6 kiters and a boat sailing 24/7 across the Atlantic.
The night kiting is the real challenge (“day time is play time”).
Eric wakes me up 45 minutes before it’s my time to do the change with
Filippo. I wake up, and it’s dark outside. Knowing that you have to go
out kiting in pitch darkness makes you wake up fast. When I look out my
small window, I see nothing. I’m standing in the light, and it looks
even darker outside. I go to the outside dining table, where I get all
of my gear together. First, everything on the kitchen counter, the vest
with VHF, dog tracker and wetsuit, and then my helmet. All this while
still standing in the light, looking out into the darkness, seeing
Filippo riding in front of the boat. The only things I can see are the
four lights, the light on his back, one in the middle of the kite on the
leading edge, and the two brake lights on the wing tips. I’m always
very excited before I have to go. But there are always the doubts: will
the wind stay up, are we going to make a good rider change in the
dinghy, will I be able to stay up in the sweet spot ahead of the boat
(in front of the boat, on the upwind side, so the boat can pick me up
without having to turn around if something goes wrong).
Then Eric double checks all my gear: is the VHF working properly
(radio check), is the back strobe light, is the dog tracker on with full
charge. Then it’s time to start my night time session. Eric informs
Filippo that I’m in the dinghy, and I’m released behind our safe haven
(the Double A). There is a stern light on the Double A that always
blinds me just before I’m doing the rider change. The distance between
the catamaran and me is getting bigger. Now I’m getting really excited.
Once the dinghy is locked into position, Filippo approaches. This is the
moment where everything changes. Filippo shouts my name. This is always
the time when all of my doubts fade away. If Filippo can do it, I can!
The change is a serious moment and we do it fast. First, I release
Filippo’s leash from the safety, and hook mine into it. Then I grab the
chicken loop and hook it into my harness, and take the bar into my
hands. Filippo puts the board onto my feet and the leash around my
ankle, and off I go into the darkness. Filippo shouts: enjoy Ike! Read more here.