Thursday, 4 August 2011

Downwind

The final day of our North Reef trip featured our first where the predominating SE trade winds lined up behind us. We delayed launching from Hummocky Island to complete the 39km back to Keppel Sands until mid morning when the wind had built to near enough 20 knots, and as it was a fresh breeze we got a developing sea running only a fraction faster than the top speed of our boats.
A 2kn current running against us jacked things up for about an hour as we left the lee of the island, & while it slowed us down, it made from some brilliant lnked surf rides.
Our Flat Earth Sails got their first proper workout of the trip, set atop customised carbon brackets we have built specially for the expedition.
I was pleased to have spent the last year or so chasing downwind runs in my surf ski, because this magic three hours was the nearest thing I've experienced to that ski high in a sea kayak. When you consider that our boats were fully loaded, with about 35-40kg in each, it becomes apparent just what a great lift the sails give you, as we surfed along at speeds frequently exceeding 14kmh.
The GPS trace from the journey is below, showing us covering the first 33 km in 3hrs 21 minutes, before a snapped rudder cable in Rob's boat saw us ease back & sit alongside him as he expertly cajoled his kayak in through the steepening sea to Keppel Sands.
It was a fantastic, seat of the pants way to finish a great trip. Hope you enjoy the video shot from all three of our POV cameras.

2 comments:

  1. Great video - works well with the music too!
    S

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  2. Thanks Simon, coming from you that must mean we got something right!

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