Noumea (New Caledonia)
Noumea is the capital city of New Caledonia, and lies 50km and an hour’s drive south of La Tontouta international airport. It is a green and hilly city, with some good views from the hill tops of the surrounding bays and islands. The ‘downtown’ area of the city is fairly flat, and easy to get around.
The Sailing in Noumea
Ansa Vata Bay in Noumea is one of the world’s best locations for flat water blasting, so much so, that in recent years, the PWA (professional windsurfing Association) has selected this location for its annual finale to the world cup slalom racing tour. Consistent trade winds and blue lagoon like water provide ideal conditions for flat-water blasting as well as long distance cruising to other nearby islands.
The horse-shoe shaped bay, which forms a lagoon, is blessed with South Easterly trade winds that blow across the lagoon from left to right. This prevailing wind direction points the sailor in the direction of Duck island, which lies a kilometre away. Three kilometres further on is the island of Ilot de Maitre, a 600m long island surrounded by a vast and shallow lagoon, ideal for long speed runs.
Although Anse Vata bay provides year round sailing, the winds are most consistent between October and April during the summer months, with an average air temperature of 27 to 29 degrees, and a water temperature of 26 degrees.
Best Suited To
Ansa Vata Bay is suited to all windsurfing and kitesurfing levels from beginner to advanced. Although it provides no waves for wave sailing, it is a world class area for freeride blasting, slalom racing and freestyle. It also provides the ideal location for those learning to use a harness, get planing, water-start and gybe. At Duck Island, the sailor can dismount in the shallows, rest, and look back at the view of the bay, before sailing back to shore.
Turtles frequent the waters surrounding New Caledonia. Many a local windsurfer will have a tale to tell of damaging their fin colliding with the shell of a turtle, so it pays to keep an eye out for them; same goes for foiling kite surfers.
There is not a great difference between water depth at high and low tide, and in between the launching area and Duck Island there are no shallow areas on which to hit your fin although foilers may need to stick to deeper channels at low tide.
The snorkelling area located a couple hundred metres from the main windsurfing launching area is rich in coral which lays just beneath the surface of the water however this is well cordoned off with the use of marker buoys so this shouldn’t present a hazard.
- Flat water at low to mid tide
- Blue water
- Easy rigging on grass under palm trees
- Easy launching
- Close to the hotels
- Cross shore trade winds
- Seabed can be hard under foot
- Keep an eye out for turtles
The generally flat waters of Ansa Vata bay are ideal for freeride gear, as well as full slalom race equipment, where there are many local sailors to test your speed against.
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