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Sterkies Speed Event - Autumn 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Sterkies Speed Event 2011

What makes this event special :

  • Suitable for both amateurs and pros.
  • GPS and speed boards are for hired, or ride on what you have (twintip division).
  • Mega wind guaranteed; we've had over 40 knots at every event except one.
  • You can park literally a few meters away from the speed strip; it doesn't get easier than this.
  • The majority of competitors improve upon their personal bests at this event.
  • 52.28 knot peak and 46 knot average has been reached here, and there's more potential.
  • I observe your riding style, kite choice/position, run path, etc. and give advice when heats alternate so you improve there and then.
  • There is boat support and medic available should you get into trouble.
  • It's well organised and safe, and only 150 minutes drive from Durban and Johannesburg.
  • Free transport can be arranged from OR Tambo airport (Johannesburg).
  • It's in a nature reserve and the environment is pristine; the water is so clean you can drink it. 

17 June 2011

View the photos of the event HERE.

Big-Air Contest (based on hang-time seconds)
  1. Rob Chrystal 6.4
  2. Luke Thomas 6.3
  3. Joshua Emanuel 6.2
Twintip Results (8 second average)
  1. Joshua Emanuel 35.12
  2. Luke Thomas 34.73
  3. Lorenzo Valenti 29.00
Speed Results (8 second average)
  1. Rob Chrystal 38.83
  2. Paul Railton 38.50
  3. Joshua Emanuel 38.21
Inter-Provincial (top 3 riders average) 
CONGRATS to the Durban boys, they showed up in force and dominated.

KZN : Rob Chrystal 38.83, Paul Railton 38.50, Joshua Emanuel 38.21 = 38.51 team average
Gauteng : Basil Cambanis 44.26, Luke Thomas 34.73, Brendan Webber 25.93 = 34.97 team average

View Full Results HERE

15 June 2011

View or download the Entry Form HERE                            

9am : Loading new firmware on the new GPS's, packing up and then leaving for Sterkies.

Quiver of speed boards waiting for action at Ocean2Air :
Ocean2Air kit

14 June 2011

11pm Update :
I've updated the Online Entry Form and PDF Entry Form, please use whichever you prefer.
These are also available on the left sidebar menu.
Pre-entering will save both of us time on the day and allow for more sailing time.
No competitors will be allowed to compete without completing the entry form and paying in full (juniors excluded) unless by prior arrangement.

10pm Update :

The Ocean2Air boys are taking an 8 sleeper, and Justin & Erik are taking a 4 sleeper.
There is still plenty space available, and those coming alone or in pairs can share a chalet with others if they like.
My family and I will stay at the "Caterpillar and Catfish".
Christoff Muller (winner of last year's TT division) is in the WC on business and will unfortunately return a day late.
Anton Nel, Kobus Filmater and Warren Gallow might stop off at Sterkies on their way down to the south coast.
We'll have 3 youngsters (maybe more) aged 16 & 17 competing this time. This makes me very happy, and I hope this trend continues.
I don't have any lady competitors entered yet; come on ladies, we need the fairer sex to take part.
Still no Cape competitors; come on guys, gale force wind is guaranteed and assistance will be given in every way. Make the effort.

Luke Thomas is coming to challenge the amazing jumps of Rob Chrystal; both know how to go large. I eagerly await the Big-Air contest.
To my knowledge this might be the first inland big-air comp in the world !
Jumps will be judged on hang time (time between take-off and landing), and jumps must be landed successfully to count.

We're working on a LIVE news feed for the site, if this is ready in time I'll post updates every hour on Thursday.
You'll see the updates display near the top of the left menu. This will also be a first in SA.

Expected Air temp : 14-16 degrees

Still on track, here's the source of the wind, getting close now :


Entry Fees  (Under 16's Free)
  1. Speed entry fee (Speedboard OR Twintip)  : R200
  2. Both Speed divisions (Speedboard AND Twintip) : R250 
  3. Course Race : R50
  4. Big-Air : R50

Hire Fees

  1. Standard Speedboard (tested to 45 kts) : R200
  2. Basil's Personal Speedboard (done 54 kts) : R300
  3. GPS Hire : R150

Here's some of the Winter goodies that'll be on offer from Ocean2Air :

13 June 2011


The event is going ahead this week (15-17 June) !!!

Check out Thursday; and Sterkies always blows more than forecast :
Nuking wind on Thursday !

Thursday's wind is too good to pass up, and waiting won't guarantee us any better conditions, and it might not land on a weekend.
It's a pity it's only blowing strong on one day, but at least it's on a public holiday and will be warmer than if we waited a couple more weeks.

