Crissy to Berkeley Downwinder Saga

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Crissy to Berkeley Downwinder Saga

Postby OliverG » Sat Apr 30, 2005 7:42 pm

So I got a heads-up late morning about a big downwinder from Crissy to Berkeley heading out from the Beach at Crissy around. It sounded like there'd be a few of us doing it and it seemed like the wind would be good. Yesterday brought some nice winds and the forescast called for more of the same this afternoon. I was able to hook up a ride from Berkeley which was excellent I live in the East Bay and wouldn't have to head back to Crissy afterwards. Nice!

Image

At Crissy, thirteen total headed out - Chip, Jono, Anthony, Chad, Enrique, Byron, Jeff, Mark, Kathy, John, Charlie, Ovi, and Myself. As soon as we launched and headed out on mostly 12's, it was light. We all started heading downwind towards TI hoping to get some better wind. By Alcatraz, it was clear that it was very light and by then no going back; hadn't been any chance of going back since we launched, really. We all managed to get down to TI milking it pretty good, but it was definitely super-light.

Slowly we all approached TI, and I was behind a couple of other kiters toward the front and focusing on just keeping my kite flying and trying to stay planing, so where everyone else was at, except for those in front of me, I didn't know. Passing TI was good news as Berkeley started to seem that much closer, but shortly after TI is where it got lightest. Everyone was struggling hard, trying to keep the kites turning and flying in super-light winds, sinking down and rising up tyring to get planing. Severely slogging I started aiming for the upper rocky point at the Emeryville Marina. I worked my kite like crazy, sloshing up and down in the water for 5 minutes or so and managed to find a spot of wind and was stoked to get up and planing slowly. I started making a downwind run toward the upper point and past that, the beach at Pt. Emery.

By this time, a couple of kites had gone down, but some managed to wait it out and get enough wind to relaunch. I made it in to the beach after a couple others and then we waited to see who came in. All but two made it in and we didn't see them anywhere so we called the Coast Guard and they either got picked up by them or made it in by other boats as they showed up in a bit. One kiter lost his kite, got picked up by a sailboat and taken downwind to recover the kite, made a grab at the bar, missed and tried again, getting it the second time, relaunching it and eventually making it down the beach. Enrique, who was driving everyone who needed to go back to Crissy, which was 75% of the people, had lost the key to the truck, probably when he was trying to reunite himself with his kite via sailboat, later giving everyone ample time to drink all of the beer, which Chip made a run to replenish, while waiting for the extra keys to arrive.

All in all, an awesome time and killer downwinder across the bay. =P~ I knew we were going to make it, let's do it again sometime! =D>
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Postby bhsu24 » Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:05 pm

Awsome story!!!!!!!!!! Definatly when the winds become more consistant this trip will well worth it. im definatly down to try it. ive thought about doing a cross bay trip but now that some have tried it already i will definatly want to join in on the fun.
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Postby BrianK » Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:59 pm

That explains it!! I have a small view from the dining room over looking the bay to Angel Island in the Marina. Maybe once a year some poor kiter gets caught and gets in our view. Today my wife yelled out ñ ëThereís a kite!í Knowing the tides would be flooding most the day I just though someone couldnít wait and got suckered in. But then we saw another, and another.. Ya'all were working those kites way to much and was happy to be on dry land at for least today.. I agree later in the season itíll be much better. One hell of a way to save on Bart fare. :shock:
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Postby Bob » Sun May 01, 2005 8:49 am

Sounds like anticipation outweighed discretion at the launch!
Sounds like the uber version of kiting Alameda yesterday!

I hate to think that we as a community are begining to rely on the US Coast Guard as a pick-up service to buffer our own stupidity.
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Postby OliverG » Sun May 01, 2005 9:22 am

Everyone who set out on the water were all fully-capable and experienced sailors and fully aware of the conditions and any implications that lack of wind could bring.

If you had been in attendance at the Safety Day Presentation at the St. Francis Yacht Club at Crissy Field last week and listened to the representative from the Coast Guard give his presentation, you'd know what their position on the issue of kiteboarders on the Bay is. They are fully staffed and funded to lend assistance to anyone on the Bay in need, and that includes kiteboarders. We weren't relying on them as part of our trip in any way and at the end of it all, although they were called, it's not clear if they needed to pick anyone up or not. If it's not your cup of tea, no worries, but we'll be OK, don't worry about us. O:)
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Postby Guest » Sun May 01, 2005 11:31 am

Relying on the Coast Guard to pick you up is irresponsible. If this continues you can guarranty that sooner or later action will be taken by the Federal Governement.

