Jeremy Waitt and Chris Burk will set off on a 16ft kite catamaran next Saturday on their Round the Isle of Wight circumnavigation attempt

A couple of sailors from the Isle of Wight are in the final stages of preparation for next Saturday’s Kite Boat Challenge. Jeremy Waitt (30) and Chris Burk (21) who live and work on the Isle of Wight are attempting to circumnavigate the Island on a 16ft kite-powered catamaran. They are scheduled to start from Yaverland Bay at 0930 on 20 March, rounding anti-clockwise with the tide, and aim to complete the task in less than five hours averaging a speed of 12 knots (approximately 17 mph).

The kite-powered craft has been built and designed by the team, who have pieced together a conventional 16ft catamaran hull and a kitesurfing water re-launchable kite to create a craft that deals with the eventualities of sailing.

If the winds are light the pair will use a 25m kite with a wing span of a light aircraft. In stronger winds the kite can be de-powered.

The Round the Island challenge is part of a bigger project to Kiteboat across the Atlantic, a task which Jeremy believes can be achieved. Jeremy said: “It’s not so much whether it can be done, of that there is no doubt – it’s how fast it can be done and who does it first that will be interesting to see.”

Jeremy believes a kite powered catamaran could achieve more consistent average speeds than a conventional sailing craft therefore beating the current record set by PlayStation II in 2001 of 4.5 days. Commenting after sea trails in the Solent, Jeremy said: “The advantage of a lifting power source seems to make a considerable difference.”

In their search for ongoing support and sponsorship for the Atlantic Challenge Jeremy will be sailing his kite powered craft from Land’s End to Dover in the autumn.

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