The Big Charity Downwinder

Shoot the breeze and stay in the loop with the unhinged and unhooked word on the street.
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Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:57 am
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I am super interested in stopping by for this.
Few questions,
1. How can i get involved ?
2. Where is it ? The facebook page didnt load for me.
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 1:06 pm
Antispam: No
Location: Tunbridge Wells

There's a page at ... downwinder or just type downwinder into google and it appears at the top of the page.

Registered last week - theres a group of six of us doing it. Now just need to work on the technique/fitness bit, as would be great to finish it! 8)
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 10:01 pm
Location: Hillhead: where's it's happening

well I like others are not getting any pratice in as the wind is so poor of late I wanted to do a run from Southampton to Hayling to get some dry runs in..

Been so bad the wind it's not good.. just clocking up road miles to get my legs back in shape for all us 40+ year olds who suddenly remember we are not 20 some thing anymore :lol:
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 10:01 pm
Location: Hillhead: where's it's happening

every one seen the recent update from Lewis and the guys?

Shame H&S have hit them with a big issue with the boats. I would have thought 1 boat per 30 riders. Most sailing clubs have this rota. But 1 per 10 I can see the costs involved. Good job I am at £250 already :mrgreen:

Dear Big Charity Downwinder riders!

Hello there, Lewis here, alongside Dan at Snow-Camp. We both hope this finds you well and looking forward to the Challenge in September. Thank you once again for signing up and wanting to support this unique event. We have just passed 250 kiters signed up, an amazing response to the event and matching the number we need to set the World Record. Sponsors are getting onboard, prizes building up, after party being sorted – it’s going to be amazing!

But this is an important email. By Monday 29th July, can we please ask everyone who has not set a fundraising target to go their Virgin Money page and set a target for at least £100. We need to do this to enable the event to run safely and cover new Health and Safety related costs – full details below:

When we launched the Big Charity Downwinder in April 2013, we had tested the route with 2 kitesurfers riding on their own between Hayling Island and Lancing. They put in a call to the RNLI before leaving to let them know the plan and then called again as they landed 3 hours later. That was all - as kitesurfers we are used to managing our own safety, we understand there is an inherent risk to kitesurfing as there is to all extreme sports, but that’s the attraction - we manage this risk with our decision making and look out for ourselves and each other, and kite week in week out with this understanding.

We had anticipated of course we would need to have a greater degree of safety for an event of this size, and we have worked hard to put all kinds of safety in place as you will have seen from the registration forms and event overview - checking kiting ability, having captains for each team, unique wristbands and rash vests, first aid provision, clear guidelines on the wind direction and speed needed to keep everyone safe, landing points along the way, BKSA training for captains and volunteers and so on.

However, Health and Safety procedures have meant that on top of all the safety measures we have put in place, we now also need to provide a support boat for every group of 10 riders. This change is absolutely critical to the event. On the one hand we know it will be fantastic for each team to have their own boat and the safety support that can be provided as they ride down the coast will be second to none – we are fully behind making the event as safe as possible. But on the other hand the cost of this requirement, as you can imagine, has significantly impacted the overall cost of the event.

We have had many generous volunteers offering to support the event with their RIB’s and a few years ago this would have been an easy and cost effective way of managing this situation. But Health and Safety rules, the view of the RYA and indeed the BKSA’s position on this (and they are on our Safety Panel) is that it is impossible to ensure proper safety using volunteer RIB owners with differing amounts of experience, boat quality, training, qualifications, reliability on the day and so on. We understand this point completely.

As such we have been forced to find a company who can mange this requirement safely and effectively, and after much research Solent RIB Charter are pretty much the only people who can do the job. We have our second meeting with them on Friday and they are an amazing outfit with all the gear and boats we need – see pics – but all this comes at a cost which we need to factor in to the event.

The implications of this development are as follows: We need to ensure each participant raises £100 simply to cover their costs. Obviously, if you are a group, we need to ensure each participant in your group raises £100 minimum.

As you know, this is a charity fundraising event to raise money for youth charity Snow-Camp and the RNLI. 67 of you have set you fundraising targets already - some at £200, £500 or even £1000 and you are already sending out your Virgin Money Page far and wide – thank you so much! We just need to be clear with you guys that £100 of your fundraising will be now covering your costs, and the rest going to the charities.

