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May 2020

Parasailing regulations in Lake George tightened after near drowning

By Parasailing

LAKE GEORGE – Parasailing operations will be a little different, and hopefully safer this summer on Lake George, if and when they open after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.

The Lake George Park Commission adopted new license conditions at its monthly meeting on Tuesday following a near-drowning during a parasailing trip last summer. The new rules set the minimum number of crews and the maximum wind speed.

Last June, a 23-year-old man from New Windsor fell into Lake George and got entangled in the rigging of a Pinky’s Parasailing Adventures boat. By the time the man was removed from the water, he was unconscious and was not breathing. He was in critical condition for a while, but recovered.

In July, the Park Commission listened to a number of public comments on the safety of parasailing operations, in which a boat tows clients held in the air by a parachute-like kite. The public also discussed kayaking safety, and in October, the Park Commission passed a resolution requiring flags on all commercial canoes and kayaks.

The Park Commission has formed a subcommittee to work with Pinky’s Parasailing Adventures and Parasail Joe’s on updating their permits to include new safety measures. These changes were announced and unanimously adopted on Tuesday.

Parks Commission executive director David Wick discussed some of the most significant changes, including the fact that parasailing boats must have at least three crew members on board, unless all guests are on board. be harnessed before boarding the boat. Then there could be two. Originally, permits only required two crew members.

“What was really going on was when the parasail was actually in the air, the crew member was taking care of the passengers,” Wick said.

The captain both ran the boat and supervised the paratroopers, which Wick said was “a problem in terms of having a dedicated observer.”

The Parks Commission has also clarified the wind speed information for when to fly safely. Parks Commission Enforcement Director Lt. Joe Johns originally said the permit rules did not take gusts of wind into account.

Paratroopers now cannot operate “when the actual or predicted wind speed (i.e. sustained wind) in the next hour is 16 mph or more, as recorded or predicted”, and they cannot operate “when the actual or forecast speed of wind gusts in the next hour is greater than 20 mph,” according to license updates. Wind information is obtained from the National Weather Service station at Warren County Airport in Queensbury.

The permits should “anything but guarantee” that operations occur at a speed of 20 mph or less, Wick said.

Both parasailing operators agreed with the changes, he said.

A version of this article first appeared on, a non-profit news magazine covering Adirondack Park.

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The kite-surf yacht pushes the limits of sailing

By Kite surfing

The ArmorKite 650 is a Mini Transat style yacht sailed in a motorized kite, without conventional mast or sail, writes François Tregouet

It is a gray and wet day in February on the pontoons of Port la Forêt, the Mecca of French solo ocean racing. Olivier de Kersauson, a man who has never hesitated to find the right words, once renamed the place ‘The valley of the fools’ (the valley of the fools). Michel Desjoyeaux, Armel le Cleac’h or Jean Le Cam, all local notables, take this as a compliment.

But standing in front of this boat (I’m not sure you can even call it a sailboat?), With no mast, boom, stanchions or any apparent paraphernalia, I begin to wonder if this local madness is not contagious.

At first glance, the ArmorKite 650 is as intriguing as its deck is empty. To navigate it, we will clearly have to forget everything we have learned to take for granted. In addition, although it may not be seen at first glance, there is no keel, or even ballast. The stability comes from the shape of the hull, thanks to a 2.2 m (7 ft 3 in) beam and a design reminiscent of the Mini Transat 650 class.

The motorized wing provides good boat speed on or out of the wind. Photo credit: Chloé Dubset

It is therefore not surprising that the architect of ArmorKite, Etienne Bertrand, not only participated in the legendary transatlantic race in 2011, but designed around fifteen development boats.

Maxime and Marc Denoix from ArmorKite gave me a brief briefing before leaving – and it was brief. The ArmorKite only has two trimming lines and a drawbar; the boat can be double sailed easily. Pushing off the pontoon by hand and out of the port powered by the small outboard is especially easy with a hull weighing only 273 kg (602 lb). Without ballast or rigging and therefore very little structure, the weight is reduced to a minimum.

Once in the bay, however, our sail is radically different from a traditional outing. First, a sea anchor is deployed aft to limit drift while we prepare and “hoist” the kite. Even more unusual, we contact the coast guard by VHF to warn them of our next test sail: on two occasions well-meaning sailors have called for help after seeing a boat without a mast, apparently dismasted and attempting to put up a rig. of fortune by deploying the kite!

