The past month and a half on my kite trip to Mexico has been wonderful. I wanted to post a complete breakdown of the events and what I have learned down here.
I started my trip by driving from Kingston to San Diego, with some stops along the way to visit friends. I stopped in San Diego and spent 3 days kiteboarding there. San Diego is a classically VERY light wind location. I was able to test the new 21m Diablo V4 there and it was wonderful. I spent 2 days on the 21m and one day on the 18m.
I recognized one of my weak points in skill was the light wind kiting so I thought this would be a good place to practice for a few days. I was also testing out my new Mikes Lab Bullet 3 foil.
From there, I convoyed with Cody down to La Ventana.
We had nearly one full month of training in La Ventana prior to the Hydrofoil Pro Tour.
I would say that I had approximately 20 out of 30 days on the water. Once in Mexico I only had the opportunity to use the 21m, 18m, and 15m kites a handful of times. Almost every day would consist of waking up early at approximately 0630 or 0700 and having breakfast. After a morning stretch the wind would come in VERY quickly between 1030 and 1130. By the time we could rig up we would usually be on 11m kites and some days we had to fly 9m kites.
Many days we would have 6 of us in a lineup for upwind and downwind training.
Weekly or twice a week we would have race day which was organized by a local kite school. The races would have nearly 20 riders on the start line with some top level racers. As the weeks went on I felt like I was improving and getting much faster in the heavy wind.
A few days before the event started my friends from Canada flew down to kite and visit. Tom was here to compete again. It was a great week for everyone to meet the new friends I had made over the past couple months.
March 4-7: Hydrofoil Protour
There were 45 competitors from around the world including an increase of female competitors which was great to see.
March 4, Day 1: We were scheduled for 6 races for the day. 3 races, a lunch break, followed by 3 races.
I started the day off in a good mind set and felt ready to give it my all. I went out on my 13m kite and the first race I secured a 21st place. Race 2 I retired from after fouling another competitor but I was In the top 15 for most of that race. Race 3, the wind was getting stronger, and I was pushing the 13m into 18knots of breeze. I secured a 17th place finish. This was my top finish of the event and It was due to a clean start near the top 10 riders.
The afternoon was also good with 24th, 19th, 20th place finishes. I am finding that I have some good speed but need to push the limits on the start line to get out in front of the fleet like the top 10 riders do.
March 5, Day 2:
I started out on the 15m kite. I felt very under-powered and had some issues getting speed. I had not used this kite more than once since coming to Mexico. The first race was not nearly as good as day 1 with a 30th place finish. After switching to the 18m, I was able to get some more solid finishes 22nd, 20th, 19th. I had the largest kite on the water during the last few races of the day and it felt very fast. I had a hard time holding onto the upwind in 18 knots while other riders were on 15m and 11m kites. However, once I turned down wind I would pass a bunch of competitors with the speed and depth down wind it provided.
March 6, Day 3: No wind, No racing
March 7, Day 4: Almost no wind, One race was completed.
With winds near 4-6 knots, only 14 competitors of 45 were able to get off the beach to race. I had trouble getting out with the 21m kite. I believe that with better timing and a lot of swimming I could have possibly made it to the start but finishing the race would have been difficult.
My strengths at this event were as follows:
- Moderate breeze sailing in straight lines upwind and down wind
- Upwind maneuvers (tacks), were quite consistent, with almost no falls or touchdowns throughout the event.
- Lay line accuracy.
Areas for improvement:
- Starting line positioning and acceleration while surrounded by a large fleet. I needed to position closer to the favored end of the line with the top 10 riders and hold a line off the start.
- Downwind maneuvers in large ocean swell. I know of 3 gybes that were failed during the event and lost me many positions due to jumping out of a wave.
- Light wind maneuvers and beach exit. I can sail well in light wind but need practice completing tacks in ultra light wind and practice getting off the beach in practically no wind.
Plans going forward:
I will be spending another 2 weeks here in La Ventana training in what is hopefully big breeze, focussing on downwind maneuvers in big swell.
Next I will drive back to Canada with some short stops in San Diego, and possibly San Francisco.
The summer will bring regular training in Kingston. I will work hard in preparation for the Canadian National Team qualifier this summer which is likely going to be at the FORK regatta in Kingston at the end of July.
Prior to this I hope to help organize another Canadian Women’s Kite foil Clinic to introduce more female athletes to the sport.
After that I hope to travel overseas to an event in the fall of 2020. This event will likely depend on changes to scheduling around the COVID-19 virus outbreak. Events are scheduled for china, Italy, and Spain but could change locations.
Early 2021 will likely involve a Miami Sailing World Cup event, shortly followed by a Mexico training block leading up to the Hydrofoil Pro Tour again.