However, 183 people have not set their fundraising target and have just paid the £20 deposit. We are sure it is simply that everyone is busy etc but we really need you guys to please update your Virgin Pages with a target of £100 or more – to ensure that your costs (which with this development are now £120 per person) of participating in the event are covered.

We know in the launch film we talked about setting your own fundraising target and every little helping, which is of course true – but in our efforts to make this event a success we have become faced with a situation that without Safety Boat cover at this level we will be unable to run the event – and without everybody fundraising, we can’t cover these costs. This is a unique event, and the first of its kind – so we have been learning fast as we have developed The Big Charity Downwinder in consultation with all the necessary safety bodies. This level of boat support was not foreseen at the outset, but it has become a Health and Safety reality that we must face to be able to run the event at all.

We hope everyone can understand this situation – and help us by please setting their target by Monday 29th July and ensuring at the very least that by the event your costs are covered by donations made on your page.

We also hope you agree to be part of a unique World Record Breaking Kitesurfing Event will be worth fundraising £100. And for those who can raise more so the charities can also benefit from your participation – thank you. With a name like the Big Charity Downwinder the charity element is central to everything we have been working on – and it would be very tricky if lots of participants simply paid there £20 without trying to fundraise further. It would basically mean the charities would need to pay £100 for you to be involved, which clearly wasn’t the idea!

Anyway, we wanted to be up front about this and we are hoping everyone will understand why we are having to send this email – and we welcome your feedback. If you need a reminder of your Virgin Money Giving page and login – please contact We have attached the updated Event Overview to this email.

Its not long until September – so whether you have started fundraising, set a target but not yet started or are still needing to set a target – please can everyone make a big effort to fundraise over the next month so we can ensure the event is a success for the charities as well as an awesome experience for every kiter involved. Don’t forget we have some amazing prizes, kites, boards, gear etc to give away to our top fundraisers at the after party.

Thank you once again for your support,
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:52 pm
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I might sound a little tight on this one and appreciate the fact that one of the goals for this event was to raise money for charity as well as breaking a record and giving the sport and the many sponsoring companies some good publicity.

However, months after signing up and happily paying £20 to a good cause for what many of us considered to be a 'fun downwinder' that I may or may-not be able to attend dependant on when it happens, being told 5 weeks before the start that you now have to get £100 instead isn't great. Surely something of this size and publicity would warrant enough investigation beforehand to stop anything like this happening?

I hadn't even read the mail until I got a couple of calls from people saying the probably weren't going to bother which is a real shame, I have personally raised over £1000 for charities that I support in the last 12 months and with more planned not able to ask the masses again so will probably end up paying the difference myself on this one.

I suspect this may be the case for quite a few, certainly the 10 or so that I have entered with.... maybe the sponsors will be able to help too?....there's quite a few. I have also seen some companies in the past do something to appeal to those who fundraise well and those that don't ... i.e. skydive companies will allow you can pay 200 personally or raise 400 for charity. Maybe do £50 personally and £150 for charity or something like that.

Fingers crossed that they still get the numbers they need.... best of luck.
Posts: 286
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:58 pm
Antispam: No
Location: Newhaven

It's the first time this event has been run so I think you need to allow for teething problems given the shear scale of the task. At least they will know for next time if it happens again.

Most Charities want a minimum of £1500 to run the London marathon and thats without support boats!
Posts: 1025
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 10:01 pm
Location: Hillhead: where's it's happening

Yeah I can see this can look abit last min.. but knowing what H&S are like at sitting on the fence until the last moment.

I would like to think a sponser could be found to help chip in.. we can't keep asking big companies they are not made of money well Virgin is.. :lol:

But it would I think be nice if the RNLi where involved between stations it's not like they would lose any time if some thing happened out at sea they are aready in the water and in the boat! as they are getting some of the money as well..

any one thought to ask them? might save on some costs.

I just hope this does not effect the numbers on the day I recon it will to a degree.. there is always going to be a natural drop out over the month but this is another stab from with in! hmmmmm.