The article continues below …


First sailing and surfing, then windsurfing, before kitesurfing, paddleboarding and more recently the foil arrive to illuminate water sports …


As the mist rose from the surface of the water in the picturesque port of Morges, on the north shore of the lake …

The wind is light, around 7 knots, the theoretical minimum necessary to get the kite out of the water. So we take out the largest sail, at 25m² (270ft2). There are five size options, at 8, 13, 21, 23 and 25 m² (89, 140, 226, 248 and 270 feet2) for all types of wind from 7 to 35 knots.

The kite is placed on the roof, well flocked in its sail bag, and the five lines connected (two front lines, two back lines and a fifth line) to the boat via a transverse Harken track. The wing flies free and to leeward upwind, limiting any heeling, although the design allows the ArmorKite to heel up to 15 °.

Once connected to the boat, the kite can be unfolded and the leading edge inflated thanks to the on-board electric pump. After inflating the kite, the five lines are unrolled simultaneously using the electric winch. With Thibaud Grasset, board sports specialist at ArmorKite at the helm and Maxime Denoix at the helm, they launch the kite at a perfect pace – but they have more than 50 outings to their credit. This is useful because in this light wind range the kite tends to stick to the water, and takeoff can be tricky.


Launching the kite is the trickiest part of the navigation. Photo credit: Chloé Dubset

Finally the wind rises to 9 knots, the kite takes off, the drugs are brought on board and the boat takes off! The speed is immediately exhilarating. We make a few turns, sailing crosswind, going almost at wind speed.

The ArmorKite is extremely sensitive on the tiller, and also sensitive to the positioning of the crew, whose total weight can easily equal that of the boat itself. It is important to keep a close eye on the longitudinal and side trims. A center footrest would help you keep your balance at the helm, but the feeling of gliding across the water is delicious.

We are far from breaking the 19 knot record that the team has already reached, but sailing at 10-12 knots when the real wind is barely 15 knots is more than enough to put a big smile on your face.


The ArmorKite’s current speed record of 19 knots (SOG) is sure to be broken as the team exploits it to its full potential. Photo credit: Chloé Dubset

When it comes to going upwind, skeptics will say that a kite cannot go upwind. But the ArmorKite holds a course upwind comparable to a keelboat, sailing 30 ° to either side of the true wind, at speeds very close to a Mini 650 of 6-7 knots in 10-12 knots of wind. . But where the boat gets even more impressive is downwind. We had 9 knots displayed on the GPS with 11 knots of wind behind. What conventional boat could offer this?

The power developed by the kite is impressive, and sometimes surprising; you have to hang on for gybes, for example. Especially, if there is an error in the angle of the rudder or the wing, or a lack of synchronization between the helmsman and the adjuster, instead of the pulling power turning into speed, it causes the boat to tip over. on its edge.

We experienced this during a wild “downloop”; Denoix got their hands on the automatic fifth row release, and the boat came down the right way – unlike the two capsizes they already experienced in testing sails, when they had to right the boat like a dinghy.


Picking up the fin with one hand while controlling two lines with the other is the only time things get a bit tricky when navigating with two hands without an autopilot. Photo credit: François Tregouet

So, if there is a foiling revolution underway, will the next one be a kite revolution? There is still a long way to go before this solution can be universally adopted. Even if learning to handle the kite only takes a few weeks, according to its inventors, the constant attention and necessary adjustments to the kite during navigation put a real brake on its use outside of competition.

If they are tempted to test the performance of their radical design on an event like the Bol d’Or, or the Mini Transat, the designers admit that they do not yet know how to manage the necessary sleep times over such a long period. .

There are so-called self-stabilizing kites, but they are not up to par in terms of performance, with speeds reduced by 50 to 60%. Right now, the choice is between performance and peace of mind. The challenge is to reconcile the two, possibly through the development of a kite autopilot, or by adopting a faster reel winch to bring the kite back on board quickly.

In the meantime, a second boat is experimenting with some design changes, including a single swivel centerboard. This saves a maneuver, because asymmetric daggerboards require movement with each tack or jibe. With an autopilot at the helm, the whole thing takes on the appearance of a very pleasant dayboat: simple, efficient, fun and easily transportable.