For those of you that can manage to get off Wednesday afternoon, I'll be at Sterkies around 12pm on Wednesday and lay the course immediately, so we can have a fun course race for those interested. It should blow in the upper teens.
Thursday will have strong wind from early on, so we'll start with the big-air comp and move onto the speed event as soon as the wind swings more West. This will not be a day for the feint hearted, spray will be flying. 
There might be decent wind early on Friday morning, but this will probably weaken quickly, so we'll have one or two course races 
early on and do prize giving no later than 1pm.
There'll be little wind on Saturday and moderate wind on Sunday, but most people will leave on Friday.

I've booked 6x 4 sleepers (R450 p/night), 1x 5 sleeper (R600) and 2x 8 sleepers (R900)

I've been warned though that some chalets are missing items such as TV, spoons and towels.
All units have a braai and bath, and some also have a shower. There are heaters in the rooms and a fire place.
Please make your booking with me but pay at the office as soon as you arrive, else it'll reflect poorly upon the event and those attending.

There is also accommodation at the Caterpillar and Catfish, contact Thandi on 082 530-1062 or mail her at, visit there website here :
What's not listed on their site is they have bungalows which all differ in configuration.
They have a lovely restaurant and serve breakfast from 07h30, and there's a bar with fire place.
Here's what's available at present, in the words of Thandi :
"Unit no1 and no4 are now available for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Unit no4 has twin beds with the bath for 4 nights, unit no1 has twin beds with a shower, unit no 2 is only available for one night (Wednesday)."

Note that the road is STILL under construction and there's 2 stop & go's in effect; one on either side of the Sterkies entrance. So it'll catch you either way; just be patient and don't race on the single carriage road as there's some dodgy areas.

12 June 2011 (updated 21h30)

Thursday is looking very good, but the rest of the days are light-moderate at this stage.
I'll have to run the disciplines in the reverse order of what I intended (bir-air/speed, then course) which is a bit of an anti-climax, but it's not a train smash as long as we fit everything in.

I expect moderate wind on Wednesday (upper teens or more); we can run the 1st round of course if enough competitors can get there by Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday should have strong wind for most of the day. It usually starts out fairly North which makes it too choppy for speed. If this happens we'll go straight into the Big-Air comp; then speed will commence as soon as the wind direction swings more West.
Early Friday morning might have strong enough for speed, but it'll will probably swing SW and fade as the front departs. We'll do course racing when the wind drops below 25 knots.

The decent wind that was forecast long range has disappeared for now due a dominant high pressure system, and even if it reappears, there's a slim chance of it landing over a weekend.
As things currently stand, I'm leaning towards holding the event this coming week.

11 June 2011

Thursday 16 June is still looking good, there might be moderate either side of this too.
Long range forecasts show a chance of wind on the Sunday; if that happens we'll go ahead.
If either Thursday's forecast weakens or there's light wind on the Sunday, then it's better than we wait.
There are other decent prospects not too far off after that if this coming week doesn't materialise.

The PRO's for holding the event this week are :

  1. It'll be slightly warmer.
  2. There's a public holiday on Thursday, so one day's leave means we can have a 4 day event.
CON's :
  1. Decent wind only showing on Thursday at present, and we need more than a day to hold all 3 disciplines.
  2. Stronger wind within 2 weeks almost a certainty.
  3. Several competitors will be on holiday elsewhere, but this is the usual dilemma, the timing will never suit all.

10 June 2011

The next installment of the Sterkies Event is almost upon us.
We've had a year long gap since the last event due to lack of wind last year, but this year looks more promising.

There are 2 fronts approaching which look decent enough to yield strong wind at Sterkies.
The first is around next Thursday (16 June) and the next is the following weekend (25-26 June).
The forecast is still up and down, as is to be expected long range, but we should get strong wind soon.
My preference is 25-26 June if that materialises, as it falls on a weekend, and looks like the strongest wind which should be around for 2 days.

We'll have the following Disciplines (Wind permitting):

  1. We'll start with a Course Race when the wind is still building.
  2. Big-Air comp will commence when the wind kicks in.
  3. Speed event goes ahead when it's nuking and the wind direction improves.

We'll go on Standby when I have a clearer picture of which of the 2 fronts looks best.
Provisionally set aside Wednesday/Thursday next week, and Saturday/Sunday the following week.

9 June 2011

It's snowing in the berg and a balmy 4 degrees at midday at Sterkies.
It will warm up considerably ahead of the front though. Timing is everything !

