Monday, May 18, 2009
Madman Across the Water: Kitesurfing the English Channel
Madman Andy Ward will attempt to kitesurf the English Channel. Not content with the shortest distance between two points (that's been done already) Andy's proposed route is about 70 nautical miles. He expects the challenge to take anywhere from six to eight hours to complete - if he has Force 5 winds at his back!
What may seem at first blush to be a foolhardy stunt Andy's "Kite the Channel 2009" is a meticulously researched endeavor to raise funds for the The Special Boat Service Association. The SBSA is a British Naval group, comparable to the Navy Seals. The Association assists injured members and bereaved families of the Service.
The 33 year-old father to five is expected to set sail in late August or early September depending on Mother Nature. The exact date will become known closer to departure based on a combination of favorable wind, current and tide conditions. The 70+ mile journey from Alderney, in the Channel Islands, to Poole in the UK will make it the longest crossing of the Channel by a kitesurfer. For someone who has only been kitesurfing for three years Andy's plan is rather ambitious.
The support of a crew is an essential component in any risky proposition and this is certainly a risky proposition. As he will be surfing in busy Channel shipping lanes Andy's four-man crew will not only have to watch out for him they must also be mindful not to capsize their own boat from the tanker swells that they will surely encounter. On board to offer moral support will be Andy's girlfriend.
With three months left to prepare Andy's longest endurance run to date in the water has been 31 miles...less than half the distance needed for his planned assault of the English Channel.