LOA: 6.50 m (21 ft 3 in)
MEUGLER: 6.05 m (19 ft 8 in)
Shine: 2.20 m (7 ft 2 in)
Disorganized: 0.07-1.00 m (2 3⁄4 inches-3 feet 3 inches)
Shift: 273 kg (602 lb)
Sail surface: 8-25m2 (86-269ft²)
Design: Etienne Bertrand

First published in the May 2020 edition of Yachting World.

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Kite surfing and social distancing, but no Sullivan on Castle Island

By Kite surfing

“It would be nice if we could go to another country until it’s over,” said Brendan Gilroy, a 58-year-old construction worker who has been off work for two months. “I guess we just have to do the best.”

Gilroy sat with his back to the granite fort, an Australian Labradoodle at his feet and Logan Airport across the water in front of him. Normally a hive of activity, the airport was strangely quiet this recent afternoon, its runways almost empty as only a few planes were flying there or bringing passengers from elsewhere.

A runner had a path all to himself on Castle Island.David L. Ryan / Globe Staff

Above our heads the roar of jet engines was absent, and the only obstacle to a conversation at normal volume was a strong wind off the harbor.

That wind swept through the empty parking lot outside Sullivan’s, the Castle Island seafood and snack restaurant that was closed during the lockdown. A locked gate, more suited to the dead of winter, barred the entrance where a long queue would meander outside on happier days.

“Don’t worry,” read one review. “When the time comes, we’ll be there to provide the comforting beach food that our family has been providing your family for almost 70 years.”

The adjacent playground was not in use, not a single child climbed while parents rested on the benches. Near the playsets, piles of overturned hulls from the Harry McDonough Sailing Center waited to be launched in better times.

Still, a small but steady stream of people was walking around Pleasure Bay. They included Marie Morris and Maura Hanrahan, masked friends in their thirties who decided to wander clockwise on the loop, flouting orders from two large digital signs that pointed to visitors in the opposite direction.

“I’d rather do that than stay inside the house,” said Hanrahan, who lives in Lowell.

Mike Doucet can understand. The Lexington man, 62, known as Kiter Mike, wouldn’t let the coronavirus stop him from playing his sport.

The sport is kite-surfing, and Doucet was circling Pleasure Bay, soaring tens of meters into the air and plunging back into the water with a cry of joy that, for a moment anyway, seemed to signal that all was well in the world.

Doucet and a few pals in wetsuits gathered on the beach near Day Boulevard, which was closed to cars on the ocean side of the marine park. A friend is from Morocco, another from Ukraine, a third from France. They joked to each other, measured the wind changes, and rode a breeze that blew 15 to 25 miles per hour.

They weren’t wearing masks. They also didn’t get closer than 6 feet from anyone.

“You’re socially distanced anyway because you’re on the water and away from each other,” Doucet said. “You get in your car, put on your wetsuit and jump into the water. Then you get in your car and drive home.

Doucet, who sells seafood, said kite-surfing has helped fill in the gaps in his schedule.

“I always wake up at 4 am without an alarm clock,” Doucet said, shrugging as he stood in the sand. “So you’re up, making coffee, and there isn’t much you can do in the house. It’s a godsend.”

Gary Pikovskay, 41, from Ukraine, beamed as he prepared for the water for the first time in more than two months. Pikovskay had been quarantined at his Cambridge home, but with a broken leg, not because of the pandemic.

“This is my first day away from home since having had surgery,” Pikovskay said. “The whole virus thing kind of missed me. In a way, this is the right timing.

Good timing, however, doesn’t extend to the other parts of the band’s routine: the hot dogs, fries, and cokes at Sullivan’s. Then stop at Santarpio’s across the water in East Boston. And the camaraderie over a post-surf beer, said Doucet.

    Empty tables at Sullivan's.
Empty tables at Sullivan’s.David L. Ryan / Globe Staff

It’s all about adapting to the era of the coronavirus.

At the end of the beach, Giovanni Sambotti was getting ready to put away his windsurfing equipment as a spitting rain fell. The 47-year-old from Cambridge had only surfed for the second time this spring. The other years, Sambotti said, he would go out three to four times a week.

Sambotti said he was not afraid of contracting the virus, but wanted to do his part to keep others safe.

Still, the change in routine was difficult. Sambotti held his sail, admired its slender lines and smiled slightly.

“This,” he said, “is my psychologist. “

Brian MacQuarrie can be reached at [email protected]

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