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Welcome to Speedkiting.org
Luderitz 2010 E-mail
Written by Basil Cambanis   
UNOFFICIAL FINAL RESULTS for 2010 event (excuse any errors & omissions) :
Visit www.luderitz-speed.com for the OFFICIAL Results.

Rank

No.

Name

Nat.

Speed

1

55

Rob Douglas (WR & NR)

USA

55.65

2

69

Sebastien Cattelan (NR)

FRA

55.49

3

21

Alex Caizergues

FRA

54.93

4

64

Sebastien Salerno

FRA

54.28

5

53

Sylvain Hoceini

FRA

52.90

6

11

Gavin Broadbent (NR)

NZ

50.93

7

45

Basil Cambanis (NR)

ZA

50.72

8

1

Taro Niehaus

ZA

50.62

9

4

Charlotte Consorti (Ladies WR & NR)

FRA

50.43

10

57

Morgan Douglas

USA

49.69

11

56

Jamie Douglas

USA

49.46

12

19

Stefan Metzger (NR)

NAM

49.28

13

13

Manu Taub

FRA

49.09

14

40

Patrice Menossi

FRA

48.74

15

7

Sophie Routaboul

FRA

48.64

16

46

Marc Avella (NR)

ESP

48.55

17

9

Christophe Prin-Guenon

FRA

47.18

18

14

Fred Kloren

NL

46.93

19

18

Tim Pumpa (NR)

AUS

46.78

20

59

Jernej Privsek (NR)

SL

46.60

21

10

Anders Bringdal (NR) [W]

SWE

44.80

22

5

Sjoukje Bredenkamp

ZA

44.25

23

6

Zsolt Lenkei (NR)

HUN

43.65

24

52

Bill Lynch

USA

42.32

25

81

Farrel O-Shea [W]

UK

41.02

26

2

Afrit Foued (NR)

ALB

39.81

27

800

Nick Vardalaxos [W]

GR

38.06

28

223

Andrea Baldini [W]

IT

37.21

29

47

Zara Davis (PR) [W]

UK

36.99

30

3

Leila Nouar

FRA

34.71

WR = World Record, NR = National Record, PR = Production Record, W = Windsurfer


19 November 2010

9 November 2010

They were taken near the start of the run in moderate wind.
Clips from the record day (28 Oct) to follow soon.

 



I filmed these first few runs on the record day (28 Oct) before hitting the water. 

 


6 November 2010
 

Luderitz Challenge Stats 
9
 

kiters did over 50 knots, 

1 

of them Charlotte Consorti from France (1st lady over 50).

5 

new entries into the 
TOP 10 Outright Ranking.

3 

world records. 1 mens outright, 1 ladies outright, 1 ladies production.

12 

national records set.

  TOP 10 Outright Ranking (E&O)

Rank

No.

Name

Nat.

Speed

 Year Kite / Board

1

55

Rob Douglas

USA

55.65

2010

Cabrinha / Custom

2

69

Sebastien Cattelan

France

55.49

2010

Genetrix / Xelerator

3

21

Alex Caizergues

France

54.93

2010

F-ONE / Custom

4

64

Sebastien Salerno

France

54.28

2010

GIN / Custom

5

53

Sylvain Hoceini

France

52.90

2010

Griffin / Optimum

6

 Alain Thebault / Hydroptere

France

51.36

2008

Hydrofoil Boat

7

11

Gavin Broadbent

50.93

2010

Slingshot /
Big World

8

45

Basil Cambanis

50.72

2010

Genetrix / Airtool

9

1

Taro Niehaus

50.62

2010

Genetrix / Xelerator 

10

4

Charlotte Consorti

France

50.43

2010

F-ONE / Custom


Ranking by Nation :
1st USA (Rob Douglas - Kite)
2nd France (Sebastien Cattelan - Kite)
3rd New Zealand (Gavin Broadbent - Kite)
4th South Africa (Basil Cambanis - Kite)
5th Australia (Macquarie Innovation - Boat)
6th Namibia (Stefan Metzger - Kite)
7th BVI (Finian Maynard - Windsurfer)
8th Spain (Marc Avella - Kite)
9th Dutch (Rolf van der Vlugt - Kite)

Performance by Age : 
1st to 6th : 37      (1st to 3rd place : 34, 4th to 6th place : 40)
7th to 12th : 31    (7th to 9th place : 32, 10th to 12th place : 29)

% Improvement (light wind last year)
Rob improved by 8.5% from last year (50.95 to 55.65)
Seb improved by 9.0% on his previous best (50.52 to 55.49) - had a bad wipe last year
Alex improved by 7.2% from last year (50.98 to 54.93)
Sylvain improved by 5.9% on his previous best (49.79 to 52.90) 
Basil improved by 17.3% on his previous best (41.93 to 50.72) - no wind 1st week last year

Riders and their equipment improve each year, but not by this margin and across the board.
The big jump in speeds this year is largely attributable to the canal.

Canal PRO'S
  1. It gave us the straightest run point to point to date which improved our average (everything else aside). 
  2. The water state was very flat, and any small waves were uniform and predicable. This water state is thanks to the leeward bank which prevents wrap around swell from forming. There's more friction on the swell nearest the bank, that's why without the leeward bank the swell build towards the end of the run and wraps inward.
  3. It gave us a more consistent run which instilled confidence, allowed us to progressively dial it in, and the smoother predicable ride resulted in fewer crashes.
  4. We had a longer window of opportunity to go for the record with the retaining wall at the end of the run. Were it not for this, there would have been no water during the peak of the wind.
  5. The run was set at the optimum angle for the kiters (140 deg.). It's might be too broad for windsurfers unless it nukes.


Canal CON'S

  1. There's increased risk of injury as there's sand instead of water downwind of you if you crash. Perhaps it's blind luck, but only Sjoukje to my knowledge had a hard wipe into the leeward bank near the end of her run.
  2. Being boxed into the narrow confines of the canal means there's no much room to adjust to gusts and lulls.
  3. There was no much space or time in which to stop with the retaining wall at the end of the run. This affected some riders mentally, and caused a few crashes and injuries.


Possible Canal Improvements
 : 
The canal seems to be the way forward in speed sailing, so let's try learn from the past and improve for the future.
Creating the ideal canal
 requires careful planning, adequate funding, a professional crew to expedite the work and good organisation throughout. 
These are my personal views and do not reflect those of any organisation.

