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 Post subject: Sharing the Lake
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:24 am 
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I think it's time we open up this topic once again. Hopefully through our dialog we can find some solutions to help ensure everyone can enjoy their day at the lake.

A few windsurfers have expressed concerns about riding in close proximity to kiters. In many places around the world this issue has forced the two to separate their launches, unfortunately we don't have the luxury to do this. We share our launches...and hopefully we can continue to share the stoke.

Unfortunately this issue is getting magnified as new kiters enter the scene that have no knowledge of windsurfing, and vice versa. I think part of the issue is not understanding how we each use the wind to ride, what we can and cannot do to avoid eachother, as well as some carelessness on both parts, I know when I'm in my zone, I tend to loose track of everything around me. Unfortunately when we are riding so close, in launches such as White Bear, we need to recognize and respect everyones ride.

So let's generate some solutions. I want to avoid any finger pointing. What are some ideas of how we can reduce anxiety on the water?

my thoughts:
I don't think it is feasible to have kiters downwind and windsurfers upwind. When I ride either board, I ride just upwind of the launch, if the wind backs off, I can make it back. If kiters were forced downwind, we'd always be doing the walk, and beginning windsurfers can't always stay upwind.

Maybe we change the right of way rules. When kiters and windsurfers are on the same tack coming from opposite sides, kiters always give way. It doesn't happen that much and could help.

We all need to look before we jibe, jump or transition. This one is pretty obvious.

I do not ride the crowded spots that many of these incidents have occurred. I think the issues are much less at larger lakes, though as the numbers increase, their next. I am just trying to start the dialog. I encourage anyone that has ideas about this to speak up. Let's avoid a "we/them" accusation and focus on solutions.

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 Post subject: Re: Sharing the Lake
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:33 am 
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Location: 44.9286, -93.60828
Tighe wrote:
When kiters and windsurfers are on the same tack coming from opposite sides, kiters always give way.


Don't understand how this is possible. If two sailors are on Starboard tack, how can they be coming in opposite directions?

If people would just follow theses rules, plus kite high/kite low rules, many problems would be solved.

1.) Starboard tack - has ROW
2.) Overtaking vessel - gives way
3.) Downwind vessel on same tack - has ROW

http://kitesurfingschool.org/rules.htm


Kite high/kite low rules mentioned in above link make sense. Sailors on converging paths should do this: Upwind kiter keeps kite high, downwind kiter keeps kite low. in the case of windsurfer and kiter converging, upwind kiter should also keep kite high.

So.....even though a kiter on a Starboard tack may have ROW over a windsurfer on Port tack they should still keep the kite high as a courtesy.


I think we need to iron these out. Link to a nice printable page and then make sure everyone prints and understands them. Nice if a few power boaters new them also.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:14 pm 
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Sorry Tom I may not have stated that correctly. I meant to say one on a starboard and one on a port tack.

I have not heard any issues between kiters or between windsurfers, the issues I have been hearing are between kiters and windsurfers.

Two people asked me to address this but the fact that this hasn't gotten much response means they may be isolated incidences.

