Foiling Week - a little disappointing

The Foiling Week, the 5th Edition, was held at Fraglia Vela Malcesine, Lake Garda, from 28 June to 1 July 2018.

My perhaps slightly ill-founded expectation for Foiling Week was that it would be a hive of development and ideas.  As it transpired, it was essentially populated by a load of insects (65 Waszps and 75 Moths) and a few people trying to flog their products - and none of those I saw showed significant innovation.  To give you an idea, albeit not directly related to foiling, there were probably 60 trailers stacked in the trailer park and yet only one, pictured below, used a mast support, shovel, kite line and, for the important sections, 3mm Spectra, to brace the draw bar.   I guess none of the other participants had kite line handy - but, apart from the stand out innovative one, the park was full of essentially standard shiny new steel trailers.  The amount of innovation in respect of foils/flight control/propulsion systems was similarly low.

Draw bar with shovel

From my point of view, it's clearly a bad idea to have insect regattas held with the  Foiling Week.  I doubt many of the insect helmsman had much interest in any of the forum discussions but my goodness, could they take up ramp/parking/lake space!

Lake Garda is stunning.  Malcesiine is towards the northern, more mountainous, end.  Fabulous scenery and a real picture at night when the lights twinkle along the lake and up the steep cliffs.

In the summer there's normally a northerly in the morning and southerly in the afternoon - even the breeze stops for a few hours in the middle of the day for lunch.  TFW seminars/forums were in the morning, when the wind is supposed to be lighter.  Unfortunately, for a couple of days the breeze was better in the morning, consistent with the forecast, and there was nearly a glass out in the afternoon.  That meant we missed many forum discussions as we really wanted to sail whenever  possible.  One morning we were sailing by 7:30 (so didn't have to negotiate the insects) in 20-25 knots with a 17m kite.  That was pretty exciting (see video link below).

Did I mention launching a kite is a nightmare?  Quite impossible from the marina.  There'd been a suggestion to launch from a pontoon.  But we couldn't tie up a boat there (why have a pontoon with no horn cleats?) and I could see a kite taking out lots of fittings from expensive carbon masts if anything went we drift launched each day.  Assessing these launches as being successful if we managed to sail, then they were all successful.  But there were some choice expletives a few times with slightly tangled lines, Baptiste swam along the lines more than once to untangle and generally it was a bit sketchy...though with a fair bit of room downwind to allow time for messing up and recovering.

Baptiste has documented a fair bit of the sailing on his blog  You'll need to get Google, or other, to translate (those of you who don't read French).  That includes several 3D videos.  Some nice flight times in this video (included in blog).  

Those of you who have sailed/flown my Nacra in Oz will conclude, I think, that performance was pretty ordinary in France/Italy- that was my feeling, relative to performance in Oz.  Although I don't fully understand why, the main issues were either not enough wind, not able to use a race kite (so restricted to less efficient LEIs) or more chop (when there was enough wind).  Perhaps we'd been lucky a few times in Oz with big race kites (18m Sonic or even my old 17m Speed 1) and relatively little chop.  I had a 21m Peter Lynn Aero race kite - but it was not launchable, safely, anywhere we sailed.  We test flew it once briefly in very light wind - very impressive lift in not much wind...enough to be dangerous on a harness!

10 days or so in the USA now before returning to a slightly windless winter hoping for opportunities to test/consider a single skin kite single line launch strategy (ref Armand Torre's bird kites, which are LEIs), sensors and actuators for four point flight control system ...and some client work.