The Downwinder PT2 – Dan’s version

Dan’s Story

Rich, Seb, Martin and I met up at Saltcoates to weigh up the “Downwinder”. After some faffing about we decided it was ON!! Left Sebs van and drove on down in the Love Mobile to Prestwick, where we found an awesome beach for kiting (although not much room at high tide). After endlessly discussing kite and board combinations, we pumped up at set off down the coast. Found some nice waves at the rocks in-between Prestick and Troon south beach. Then it was across to Troon harbour. Was absolutely awesome riding the big swells and not having to worry about staying upwind. Nice to just jump and jump, and jump, and jump. Tried taking some photos while kiting, but its difficult kiting one-handed while framing the shot (only got the one really, unless you count a very blurry Martin)! Everything was going great – even gybed round a yacht outside the harbour and then boosted off the bow wave, until when I was fairly close to Barassie beach my chicken loop exploded. Aaaaahhhhhh, spent the next few minutes trying to jury rig it, but failed
miserably as the kite didn’t seem to be fully powered (weird). In the end I just hung onto the bar and dragged into the beach. Managed to rip my fingers up getting in, but could then make an on-the-fly repair and we carried on.

Unfortunately the wind died before we got to Irvine. I was a bit behind so walked back to Barassie, while the rest of the team went and got Sebs van. Ended up freezing my ass off waiting on the beach. When the van got to the beach I was shivering uncontrollably – man that van was a welcome sight.
Seb post kite looking slightly mad
Despite the mishaps, this was o
ne of the best kiting experiences I have ever had. if only the wind had stayed a bit longer and my chicken loop hadn’t gone AWOL. The big question is…. Who’s coming on the next DOWNWINDER?????

The downwinder and then it dropped

It all started so well – well apart from the fact that when we said wheels rolling at 9:15am Martin took that to mean Wagon Wheels in his morning cup of tea. seb and I were at the finish point – I had put on new lines before Dan and Martin turned up.
Left Sebs transporter there then all piled into Dan’s camper and headed up (or is it down SOUTH) to the start point at Prestwick beach.
MARTIN thinking of food not kiting – lazy late sleeper man

There was a bit of umming and ay’ing about the miles ahead before we all motivated each other to pull finger and rig up. There was all that what size chat – I opted for DCBOARDZ quad and 7m Halo (wind reading was 27 knots on the beach) and others were on 7m IONS and Dan was on his 8m GK sonic.

Wind seemed to pick up as I launched kite – Martin said it was over 30 knots so I swapped surfboard for the Airush Hammer, and with all kites in the air it was time to head off.
Everybody got out and we headed up the coast. Lots of playing in the surf – heading out and carving on the waves and coming in toeside.

Wind was SW which meant it wasn’t a reach in and out …. also meant we head to point up to sneak between the rocks just south of the beach at troon. We all headed up well west of the rocks near troon south and headed out giving the harbour a wide berth ….. Came in a few hundred metres from the harbour mouth, not because we needed to shoot into the shore at Barassie but rather for Dan and me to buzz the yacht that was beating under heavily reefed mainsail and small jib into the harbour. I settled with passing close behind it but Dan cut in front of it went gybing around it toeside and popped some air on it’s quarter wake.
Showing his credentials until his chicken loop snapped and he lost his board …. He retrieved his bar piulled on as much downhaul as he could and then dragged into shore. Martin retrieved his board and I went ahead to be on shore to grab his sonic.

Dan Cam just before the chicken loop fiasco

After losing his fingertips (well not quite) and wasting a pint of blood and 30 mins resetting his kite we headed off as a foursome again. By now the wind was dropping and we had no power to play. I cut into the stinky rocks just north of Barassie too tightly and lost a bit of fin to the rocks ….. b*gger. And then all of us were downlooping and sine’ing the kites to keep power. Dan has bodged a repair on his chicken loop so he went in to walk the 2 miles back to Barassie. We headed on but were forced to come in … checked the gps and it was 2nm back to Barassie (and no car) or 1 n-mile to Irvine where we could try cadge a lift or otherwise leave everyone and kit while I ran the last 2 n miles up the beach to get the van. Luckily we got a lift – and by this time everyone was pretty cold and miserable. But when will we do it again?

Wind report for the day – you can see how the wind tailed off and killed us

The Downwinder

“Lets do it..” we said at 11pm tonight in the pub. The downwinder is ON

Plan is to leave Saturday from Prestwick beach (unless Jolene decides to go into labour) and kite up the coast (around the odd island waypoint) to Saltcoats. 16,5 nautical miles straight line so lets figure 30 odd having fun. Should be about 2-3 hours if we take our time.

So far Ed, Dan and Martin seem keen to play. Ed has said “I have flares … ” ~Great lets hope we dont need them