The most important things you can do are:
- Choose the right kite size for the wind forecast, noting that a little bit more is better than not quite enough
- Make sure you train appropriately. You will need endurance and may encounter a variety of conditions (e.g. bay swell, strong wind, light wind).
- Use the correct equipment. Don't use any new equipment for the first time on the day.
- Have fun!
Safety is our number one priority
Safety is the most important part of the event. Safety measures include:
- 12 rescue boats - some will accompany kiters, others will be based at gates.
- Personal tracking devices
- Gate system keeping you reasonable close to the shore - you must go through the gates
- Group riding (10 riders) with 2 experienced Team Leaders (carrying VHF radios and kitesurfing with your group)
- Water Police and Coast Guard on-call for emergency
- Westpac Rescue Helicopter on-call for emergency
- Event plan submitted to all relevant authorities
- Training program for all participants, noting that all participants must be experienced kitesurfers
More information: Safety - Across The Bay to Conquer Cancer
Kite conservatively: This event is an exciting long distance tour. Kitesurf within your limits and focus on conserving energy, relaxing your arms and legs when possible. Don't jump or do tricks.
Self rescue: All riders must perform a full self rescue procedure prior to the event, including:
- Winding kite lines in (making sure to allow at least 1.5m slack for the rear lines)
- Flip the kite over so it is upside down (wingtips pointing skyward)
- Sailing the kite in using a wing tip of the kite
- After you have wound your lines in you can detach your leash from the bar and use it to secure your board by looping it through a footstrap
Going downwind is different from kitesurfing back and forth upwind. As you follow the kite partially downwind the wind around you will seem to drop and your kite may fall out of the sky.
Some techniques to practice are:
- Keep good board and kite speed to keep apparent wind across the kite
- Keep edging the board a little and pull the bar in further to power the kite and keep your speed up
- Sine the kite (as you do in lower wind conditions) to generate more power and more apparent wind
- Use giant slalom turns from heelside to toeside to vary your stance and the muscle groups you are using - this will help you avoid cramps
- Use different tacks and stances. Turn from heelside to toeside then track toeside for a while, then turn from toeside back to heelside
- Use downloops to keep going if the wind drops off.
Handling strong winds or a squall
Participants will be kitesurfing for over four hours. Wind conditions are likely to vary during that period.
If the wind drops make sure you keep your kite flying as long as possible!
Strong gusts can overpower you and send you airborne with very serious consequences. You can wreck your gear and get seriously injured.
If very strong wind comes through,
- Stay out to sea so you have a better safety margin away from hard objects.
- Trim your kite to maximum depower setting
- Keep your kite low if a squall hits. Worst case you get dragged sideways, but this is much better than being lofted. Do not park your kite at 12!
- Ride with one hand on your safety so you can release the kite to the safety line quickly if you need to.
- If you are getting dragged and there is danger, release your bar and deploy your safety #1.
- If you are still getting dragged too fast or risk being lofted, release your leash and the kite with it (safety #2)
Equipment for kitesurfers
- PFD Type 1, 2 or 3 or equivalent flotation device
- Event lycra shirt
- Tracking Device (1 per kiters) in a waterproof pouch
- Wetsuit - use a warmer suit than you would usually
- Water (drink bladder)
- Line knife
- Whistle on a lanyard
Optional equipment (recommended):
- Helmet - with reflective tape. Strongly recommended.
- PLB/EPIRB (personal)
- Snacks (e.g. energy gel)
Rules for participants
- Kiters will travel in allocated groups (up to 10 kiters) based on their skills and ability. Groups will depart at different times and travel independently.
- If you lose contact with your group the crossing director or Team Leader may advise rescue boats and emergency services (Coast Guard and Water Police) that you are out of the event
- Kiters are not to join other groups until Ricketts Point - stay in your designated group
- Kiters groups must stick together - if one kiter stops, the group should stop with them until situation is resolved
- Each group will have two Team Leaders, each will carry VHF radios and lead the group
- Gate system - all kiters will travel through designated gates that will be provided by Yacht Clubs along the course
- Crossing Director has full control and authority - any decision they make is final
- Boat skippers may make decisions to pick up kitesurfers. Any decisions they make are final.
- Lead boat will in front of all kitesurfers. Do not go far past this boat.
- Avoid kitesurfing just behind or too close to boats. Its best to kite where the skipper can see you easily, off to the side and just in front, or well to the rear.
- Avoid shipping channel - it should not be crossed
- Rear boat will stay behind all kitesurfers.
- Only activate an EPIRB (if you have one) if there is grave or imminent threat of danger.
- Every rider in a group must go through each 300 meter wide gate and will be officially checked in and out.
- A rescue boat crew will be responsible for this task at each gate.
Note: Kiters not accounted for at a gate when their group passes through it may be designated missing and emergency procedures activated.
GPS coordinates for start, finish and gates (Degrees, Decimal Minutes)
|Start Point – Rosebud Pier ||38 21.005S||144 54.450E|
|Gate 1 - Martha Point|
(approx. 1.0NM bearing 280 mag from Martha Point)
|38 17.665S ||144 57.585E|
|Gate 2 – Mornington (MYC)|
(approx. 2.0NM bearing 270 mag from Mornington Green Channel Marker)
|38 13.535S ||144 58.983E |
|Gate 3 – Frankston (FYC)|
(approx. 2.0NM bearing 270 mag from Frankston Boat Ramp)
|38 9.103S ||145 4.012E |
|Gate 4 – Mordialloc (MSC)|
(approx. 2.0NM bearing 240 mag from Mordialloc Pier)
|38 1.665S ||145 2.802E |
|Gate 5 – Sandringham (SYC)|
(approx. 0.13NM bearing 270 mag from Fixed Mark “SYC 4”)
|37 56.816S ||144 59.181E|
|Gate 6 – Brighton (RBYC)|
(approx. 0.5NM bearing 270 mag from end of RBYC Breakwater)
|37 54.346S ||144 58.211E |
|Finish Point – Port Melbourne Yacht Club ||37 50.609S ||144 56.194E |
More information: Safety - Across The Bay to Conquer Cancer
This map provides details on start and finish locations.
NOTE: Gate locations and the route on this map are approximate. Exact locations are specified above.
There is an aquaculture operation off shore between Mt Martha and Mornington that has:
- Yellow buoy markers - 3 in a line running offshore)
- Black drums acting as floats for ropes
- Ropes suspended below the drums for shellfish cultures
Pass these obstacles at a safe distance, stay well away.
The black drums and ropes are very difficult to see in the water.
Kiter to Boat
|Kiters signal||Meaning |
|Tap head with hand||Pick me up|
|Thumbs up||I'm OK|
|Waving 1 or 2 arms (in water)||Attention, I need assistance|
|Arm stretched out pointing||I intend to go that direction|
|1 arm up (while kiting)||I am slowing or stopping|
Boat to Kiter
|Flags ||1 to side||GO that direction|
| ||1 above head||SLOW DOWN|
| ||2 above head ||SPEED UP|
| ||2 out to each side ||STOP|
| ||Attention ||2 waving |
|Horn ||1 blast ||Slow down/ attention |
| ||2 blasts ||Speed up|
| ||1 long blast ||Head to shore and land |
|Hand||Tap head with hand||Stop, we will pick you up|
Rescue by boat
If being rescued by a boat:
- Wind your kite lines in (as per self rescue)
- Stay with the kite. You can sit on the leading edge if its upside down
- You can also deflate the leading edge - but only if struts are locked off. Don't let water get into the valve!
- Follow all directions of the boat crew