Windwise clients take on The Ledge to Lancelin Classic
Find out what they went through!
A number of Windwise clients enter the recent Ledge To Lancelin Downwinder! Mark Rhienlander, Steve Fletcher, Dave Harvey and Ken Glass all took on the challenge to race downwind from 'Ledge' to 'Lancelin' along the coast of Western Australia about 1.5 hrs North of Perth.
With a mass start, large rolling swell, negotiating through the Lancelin reefs, it is a great achievement and relief to finish in the pub at the finish! Here's Mark Rheinlanders & Steve Fletchers thoughts on this great event. We will be returning to Lancelin soon for a Freewave session but check out what the event is like!
Here's some thoughts from Mark Rheinlander on doing the event. Many thanks to Steve for the photos too!
Windwise: How may times have you done the event?
"I've done it twice. Both times on a 115L Freeride and a 6.7m rig, the first time the wind picked up just after the start and I was scarily overpowered for the whole race. The second time the wind barely broke 12 knots and I only got planing twice."
Windwise: How long is the race?
"As the crow flies it's about 13km, but with the 7 major legs included it roughly doubles in length. When you're massively overpowered and you've just had your 5th catapult, it feels like it will never end... on the other hand when you've got no power and you're crawling towards the distant finish line it also feels like it will never end! Basically, it's an 'effing' long way!"
Windwise: What was the hardest part of the event?
"Selecting the right kit is tricky because the start time - 2 pm - is about the time the seabreeze kicks off in WA, so the usual rule of rigging for the conditions doesn't necessarily work. Bjorn Dunkerbeck and the other pro's generally have three sets of kit ready to go, for the rest of us there are at least 200 other sailors happy to give you an opinion about what the wind will do during the race. In all likelihood, one of them will be right and will be the expert next year. Once you're on the water, the swell pumping in from the Indian Ocean can be in excess of 4m, which when you're overpowered on race kit means that your heart is in your mouth as you launch blindly off a wave hoping you don't land on someone in front. The length of the race combined with the downwind stance and a big board mean that your legs get a serious work out, muscling a big sail means that your arms get a serious work out. Everything hurts, cramp can be a problem... if only there was a market for lactic acid."
Steve Fletcher "After the 4th or 5th cray boat every muscle starts screaming. The front forearm feels like the muscle will pop out from your arm and the legs start turning to jelly from the constant pounding in one direction. Plus if the wind really kicks in after the start it can get pretty scary trying to stop yourself nose diving into the wave in front as you are going much faster than the rolling swell."
Windwise: What was the best part of the event?
"Seeing the finish line, getting a high 5 from my daughter Ines (only marginally eroded by the "what took you so long?") and the tremendous satisfaction at having completed something so physically demanding. Oh, and did I mention the beer?"
"Obviously the best part is after going around the 7th Cray boat feeling you have no energy left and then you scan the horizon and see the roof of the Endeavour Tavern which is the finish line in the distance. That and the legendary party afterwards that after completing the race no matter where you come makes the beer taste fantastic!"
Windwise: What advice would you give to someone doing it for the first time?
" "Practice some downwinders beforehand, as most of us don't spend much sustained time sailing downwind and the stance and minor trim adjustments take some getting used to. Being fit is an advantage, but plenty of people complete this event without any training. Despite the physical challenge it is achievable by an intermediate sailor and the organisers have safety boats all along the course. If anything breaks, you let off a flare and wait to get picked up by a friendly crew with an "emergency" beer. (Note: try not to get picked up by the police rescue boat because they don't have beer)."
"Enter early to get allocated better starting place. The allocation starts obviously upwind and then in rows behind. Rig bigger than you think is needed, due to bearing so far down wind you end up actually losing wind. Practice doing a down-winder before the event to experience the different feeling. Don't go to upwind between the last cray boat and the Tavern as you end up over South Passage wave break which is not good on a 7.5m!"