In February 2012 Sarah Hebert , 26, will set out on her solo Transatlantic Windsurfing Challenge. As part of her preparations she’s attempted several shorter crossings, including a gruelling 240km journey between two French Polynesian islands. Sarah describes how things both did, and didn’t go according to plan…
TransAt Training in Tahiti
In order to train myself for the 'Big One', I planned to make several test runs over deep blue water. The first one would be from Tahiti to Raiatea. The Pacific is scattered with various size atolls and is rightly feared by sailors all over the world for its dangerous underwater topography. I have a connection with this ocean perhaps more than others as I grew up on a sailing boat and in and around the South Pacific. What I had experienced and lived through in these islands is difficult to describe in words. No pictures or stories can describe such emotional and sensational moments. I’d been longing for ages to return and have a confrontation with this gigantic stretch of water.
Backing it Up
After 15 fantastic days training on Raiatea, I decided to return to Papeete, the Tahitian Capital. Although I’ll be the only one windsurfing the Atlantic, I decided I should invite someone to join me for this first expedition and asked Beb
the Polynesian champion, to be my partner. Beb is a Pro. Passionate and hard-working. He also really enjoys long-distance sailing and was the obvious choice.
Finding the optimum weather forecast and a reliable logistics is difficult. The backup team was finally completed with two ‘Poti Mararas’, traditional fishing boats and a third, larger and more modern vessel - the 'ambulance boat'.