  1. The run-up to the start of the timed run must be longer so we can hit the start at full speed. This alone will result in better averages, as most sailors said they had a slow start which ruined their run (the run-up this year was <100m). The canal in the lead up to the run need only be a meter wide and just deep enough for your rail/fin to clear, as it's not part of the timed run and speeds are still slow at this stage. But it'll allows time for the kite/sail to be trimmed, feet to be secured in the straps and positioned properly, posture, etc. to be sorted out before winding up to high speed.
  2. The angle of the lead up to the run must not have abrupt angle changes, as one cannot adjust to sharp corners at full speed. A gentle sweeping consistent arc is best launch pad into the run.
  3. The canal itself should be as uniform and as straight as possible. This means that routine maintenance is need to the canal to remove spits and sand banks that form through tidal changes. Something worth considering is a very slight arc to the run throughout to achieve a better peak speed and maintain power throughout the run (for kiters). It will add a few meters to the run, but the higher speed throughout should compensate for this.
  4. The run-off after the timed run needs to be longer, and the leeward bank should fall away quickly after the finish so there's a larger bail out zone (finishing pool).
  5. Sealing off of the end of canal when the tides are not suitable (low tide in the afternoon) is must to retain water in canal. But this retaining wall needs to be a sufficient distance from the end of the timed run for safety sake. This might not be easy to do depending on the topology.
  6. There's a chance that the canal will be moved to a less eco-sensitive area next year which is not tidal. But this is purely speculation at present, and returning to the start will require "caddies" and/or a shuttle bus service (are you listening Brad).

 
Injuries
(injuries were minor considering this is world record attempt in extreme conditions) 

  • Rob Douglas (USA) broke his right arm (Radius near wrist) while stopping on the run following his 55.65 record run on 28 October.
  • Charlotte Consorti (FRA) had a contusion to her eye after a face plant at the end of her 50 knot run on 28 October.
  • Sjoukje Bredenkamp (ZA) injured her right arm and shoulder after clipping the windward sandbank with her fin and hit the leeward bank. This was near the beginning of the event and she was forced to withdraw.
  • Sophie Routaboul (FRA) broke her right hand near the start the event while stopping. She showed tremendous courage and kited on 28 October in 45 knot winds and set her personal best of 48.64 knots. She might have broken the 50 knot barrier were her hand in tact.
  • Tim Pumpa (AUS) caught his board in the chest and chin while stopping at the end of his record run.

3 November 2010

Pictures added to the Luderitz 2010 gallery, video clips and event wrap up to follow in a few days.

Most of these stunning photos were taken by Jean-Paul Roux who lives in Luderitz. Thanks JP !


1 November 2010

Arrived home safely at 3am from Luderitz. Craving sleep, but work dictates otherwise.
The event wrap to follow within a week after I've completed the backlog of urgent work.

 
There's so much to take away and be learnt from this event, I'll distill the salient points for you soon.
BTW. my speed was changed from 50.75 to 50.72 on Saturday after Michael Ellison (WSSRC official) re-looked at the footage and said the time should be taken when my head touches the start of the pole on the video, not overlapping. This resulted in a 0.03 decrease in my speed, I can live with this :)


30 October 2010

The wind is dropping (25-30 kts) so there will be no more racing. Some of the competitors are leaving today.
The closing ceremony will take place at the Yacht Club at
4pm.


29 October 2010 - Evening Edition

Today was a bit lighter than yesterday, but still good enough for Seb and Alex to go over 50. They had 50.41 and 50.17 respectfully.
What was once the holy grail is now almost a daily occurrence in Luderitz.

Jamie and Morgan Douglas (USA) both managed to improve their personal bests with 49.69 and 49.46 respectfuly.
Stefan Metgzer (NAM) managed to improve upon his speeds with 49.28

and in so doing has bettered his own Namibian. 
He's trained hard and has big heart, so well deserved Stefan
Zsolt Lenkei (HUN) improved to 43.65, thereby improving upon his previous record. Not bad for your first time at speed Zsolt !
Well done guys !

We knew Jamie had potential based on last year's performance, but Morgan being the newcomer has just proven he's equal to the task too.

These speeds are NOT Official, visit www.luderitz-speed.com site for more information.


29 October 2010

Now that the dust has settled and I've had a few hours sleep, here's the update.

The wind blew up to 45 knots yesterday and the canal and retaining wall worked perfectly.
These records were largely due to this as the water state was excellent.


Fabrice the official time keeper requests that we state :
Demands of speed records under sail, are subject to the official ratification by ISAF/WSSRC.

Results from 28 October
1st - Rob Douglas
 with 55.65 (New Outright and  USA Record) 
2nd - Sebastien Cattelan with 55.49 (New  French & Europe Record) GPS Tracks
3rd

Alex Caizergues

 with 54.93
4th

Sebatien Salerno

 with 54.28
5th

Sylvain Hoceini

 with 52.90
6th - Basil Cambanis with 50.72 (New  South African Record) GPS Tracks
7th - Taro Niehaus with 50.59
8th - Charlotte Consorti with 50.43 (New Outright Ladies Record - 1st Lady over 50 !!!)

9th - Patrice Menossi with 48.74

10th - Sophie Routaboul with 48.64

11th - Stefan Metgzer with 48.57

 (New  Namibian Record)

12th - Morgan Douglas with 47.34

13thJernej Privsek with 46.60

 (New  Slovinian Record)

14th

 

Zsolt Lenkei with 42.09 

Video clips to follow later this morning . . .


Photos by Adrien Freville - www.byadrienfreville.fr

Rob Douglas


Sebastien Cattelan


Charlotte Consorti

28 October 2010 - Afternoon Edition

I said it would be epic today, but it was insanely good. 
See above for the latest results, but remember that they still need to be verified by Fabrice and the WSSRC.
Seb's canal is the business and so is that wall to keep the water in. Without it I doubt if this would have been possible.

28 October 2010
Today looks like the best wind on offer until the end of the event, so I expect there'll be a lot to write about this evening.

Rob Douglas
 had the fastest speed yesterday with 49.54 knots.
You can see the rest of the results HERE

After trying various stances and techniques over the past week, I'm making no progress.
So I'm going to try last year's board today which is plain and simple, as I suspect the lipped rail is too severe to allow me to go broad off the wind, and I'm fighting to stay off the windward bank. The current board is probably more suitable for a square course like Walvis Bay.

