Anne Quéméré, the Oceankite and Extreme Weather

Note: this was published in 2010.

Anne Quéméré, extreme sport junkie and famous kitesurfer, embarked on a journey of a whole other level – but also involving a kite.

“For the past few days, the Pacific has shown me an unsympathetic side but I try to take advantage of this odd situation which is part of the challenge. (I hope it won’t last too long!)”

We’ve had several articles over the past few days about extreme weather conditions and what they could mean to all of us.

Anne Quéméré, 3 weeks into her Pacific challenge, has had her very own extreme Pacific conditions hurled at her over the past week.

As we said in one of our first articles on this challenge: her voyage in the 5.5m purpose-built Oceankite will take her from the northern hemisphere into the southern, through tricky weather regions including the dreaded Doldrums which are caused by the ITCZ. Her arrival in Tahiti will be dependent on wind speeds and ocean currents.

All things considered, she’s had a difficult start. First not enough wind delayed the departure by more than a week, and then indifferent Tradewinds made sailing a challenge – just keeping the kite aloft became a challenge. There have been times in the last few days where she had to re-launch the kite at least 10 time a day “in spite of my navigating and my most energetic encouragements, it was impossible to keep the kite in flight when the wind dropped in intensity“. There have been other occasions where she has had to waste hours untangling 120m of line.

And now she is drifting in storms in the middle of the ocean.

Navigation was impossible on Sunday and she switched off all electronic equipment for fear of losing them in the storm. There was nothing she could do but hunker down inside her minute cabin and read a computer downloaded book.

In her own words: “It’s been a difficult weekend on the Pacific. I’m between a rock and a hard place, or rather, in the middle of low pressure zones with violent rain leaving me very little rest time under the incredible noise created by the rainstorms. It nearly had the best of me! ”

Crossing the Pacific Ocean in the Oceankite is an extreme challenge, but having rowed both ways across the Atlantic, and crossed from New York to France in the Oceankite she is certainly up to it and brushes off the weather inconsistencies. “That’s the name of the game! If I want to pursue my travel at any cost, I’ll have to get accustomed to these Aeolian tantrums!” she says.