Kite Boarding

So some time back those at the International SailingFederation [ISAF] decided that the sport of Windsurfing.sailboarding would be dropped from the Olympic games for RIO 2016. In it’s place would be Kiteboarding.

 

Whilst I know a few who Kiteboard, I’ve had little experience with it. As a teenager, I dropped out of sailing for a while and bought a couple of Windsurfers and competed in a few regattas, went wave jumping on Sydneys Northern beaches and even ventured up to the Central Coast on occasion. There are those who are yet to come to grips with either as a sport relating to Sailing, but as they are all powered by wind, I won’t get in to an arguement on the minor technicalities.

 

So the other day I was looking at http://www.seabreeze.com.au an excellent Australian weather website and noticed that there was a Kite event on at Botany Bay being organised by one of DeckHardware’s  customers, Kite Power. I had a look at the link and realised that whilst they are a new group to racing, what better way as a Yachting Australia Race Official than to get involved, especially with RIO 2016 in mind.
I got in touch with Steve McCormack and offered my services and arranged a meeting. Steve eagerly accepted my offer as an RO, so there I was on Saturday at my first event.

They had over 30 competitors in two divisions, race and off the beach. As a RO setting the course was easy, the hard thing was how do you identify them? Kite Power had arranged numbered T shirts so that was easy, but a little harder than I thought. I was helped out by Evelyn who knew most of the competitors, all I had to do was train her in the art of Race management and we were off. We got in two races in each division in around 18-20 knots of breeze, perfect conditions for the flyers. As we went in to sequence for race 3 in the racers, one competitor Jordan Girdis noted  that the breeze had increased some what. We hoisted the AP [Answering Pennant] and did a spot of checking with the local windstations and the use of my JDC Eole. Yes the breeze had got up somewhat and was more survival that good racing. After a 3/4hr postponement we agreed to pull the pin on the day.

The competitors were a mix of sailors including Jordan who had just competed in the recent Melges24 Worlds in San Francisco and Aiden Menzies a former crewmate of Nathan Outteridge. It was good to see them all mixing and talking about the different equipment. Certainly an eye opener for me with no previous experience with Kite Boarding. These guys were also acceptable to having a national race official coming in from the outside to make things run smoothly. The comradery was excellent with a BBQ running, Getto Blaster sounding out the tunes on the beach, it was all about atmosphere and it helped to set the scene.
I’d like to say thanks to Steve and Evelyn and the rest of the team who helped run the event, none of whom I’d met until that morning. I certainly look forward to the next event and helping out those who are looking to compete at Sail Melbourne later in the year where I have put up my hand to help as an RO. These guys certainly have the enthusiasm for their sport and made for a great day. Next time I hope ‘Hughie’ the wind god plays nice and we get a good NorEaster.

About Phil Yeomans
Phil grew up sailing on Pittwater (north of Sydney) racing in many classes over the years including Manly Juniors, Lasers, 5.5’s, 505’s, several trailer Yachts, E22’s, 1/2 and 1 Tonners, A10m, Sydney 38’s and more. Phil is well known for his knowledge of boats, having built several classes and has a freaky ability to recognise boats and designs. Phil is a National Race Official and Equipment Auditor (Yachting Australia).

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