Watch the video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPDLa63Bje8
Dave Robertson has become the first successful Kite Boarder to complete the PIC Coastal Classic from Auckland to Russell. His time of 7hours 28mins makes him the fastest solo sailor and board sailor to complete the 120nm race.
A buzzing Robertson on the finish line said of his achievement, ‘I’m stoked, it has been a 10 year dream in the making. Finally knocked it off which was awesome’.
Robertson also praised his sponsors, Predict Wind, Sea Blade and Ozone as well as his support team ‘From my wife who made the sandwiches to the companies that sponsored me it was a great feeling to know I had the best equipment possible. Whenever I stopped for a break, the team always greeted me with smiles and messages from my followers, it was great motivation’.
The support crew on the Sea Blade support boat, which is renowned for its sea keeping, took footage throughout the day and this can be viewed at http://coastalclassickite.co.nz/, and the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coastal-Classic-Kite/1550340468517721
It was a Herculean effort by Robertson who spent most of the journey over 20knots and at times close to 30knots. At times the support crew had difficulty getting him to stop and rest.
‘There was a stretch after Whangarei Heads when I was so focussed on going fast and was in the groove. It wasn’t until the guys on the Sea Blade would call me in that I realised I needed an energy boost’.
There was little navigation on the journey as most of it had been planned in Predict Wind with some minor alterations specific to a kite boarder. ‘We were pretty confident of the best route and we only had to make a few decisions on the course to allow for what we were seeing out there at the time. The support crew used Predict Wind to help make the calls, this was invaluable in the Cape Brett Area’.
Robertson changed to the foiling board about 5 miles prior to Cape Brett and then sailed a mile outside of Percy Island (Hole in the Rock). ‘I foiled from here to the finish line and I watched a few yachts cut the corner and sail into a big wind hole between Cape Brett and Percy Island’.
The Yachts he saw were the 80 foot maxi Beau Gueste and former Volvo Ocean Racing 70 footer Giacomo who were the leading monohulls, Team Vodafone sailing had already finished in a record time of 5 hours 13minutes. (read Beau Gueste’s testimony here: http://www.livesaildie.com/kiting-the-2014-coastal-classic-the-video/)
Robertson who is a Yachting New Zealand coach showed his real strength in the planning for the day. ‘I knew that if I did not change gear too much I had the best chance of completing, but I had to be prepared to change gear when needed. Luckily I did not have to change kites as the Chrono I used has a huge wind range and was easily depowered’.
Robertson sailed the whole race on an Ozone Chrono which is a new style of kite that does not require an inflated leading edge and instead uses wind pressure generated by the kite itself.
When asked what the highlight was Robertson said ‘Definitely finishing over an hour faster than my goal! But I had an interesting moment on the foiling board in the Bay of islands when I was bearing down on a shark that was sunbathing. This shark was about 3 times longer than my board and I narrowly missed it. It was a pretty intense time’.
This year was also marked the 4th attempt to kite board the route for Ben Turner who successfully completed the race in a time of 9 hours 50 minutes. Turner sailed lower earlier in the race and was in different winds. Unfortunately for him he had to change kites at Cape Brett after getting caught out in no wind.