Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Sailing a kite board is not like sailing a sailboat. But you already figured that out. Didn't you?

One of the basic differences is in how they regulate there 'sail' in heavy wind conditions. On a sailboat you start trimming. More tension on the back stay. Flattening reef. Leeward with the traveler. Or even reefing the mainsail and changing the jib.

Kite boarders don't have those options. Sure you can - to a certain extend - de-power your kite by letting go of the handle bar. But the size of the kite stays the same.....

Or does it?

No, it does not. Any skilled kite boarder has a range of kites varying from 6 to 18 m2. Eight or seven of them. He or she picks the kite most suitable for the wind conditions and their own mass. Heavier, stronger riders, choose bigger kites. Smaller people need less square footage and choose a smaller size. And that's also how they cope with stronger winds. More wind equals smaller kites.

The International Kiteboard Class Rules however, have a limit on the number of kites you can use for an event. For a sailboat I can understand that you want to limit the number of sails - sound economical issues are to be considered. But to do the same for kiteboarders is like tying a knot in your sheet. You are not allowed to trim your main out any further. No matter how hard the wind is blowing. You must sail with a tight sheet.

Riders must judge the wind conditions for an event - look at the forecasts and choose three sizes they want to use. Those three kites are registered at the beginning and only those three they are allowed to use.

We all know how predictable weather can be. Those weather guys never get it wrong.
So that's fair, no?


You're on the north German shore of the North sea. One day it is a balmy 23 degrees, with sunshine and low 8 to 14 knot breeze. The next day it's blowing your socks off, with rain and 42 knots wind.
But those weather guys saw that coming weeks ahead.....

There's wind, let's go kiting.

The amazing thing is that kiteboarder go sailing in those conditions... provided they can use their smaller kites. They love it. No wave to high, no breeze to strong. They just go faster.... and higher.....

The Race Committees for next year's World Cup events have a surprise coming. When every other class stays ashore because the wind is too strong.... kiteboarders will want to go racing!

Unless they are forced in using a limited number of kites...... or even only one.


1 comment:

  1. When a sailboat is out of control due to high wind it may go onto the rocks and the sailors may drown if all goes badly. When a kiteboarder is out of control his unprotected body is at the mercy of the wind and it can be slammed violently against any hard object nearby and that includes not only rocks but buildings, cliffs, etc. I have no idea of statistics but I have talked with local kiteboarders and these things happen - although usually with inexperienced kiteboarders.


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