There is no doubt that the Coast Guard will do their best to get you off the water as soon as they can.

What you fail to understand is eventually someone in a management type position that oversees Coast Guard Station San Francisco will soon realize that kiters the making irresponsible decisions compounded by poor judgement are costing the tax payers $$$$$.

It is easy for them to save $$$$$ by not allowing kiteboarding in the SF Bay area or restricting it to certain areas.

Also, mentioned in the SFBA safety meeting and strongly requested by the USCG was that kiters and windsurfers that venture far away from the launch area carry a VHF Marine radio. How many kiters were carrying a radio when you set out on this downwinder?? My guess would be zero.

As a fellow kiteboarder I would appreciate you not risking your life and/or our favorite sport.

One last thing the National Weather Service clearly stated the the upper low was causing weather system to be unstable. ?????? Once again more another poor decision to attempt a downwinder with this meteorlogical information. This information is also readily available on a VHF marine radio.

Don't be proud of yourself you should be ashamed. Keep it up and you will soon be a statistic.

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Postby pipedragon » Sun May 01, 2005 12:43 pm

Anonymous wrote:Relying on the Coast Guard to pick you up is irresponsible. If this continues you can guarranty that sooner or later action will be taken by the Federal Governement.

There is no doubt that the Coast Guard will do their best to get you off the water as soon as they can.

What you fail to understand is eventually someone in a management type position that oversees Coast Guard Station San Francisco will soon realize that kiters the making irresponsible decisions compounded by poor judgement are costing the tax payers $$$$$.

It is easy for them to save $$$$$ by not allowing kiteboarding in the SF Bay area or restricting it to certain areas.

Also, mentioned in the SFBA safety meeting and strongly requested by the USCG was that kiters and windsurfers that venture far away from the launch area carry a VHF Marine radio. How many kiters were carrying a radio when you set out on this downwinder?? My guess would be zero.

As a fellow kiteboarder I would appreciate you not risking your life and/or our favorite sport.

One last thing the National Weather Service clearly stated the the upper low was causing weather system to be unstable. ?????? Once again more another poor decision to attempt a downwinder with this meteorlogical information. This information is also readily available on a VHF marine radio.

Don't be proud of yourself you should be ashamed. Keep it up and you will soon be a statistic.

OUT


Dude, I don't know if you realize who this crew was. These are some of the founding fathers and mothers of kiteboarding in the Bay Area. I don't think their intent was to cause any negative vibes for kiteboarding. For one thing Ollie works hard to protect and enhance the sport. Before you make a remark like this take a look at who the people involved are. Also commenting as "guest" is pretty lame!! :?
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Postby OliverG » Sun May 01, 2005 1:44 pm

Anonymous wrote:Relying on the Coast Guard to pick you up is irresponsible. If this continues you can guarranty that sooner or later action will be taken by the Federal Governement.

There is no doubt that the Coast Guard will do their best to get you off the water as soon as they can.

What you fail to understand is eventually someone in a management type position that oversees Coast Guard Station San Francisco will soon realize that kiters the making irresponsible decisions compounded by poor judgement are costing the tax payers $$$$$.

It is easy for them to save $$$$$ by not allowing kiteboarding in the SF Bay area or restricting it to certain areas.

Also, mentioned in the SFBA safety meeting and strongly requested by the USCG was that kiters and windsurfers that venture far away from the launch area carry a VHF Marine radio. How many kiters were carrying a radio when you set out on this downwinder?? My guess would be zero.

As a fellow kiteboarder I would appreciate you not risking your life and/or our favorite sport.

One last thing the National Weather Service clearly stated the the upper low was causing weather system to be unstable. ?????? Once again more another poor decision to attempt a downwinder with this meteorlogical information. This information is also readily available on a VHF marine radio.

Don't be proud of yourself you should be ashamed. Keep it up and you will soon be a statistic.

