LOCAL ISLE OF WIGHT KITESURFER COMPLETES ‘FIRST EVER’ CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT IN NEAR GALE FORCE CONDITIONS
At 08.32 hours sat 24th May, today local isle of wight kite surfer James Meaning set off from Yarmouth (IOW) to attempt a feat which many have failed at previously. Despite strong wind warning’s and adverse tide conditions James set off under rib (rigid inflatable boat) escort to complete the first ever circumnavigation of the isle of wight using a kitesurfing board. Using a board no longer than four feet in length, and powered by a powerful 13sq metre kite, James managed to maintain speeds averaging over 15 knots.
Wind and wave conditions were favourable until James reached St Catherines Point, the most southerly tip of the island, where the seas are notoriously difficult. To make matters worse the wind increased to over 25 knots (Force 6) with the most difficult task ahead.
As most people know kites fly with great ease downwind, at St Catherines however, James now faced a 20 mile slog of ‘tacking’ the kite directly upwind in a 25 knot ‘Nor Easter’ to reach the most easterly tip of the island at Bembridge. With grit and determination and against all odds, James managed to hang on upwind, and onto the final turn downwind from Bembridge to Cowes and back to Yarmouth.
Whilst passing Cowes and blasting back to Yarmouth, James was only to aware of the busy bank holiday yachts and shipping traffic that could easily destroy his record.James, completely exhausted but elated, returned to Yarmouth at 2.45pm today, in a record time of 6 hours 13 minutes !
What makes this such an extraordinary achievement is that James had to cover almost 100 miles at an average 15 knots in order to complete the 55 mile circumnavigation.