27 October 2010 - Evening Edition
Tomorrow looks EPIC, let's hope it blows like mad and there's no serious crashes.

As promised, here's the picture of the retaining wall at the end of the run :


If the wind blows strong from early on, it'll prove very useful and give us a lot more racing time; else it could be more of a curse than a blessing.
They might skim away portion of the wall to allow riders to exit the run safely when the water nears the top of the wall.
We're approaching neap tides and high tide is at 18h37 tomorrow, so this will only happen in the late afternoon.
Another consideration is that there's wind for another 3 days, but perhaps not as strong as tomorrow.

Hired help will be used to manicure the course for tomorrow's big wind; the plan is to try block the chop from the inlets which can get nasty at high tide.
Something worth considering IMO is the recreate the leeward bank in the middle of the course again. This got washed away during the Spring tides and results in running wrap around chop when the water level gets too high. Even a 1 foot bank will buy us another hour of flat water as the tidal variance is minimal at present. 1 hour can make or break the record as the wind is only likely to peak around 3pm.

27 October 2010
The forecast for the remaining days looks really decent, we couldn't have hoped for more; THURSDAY still stands out as the best day.

The organisers with the consensus from the riders have built a retaining wall out of sand a little way from the finish, this was done to retain the water from high tide so we can race earlier. Today will be the first day this is put to the test. I'll post pictures of it this evening.

Expect some blistering speeds to be posted real soon !

26 October 2010
No racing today, as the wind will only be moderate.
We'll have a rest day before the stronger wind hits tomorrow and Thursday.

25 October 2010
The wind was not shabby today, but high tide dissected the peak wind yet again.
Luckily neap tides are approaching and high tide is getting later, so it'll won't be a threat by Wednesday.
Wednesday and Thursday should have some decent wind too. This time we'll be able to kite during the peak (3pm).

Stefan Metzger further improved his Namibian record (46.5), Zsolt Lenkei had a significant jump from 35 to 42 on his 2nd day, and Sophie Routaboul improved to 45 (with a BROKEN HAND !!!). These speeds still need to be confirmed.

Sadly Sjoukje's shoulder is still not right from her fall on the 2nd day of racing, and she'll have to bow out of the event.
More news to follow by tomorrow morning (GMT+2) . . .


24 October 2010
I'm cautiously optimistic about today's wind; I hope it's better than yesterday as this dominant high pressure makes it's presence felt. 
The forecast for next Saturday/Sunday has also perked up on some models, but others still show very little; so we'll only know closer to the time. 
There's no nuclear forecast on the cards for the remaining days, but there'll still be enough to make 50+ possible.
The tides are becoming more favorable again with each passing day.

23 October 2010 - Evening Edition
2 New national records were set; Afrit Foued set a new Algerian speed record of 38.48 knots, and Zsolt Lenkei set a new Hungarian speed record of 35.34 knots. These speeds still need to be verified by the WSSRC.
Some impressive speeds were set by the front runners in light conditions; I've heard somewhere around 47 or 48 knots.

The wind made a good account of herself today considering only 24 knots was forecast; it blew 25-33 knots.
But the high tide just after 3pm gummed up the works, so we had 2 sessions, one either side of the high tide.
It'll be a similar scenario tomorrow.
Monday's expect to have the best wind for the remainder of the event (mid-upper 30's, hopefully 40+); we're hoping the wind kicks in early enough so we can post decent speeds before High tide just after 4pm.
23 October 2010

I've added some pictures to the Gallery

A reprieve from work for 2 days and some wind to play in, what a pleasure.
It looks like there'll only be moderate wind until the end of the event, so we'll have to be highly efficient to improve.
The forecast for each day looks very similar, but Monday still stands out.

22 October 2010 - Evening Edition
It blew in the mid-20's today, but I had to give it a miss due to work pressure. You won't see me doing this too often as water and wind are a scarce commodity in Johannesburg.
I took a late afternoon drive to Grosse Bucht and Diaz Point to watch the waves and clear the mind; this almost made up for it.

The forecast until the end of the month has weakened, but I'm still ever hopeful that Luderitz will toss us a bone before we depart.
I know many of us are begging for another chance to improve.
22 October 2010
Finally, the training days have arrived. I say training days as the tide is not ideal and the wind will be moderate by speed standards, but you never know; Sat/Sun/Mon might blow more than expected. Digging on the canal commences at 7am tomorrow to start fixing what the spring tides reclaimed.
I'm holding thumbs that the decent blow at the end of the month materialises.

21 October 2010
One more day before non-stop action for 5-6 days. The best wind still seems to be this coming Sunday/Monday and at the end of the month. 

20 October 2010
There's no wind today and tomorrow, but Friday to Monday still looks promising. Hopefully we can get some runs in on flattish water with the spring high tide around 3pm, which is usually when the wind peaks.
The wind that's been forecast at the end of the month now looks suspect though. If this doesn't materialise, then Sunday/Monday might be the last decent racing we have.
19 October 2010  - Evening Edition
The wind looked promising around 2pm blowing 27-33 knots, but it backed off quickly as the tide dropped.
I decided to have a session regardless, but the wind declined at such a rapid rate I couldn't get down the course after 4 runs. 
It looks like 2 days of calm before the wind builds towards Sunday/Monday.
The strong wind at the end of the month still looks on.

19 October 2010
We'll race later today, so hopefully the wind is strong enough. It's high tide around 13h30, so water depth won't be an issue. 
Wednesday and Thursday will be calm, but Sunday and Monday look decent. The long range forecast has improved too; so we might have a grand finale.

18 October 2010
There's moderate wind today and tomorrow, but it won't be enough for speed.
The next decent wind looks like Friday to Sunday, but spring high tide will be around 3pm, so we'll have the opposite problem to this past Friday, there'll be too much water and the canal might be buried making the water choppy.
This could be the last blow before the end of the event, as the next decent wind shows around 2-3 November.

17 October 2010
There's no wind today or activities planned today, so it's a rest day.
The next contestable wind looks late next week (Fri-Mon?). The decent blow that was forecast for the end of October has disappeared, so this might be the last windy spell before the end of October.