Snow on Cathedral Peak

8 June 2011

We're going through a period of weak fronts which looks set to continue for most of June. So the event remains on hold.
The freaky weather last night was caused by a cutoff low pressure system which will make it's exit quickly.
It resulted in strong wind near Mafikeng (NW Province) yesterday, with gusts of 70+ kph. I'm gutted to have missed that, but work pressure had the final say.
The wind shrieked last night and there were wave upon wave of rain and thunderstorms. Usual story though; by this morning it's calm and quiet besides a few showers. 
Traffic was mental  this morning, and it took 2 hours to travel only a few kilometers, and I heard reports of accidents and flooding in several places.

Here's the wind stats reported from OR Tambo airport since midnight. 77 knots must be a record for us :
OR Tambo Wind !

I met with the head of department of the Free State Province last week and they want to get more involved in the speed event from September onwards.
This will take some time to be implemented, but some of the options put on the table include :
  • Training clinic for the youth
  • SAA will try to accommodate overseas competitors on short notice
  • Water affairs will be involved to build a rock wall to increase the run length and reduce the chop
  • DSTV to cover the event

2 June 2011

It's pretty chilly after the last front and temperatures are taking longer to recover each time.
Month-end pressure is almost over and on the look out for the next likely candidate; hopefully it'll pack enough punch so we can hold the event.
As mentioned earlier, there's nothing exciting on the horizon for now. The next decent fronts are a long way off (West of South America), so take it easy for now. The event looks likely to take place mid to late June.

PS. New Photos added to the Winter 2011 Gallery.

Alex posted the second best GPS session ever on 1 June 2011. Check it out
60.58 Peak and 54.55 5x 10 sec average, well done Alex !

The SailRocket2 team are having a breather and left Walvis onTuesday. They'll return at the start of the windy season in September.
They recorded 40 knot peak, but had issues with foil cavitation thereafter which prevented them from cracking the 50 knot 
bottle of champagne.
This is far from over though and I'm sure they'll return with renewed vigor and ideas to put to the test.
If they get it right, they'll set a lofty target for the kiters to reach a month later. 

31 May 2011

YES, Sterkies had it's first peak over 30 knots for 2011 yesterday.

The wind blew from the NNW which made the bay very choppy and shortened the run considerably, so no great speeds were possible (49 peak, 43 ave).
But it does signal the start of our Winter winds and pave the way for the event.

The event will go ahead when the next decent front hits (30+ winds), which judging by the long range forecast, might be sometime between 15-20 June.
This might work out perfectly as there's a public holiday on 16 June, so we can run the event over 4 days if needed to give us more time to fit in the course race, big-air and speed event.
There's been wind for 3 weeks on the trot now, but it looks we're entering a calmer period over the next 2 weeks.

I'll post pictures and a few video clips soon.

29 May 2011

Another front is about to hit tomorrow and the forecast looks the best so far. Could this be the long awaited 30+ knot blow.

Pity it's a work day yet again, and this appears to be a brief spell of wind.
Based on tomorrow's wind, I'll know whether it's time for the Sterkies event. If it blows 30+, then we'll go ahead when the next decent front hits, regardless of day of the week.

Forecast for tomorrow
The forecast keeps changing, but Monday has consistently shown the best wind.
Note the temperature drop on Tuesday.

26 May 2011

Note to self - damn COLD (3 deg at 9am) !!!
I measured the water temperature on 24 May, and it was 14°C; it's not too bad yet. Click HERE for a list of past temperatures. 

Still no strong fronts in view, but be patient, they're on the way or brewing somewhere.

I drove a round trip to Lichtenburg today (6 hours in the seat), and the roads were a shocker; there were more potholes than tar and several lengthy road work stops.

Some advice if you're driving to the NW Province any time soon; go via Ventersdorp and stay well clear of Koster.

More news on the Sterkies "Eco Estate" soon, Carte Blanche here we come. I've also added hi-res pictures of it to the Gallery.
Please voice your opinion on the Carte Blanche Facebook thread.

Vestas SailRocket2 broke through the 40 knot barrier on 24 May with consummate ease and her speed is jumping in 10 knot increments with each test. We might have a tall order when all is said and done, but I welcome it; it's brilliant for sailing and injecting new life and ideas into the sport. The battle for supremacy continues.

21 May 2011

Our Winter winds are close at hand, and there's moderate wind almost every week now. This coming Tuesday looks decent, then there might be moderate wind next weekend, and the next.
I'm still waiting the elusive big blow, but it's bound to happen sometime in June, so be patient and ready.

SailRocket2 completed their first proper test sail and clocked just over 20 knots, watch this space, I'm sure there's plenty more to come.

17 May 2011

An average day by Sterkies standards; it blew 15-25 kts and never really got going with rain squalls killing the wind periodically.

The hotel or "eco estate" at Sterkies will go ahead soon and it'll have far reaching consequences; I'm talking casino, private estates, 18-hole golf course, marina, floating concert stage, and rugby stadium with underground parking to mention some of the features.
I'll post pictures of the provisional plans when I'm back as the Internet speed here is a shocker.

