Woman versus Machine – my race against a ferry

The other day on the telephone:

“Hi Anne, what do you think about racing a ferry from Denmark to Germany?”
“Yeah, sounds like fun – when?!”
“We need North-West wind”
“Ok, I’m up for it!”

That was basically all information I had before waking up in Römö, DK, two days ago after a 3 hours drive from Hamburg. Not that I didn’t get the information ahead from the organizers, I just didn’t have time to read it…


As we picked up the camera team which has flown in from Munich, I started to understand that this might be a pretty big happening. And it was!

Of course I managed to forget the pump, so pumping the kites turned out to be the first hazard. Second hazard, no wind, or – very very light wind. My biggest kite is a 10m2 (hint, hint Naish, I’m still waiting for the bigger one…) and I only have a freestyle board with boots.


In the end I was extremely happy to be locked to the board in my boots, as the current between the two Islands of Römö and Sylt created up to 2 meters of chaotic waves hitting me from all sides.

Ahead of the race we went through the course on the map with the rescue boat and the captain of the ferry.


Normally I was sure I was going to beat the ferry, but with less than 10 knots I had no chance. I started my race on the west coast of Römö with 9-10 knots of wind, the ferry started at the east coast in Havneby.


I would be alone the first 5-6 km and then after passing half way meet up with the rescue boat and hopefully the ferry. By the time I reached this point, the wind had almost completely dropped, I was fighting to keep the kite flying and the ferry was passing me.


Great! Let’s get ready for the walk of shame, or in this case: the swim of shame…

All of the sudden I could feel the wind kick in and finally I had power in the kite, 15-16knots of wind, YEAH!! Let’s catch the ferry.


Racing windward of and next to the ferry was an insane experience! At the moment as I managed to catch up, I could hear the roar of the ferry engines going for more speed. Obviously the captain meant what he said, he really wants to win!


The last km we were racing side by side and I think it is not a lie to say I beat the ferry on the finish line, what an adrenalin rush that was. Watch it here on N24!