- 11 December 2008 | Kiteboarding
The news came during the night. Anne Quéméré was forced to abandon the Adrien Challenge of crossing the Pacific by kite and without assistance. "I must take this unfortunate decision and it is one of the most difficult taken in my lifetime" stated Anne, during the night.
She left San Francisco on November 4th, and travelled close to 3500 kilometres over the 7000 that had been projected. After a period of good sailing, Anne Quéméré joined the Intertropical convergence zone, otherwise known as the Doldrums.
Since her arrival in that area, aboard the Oceankite she did not succeed in advancing any significant distance. Then came the "shock" of four days past when the kite was torn and the pulley system permanently damaged.
"After the shock to the Oceankite over a week ago, I had great difficulty myself , recovering from this event. It's as traumatic as one suffers after an automobile accident. I've lost confidence in my equipment as well as myself. It's not pleasant but, its obvious. Without wind, one goes nowhere."
There hasn't been any wind for the past ten days or what wind there was, came from the South which was pushing the Oceankite back on its track. "In one night, I lost all the mileage I had gained in one week" she explained over the phone during the night.
And, if that wasn't enough, there's no more power on board, since this morning.
Anne Quéméré was rescued overnight by the container ship « Cap Gris-Nez ».
The rescue went well as the huge container ship came by the small 5.5 metre Oceankite.
Conditions did not allow to pick-up the small vessel which was ultimately abandoned.
Anne will be dropped off in Panama on Saturday December 13th where her father, Ronan Quéméré will meet her and accompany her back to France.
- 10 December 2008 | Kiteboarding
Kiteboarders Louis Tapper and Alistair Quinn have crossed the notoriously treacherous Cook Strait by kite, and raised money for the Wellington-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter.
Chopper rescue services can mean the difference between life and death for thousands of New Zealanders every year. And you can't get more deserving than that.
Here's their story:
«Yep we both made it, albeit about 8 nm apart. I'd borrowed Kevs board which was way better than mine would have been but still not quite a floaty as Louis big barge. I struggled a bit in the light winds and couldn't point as far upwind as Louis so eventually ended up south of Tory Channel, Louis hit the mainland exactly as planned at Perano Head about 4 nm north of Tory Channel.
Once out of the bay at Makara (total nightmare in light wind dead onshore and lots of kelp) we got good wind for about 40 mins then it dropped to zero and we hung out with kites in the water , the wind came back but it was only about 10 -12 kts , we both had to work the kites but Louis was a bit more efficient and managed to stay on the planned heading. I worked my way slowly south into the shipping lanes regularly hitting 5 knots.
We were about to pull the pin on my trip and the boat was on the way to get me when the wind came back and I got going again. After the ok from the coast guard and quick scurry across the mouth off Tory Channel. I ended up about 500 yrds of the coast up against some big cliffs. The wind started getting funky and I had the strongest gusts of the trip and a couple of lofts then it all died about 100 yards out and I swam to shore.
Meanwhile Louis was in good pressure further north and trying to tack up wind to give him a chance at a quick touch , turn and trip back to Makara. Eventually he touched land at Perano Head and keen for more headed back towards the North Island.
I was way too far south to contemplate the return trip and the cliff landing hadn't been nice to my gear so the boat came down and picked me up.
Louis was ripping in steady 18 -20 on the way back and we struggled to make ground on him, its way harder work doing 15kts in a 20ft boat in rough seas than it is doing 20kts on a kite.
With the magic of VHF, Spot and Telecom we tracked Louis down 2 hours later - he was about 7nm northwest of Makara. We knew it was 10kts lighter on the Wellington side so he had taken a wide northern circle looking to approach Makara downwind as the wind dropped of. He was making very hard yards of it in about 8 kts of wind when we found him. He persevered for another 1 1/2 hours relaunching every 20 minutes but eventually the kite could not stay in the sky so we pulled the pin 3 nm northwest of Makara.
It was quite cool at times bobbing away by yourself in the middle of the strait waiting (praying) for enough wind to relaunch, but next time I think we will wait for a gruntier forecast.»
- 09 December 2008 | Kiteboarding
A kite surfer suddenly lifted into the air by a southerly breeze and dragged through bushes and a fence nearly "peeled off half his face" when he slammed into a street-sign pole on the weekend, a Sydney lifesaver says.
The 48-year-old Woy Woy man - whose name was not known - had surgery for facial fractures and a blood clot to the brain after he lost control of his kite at Sydney's Ettalong Beach about 4.30pm on Saturday.
He was in a stable condition at Royal North Shore hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said.
But when lifesavers from Ocean Beach Surf Lifesaving Club found him on Saturday, he was unconscious and the pole he had smashed into was bent at an angle.
Moments earlier, a southerly buster had lifted the man approximately 15 metres into the air and carried him away from the beach towards bushes and a nearby road, police said.
"The surfer descended rapidly and was dragged through the bushes, struck a wire fence, which he broke through, and then struck and bent a street-sign pole," police said.
The man had just set up his kite on the beach when the incident happened, said Ocean Beach SLSC president Scott Hannell.
"He hadn't been in the water, he was still setting up to go out," he said. "From what I understand, most injuries in kite surfing happen at that stage.
"[The lifesavers] were doing a patrol down on the beach and saw it unfold as it happened."
The lifesavers followed the man as he was carried away from the beach, and were the first on-hand after he smashed into the street-sign.