The Long Distance Record Breaker

The first few kilometres you pass shallow water with sand banks which generate confused and steep waves. The wind force was good and the rescue boat followed me, steering a direct course to Ijmuiden.

The waves were steep but because the current and the wind went in the same direction the wave period  became longer and  the tops of the waves didn’t crash over themselves. The wind increased  and I had to tighten the outhaul of the sail. It was a real bumpy road and you could not take  your eyes of the water for a moment.  Every few seconds I went into the air and the landings were not all equally soft. After having sailed two hours in front on the boat, we had covered 65 kilometres . The significant wave height was 1.5 to 1.8 meters which means the highest waves we encountered were 3.5 meters. From time to time you plummeted into the wave crest a few meters down which caused  a lot of strain on my feet.  Since you sail the whole crossing starboard tack, your rear leg and foot endure the most pressure. There is only a limited degree of movement but even the smallest change in your posture can already give some temporary relief from the pain. The skin of my hands was thinning quickly. Because the Callus hadn’t built fully yet since the 24 hour session in August, blistering was inevitable.

After bouncing over the waves for two hours, I asked the boat to try and sail in front of me for a while, to see if this would reduce me flying through the air a bit. This worked well and the peaks of the waves would be flattened a bit. Now I could sail a slightly broader course and also the speed went towards the 40 km/hr with peaks just over 50 km/hr. When we came across shipping, the rescue boat and myself communicated how we would pass them. It must have been a strange sight for the navigator on duty of a sea-going vessel to see a windsurfer surfing in the middle of the north sea.

The control over the equipment was good. Despite the harsh conditions and the occasional spin out upon landing, I crashed only once. That was after 130 kilometres when I got out my trapeze line. I fell back and saw the gear flying meters through the air in front of me. A good time to take a few minutes to rest and an extra bottle of power drinking was provided by the boat.

We were then on a schedule of 4 hours and 55 minutes and it looked fine. Physically the wind and waves were taking its toll on my body but with the knowledge that we only had to cover another 60 to 65 kilometers I moved on.


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