Kitesurfer will cross the English Channel from Alderney to Poole

March 19, 2009 | Kiteboarding
Kitesurfer to cross the English Channel

In September 2009, Andrew Ward, a kitesurfer from Poole in Dorset will be attempting to cross the English Channel from Alderney to Poole.

To the organizer's knowledge, the Alderney to Poole route has never been attempted by a kitesurfer before.

The distance between the 2 points is just over 70 nautical miles, which will make it the longest English Channel crossing ever attempted for charity using a kite and board.

All Donations will go to the Special Boat Service Association (SBSA) Charity.

The kitesurfer will need a consistent force 5 wind for the duration of the challenge and can afford a small drop down to the top of a force 4 and if he holds on hard can continue in a force 6.

The team will have an adviser who will monitor the forecast towards the end of August looking for the 1st opportunity in September to make the crossing.

Careful Nautical Planning is essential to ensure the Kite Surfer crosses the channel in as much of a straight line as nature's waters allow.

The plan is to cross as early in September as the wind forecast permits. Once a date is chosen they will calculate the rate and direction of the tidal streams which will form a basis for them to plan a departure time.

The safest time to cross is when the Channel tide is just changing from West to East. Careful Tidal planning will assist in navigating across the 'Alderney race' where tidal currents are extremely strong.

So with this in mind and ensuring the Wind Direction is sufficiently and consistently in the right direction (with some allowance of change) this certainly is a challenge that has many bridges to cross in order for it to be a success.

It will be necessary for the rider and support craft to be aware of the location of shipping lanes as in conditions of large swell the tankers and ferries can appear very quickly and are not in a position to maneuver out the way of the team.

The team will need to navigate through a shipping area as wide as 7 miles which will consist of Tankers heading east up the channel and then after another 5 or so miles come across another shipping area which again can be as wide as 7 miles consisting of Tankers heading west.

Close liaison with HM Coastguard and the use of GPS will ensure safety is of paramount importance. Other safety considerations will need to be met such as life jackets, Mini flare rockets, Dry Suits, Sea-me active radar detectors... and more!

The Support Team for the Kite Surfer will consist of a Coxswain to pilot the RIB, 2 experienced kite handlers to assist in the event of rescue or replacing a broken kit, and a cameraperson.

The person in charge on the day will be the Coxswain.

The Route

The Team advisor will monitor the wind towards the last week of August 2009 until the wind direction and speed required is forecasted.

The Team coordinator will alert all the Support crew and riders and plans will be made for them to travel over the day before the planned crossing from Alderney to the UK island.

A South Westerly is the predicted wind direction for this crossing. It is predicted the crossing if successful could take anything from 6 to 8 hours.