It’s been a year since I had imagined the crossing between the two main islands of the French Antilles, just after performing in foil for the first time the trip without assistance between Saint Martin and St. Barts in December 2012
After four weeks of physical, mental and especially logistics and media preparation, the timing of the crossing was December 23, 2013, two days before Christmas! …
The weather window was indeed perfect but very short since it came out 2 weeks of fairly steady wind that had formed significantly the water (dips 4-5 m were announced between the different islands) and a new disturbance from Wednesday announced 25! …
The expedition almost never occur since Monday morning, after waking at 4:15 and a plate of pasta, the equipment and I were ready for a fight at 5:30 am but the journalist Caribbean TV was missing. Following a car accident, she finally arrived around 7:30 and I cut the starting line at 8:38, the time limit was set at 9:00!
The choice of the kite size was essential in these waters where Alizées, although blowing fairly regularly throughout the day (about 20 knots) are sometimes reinforced by a sudden shower (35 knots) and systematically showed a reduction at lunch time (10 knots between 12h and 14h)
I decided, in the light of morning conditions to prepare the 10 Edge on the boat 32m line and to go to the water with 7m Edge mounted 25m, knowing that the foil has a feature to allow riding underpowered, which is still far more comfortable than being overpowered.
Departure under a shower with a near 30 knots wind gave me reason, even though I knew the passage of Dominica might be technical… Indeed, Dominica is an island in high relief, the wind tends to weaken when approached, especially when it was nearly 3 hours behind the timing and it is there between noon and two…
It was one of the moments when I decided to make some pictures with a mini-camera that I attached to the end of a rod the night, hanging on the bar did not convince me during testing. After 4-5 taken, I felt the wind weakened and it was time to get my 2 hands to successfully maintain the foil out of the water…But when I turned to give the camera to the boat follower, I was unpleasantly surprised to see nobody…Seeking all sides where could be my saving boat in particular territory (remember that the off Dominica is the place where the funds are deeper and where the most “bugs” circulating…), I was that fall and fall again as the wind had abated (less than 10 knots) and could not afford to leave…
Fortunately, Edge, whatever the size, is a kite that never wants to fall! So I stayed at least visible of my colleagues I thought…Convinced that only an engine failure could explain this disappearance, I decided to turn around! And that left me in the opposite direction, towards the Martinique! Then, after a few minutes, I turned around, I see the little green and white shell nuts that joined me … Phew! It was a great moment of solitude!
I then left in the direction of Marie-Galante, me away in relief of Dominica, happy to continue the adventure!
I cut the arrival of “Route du Rhum” line 7h02min30s after starting with some Vmax at 26 knots. The 7m Edge finally perfectly fulfilled its role as I did not have to change kite during the crossing!
This is truly the perfect kite for such long distances where wind oscillate between 8 and 30 knots!
Read original article: Ozone News:Benjamin Petit - French Antilles Foil Crossing