I rode my bike to 2nd lagoon this morning to clear the mind and get some exercise; while there I saw something amusing; a bakkie arrived and started loading up sand bags. So I approached them and asked what they were doing; they said they were learning to drive and needed them to lay a training course, which they duly did.
I also noticed that the moderate NW'er had flattened all the leeward banks, let's hope it hasn't pilled all that sand into the canal.

Here's what the 31 Oct forecast used to look, but this has since disappeared. Let's hope it returns.
16 October 2010
Today was the 1st day without racing since Monday, so it's been a good windy spell.
The wind's talking a break now and it might be a while before strong wind returns, but return it will. 
The locals threw us a lovely braai at 2nd lagoon which was well supported; there was free food and drink available for the competitors. They had hot dogs, roasted sheep and local oysters on offer.


There was also enough wind for some freestyle, and some of the competitors gave the locals kiting lessons.

Sylvain getting the children involved, they were keen to help out and learn

 

15 October 2010
A day of what could have been; unfortunately the tide had the final say and there was not enough water in the canal to do runs in it. 
The wind was great when it finally got going (35-43), but the water level was too low shortly after this.

The wind will now take a break until later next week, so it's time to tune equipment and get ready for the next blow. It's moving back to spring tides from tomorrow, so let's hope it blows before spring highs wreck our track again. The course maintenance will struggle to keep up during this period, but at least we won't have such water depth issues either.
Congratulations to Alex (54.1), Seb (53.19), Rob (52.58), Charlotte, Gavin, Taro, Tim, Jernej, Marc, Stefan and windsurfer Anders Bringdal for their respective national records.
Well done to Fred Kloren who improved his speed to 46.93 and is poised to break the Dutch record. 

I had 3¼ runs today. The first was in lightish wind while it was still building, the 2nd was better but still underpowered, the 3rd was almost a ripper with a near 50 peak but I hit a huge lull before the end that almost sent me reeling, and I got stuck in my tracks on my last run in a shallow patch at the start; which sent me rolling on wet sand. I'm grateful this happened while still winding up. Marc Avella still went after me, and goodness knows how he got past this shallow section.


14 October 2010
The wind was around 30 knots today and enough to set some serious speeds, but the tide worked against us and had not come up enough for us to do many timed runs. There was a brief surge which allowed Seb to clock a 51 and Marc (Spain) to set a new national record.
The wind is forecast to shriek tomorrow, so we'll hit the water early (08h15) in a bid to catch the hight tide.
Hopefully there'll be enough water depth for the windsurfers to get some runs in.
13 October 2010  - Evening Edition

 

The wind was lightish today (mid to upper 20's), yet some guys still came close to 50.

It was stronger in the morning while the tide was out, and patchy in the afternoon. Heiko Matzger says it was raining at Oranjemond (south of Luderitz) this morning which explains it.

I took the 9 again, and was badly underpowered. But I still managed a few runs in the canal which adds to my experience.
The wind is forecast to be slightly stronger tomorrow and nuking on Friday. So look out.

The tide ebbed and flowed in and out making it difficult for the windsurfers. I only saw Anders do a couple of runs, others watched and waited in vain.
We're approaching full neap tide on Friday, and the high tide is not reaching high enough for the windsurfers to have a run up. Those staying for next week will find the tides more suitable. 


13 October 2010

Speeds still need to be verified by the WSSRC !

Alex nailed it with a 54.1, WOW !

Here are other noteworthy speeds : 
  • Sebastien Cattelan (France) 52.33 (2nd fastest outright)
  • Rob Douglas (USA) 51.88 (National Record)
  • Gavin Broadbent (New Zealand) 50.93 (National Record)
  • Tim Pumpa (Australia) 46.78 (National Record)
  • Anders Bringdal (Sweden) 44.80 (National Record)
  • Zara Davis (UK) 36.99 (female world production record)
  • Sebastien Salerno also clocked 50, but I'm not sure exactly what yet.
I went to the speed strip earlier and hired help is now there to manually remove the banks where they present danger (past the finish), to smooth out the kinks in the run caused by high tide and remove the top of higher windward banks to aid the windsurfers. These are areas the digger cannot reach. I doubt it'll all be done in time, but every bit helps.
The digger is working on the start of the run this morning, as that portion of the canal was filled by the tide.
The wind is lighter than yesterday but enough for fast speeds, let's see what happens. I'm heading down there shortly.

12 October 2010 - Evening Edition

What a day, it had all the thrills and spills.

The wind nuked up to  47 knots, and right from the start it was apparent this would be a memorable day when Seb did the first run to test the canal out and clocked a 48.5 500m from a standing start near the start line. Shortly after this Alex and Seb nailed 50+ runs.

Unofficially (via word of mouth) Alex set a 53 knot 500m, so the outright record has returned to the kiters.
Seb (Catman) also clocked some insane speeds too; 52 or 53, same applies to Rob Douglas; Seb Salerno and Gavin Broadbend clocked 52 and 51 respectfully, so a big day in every respect. So 5 kiters clock over 50 knots today, 2 new kiters joined this exclusive club; namely Seb S. and Gavin, and they did it convincingly.
The standard was already high, but after today the yard stick grew considerably. What's mind boggling is that this was achieved on the 1st strong wind day, so just imagine what the target will be near the end of the event.
There will always be some kinks that need ironing out which attract criticism, but the canal more than proved its worth today.
No serious injuries were reported to my knowledge, the only injury to my knowledge was Tim Pumpa who smacked into his board with his chest at the end of the run, but he clocked an impressive 47.5 in the process. 

I have mixed feelings about my performance today, I clocked a 44 something on my last run, so I'm pleased that I managed to improve upon my previous best on the 2nd day, and my speeds were getting faster despite the worsening conditions.
On the down side, these were epic conditions and worthy of better, I didn't have the confidence to go all out and the finish was on my mind throughout the run as it leaves very little margin for error. I was forced to loop my kite on 3 occasions to avoid ending up on the rocks at the finish, this is a really big deal for an inland guy. I also took my 9 thinking I could handle anything with it, but I was hauled mid-run a few times almost into the leeward bank which could have spelled disaster, in hind sight my 8 would have been the perfect choice - more control and confidence. 
After a few more days of training I'll try to suck it up and plant a decent run. This canal is playing with my mind.

