On Wednesday 9th June at Skegness, 3 windsurfers and 4 kitesurfers competed head to head in the first ever race across the 14.5 miles of The Wash from Butlins beach Skegness to Hunstanton.
31 year old ex Youth World Windsurfing Champion (and current Mistral / Fanatic / F2 importer) Matt Wemms from Christchurch, Dorset, proved he was more than a match for the difficult Wash conditions, soundly beating his fellow competitors in style.
The crossing was completed in S/SW light winds, with competitors reaching speeds of up to 20 knots (24 miles per hour) without serious incident. 10 miles into the grueling challenge, safety support officer, Tim Pickard, was concerned at the fading winds, shift in wind direction and falling tides.
"My GPS readings were showing that the kitesurfers were set for a course which would miss East Anglia all together, taking them out into open water towards the Netherlands 110 miles offshore. At the same time the wind seemed to disappear altogether and as safety was paramount, I decided to take the kitesurfers off the water."
The windsurfers due to their ability to sail upwind more effectively were able to continue and over 1 1/2 hours later, Matt had reached the final destination at Hunstanton. Kirsty Jones, ladies British Kitesurfing Champion was disappointed she was unable to complete the race. "I was really enjoying myself and feeling comfortable with my riding. I was within sight of Matt when the wind dropped and I was unable to continue."
Matt felt his success on the day was due to his Fanatic Falcon course race board and 11.5m North rig, saying "I believe I had the perfect equipment for the day", while fellow competitor and windsurfer Dion Hunt was unconvinced, after the race he said "it’s not how you rig it, it’s how you sail it, and Matt sailed really well today."