in the shallow water there.

Then the upwind kite headed back down towards a group of kiters, including Jouko, that had congregated near the creek at the far end of 4 Mile.

I cranked some slalom turns and scooted down there, wary of the sand bars closer to shore.  After a few fast runs in the flat water I continued on back to starting point.  This was a big session.  Lots of great scenery and quite a lot of distance.

I got some chafing above my hips from my harness though my rash vest.  I should have brought my shortie.

After a short break I did a downwinder along 4 Mile Beach to the surf club.  There was a reasonable wave in several places although I found the wind direction odd.  I did a self landing on a quiet section of beach just up from the surf club then carried my kite to the grass and packed it away.  Lena and Chloe were in town so I walked along Macrossan Street to meet them.

This one day made bringing my kite gear well worthwhile.

GPS log - upwind tour

GPS Log - downwinder