There is plenty more wind on way, so those of us that didn't shine today still have a chance to do so later in the event.
The wind this year looks to be a certainty and is more than making up for last year. 


12 October 2010

First practice day under the belt and I now have a better idea of what to expect from the canal.
I also had my first decent sleep in over a week which will help for today.
The Luderitz forecast until Friday looks epic, 30+ everyday !

The canal has made a big improvement to the water state and remains this way for much longer than in previous years. 
Mother nature starts reclaiming what's hers every high tide, and breaks down the side walls and fills the trench; but we're thankfully moving towards neap tide (Friday 15th), so there'll be much less damage until the next Spring tide.
The windsurfers haven't had a decent crack at it yet due to the canal getting damaged each day, but that will change this week as improvements to the canal should remain in tact.


A run down the new canal at highish tide.
The end needs to be redone after spring high tide filled it a few days ago.

11 October 2010

After year long wait, I'm finally in Luderitz !
I couldn't wait to return after my dismal performance 
in marginal wind during the 1st week last year.

I drove through from Johannesburg yesterday; it's a tiring trip to say the least - 16 hours of non-stop driving, besides to refuel.
Here's some memories I won't forget from yesterday :

Road Trip HIGHS

  • I woke up at 3am after a 3 hour nap and had no intention of making it in a day, but I made good time and didn't feel too bad surprisingly, so I decided to push on past Upington and complete the trip. The last few hundred km's were very tough though.
  • I saw a secretary bird stalking prey on the side of the road; they are a rare sight.
  • I saw 2 wild horses when passing Aus, they were also next to road.
  • There was an amazing sunset as the sun sank below some upper layer cloud, this made the baron landscape spectacular
  • Road Trip LOWS

  • A momentary lapse in concentration made me miss an obscure turnoff by Sishen, resulting in a 100km detour.
  • The Namibian border post admin ladies were out to prove a point and started cashing up at random in the middle of processing my entry application. They plain ignored me; after waiting around for several minutes I spoke to them in Afrikaans, and this got them back in action. They're oblivious to the damage they inflict to their own community and tourism with this kind of "stuff you" attitude. 
  • I stopped at the Wimpy for a coffee at Keetmanshoop to try stay awake, but it would barely pass as warm dishwater.

  • I'm feeling ragged having only slept 3-4 hours each night this past week (trying to finish work), and I couldn't sleep last night either due to stomach cramps; but some jasmine tea I had at 4am has really helped.
    I'll feel much better in a few days time when I've got a few sessions under the belt and caught up on sleep.
    I've only had 2 light wind sessions on my new board, so I really hope she handles well in strong wind; I should know after today.

    There's a good training day that lies ahead and nuking wind is expected tomorrow. In fact, the whole week looks good.
    The wind will only subside on Sunday, by which time a new outright record should have been established. The wind will have a break until next Thursday once it stops on Sunday, but it'll should blow decently for a stretch of days after that.

    I found this useful TIDAL CHART
    The kiters prefer a lowish tide as the water is less choppy, whereas the windsurfers need a more water depth.

    For those interesting in pursuing GPS records, here's some guidelines sent to my by Roger van Tongeren :
    Make sure you have 2 or more witnesses that check the gps it is clear (do NOT clear the datalogger).
    After every record run make sure the gpss are shown to the witnesses.
    Make sure that the gpss are visible at all times to the witnesses.
    Put the heads of the gpss against each other in the aquapac (toggle button end).
    After the day is over, while still on the beach, download all the dataloggers from the gpss on 1 or even better more sd-cards from the witnesses.
    Fill in the witness forms or have the witnesses send me an e-mail with their report.

    Here's important Firmware and Settings information :
    1.1 Navi GT-31 with firmware versions V1.2 (B1405a), V1.3 (B1123T) or version 1.4 (B0315T)
    1.2 Settings Navi GT-31:
    MEMORY CARD
       LOG SWITCH - ON
       MIN SPEED - OFF
       NMEA ITEMS - SBN
       FILE SIZE - CARD SIZE
    SETTINGS
       USERNAME - Full Name as much as possible
       SPEED AVG TIME - 10 seconds
       SERIAL NO. - CHECK IF A SERIAL NR IS SHOWN
    DATA LOGGER
       INTERVAL - 1 SEC
       MIN SPEED - OFF
    Note: Never clear your datalogger as this can be necessary for proof via the SBP file.

    Here's a full list of the RULES


    9 October 2010

    The first day's "training" session yielded impressive results at Luderitz.
  • The wind was around 30-35 knots and the best results were achieved on an incoming tide. The first half of the course was good and the second half choppy; the lower course was covered during the peak.

    Anders Bringdal from Sweden set a new national record of 43 knots on a windsurfer; excellent performance 1st day out and in lightish wind.

    The unofficial top 4 speeds are (check www.luderitz-speed.com for the official results) :
    1st - 44.51 Gavin Broadbent
    2nd - 44.09 Rob Douglas
    3rd - 43.97 Alex Caizergues
    4th - 43.00 Anders Bringdal (Swedish National Record - windsurfer)

    Nice one Gavin, out in front straight out of the blocks.
    For those of you that don't know Gavin, he's currently in 3rd place on the GPS rankings with a 50.4 kt 5x 10 sec and consistently posts 50+ speeds. While this does not come as too much of a surprise, it's an impressive result for his first crack at it.
    Imagine what speeds Tuesday holds.


    8 October 2010

    After much thought, I've decided to go to Luderitz this Sunday so I can get in 1 practice session before the strong wind on Tuesday.

    I've had two 25 knots sessions since June, so I expect to be very rusty. But I'm sure I'll get the hang of it again within a few days.
    The long range forecast has improved too which also influenced my decision.

    Luderitz VS Sterkies forecasts

    I'll fly to Windhoek on Sunday morning and drive through from there (860km), I should be there by early evening.
    SAA's flights are mostly full and only unsuitable times and dates remain, so I'll fly Air Namibia. An update from Frank Stein today (Bay Air) is that they've still not been given clearance to fly to Luderitz, so driving is the only way there at present.


    6 October 2010

    There's excellent wind forecast at Sterkies this weekend, extending into Monday.
    It's making my choice of whether to go to Luderitz or not very difficult, as it's been 4 months since wind like this was forecast.

