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Old 03-08-2008, 10:23 AM
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b-rad b-rad is offline
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Default Keys Kite Challenge
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:28 PM
kent kent is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 430

Hey Brad, I hope all is well. Thanks for your efforts in getting this Keys race off the ground. I think that it will be killer!

I know that you have already thought through this thing from start to finish, but I wanted to add 1 possible solution to the boat situation.

I am assuming that there will be many riders looking to actually race. The easiest way to win is to have 1 kiter on the team and one boat. This will necessitate many, many boats. I would guess that racers will be gathering 20+ boats for the trip at substantial cost and logistics problems. Towing, etc. are difficult to do and takes a bit away from the overall fun. Additionally, non-local captains will no doubt be ending up on sandbars, etc.

Obviously you have great connections in the keys and know the captains with knowledge of local waters. I for one would rather pay a higher entrance fee to help to cover associated costs of you hiring 8 boats to secure riders. I would send a lead and trailer boat and have the remaining boats spread at near equal distance along the course between the first and last rider.

At the half way point, the distance between first and last will be about 12 miles. As this is an extreme event and minimum levels of skills should be required, I personally would not let the distance from the first to the last exceed 20 miles on an 85 mile race. In the interests of safety, any rider not able to stay with in 20 miles of the first should likely be pulled (if you want to extend this distance just add another boat or 2 depending on the desired spread). With a lead boat and a following boat combined with 6 other boats spread between the rest of the riderís safety would only be a few minutes away. Each boat would be required to have a large event flag on a 15ft. staff (i.e. windsurfing mast) so that riders could identify safety boats.

I'd require that all riders carry a water proof VHF radio and a cell phone in a dry bag. You could even require that riders carry one signal device as well, like a flare or smoke signal.

Doing it as described above would reduce the overall cost to the riders and still provide very good rider support. I'd guess that your participation numbers would increase as well. Let's say that with your contacts you can secure 8 boats at $500 ea. costing $4000. If you have 65 riders participating, the total extra cost per rider would be $62. I'd have to assume that under the current scenario that 65 riders will be bringing a minimum of 20 boats costing far more. Given that you would have all boats under your hire, securing good video and providing rider support would be easy.

In short, I would gladly pay $125 + if you could organize the support boats. This just one idea. I'm sure that the event will be great one way or the other.

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Old 03-14-2008, 10:42 AM
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b-rad b-rad is offline
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You are right Kent...and thanks for the input. As we got down to it, I realized the only way to secure safety would be to have each kiter be connected with a boat. We thought about it both ways...

I totally agree with you and am completely open to ideas (nothing is set in stone...other than we have to be safe...)

I worry about the spread...say you are in a boat watching 3 or 4 kiters in front of you and 3 or 4 behind goes down, bladder pops and all there is is a head bobbing and we don't even realize untill?? We could add the safety gear ...flares etc... Paul found a cool locator device that could be used too.

Done correctly, the boat spread could work.

The other issue with the distance it the wind. The day we did it was windy...but it still shut down on us for a half hour...that would suck with 65 kites and 8 boats...

The other thing I thought to do was to limit the actual race to the 12 most qualified racers (from previous race accomplishments) and then have the rest ride in like three groups that remain together just to complete the Challenge. Also, the 12 most qualified will stay much closer together making it easier to track...
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