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Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

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RickI
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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby RickI » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:41 pm

Speaking from personal experience off the same coast but years in the past, you can't always self-rescue by sailing in an "offshore" wind. I usually sail more or less 90 degrees off the wind when self-rescuing, sometimes less in stronger wind and more in lighter wind. Offshore wind here is usually weakened by land wind shear making most winds light or rapidly changing in direction in stronger winds which can also mess up your efforts. What I do in such cases is to slightly deflate the kite to flatten the kite out a bit to reduce wind loading, then grab one corner of the kite, once the line is packed down and board in tow and side stroke in with the lot. I always wear an impact vest, even though being able to swim many miles and stay afloat for a day or so. It is just a no-brainer choice in my book considering where we kite. It is slow but I have always gotten in, once from about two miles offshore WAY back in the day before I wisely blew off offshore wind days here.

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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby Hugh2 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:53 pm

So I have actually done this, sort of. I wrote it up for KiteForum a few years ago, but briefly, was riding in sideshore conditions doing long gybes in and out on a downwinder and my 16m old Bularoo lost the main valve somewhat less than a mile offshore. I coiled up my lines and released the kite (I don't recall now if the struts remained inflated, but likely not). I had my surfboard and a lifejacket, and it took forever to swim to shore, probably about an hour. By then the coast guard had been alerted by folks on the beach and they got to my still-floating kite about the time I got to the beach and notified the local ranger who was supervising things that I was associated with the kite. When I retrieved my kite I was very apologetic, but the CG guys said they appreciated the practice. This was in Delaware.

On the topic of costs of rescue, I have been involved in four other kite-related rescues, two in Cape Town by lifeguard crews and two in Cape Hatteras by rescue services on the sound, and nobody asked for payment.

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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby dkazhdan » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:08 pm

ThickAir wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:19 pm
If you are out kiting and the wind goes offshore, it's almost never 100% offshore. Even being a few degrees from perpendicular side-off, you can easily self rescue 'sail' the kite back to shore. Worst case, it's perfectly perpendicular 100% offshore. You can still 'sail' the kite upwind. You won't make terrific time, but it's almost definitely going to be faster than swimming. If the wind completely dies, swim your gear in.
wondering how one can sail a downed kite upwind? Is there a special technique? thanks.

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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby Herman » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:16 pm

If you read my previous post you will know that I do not rate the full packdown as the best option for a self recovery. If I can't use the wind I would lay on the kite either lines packed or lines streaming depending on circumstance. Intuitively I think this will give the best thrust to drag ratio. ( I am told even the Thorpedo only got 16% of his thrust in freestyle from his feet and some top triathlete don't bother to kick.) I am confident that this would be true enough in light or no wind.

At some point if you were swimming into a strengthening wind, the windage and drag on the kite etc would equal the thrust that you can develop. At this point you may still be able to make headway by partially deflating the kite and sidestroking. Also at this point I would be thinking that I was having a really bad day and thinking I should have bought some flares and a locator beacon. Maybe if I had purchased that waterproof phone case. I must review how I plan a session....................

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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby Herman » Fri Jun 14, 2019 6:25 pm

Once I'd had those bad those bad thoughts I would reinflate the kite and sail it somewhere or even relaunch it and finish the session before somebody else pointed out that the wind was up again!!!!!!

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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby Herman » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:18 pm

There a plenty of videos of how to sail a downed LEI with handles or more likely the bridle. Usually this is included in a self rescue video. Like every type of sailing it takes practice to optimise your vmg. Not many practice unsurprisingly.

My standard advice is don't ride in offshore winds and know where you are going to drift if something breaks.

Had thought of riding offshore winds with a blade and outer rash vest, idea being that if the wind dropped you could stuff it up the rash vest and swim in! Too old and too much of a pussy to try it now! Anybody done that?

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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby elguapo » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:53 pm

Hugh2 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:53 pm
So I have actually done this, sort of. I wrote it up for KiteForum a few years ago, but briefly, was riding in sideshore conditions doing long gybes in and out on a downwinder and my 16m old Bularoo lost the main valve somewhat less than a mile offshore. I coiled up my lines and released the kite (I don't recall now if the struts remained inflated, but likely not). I had my surfboard and a lifejacket, and it took forever to swim to shore, probably about an hour. By then the coast guard had been alerted by folks on the beach and they got to my still-floating kite about the time I got to the beach and notified the local ranger who was supervising things that I was associated with the kite. When I retrieved my kite I was very apologetic, but the CG guys said they appreciated the practice. This was in Delaware.

On the topic of costs of rescue, I have been involved in four other kite-related rescues, two in Cape Town by lifeguard crews and two in Cape Hatteras by rescue services on the sound, and nobody asked for payment.
good lord dude.
i'm thinking about after that 2nd rescue i'd be looking at an alternative hobby.

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RickI
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Re: Offshore windshift ---> Lost Kite

Postby RickI » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:17 pm

By the way, these offshore wind shifts are common in Florida, likely elsewhere too for similar reasons. Some of the main ones here include:

1. Passage of a front with the customary rough 90 degree wind shift. So, things can be going great, a dry or wet frontal boundary passes by and boom, the wind shifts offshore and may drop in speed too in other cases it can go nuclear and blow you well offshore even with your kite on the water. We lost an experienced kiter in CT some years back when this happened.

2. Good thermal winds later in the afternoon and/or around sunset when the warmth falls out of the thermal and the wind drops or reverts to the broader offshore flow that was masked by the coastal thermal winds.

The smart money, rider, knows about this stuff in advance and acts early before the usually predictable wind change messes up your day.


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