    There's also strong wind forecast at Luderitz this Tuesday which I'd dearly like to make.
    What's off putting though is there's little substance to the wind thereafter; so I'll arrive unprepared as it nukes, and then possibly wait more than a week for the next decent blow.
    I'll give the forecast another 2 days to bed down before I decide.


    5 October 2010

    The wind should start this Friday at Luderitz, and peak next week Monday or Tuesday. The tide also looks ideal, so expect some fast speeds.
    I've created a table of the salient weather features that lie ahead so you know when to expect the action.
    I've also done this to help me decide when to go; I naturally don't want to miss a blow, but I also want to avoid waiting for an extended period for decent wind.

    Luderitz Forecast

    3 October 2010

    The prospect for wind at Luderitz during the first week still looks bleak, but it has improved slightly from earlier forecasts. The best wind over the next week looks like tomorrow (Monday 4th) and maybe later in the week, but there's very little mid-week.
    Thankfully there's better wind during the 2nd week though (Monday-Thursday?); this subsides towards the end of the week due to the development of a cutoff low near Cape Town.
    So the best wind on offer at present looks like it'll be Tue-Wed during the 2nd week. Each time a low passes, it weakens the gradient for 3-4 days; but this is normal. 
    What we're after is a strong high pressure to the West of South Africa, and a through inland (20E 10S).

    As promised, I asked Bay Air what flights are available to Luderitz now that Air Namibia have pulled out, and I had a reply from Frank Stein who's the commercial director : 

     

    "We are finalizing timeshedules for the flights to LZ. As you well know Air nam stopped operating 2 weeks ago and we are working around the clock to get a service up and running. Unfortunately there is always a lot of "red tape" to clear before the authorities approve of the operations.
    We are expected to be operational by next week but will keep you advised, A newsflash will be out by tomorrow afternoon...."

    Here's Frank's contact details :
    Bay Air Aviation
    Tel:++264 64 204319
    Fax:++264 64 204927
    Cell:++ 264(0)811294319

    30 September 2010

    The forecast still looks bleak for the 1st week of October at Luderitz, and for part of the 2nd week. But there's a lot of action around the 15th.

    Sterkies might get a decent blow around 13 October, and Luderitz will better that a couple of days later. 
    Depending on the timing and strength, I might still manage to squeeze in the Sterkies event just before leaving for Luderitz if it looks epic enough.

    I've decided to postpone the Sterkies speed event (possibly until November) as the wind will only be moderate over this weekend. There should be enough for some fun on Sunday though.
    Hopefully there'll still be one or two more windy days in early November when I return from Luderitz.
    If the wind inland doesn't materialise, then I'll try hold the event at the Richards Bay sand bank in the harbour. I should get permission for this if our numbers are limited. 
    29 September 2010

    The wind has finally subsided at Luderitz, but will return this Friday-Sunday; but not as strong.

    Unfortunately the wind forecast does not look good for the entire 1st week. It starts to blow from Monday 11 October again (2nd week). As mentioned earlier, this is due to a series of low pressures displacing the high that usually generates the wind.
    Here's more pictures of the canal (click on thumbnail) :  Trench 2010

    It's looking doubtful that the Sterkies event will go ahead this weekend, as the forecast has dramatically worsened. The best wind seems to be in the Karoo.
    I'll continue to monitor it, but the event is now likely to be postponed until November.

    26 September 2010

    The wind continues to blow in Luderitz, but tomorrow looks like the last decent day in a while. The current forecast shows that it'll blow moderately at the start the first week of the event, but then have a break while a few lows pass by. I'll only know with greater certainty nearer the time.

    There's a glimmer of hope for the Sterkies speed event this coming weekend (2-3 Oct); I'll consider including Friday or Monday if the wind is decent enough and it shifts a day either way.
    It's still early days, so I'll monitor it closely during the week and let you know.

    Windguru Sterkies

    The positives of holding it this coming weekend are :

    1. It's not a long weekend, so it'll be much quieter both at the dam and on the roads
    2. There's wind forecast on 2 days back to back (to hedge our bets) 
    3. It's the latest we've ever had the event, so the air and water temps will be a pleasure
    4. It's the last chance we have before I go to Luderitz (unless there's no wind there), else it'll have to wait until November when our chances for wind are halved

     


    23 September 2010

    BIG WIND is about it hit Luderitz, the forecast has lit up from today (Thursday) right through until Monday. It'll blow 30+ for 5 straight days.
    This bodes well for the event as it means the high pressure is getting into it's customary position off the West coast.
    I expect Seb and Sophie to post really fast speeds over the next few days.

    I've been unable to find any decent wind inland to train in, but this past Tuesday showed the most promise yet. Unfortunately it was completely side-shore making speed impossible as there was big swell and chop to contend with.
    It blew in the teens up until 12h30 and then started to build until 3pm when it peaked at 37 knots, but all the while it never budged from Northerly. I waited until dusk for it to switch as it was still blowing in the upper 20's and it normally swings, but as it finally switched to West in the late afternoon, the wind strength halved. So it was not to be.
    The forecast until I leave for Luderitz looks bleak, so it's unlikely that I'll get the conditions needed to give my new board a proper test.
    I'll just have ease into the stronger wind and get used to going faster again when I'm there, and hope the new board delivers.


    19 September 2010

    All flights to Luderitz will be cancelled from 27 September 2010, this is very poor timing indeed.
    Now the only alternatives are by bus or car from Cape Town or Windhoek. I'm weighing up my options, but it looks like I might have to drive solo for 2 days non-stop each way again.
    I'll try calling Air Namibia to substantiate to them why they should postpone this by a month, but it's likely to be dead-end. Maybe a group of us could charter a plane.

    I went to Bloemhof Dam on Friday, and the place has loads of potential. The wind was not up to scratch, but enough to recon the place. I'll upload some pictures and video when I get a chance.


    15 September 2010

    Live wind readings and forecast for Luderitz will be published on the www.luderitz-speed.com site soon.

    I'm going to do an installation at a new client in Klerksdorp (NW Province) tomorrow and stay overnight.
    I'll drive through to Bloemhof Dam (180km away) on Friday morning and kite if there's enough wind, then go to another client in Lichtenburg in the afternoon.
    So I'll be doing a lot of driving over the next 2 days, and try to combine work and play as best I can.
    I've been wanting to try Bloemhof for a while, so I hope it lives up to my lofty expectations of it.