If you have an incident arrise on the water that you were uncomfortable with, take the time to try and discuss it with whomever was involved...openly.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:43 pm 
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I think this is definately an issue worth discussing. Especially at the smaller lakes like WBL. When 4-5 kiters come to Ramsey on an onshore wind, I have found myself feeling caught way to close to kite lines way to many times. I always try and get up wind as fast as possible and stay clear of the kiters. I think part of the issue for windsurfers is that a kiter takes up an large swathe of water when coming at you.
Some more defined ROW info would be very helpful
I would like to think though, that We can all continue to enjoy the wind together. I enjoy watching the kiters!!!!!!!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 8:48 pm 
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Location: sblain@frontiernet.net
I think most people on the water around here are reasonable people.
We should obey the rules,the sailing rules, that Tom outlined. But if someone gets in your way or you don't understand what happened ask them, talk to them. We all share the wind , most the kiters windsurf too so we understand how it feels to be on a board and see a damn big kite over your head.
Always try to be considerate though, if you see someone is struggling don't try to enforce the rules, just give them space regardless of what they are riding. It's cruel to call starboard (but very satisfying) on a tailwalking or spinning out windsurfer or an upside down body dragging kiter.
All jet skis are fair game and can be hit , sunk or garrotted unless being ridden by Scott Ridout. Despite what you may think this is currently politically correct!.
Education and discussion are everything and if someone doesn't seem to know whats going on talk to them. Preferably without expletives. ( note to self!)
Oh by the way the rules apply to everyone unless you see Judd coming to wards you, then if your're kiting, windsurfing or even in a bloody motor boat get off the lake it's not safe.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2005 10:32 pm 
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Judd jumped right over me at the Hatchery a few years ago. huh huh, huh huh That was cool.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 7:21 pm 
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Location: sblain@frontiernet.net
I hear of late that Judd has jumped over just about every thing, a wake buddy of mine got in his way on Cedar last year and Judd cleared his boat .Fortunately Jamie thought it was the coolest thing and has since started to kite!.
Come on Judd you are allowed to defend yourself!. No defense ?.
As I said if Judd's on the water run.... if he wasn't so damned cute I'd have sworn at him by now.
My thanks go to Dianne because he was far worse before that angel came along and made an honest man out of him. Way to go Dianne, thanks for your contribution to the safety of all lake users!.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:39 pm 
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Location: MN
I definitely think this is a healthy discussion. Since I only windsurf, I don't know what the kiter may or may not be capable of. On the water, when I see those lines I just want to get the bleep out of the way. I've got an escape plan if need be--jump off board and hide under sail---- I've heard and read about the horror stories and don't want any part of that. I've seen lines come close to swimmers at Malmo (since it's so shallow there the swimmers that are mostly kids can walk quite far out) and have gotten nervous on the beach watching. But, like I said, I don't kite and don't know what the kiter is capable of at any given moment. I am open to learning what the best options are for us all to share the wind.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 10:26 pm 
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Jenny..a good tip is look at the kiter near you and see if they look calm and relaxed and in control. If they look as though they are fighting the kite a little...now is a good time to turn around and go the other way. Regardless of the rules.
It is easy for a kiter to steer the kite so it will not get in the way of boarders, it is easy if the kiter is in control. If we have lost temporary control taking the kite high can be a struggle.
When a kiter rides they use the edge of the board digging in the water to act like your fin. If we get a big gust and we have too much kite or we were not prepared for the gust the extra wind will slowly lift the kiter off their edge. Just like a windsurfer when you get too much air under the board and around the fin we spin out. It is the same effect and result, we go downwind sideways very fast. At this point just like a windsurfer it's hard to steer.Another thing that can happen is when we get pulled off the edge we can recover but we are going downwind like a speeding bullet. Again not a good time for us to be steering the kite up over a windsurfer.
If you see kiters going on the equivalent of a broad reach very fast try to stay out of the way, if they are going sideways also a good time to stay out of the way. If the kiters going upwind or on a reach, they are matching your speed, things should be cool. If you are downwind of the kiter look to see the kite going higher in the air to clear you. If it does not look as though the kites going higher shout at the kiter,( the correct sailing term would be windward boat keep clear or WINDWARD to be blunt), to make sure they have seen you.
I would say it's never a good idea to pass downwind of a kiter closer than 30 ft, but you should not really pass that close downwind of a windsurfer either.
Kiters are very concerned about not making windsurfing a dangerous sport because of us, I was figuring it out the other day that I have been windsurfing for over 30 years( you'd think I'd have learned a lot more in that time than I did)So the people I'm potentially scaring are old ,and in most cases I mean old friends.
I tried to give you some visual clues for your safety. My rule for myself is when in doubt go the other way, after you have looked to make sure it is clear behind you.
With beginners just stay out of the way, there is no predictability, just like a beginner windsurfer.
Use the sailing rules, starboard has right of way ( your right hand is on the front of the boom you're on starboard) Windward boat stay clear ( the person closest to where the wind is coming from direction wise) And over taking boat keep clear. Another good one in sailing terms is " water to clear an obstruction" just because someone is windward of you does not give you the right to keep pointing higher and higher until you drive them onto a fishing boat. For this rule the shore of a lake is usually considered an obstruction too. If someone has turned onto port to avoid an obstruction, say a barge in the gorge,it's against the rules although amusing to call starboard and force them into the path of the barge again.
I suppose boarheads could always call out to a kiter" are you in control?" If their eyes are wide, muscles tensed and they don't answer...good time to gybe.
Don't forget the Judd rule still applies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2005 11:48 pm 
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Great info for non kiters Steve. Thanks for taking the time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:24 am 
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yes I agree, great info Steve.

I'll add a bit.

If you see a kiter moving his kite up and down in the air fairly quickly, that usually means he/she is underpowered. It is our equivalent (sorta) of pumping the sail. There really isn't a schlogging state in kiting, though this is pretty close. This less powered state means we are trying to hold our ground and not get pulled down wind. We are less likely to shoot upwind in these times (unless we hit a windline or gust) and more likely to slowly be going downwind. It is also much more difficult to ride the kite high in this situation and let a windsurfer pass underneath, cause that would mean we'd be in the water, and the kite could fall out of the sky, which would be bad for everyone. I would stay upwind or clear of a kiter rapidly moving their kite up and down.