Any chance these boats are coming back to Hayling?? I am going to look stupid getting on the train in my wet suit!
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol

I agree with moza90. This latest change has screwed it for me. There's no way I'll be chasing family/friends for £100 sponsorship for something I might not be able to attend anyway, dependent on dates. For £20 it was worth the punt and would've been a good crack but it leaves a bitter taste that the first £100 x 250 = £25000 of sponsorship goes to a profit making organisation.
What's the idea of making you set your fundraising target to £100 though. There's nothing that says you have to actually raise £100?! All sounds a bit strange to me. Real shame...
Posts: 39
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:49 pm
Location: Bristol

Not a bad shout actually kite-uk. They could sack off the bus firm they're using to shuttle participants back to Hayling Island and ferry them back in the RIBs instead. Wouldn't matter that they were dripping wet then...
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:40 pm

I'm sure the guys organising this are just as devastated by the news H&S.... they wouldn't have purposely asked for £20 then planned to send out the request for £100 just before the event so I'm not holding any grudges. I hope they are also sending the exact email to all sponsors though! I'm also in a position where I might have to cough up the money myself as I can't get sponsored for an event I cant guarantee I'll be making. However I won't be paying it until the date has been confirmed
Posts: 2344
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 7:50 pm
Location: lymington, hampshire

250 riders all raising £100 means £25000 to cover the new costs...

Also the daily hire rate for boat and skipper from that company is £395 multiply that by 25 and you get £9875... So where is the extra £15125 going... And it won't be all fuel!

I know that solent rib charters have a lovely fleet of identical fast boats but can you tell me precisely what they actually know about rescuing kiteboarders and I mean real practical experience not yeah I have been on a course.

Which ever way you look at it it is a huge chunk of money that would be best served going to charity I think they need to cost things out a litte clearer before you push the button on it really.
Posts: 129
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 9:45 pm
Location: Shoreham

I signed up for this almost immediatley. Great idea, great fun and great causes.

However I cant commit to every weekend in September. Therefore I dont really want to ask people for loads of sponsorship for something I wont even do.

Once the date was set I was going to tap up a few lovely people who would contribute. Happy to stick a bit more cash down myself.

I agree with some of the above comments, £100 is steep, especially now and not to be mentioned at the outset.

Not too sure how this is going to play out now...
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:42 am
Antispam: No
Location: Old Town

I feel a bit like I've been taken for a ride on this issue.
And I don't expect to ask friends and family to donate in good faith, if it's going to a commercial company. Almost feel happier pulling out and giving the cash directly to the charity as an independent donation.
As previous poster said, this sort of thing should have been transparent from the start and before all the publicity kicked off.

I guess if the date in Sept fits into my plans, I'll make a jusgement then and cough up the extra £100 myself, but not until I know I can make it.
Which makes you then wonder if there is a trigger figure that needs to be hit prior to the event and if they will struggle to make it if others take the same view as me.

It's a real shame.
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:13 pm

I'm sure that it was simply an oversight, unfortunate though, one of the good things about kiting is that it is still a fringe activity without lots of organisation behind it. Also it's very spontaneous and not always easily planned for.

Lots of questions and uncertainty here though. Maybe Chris/Lewis can come on and shed more light.

What's the minimum number for the event to be viable, might it be cancelled or postponed? And at what point will be event be declared on or off?

You have to see the BKSA stance on H&S, it's likely to get a lot of coverge and the last thing anyone wants is to expose kiting to bad press about safety, which it already gets occassionally. That has the potential to result in negative public opinion, bans and regulation.
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:29 pm
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Does anyone know whether if we can't participate on the day we don't have to pay the £100? I'm not available every Saturday which makes it a bit harder to fundraise in advance as I don't feel I should unless I'm definitely doing it. Also a bit questionable to fundraise that first £100 when it doesn't go to charity.

In terms of safety cover, I understand the requirement, however within the BKSA and RYA membership I'm sure you would find sufficient RIBs and people with qualifications that would voluntarily cover safety. Saying you can't find qualified people with the right size boat can't be true, every RYA & BKSA instructor has a powerboat qualification. I know several people that could provide a good sized rib with qualified people and just for the cost of fuel. It would just take more organisation.
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