Kitesurfer Circumnavigates Isle of Wight
At 08.32 on Sat 24 May, local Isle of Wight kitesurfer, James Meaning, set off from Yarmouth (IOW) to attempt a feat that many have failed at previously.
Despite strong wind warnings 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. Powered by a 13m kite, James managed to maintain speeds averaging over 15 knots.
Wind and wave conditions were favourable until James reached St Catherine's 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.
James now faced a 20 mile slog of tacking 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 too 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, in a record time of six 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.
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