As Steve mentioned our boards are our fins. We are well powered if there is a large fan of water coming off our board. Unless we are clearly surfing the swells, if a kiter is riding their board flat in the water like a windsurfer, they are either a beginner or very underpowered (which would be accompanied by the kite going up and down)

While it may look like the kite is directly downwind of us, the kite is actually downwind and in front of us, as much as 80 degrees off the wind. when we turn, the kite will swing through (or over) downwind and come across to the other side off the wind. Therefore, if you approach from behind, consider your distance to the kiter and not the kite. Be aware any time you are within 100 ft of a kiter, a simple transition could move the kite 150-200 ft closer to you. This excemplefies the need to always look before you turn.... EVERYONE.

Kites cannot fly upwind of kiters. Passing a kiter 10ft upwind of them is far safer than passing 75ft downwind of them.



While I feel like this dialog has done a lot to let windsurfers know what kiters are all about and when we are less safe to approach, etc., I hope we've covered some of the main concerns. The people who had approached me we looking for some specific protocol, or guidelines to be established. Do we need these? Reading the above it seems like the windsurfers are getting the crappy end of the deal. Should we try to establish some...for lack of a better word...etiquette specific to these crowded spaces?

Otherwise hopefully, this dialog will have helped us understand our brothers and sisters in the wind.

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 Post subject: Great dialogue!
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:05 am 
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Location: Forest Lake
Seems like our biggest life challenges usually revolve around 'relationship'...how can I have a great time without getting in your way. Jane and I just celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary and the issue of 'right of way' and 'impinging upon another's freedom' have played a major role throughout that 'ride'. You're right, Tighe, there are no 'black and white' rules when it comes to sharing the water, as best illustrated by the cartoon of a windsurfer yelling 'starboard' to the ocean freighter. Similarly, just as soon as I start to think I have the rules figured out in our marriage, I find a new caveat, SURPRISE! What worked before may not work this time.
I was sailing the Hatchery a few weeks ago on a beautiful 4.5M day that to me 'appeared' to be sorely interrupted by a few kiters that insisted upon playing the swell with well over one-hundred windsurfers. They were all exceptionally talented kiters that evidenced great ease in moving in and out of the windsurfers, and they never 'seemed' to get in the way of the windsurfers. All 'rules' were off as we played within inches of each other, both upwind and downwind. The most proficient kiter was very aggressive, riding with a strong offensive attitude. He charged me a few times in what seemed like a 'chicken' manuever, and much like my play with Judd, there was no problem. All was ok until I noticed a slight attitude shift in my head...a slight irritation with his riding style. I think this is where problems are born. I started judging him as 'reckless', started thinking about 'what if' scenarios. It wasn't long after this that we were on the same tack, me on my windsurfer well over 100' downwind of him, when he chose a swell to play, dropped his kite vertical, without awareness to my position. His lines touched the tip of my mast before he bailed, reorganized himself, and quickly left the windsurfing traffic.
At first I was filled with some anger for my perception that he had 'gotten in my way'. Yet, the more I thought about it, I wondered if my 'change in attitude', my 'negative' thinking, had somehow contributed to our near collision. I've never had any near misses when my head's been filled with positive energy vibes towards the happiness of the other rider. Further, I've noticed that when I make extra efforts to alter my course for the ease of another rider, something wonderful happens...either a strong gust finds me on my next pass, a perfect wave pitches up, a juicy swell forms, etc. I know I can't 'expect' a reward for kindness, but so many times, there it is.

I guess all I'm trying to add to this thread is the power of the golden rule...simply ride in the best interests of the 'other' rider as though he/she were you and most on-the-water conflict is avoided. Yes, we need the 'syntax' provided by sailing rules, but the real joy, freedom and safety in sharing the water with others seems to come from our mutual 'intention' for an outrageous day that allows us all to push the window of our performance to the next level.