    14 September 2010

    There's wind at Luderitz tomorrow and Thursday, Thursday being the stronger of the 2 days; let's see what Seb and Sophie clock this time.

    A lot of progress has been made on the canal and it'll be finished in a matter of days now.
    Here's a picture taken today by Seb :  Trench 2010

    I'm feeling much better now and can finally begin to train properly again, the cold affected me for 15 days. It's amazing how quickly one loses your strength and fitness.
    I'm pumping out the work and signing on new clients, but all the while keeping a close watch on when and where I can get another practice session in.
    The wind has been very scarce throughout since mid-June, and we've been unable to hold the Spring speed event. There's only 3 more weekends left in which it can take place, then I'm in Luderitz until late October. 

    I'm trying to expand my options in a bid to find wind, and these are the most likely candidates at present :

    1. Bloemhof Dam in the NW Province. It's +-350km from Joburg and has very promising bank angles that suit the prevailing Northerly wind, and the terrain is very flat. It seldom gets strong wind though and I've had my eye on this spot for months.
    2. Gapiep Dam in the Cape Province. It's a LONG way from Joburg but regularly gets decent wind. I could either fly to Bloem and drive from there or drive the whole way but then spend a few days. It doesn't have suitable bank angles for the prevailing though. It's banks are either flanked by hills or erratic in shape. Maybe a few unknown banks will emerge after Winter when the water is at it's lowest level.
    3. Richard Bay in northern Natal. This spot has the greatest speed potential in South Africa IMO. I tried kiting it in a SSW recently, but the wind was dead square and the water fairly choppy. It seldom blows strong enough in a WSW (ideal angle), so your best bet is in a NE. The NE seldom blows 30+, but on rare occasion it can. Another catch is that it requires neap or low tide, else the sand bank is covered. Each time I've been there, the tide have been high in the afternoon which is unfortunate. This spot will produce some very fast speeds in the near future.
    4. Sterkies in the Free State. Good old dependable Sterkies which sits at the edge of the escarpment. It usually gets nuking wind during Winter, but not over the past 2 years though thanks to El-Nino. It's only downfall is that it gets very cold in Winter during the windy season, and the run is too short (200m end-to-end).
    5. The Quest continues . . .
    There's moderate wind at Sterkies tomorrow, but I'll hang back for what's forecast to be a stronger blow this Friday at Bloemhof or Monday at RB 9but tide high in afternoon). 

    10 September 2010

    News from Seb about the intended design of the CANAL :

    1. 200m lead up to run at 120°
    2. 500m straight line (run itself) at 140°
    3. 200m after the run at 150°

    The canal will be roughly 5m wide and 30cm deep at Spring Low tide; 10m wide at neap tide and without boundary at high tide. 

    I had a light wind session at Sterkies yesterday to test my new board, and I'm impressed with it's performance. I would dearly like to try it in 30+ wind to know how it performs in more extreme conditions, but the lack of wind inland looks set to continue, so it's first real test might only be at Luderitz.
    The wind averaged 16-20 knots with the occasional gust up to 24 knots, and I had a 46.46 peak and 43.81 10 second average.
    The board intentionally has subtle lines and contours as it's designed for the lunatic realm speed wise, and everything is magnified at top speed. Time will tell whether we're on the money with this thinking.

    Here's some close up pictures of my new board as promised : PICTURES


    7 September 2010

    There was decent wind at Luderitz yesterday and Seb and Sophie clocked impressive speeds despite an unfavorable tide (spring high in the afternoon).
    They had to wait until after 3pm for the tide to recede and caught the tail end of the wind, which was around 40 knots when they arrived.
    Seb reckons the portion of the canal that's already dug worked well even at high tide.
    Seb had a 57.5 peak, 50.91 5x 10 sec, and 47.43 500m.
    Sophie had a 49.55 peak43.47 5x 10 sec, and 37.49 500m. Sophie has improved her speeds at rapid rate since starting kiting just over a year ago, and will now give most guys a run for their money. She has big heart on the speed strip. Keep a close eye on this las during the event, I expect great things from her.

    On a sad note, Dr. Tom Chalko was in an accident over the weekend and broke 2 of his fingers badly. This means the development of the new jump-genie firmware will be put on ice for now. I wish you a speedy recovery Doc and hope you bounce back quickly from this set back.

    There's a chance of some wind inland this Thursday so I can test my new board.
    I'm feeling much better since yesterday afternoon, so I should be well enough to give it a go.
    Work was mental yesterday, and more of the same expected today; but I'll gladly put in long hours now that I'm able, to make Thursday possible.
     


    5 September 2010

    Russell Long (boat) and Marcel Lepine have withdrawn from the event, but several other riders have expressed an interest; some need to secure sponsorship and others are waiting to see results and conditions. Pictures of the trench will be made available soon.

    My cold has thankfully improved and only a dry cough and blocked sinus remain. I hope to ease back into my training later this week.
    There's little wind around besides a moderate breeze (20kts ?) this coming Thursday; maybe I can get to try out my new board.
    Work has piled up while I was man down, so I expect a lot of work pressure this week.


    3 September 2010

    Seb and Sophie arrived in Luderitz on 28 August, and digging of the trench has commenced.
    There's some decent wind heading their way next week, check the latest Luderitz forecast HERE

    My new board arrived a day ago and I cannot wait to try her out; it's one sleek looking weapon.
    There was decent wind yesterday, but I couldn't risk it as I'm still sick. Thankfully I started feeling a bit better yesterday afternoon.
    Wednesday next week might have enough wind to give her a maiden voyage, I just hope I'm well enough by then.


    29 August 2010

    I'll add content here regularly in lead up to the Luderitz speed event which takes place 4-31 October 2010.

    I'll discuss my preparation and what you can expect at the event.

    I had 2 days of great wind just prior to last year's event and then very little during the first week I competed;  I unfortunately broke the tail of my board just prior to the last big wind day. There were long periods without wind (up to 10 days), so I couldn't wait it out.