Manthatisi Eco Estate

16 May 2011

Alex's Speed Run Video

To get you into the spirit, have a look at Alex's recent training session at Port Louis (France) above.  
56.8 kts max speed and 54 over 250m. He used the Bandit 4 8m and F-ONE custom board.
  • On the home front, the forecast for tomorrow has backed off and Wednesday shows very little wind; but the moderate 984mb front is still tracking and there's no significant high pressure in it's path, so I'm going to pack my dusty speed kit this evening and head to Sterkies tomorrow.
  • There'll hopefully be enough wind to lay down some tracks in the low 40's. Depending on the wind and forecast I'll return on Wednesday afternoon.
  • I'll reinstated the PLAIN TEXT weather information now that the station is running again. Should be available by Thursday. This is useful if you're in a poor reception areas or want additional information.
    See example from today :

    Plain Text Weather

15 May 2011
  • My decision has been vindicated to give today a miss, as the wind never really kicked in besides a short burst just over 20 knots at 2pm.
  • Several guys got skunked at Sterkies today (Sunday) as the forecast was misleading; the best wind was shown today, but the forecast progressively worsened. I believe the guys left just before the best wind kicked-in to make matters worse.
  • Despite this setback, the wind is definitely on the increase in general terms and there's moderate wind showing almost every week now; but it looks like we've got a few more weeks to wait before some strong wind arrives.

14 May 2011
  • Windguru shows more wind tomorrow (Sunday) than on Wednesday next week, but I reckon they might have it wrong this time as the approaching front looks on course and should result in decent wind, even if it hits partially. So I'll take a chance and miss tomorrow and go mid next week. Is a calculated gamble. If it materialises, it'll be my first speed session in 6 months.
  • Thanks to Christoff Muller, the weather readings are live again. The 3G was disconnected, so readings were being received but not uploaded.
  • It blew a touch over 20 knots briefly today (Saturday) :

12 May 2011
  • Sailrocket2 is being tweaked and doing slow trial runs in the build up to her record attempt in Walvis Bay ( Her speed is still below 10 knots, but they are taking it very easy at this stage until they understand her workings and intricacies.
  • Still no big blow on the cards at Sterkies for a while, but there's a few moderate wind days starting now. The weather pattern is finally shifting in our favor, and there'll be more wind at Sterkies over the next week than elsewhere in the country (which looks calm).
  • There are still no strong fronts in the pipeline, and the high is impeding the progress of the few weaker fronts that are lurking; so the event will only take place late May or during June. I'm hoping this is just a late start to Winter rather than another awful year for wind. It's tough to remain up beat and positive after waiting for wind for over 6 months, but the tail end of May looks more promising, and with a bit of luck the timing might be right too.
  • 18 May 2011 is a RED LETTER day for speed sailors, as that's when Luderitz residents and the town council vote on whether the new canal in the salt pan (upwind) will go ahead or not. An environmental impact study has already been done and submitted to the council and sea fisheries. The new canal holds a lot of promise, as it'll have a longer and wider start and finish, and better laminar flow as the sand that's excavated will be removed. This canal will be out of reach from all except spring high tides, so it should remain extensively unharmed. The longer run up and finish area should translate into better average speeds. The risk ratio will increase with the new canal, as there'll never be a safe time to do a run, when the water is covering the sand downwind of the canal; and the salt pan is more abrasive and hard. Imagine tumbling/sliding across a salt pan at 100+ kph !

9 May 2011
The weather station is finally back online after much begging and pleading. There were regular power failures and the machine is sometimes switched off for no apparent reason, which play havoc with the weather station.
There have only been 3 windy days at Sterkies (besides thunder storms) since mid-December, but none of them strong enough to warrant holding the event in.
I missed the only decent wind as I was on holiday with my family at the time. I'm really getting irritable as my last speed session was 6 months ago, and there's zip I can do about it besides wait or travel abroad.
It should blow moderately there within 5 days, but I still don't see any STRONG WIND on the horizon over the next 2-3 weeks.
Rest assured, I'll raise the alarm bell as soon as something solid is bearing down upon us.
Last Updated on Monday, 20 June 2011 15:19


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GPS Top 5 2012

Name Ave. Max. 500m
1. He.42.1348.8729.21
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Top 10 All Time

Name Ave. Max. 500m
1. Sebastien C.56.0261.7853.06
2. Alex C.52.7360.5945.32
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4. Tilmann H.51.6855.6050.30
5. Manu T.50.5353.8049.26
6. Basil C.50.4953.4950.85
7. Jerome B.50.1255.0050.40
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10. Rolf v.48.6655.7547.90

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