To all of you reading this, recalling the times I've gotten in your way, I apologize, and hope the next time I can 'show up', 'pay attention', 'do my best', and 'know we simply don't control what happens', regardless to what the 'rules' are. But we can control our attitudes and intentions and this seems to be our best tool to safe riding.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:43 am 
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Thanks a bunch for the visual examples SteveB and Tighe. It really helps me to understand what's happening out there and how to approach when sailing. I appreciate the time you took to explain this. :) I also totally agree with Randy on the 'attitude is everything' approach to sailing and life.... I find opportunities to apply this nearly everyday just driving to work....Thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 6:18 pm 
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I would like to add an additional perspective to this discussion. I found Randy's experience to be a good illustration of the issue of a safety zone around either windsurfers or kiters. Being a windsurfer I am very aware of the space I need to maintain between myself and another windsurfer when either meeting or over taking from behind. This distance varies according to the wind strength and the possibility of getting launched or having someone get launched into me. I am looking for a distance greater than the length of my mast. Probably 1 1/2 times the mast. This is the point that makes me most uncomfortable when sailing with kiters in the same sailing zone. As I watch the kites moving around I am looking at the 1 1/2 times the length of their lines. I would estimate that to about 80 - 100 feet. That is considerably greater than the 25 - 30' zone around a winsurfer. In a tight sailing area like White Bear this becomes a huge issue specificaly when a couple kiters are trying to stay in the same area as dozens of windsurfers.
I realize, as I stated earlier, that this is all dependent on the conditions and the relative skill of the riders, but I wanted the kiters to understand that the perception of safety on the water seems to be different between kiters and winsurfers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:23 am 
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Location: Apostle Islands
I am fairly new to kiteing and I have two rules. 1. stay away from shore
2. don't get in anyones way.
In places like white bear on a SE I don't think it is a good idea to be down wind of the windsurfers that would put me to close to the beach, the last thing I wan't to do is hurt a bystander or my self if I get lofted.
2 If I feel I am on a collision corse with a windsurfer I put the kite high and sit in the water or go down wind quick to get the windsurfer up wind of me this is eaven is I am on a starbord tack. stoping for a few seconds to keep the chances of hurting someone minimal, dosn't bother me.
I think kiters downwind / windsurfers up wind works great in places like SPI with lolts of space. we don't have that kind of space in MN with the exception of milly


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:55 am 
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Another factor (which happes all too often) is the woefully underpowered windsurfer/kiter.. have you been in the situation where you're "just trying to get back to the beach dammit!" only to be forced further downwind by another windsurfer/kiter.

From my perspective, if I'm well powered up I will yield to the poor shlogging devil and regain my ground once past them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 1:34 pm 
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Boy do we have the windsurfers trained on Cedar lake or what. Nice post Mike I still love ya. I think Mikes point of give and take is a good one.
I want to bring up a point that Stroh highlights when he says he will give way even if he's on starboard. The idea of the rules of the water is so people understand what other sailors are going to do, it creates a sitiuation where the behaviour of another sailor is predictable. If all of a sudden a kiter stops and sinks, while very generous it creates unpredictability. Now another sailor may not know what is the safest course. Whereas if you held your course on starboard the sailor knows whats happening and can adjust their course accordingly, more critical there will be no collision caused by a misunderstanding.All be it a generous well intentioned snafu.
If you hold starboard John and the wind dies, you sink, now we rely on the generosity of the other sailors not to run you down.
Just a thought.
The thing I'm really psyched about is how accomodating everyone wants to be......Cool!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 2:20 pm 
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good point Steve, I will hold my line on a starbord tack from now on. :oops:
It is verry good that Tigh brought this up, cause before this thred I had no Idea what the rules were amongst sailers. I just always tried to yeld :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:16 pm 
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I'm not at all convinced by the theory that kiters should follow the usual right of way rules for sailboats. I think the kites take up so much room and are so dangerous to other traffic that it's perfectly appropriate for them to be more generous in yielding right of way than the rules require. Over the past few years windsurfing I've had several kiters yield way when they didn't really have to -- even to the point of sinking -- and I appreciated it very much.

Of course we have to share the water, wind, and waves ... but if one sailor is taking up 100 feet and the other is taking up 5 feet of right away bubble, the traditional rules end up being very unfair to the one who is taking up only 5 feet. (To be concrete: for a windsurfer to yield to a kiter by going around the kite and kiter is requiring the windsurfer to move *a lot*. OTOH, for the kiter to go around the windsurfer will be just a few feet if the kiter can get upwind.)

I'm also concerned about the theory that windsurfers should be sailing under kiter lines frequently. I realize that good kiters can fly their kites safely over my head most of the time, but (a) I can't tell just before we cross paths whether you're a good kiter or not; and (b) even expert kiters occasionally get killed by freak occurrences they didn't expect. I respect your right to take that risk for the stoke -- but I did not sign on to take that chance myself!

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:30 pm 
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Location: sblain@frontiernet.net
if you read the Kitemares where people have been killed they are almost due to 2 causes. 1) riding in stormy conditions when they should have stayed on the beach. 2) having finished their session they for some reason don't drop the kite and walk with the kite in the air. A gust comes and they hit something on land.
There is always the freak accident, windsurfers die every year too 2 in SPI this year,but planning and courtesy hopefully help us to avoid accidents.
Unfortunately you can't really have different rules for different wind driven craft, it would mean you'd have to learn more than one set of rules so you could understand what was going to happen when you get close to one another.
I agree that kites take up more space. I don't think it is hard to pick out the beginners, truthfully beginner kiters will drift down wind out of the boardheads way very quickly.
We'll work it out, if nothing else all the windsurfers can become kiters and that will be that.


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