OUT


Anonymous Guest,

:?: Your concern is appreciated, but you might be better served by taking your speech to Crissy Field to tell it the local kiteboarders and windsurfers there, yes, windsurfers also, and sailors of all manner of craft who've routinely been rescued by the CG in that area for years, not a group that gets together for a rare downwinder. How often does that happen versus how often do people routinely go out at Crissy? What we did was very low-risk, and if you would have been there you would have known that! Never at any point was there any risk that all involved parties couldn't have handled, and if they couldn't then they shouldn't have gone out!

"What you fail to understand is eventually someone in a management type position that oversees Coast Guard Station San Francisco will soon realize that kiters the making irresponsible decisions compounded by poor judgement are costing the tax payers $$$$$."

What then? Will they take a hard stance on all kayakers, dinghy sailors, motorboat pilots, windsurfers, swimmers, fishermen, rowboats or anyone else on the bay who might need their help? I stated that we didn't rely on them for anything when heading out. Upon landing, we had two stragglers late in coming in and by calling the CG to give them a heads-up just in case, we were doing the responsible thing. As soon as all parties were accounted for, we called them again to tell them so.

I don't advise anyone to go out and do what they aren't fully capable of and not without knowing any risks involved! If you don't agree with it, fine, you're entitled to that, but I don't hold myself up as an example of what anyone should do, good or bad. This site is here to provide information of all sorts kiteboarding-related and to build community; make of it what you will, but it's not about my personal actions and by reporting on events, I'm not necessarily promoting, endorsing them or recommending that anyone else do them. This site is unmoderated and uncensored, and so is life, it doesn't come with any disclaimers. I participated in it and reported on it, and have no regrets, Guest.

OUT
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Postby Guest » Sun May 01, 2005 7:38 pm

There is no doubt of the who's who list being able to self rescue etc. and survive a few hours drifting in a windless flood in the middle of several VTS (vessel traffic separation lanes). They might even be able to swim out of the path of the container ship heading South or the Tanker heading NorthÖ

But on that forecast Ollie?

That many riders and no chase boat?

They are fully staffed and funded to lend assistance to anyone on the Bay in need, and that includes kiteboarders. We weren't relying on them as part of our trip in any way and at the end of it all, although they were called, it's not clear if they needed to pick anyone up or not. If it's not your cup of tea, no worries, but we'll be OK, don't worry about us.


I've been a professional USCG licensed skipper for over 25 years and have immense respect for what the Coast Guard does. I have benefited from their professionalism in an emergency situation, and assisted them in others.

You and your team may not have been relying on the USCG but they were called. And as "Guest" points out a Federal resource was redirected unnecessarily, drawn away from availability for other service. In these post 9/11times they may have better things to do.

From what you reported it sounds like the groups situational seamanship decision making was not maximized vis a vis the Jones of doing the downwinder and getting back to the car. Trust me I understand and would want to play that game myself on a day that the wind would hold.

Here is my worry:
Itís how often kiteboarders are finding themselves "in need" of a Coast Guard rescue. Or are seen by a good citizen from shore with kite down and a call gets placed. I am sickened when I hear riders bragging about the number of times they have been picked up by the Coast Guard. Like notches on a belt. It is to the point where kiters launch in marginal conditions secure in the knowledge that they will be picked up by the USCG if they cannot get back in.

That is not good seamanship.

The USCG will continue to be there because that is part of their charter. We have to exercise good maritime judgment so that when the need is genuine and the emergency real they can be there for us.

As for tea Ollie, I like to drink Tazo
... ìCalmî Ö
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Postby OliverG » Sun May 01, 2005 9:44 pm

Fair enough, point taken. I have never had the need for a CG rescue, and strive not to in the future. I also implied that an occasional and rare informal event like this one is not one that should be targeted with these concerns. You know as well as I do that the vast majority of CG assisted incidents involving kiteboarders and/or windsurfers take place in the immediate locale of Crissy Field and the GG Bridge. I agree that bragging about the number of rescues incurred isn't cool either, but this concern is misplaced, IMHO. The Coast Guard presentation at last week's Safety Day showed a color-coded chart that basically showed Crissy as Ground Zero for these types of incidents. If 99.5% percent of the issue historically occurs there, please consider dealing with it there. Most Crissy kiters keep to themselves and probably aren't going to hear your concerns here.
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