Participant (photo: Ingerid Jordal)
Audience (photo: Ingerid Jordal)
Volunteer (photo: Ingerid Jordal)
Partner (photo: Ingerid Jordal)

Whiteout after start 2013 - photo Ingerid JordalVAKE is closing in. In only 6 days you will be out on your own on the Varanger Peninsula. Some of you have already packed your cars and are on your way for an early arrival. Others are still preparing, plotting coordinates, finding the right gear, preparing your pulks and feel the nerves and excitement coming. Here are some words from Race Master that you should pay notice to before the race starts.

 

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The weather
All of you that have attended VAKE so far, have been lucky. Since 2009 we have not experienced any storms during the competition. But sooner or later it will come. We have had a long period now (more than a month) with passing storms with the worst peaking up to 30m/s. This might just as well happen during VAKE this year. Are you prepared for this?

Your gear – weight vs. comfort and security?
You have applied for VAKE 2014 and we expect all of you to know what you have signed up to. VAKE is not a straightforward kite competition; you cannot just seek to a warm shelter if the conditions get nasty. VAKE is an expedition with a competition aspect, and you should be equipped for a small expedition, not only for a competition.

We are experiencing now that more and more teams are focusing mainly on the weight of the equipment and cutting down on everything that they think is not necessary. Please study the packing list again, and note what is on the mandatory part!

No, packing heavy like you are going to the south-pole or a cosy weekend trip will of course slow you down. However, cutting down weight on every possible item: the pulk, the tent, sleeping bag, extra clothing, and food reserves will make you vulnerable and can be a security hazard!
We have had several incidents of acute frostbite, starved contestants and failed equipment, and this in rather calm weather conditions. VAKE-crew will check your mandatory equipment after race meeting in Berlevåg.

VAKE will not have a lower weight limit this year but we will weigh your equipment to collect data for 2015.

Prepared for a storm?
Do you know what to do and how to behave if a storm suddenly occurs? Since you have applied for VAKE we trust that you can land your kite safely or do a self rescue without help from your partner.
You also claim you can put up your tent in a storm. We trust that you have actually tried this.
Are your tents strong enough? Note that on the packing list, we recommend that your tent should weigh at least 2,5 kilos. Do you know how to dig yourself down in the snow if necessary?
There is also a thermos on the mandatory list. It is for storing warm water as a backup and supplement for saving fuel if needed.

Food and fuel reserves for five days are for those storms that might occur. With conditions as we experienced the last month, you might be forced to stay put for until 24hours on the same spot.

Prepared for the calm periods?
But what about the calm periods, are you prepared for those as well? They will most likely come.

  • Your kites: If you plan to do VAKE with a 10 m/2 tube-kite as your biggest kite, you have not studied enough what VAKE is about. You should immediately get a bigger foil.
  • Your Clothes: Calm periods, valleys and so on will anyway force you to tour on your skis and it will be a struggle. Are you prepared for this? On the mandatory list is an extra set of wool inner layer. Not only for changing from sweat to dry inner layer when you rest or set camp,
  • Your food and fuel reserves for 5 days are also for the days of touring that will require extra energy supply compared to the sailing part.

Prepared for surprises?
There are some rivers with areas of open streams that you might fall into if you are unaware or in a rush. If you use your eyes and study the map on beforehand, you should avoid it, but it has happened that contestants have had a bath in icy water. What if you don't have dry clothes to put on then?

Contestants have been cutting down on life saving equipment like proper sleeping bags, extra clothing, food and fuel reserves to save weight and be faster. VAKE does not want you to go that way. Be safe and prepared for any conditions or incidents; do not put yourself and VAKE in a hazard!

Compete safely and have a good trip over the Varanger Peninsula!