Normal treat-this-as-SPAM-rules apply for those of you with real jobs on Monday mornings.
· SS kites are go for boating
· Don’t use handles on depower version
· Get all different coloured lines – will make untangling way easier!
I think AW and I took 5 launch attempts to get the 12m SS in the air yesterday. As it was high tide I tried to avoid the twigs and grass on shore (bridled foils don’t like twigs and long grass runners) by starting with a water launch. It’s possible my instructions to AW were less than fulsome…. In fact it’s possible I didn’t tell him anything about what he should do. So I shouldn’t have been too surprised when I looked up from my chicken loop to see the kite laid out in the water….that’s never going to work with an SS….bummer. Laid it out on shore a couple of times. First launch a steering line caught a log in the high tide debris on the shore. Next couple of times, which didn’t actually launch, the long grass runners messed up the bridle. But we eventually got it in the air. (Fortunately I don’t plan to have any twigs or long grass runners on the deck…. And the normal deck hardware of a boat, most of which won’t be needed for a kite boat, will be added very sparingly!)
I was using handles with the 12m SS, which has a depower system – the others have fixed bridles. It had worked fine in 4knots or so….not so good in 10 knots. About 1 minute into our boat ride, I realised I’d made a big rigging error. With the depower system, I’d need to have Popeye forearms, and several cans of spinach, to hold the trailing edge in sufficiently to fly well. For the few minutes before the spinach ran out it really did look beautiful – elliptic high aspect ratio wing pulling us along very nicely. I had to give up and drop the kite in the water…but, enough sailing to well and truly prove the idea of these kites.
We rigged a 17.5m LEI high aspect race kite and flew that on 50m lines. Got along quite nicely. AW estimated 20knots in 12 to 14 knots of breeze - I told him he was dreaming. No data I’m afraid. 20knots sounds like the one that got away – I’d say we sat on 15knots quite happily. But there must have been a bit of pressure….one of the front lines failed. So that meant another deep water line/kite retrieval exercise and a paddle home. (I’ve untangled one set of lines – I think the 2nd will be relatively easy. Note to self, make all lines different colours – way easier to untangle!) The LE was buckling badly when we were at speed. Although it could have been pumped up harder initially, LEIs are always going to be problematic when taken out of their design range….which I well and truly intend to do. The SSs look like a very good option.
AW and I played around with a 4m SS on the sand when we’d put the boat on the trailer. Alec has suggested launching the SS from a sock hung from a pilot kite (single line stable/autozenith). We tried that. The goose who had sewn the socks to the pilot line clearly needs to spend more time with needle and thread. So it didn’t work – but the method clearly has potential. I’ll be looking for about 10knots somewhere this afternoon.