    To set the scene for the event, here's some points of interest : 

    • This is the first event ever that ALL 3 Disciplines will be competing on the same stretch of water at the same time, namely kiters, windsurfers and a hydrofoil boat. 
    • Last year Seb experimented by digging a TRENCH to extend the contestable time period (tide plays a big role) and create flatter water. It worked very well, but was too narrow (2m wide) leaving very little margin for error. This year he'll dramatically improve the trench by widening it throughout, especially at the start of the run. Having a good start to the 500m is crucial to attaining a good average. It'll be made dead straight this year to further improve the averages. Sand taken from the trench will be placed just upwind of it. The trench requires much less maintenance than the wooden barrier, and it's safer. The trench was built after I'd already left last year, so I cannot give you advice in this regard, but the run in general is very broad. In the past the run started out squarish and ended very broad (150+ deg), this resulted in chop towards the end of the run which caused many a wipeout. The chop should be reduced by having a dead straight canal. The straight canal will result in lower peak speeds but better averages, which is what's required to set a new record.
    • The average speed over 500m is calculated by measuring the time it takes between start and finish post (+ adjustment for current & error factor), so the most direct route will be fastest. To comply with the WSSRC rules, the minimum water depth must be the greater of 10cm or half the static immersed beam/width of the board/craft. You can find a full list of rules HERE.
    • The WIND usually runs in 3-5 days cycles at Luderitz; it builds each day towards a windy spell, and then subsides over a day or two towards a few days of no wind. This was not the case last year, and they even had rain during a NWer in Summer, which is unheard of. The strongest wind is in Summer (Dec/Jan), but it blows more frequently earlier in the season (Oct/Nov). It blows about 30-60 knots on the windy days; 40 knot days are fairly frequent during their windy season.
    • Since the WATER circulates in Second lagoon, it's much warmer than the open Atlantic ocean. So a shorty wetsuit will suffice, but I suggest you wear a full wetsuit for protection sake.
    • The TERRAIN is very rocky, baron and dry. A steep gradient is created between the hot desert inland and the cold Atlantic ocean; throw in a High pressure system SW of Luderitz for something special.
    • Typical kite sizes used are 7-9 sqm. Boards vary depending on rider build, but the most common width is around 27cm.
    • When conditions get nuclear, it's advisable to wear PROTECTIVE GEAR as there's no bail out on such a broad course, especially in the trench. A helmet and impact vest are a must; neck brace, skin guards and back protector are optional. Ironically, the more protective gear you wear, the more prone you are to wiping out as it slows down your reaction time and range of motion.
    • The kiters' goals are to firstly reclaim the outright record which currently stands at 51.36 knots set by Hydroptere, and secondly to set an average speed of 100 km per hour or 54 knots over 500m. The trench will play a vital role in this. 

    My Preparation

    It hasn't gone too well as work has been hectic for the past 2 months with the take on of a large client, and there's been very little wind throughout Winter which is supposed to be our windy season.
    I also got sick a few days ago which means I cannot train for now, but prior to this I trained every 3-4 days by going to gym and riding a bike; I also went to the cable park (Warmbaths) to get some time on a board.
    There's too little time left to get myself in peak physical condition, so I need to be very selective as to which conditions I throw myself at.
    I injured my leg and tore a ligament in my right hand last year by pushing too hard in choppy conditions; it's a lesson I won't forget.

    My goals at this year's event are to :
    1. Have fun and de-stress.
    2. Try stay injury free and keep my equipment in working order, which is easier said than done at Luderitz.
    3. Clock an upper 40 average, and then go for the exclusive 50+ club.
    I'll give it my all but won't feel bad if I don't achieve these goals as my family comes first, I'm land locked and seldom kite in strong wind, and run a demanding freight software business.

    To my wife, Nicolene (married 17 years) and my 2 boys, Michael (12) and Peter (9), thanks for loving and accepting me as I am.
    I tend to be obsessive and compulsive about my hobbies, and speed kiting is one of them.

    Personal Profile : 
    • Name : Basil Cambanis
    • Age : 43
    • Height : 188cm or 6'2"
    • Weight : 84 kgs
    • Nationality : South Africa
    • Born : Johannesburg, South Africa
    • Years Kiting : 4
    • Sailing History : learnt to windsurf on the local dams in my 20's; came 7th at Walvis Bay speed week (36.8 kt 500m) on home made board in 1993 (1st event), and won the speed discipline at the "Continental Triple Crown" in Port Elizabeth in early 90's
    • Strengths : highly motivated and goal orientated, I'm not afraid of hard work and training
    • Weakness : not much time available; and I have bad hips, especially my right
    • Career : own a business that specialises in freight software (www.ffpro.co.za), I've been self employed for almost 15 years
    • Likes : mountains, forests and the outdoors in general, especially the sea. I love most water sports
    • Dislikes : cities, traffic and smokers
    • Best official 500m : 41.93 (not proud of this stat)
    • Best peak speed : 52.85 (Sterkies & Luderitz)

    Equipment


    • Airtool MKVI speedboard. Garry's made me a special weapon for Luderitz, it's got a refined flex pattern and rail shape, internal channel weighting, UD cloth laminate, length increased to 160cm, plan shape tapered earlier towards the tail in a progressive fashion from the 27cm wide point, bullet proof footstrap inserts, shallow concave vent on heelside. I've clocked 52.85 at Sterkies using it's predecessor, so I cannot wait to try this one. It's being delivered in a few days, now I just need some wind to test it in ! Airtool MKVI
    • Genetrix v4 9 & 12 kites, and an 8. These are high performance speed kites that perform no matter what the conditions. I used the v3 9 in 60 knots in May 2009 to record the 1st 50 knots inland.
      Genetrix website
    • Generic 5cm deep M5 G10 fin. I'll try to get some UFO and Microfin fins before the event
    • Full-steamer NP wetsuit; more for protection sake
    • Helmet
    • H20 goggles to keep sand out my eyes
    • Shin guards
    • Oxford back brace
    • GT-31 GPS to get stats after each run and do analysis in the evenings

    Last but not least, spare a thought for my French friend Jerome Bila who broke his back (L1) in 2009 on the last day of the event.
    He's made an excellent recovery since then through hard work and determination and recently started kiting again, but it's still too soon after his accident to compete this year.
    He's an A-grade guy with big heart and talent, and I'm sure he'll be back as strong as ever next year.
    His best 500m was an impressive 49.26 knots in 2008, this places him in 8th spot in the current Outright World Speed Sailing Rankings.
  •  
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