View Full Version : Allison crossing Bass Strait? Gear?

26th March 2009, 08:05 AM
Check out the action on http://www.bassstraitchallenge.com/

Rumour has it she is crossing either today or tomorrow (Australian EST)

Any know what gear she will be using?

What would be long for a long distance sail like this?

26th March 2009, 09:15 AM
It is happening right now.

GPS tracking:

She is on a Starboard Formule One Design (162) a Starboard 9.5 m Formula One Design sail (Severne) and VMG Blades 66 cm Custom Fin.

26th March 2009, 10:01 AM
Check out Allison's sponsor page

Windsurfing Sposnors
Sponsor: VMG Blades
Nice work guys! : )

Very sad, NO support from the rest of the Windsurfing Industry.


26th March 2009, 10:38 AM
Good cause Allison.

good choice with the fins...kudos to the fin sponsor.

much better fin than overrated Debochiet fins, infact, i'm enjoying a new lease of life with the VMG formula fin. Much cheaper than Kashy with similar performance.

ps, i'm not VMG saleman, just stating facts, regretted alot on overhyped R20, wasted my money.

26th March 2009, 10:07 PM
How can we (Latin America people), have one of these VMG fins????


27th March 2009, 06:57 AM
I guess she ran out of wind. If I am reading it right her speed was 1km per hour with about 140 km to go. If she maintain that speed it would take 5 or so days to complete. So I assume she aborted the challenge for now. Pretty gusty stuff anyway.

27th March 2009, 07:06 AM
Actually, it was the opposite, 30- 35 knots for 9 hours

27th March 2009, 09:55 AM
You can read an artilce on www.carbonsugar.com
There is an email address for "VMGBlades" at the end of the article.


27th March 2009, 10:19 AM
26/06:00pm 15.8 WSW knots 43 gusts49 1018.6 - 0.2 - - - - - - -
measured at hogan island
so too much wind

29th March 2009, 12:15 PM
Hi All,
Please find some footage from the Bass Strait Challenge here, http://play.viostream.com/?play=98E3EC45-357A-45ED-B08C-27A733BA72C7&player=fv&speed=low&setplay=yes&video=1_33165_45029_flvlow.flv.

Unfortunately I had to end the challenge at the 125km mark after 9 hours due to severe muscle cramps, the onset of hypothermia and with so much fatigue, not being able to pull my sail up out of the swell to continue.

The forecast for the day was 20kts from NW, swinging to 25-30 W for a few hours then moderating to 20kts SW in the afternoon with a 1-2m swell. What we got was 20-25kts NW then 30-35kts W-SW for 6 hours straight with swells peaking over 4m at times. With such conditions it was very difficult to pickup the 9.5m sail to continue and found myself in the middle of Bass Strait for 4 hours trying to uphaul, waterstart and do anything I could to continue, in the end fatigue and cramping overtook and we had to abandon the challenge with the knowledge that if I would have continued I would have arrived in Inverloch 1-2 hours after dark.

I did however get to share my lunch break with about 50 dolfins that decided to ride the waves around me, an albatros and two seals, what an amazing adventure. I hope to try again in the future!

Please see www.bassstraitchallenge.com for more info, videos and photos and www.aus911.com.


29th March 2009, 12:58 PM
Great effort Allison, all the best for a future attempt.

I will be sure to be following, along with a lot of yachties and windsurfers around the country and world next time.

It must have been bloody hard trying to hang onto a formula sail in those sort of conditions. Also considering it appeared to be a bit beam on, must have really loaded everything up. Bass strait can be challenging on a 50 footer, let alone a formula board with a 9.5!

Would a smaller sail and something like a free-ride board have made it easier? Although I guess you were expecting only around 20 knots?

29th March 2009, 06:18 PM

29th March 2009, 07:57 PM
cramping and hypothermia !! I bet
I cant get the video here at work, was it a formula board??
I remember taking my old Starboard Formula 155 when i first got it out into lake Superior Canada for an impromptu long distance sail round some islands a few miles out , with a 7.4 sail.
the further i went out the higher the wind , it got maybe 25-30 knots.
Water close to shore, was bathing suit warm , but as one sails out into Lake Superior the wate gets cold and is the most dangerous aspect. Around 3 celcius year round!
The 1st leg was slightly upwind round a few islands. I was fighting the frizzbee effect ( ie:flying the hull and this was one of the early formula designs not so wide by todays standards)
After rounding the islands it was a deep broad reach , running dead down wind if i could as that was the best VMG, but not a good idea.
New on a formula hull without a chicken strap( the original 155 did not have one) DDW is catapult central, very trying to say the least and exhausting/
After a bit, I jumped in the water just to save my forearms ( a harness useless DDW)and even with a thick steamer the water was freezing.
So i got back up continued.
I broke a harness line on the way back.
Now i only sailed maybe 15 miles, and i was "done like dinner"
Now go across the bass straight!
that piece of water is inherently dangerous even with proper preparation . It has killed many experienced yachtsman, and sunk many boats.
In a small way i can imagine what kind of challenge you did Allison
.Job well done!!!

Erik Loots
29th March 2009, 09:06 PM
Wooww impressive!!! I also would get cramps with a 9.5 m2!!


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30th March 2009, 02:10 AM
Congratulations to Allison!

It is amazing, to windsurf 35 kn wind on open sea and big waves with 9.5m sail. I weigh 90kg and I usually use 5m sail for 30kn wind.

Guy Cribb and Antoine Albeau were using slalom gear for crossing the channel. Guy Cribb was using 110 Mistral Slalom board with 5.8m North Sails Ram and Antoine Albeau was on 6.7m NP RS Racing and 111 Starboard iSonic. Both of them have encountered similar problems as Allison. I guess problem are big waves, they block the wind and you canít get clear wind to sail.

Perhaps it would be easier to use kite for such crossings as Kirsty Jones did, she completed the 140 miles from the Canary Islands to Morocco with kite.

Del Carpenter
30th March 2009, 03:12 AM
Thank you, Allison, for being an inspiration.

30th March 2009, 04:50 AM
Hi Allison,

Great great effort and big congratulations, 9,5 in this conditions means a lot of respect!!!!

All the best

2nd April 2009, 11:47 AM
I think the jist of it was: overpowered for the first few hours and slogging for an extra nine, ie. the wind dropped or the extreme wind gradient caused by big swell made planing impossible(?). People seem to be citing Kristy Jone's kite crossing to morocco, a minimum 120 km distance, the bass strait is more like 240 km across, and from watching the youtube video, conditions seemed a bit more manageable for Jones.You'll get it next time Allison.
All that reaching with forumula equipment? I'd be toast.

3rd April 2009, 06:06 AM
the wind was strong
she cramped up and couldn't continue

if anything she could have used a smaller board and sail

4th April 2009, 07:27 PM
You are my hero Allison! Great job! There are some tough long distance races on SF Bay but nothing like the Bass Straight...wow! Respect!

4th April 2009, 10:24 PM
sailing a huge frizbee is not easy especially when every swell is a potential liftoff...great job