I inherited a 3 piece telescoping mast from Rob Denney - thanks again, Rob. Unfortunately I've taken a while to get it into KitetiK. But finally at least the lower section has been fitted for the first time. It's back home now for more work.
The water was glassy for the installation. That was lucky as, having started first pull for the run out to KitetiK, when I was ready to tow KitetiK back to the beach from her mooring I couldn't start the outboard...which meant that I paddled the dinghy towing KitetiK the few hundred metres . That wouldn't be possible in even a few knots of breeze. But with the mast installed, a light SE came in and allowed a couple of launch attempts.
As launching had not really been planeed, it was not well setup. But the experiments proved quite useful. We used a 16m single skin kite. There were bridle problems which would be far less likely on a more organised launch. You'll observe in the video that Alec, piloting the kite with handles, moves around a little on the trampoline to fly the kite. Further development needs to assess where the kite needs to be tied off to take the load when it is launched. This will, at least initially, be near the mast base - and yes, Rob, if it's on the mast itself, I will put some stucture in to hold the mast in the boat. It would be quite disconcerting to have the mast become a 15m javelin in a puff of breeze!
Something similar to a spinnaker sock will be used for recovery - it's probably also necessary for deployment, but not as obviously so. Being hollow, it's tempting to consider retrieving kites into the mast. But that's very unlikely to be practical. For example, it would present problems for getting it out again. A hole in the bottom of the mast big enough to allow retrieval would severely compromise the mast's integrity! A more or less standard spinnaker sock may work for deployment - but managing the sock after deployment could be a nuisance. It's quite possible to leave the halyard attached as the kite flies - but perhaps not ideal. I'll cover various halyard rigging options another time once I've done some drawings and perhaps experiments. An alternative to pulling a sock off the kite to the top of the mast would be, for retrieval, to have a sock parallel with the mast and pull the spinnaker from the mast head down the sock. Please send through any suggestions.
Thanks Alec for continued support and enthusiasm for the project.