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Karen Bennett flies back solo

21st September 2012

Karen a devoted MauiSails opinion leader and instructor extraordinaire has been sailing on Maui since 2003 and averages around 120-160 days per year on the water, but this particular day Karen arrived back on the beach without her equipment.

Karen Bennett flies back solo

Kanaha wind graph for Friday, September 14.

Karen launched sometime after 3. It was a big wind swell day on Maui and Karen had been sailing Camp One most of the afternoon on her 4.0m Legend, decided to call it a day and what would normally be a routine sail off the wind and back to the beach turned into a windsurfers worst nightmare.

Karen Bennett flies back solo

A contented Karen was slicing and dicing her way down the small breaks from Camp One to Kanaha and continuing to get that “last wave”, which we have all done when we are having one of those magic days on the water, all of a sudden dropped a jibe and before she knew it, her rig has been caught by a small wave and was off drifting downwind away from her. Well, this should be easy right, swim after it and head back to the beach and get something to eat, WRONG! How about swim and make no progress at all, yell for help, somebody shows up and grabs her gear, but again no chance to catch it, the two sets of gear now drifting much faster than Karen could swim.

Karen Bennett flies back solo

The board and sail maintained this position and were pushed along by the wind (wind is coming over the clew, from the right side of the frame). (Demonstrated with a different set of gear on a later date) OK, plan B. When in doubt rescue yourself first and worry about the gear later. Karen waved to a stand up paddle boarder for help and was thankfully taken ashore by this nice gentleman. What should have been an easy downwinder turned into a 2 hour ordeal and finally Karen was back on dry land, but no windsurfing gear at all to be seen. Karen called the police to report her lost gear and to let them know she was ok. Alls well that ends well. The next day Karen received a phone call from a stranger who found her gear washed up on the beach at Waiehu, which is about 4 miles downwind from Kanaha. Luckily Karen puts her phone number and name on most parts of her windsurfing equipment and this time it paid off big time.

Karen Bennett flies back solo

Karen Bennett flies back solo

Lesson to be learned? Write your name and phone number on all your gear. Swim like hell next time you lose your equipment. Or take swimming lessons like Karen is now doing to make sure next time it happens you can do a Michael Phelps after your gear. And most importantly know how to spot and wave for a rescue if it’s ever needed.

Happy and safe sailing to you ALL.

Karen Bennett flies back solo
Waiehu coastline

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