Foiling kitecat - first cautious flights!

Morning all,

We sailed the Nacra from Scarborough yesterday in light (for kiting with an LEI) winds.  We were very cautious – but it was very successful and we learnt heaps.  Details below.

15-20 knots forecast for this afternoon with good conditions also forecast for Saturday.  At this stage we have no support boat skipper able to come out but we’d love to go out.  Until we have more confidence, we won’t go out without a support boat – so if anyone, with a boat licence (tinnie with 15hp o/b – thanks Luke) can help, please give me a call.

Although there’s a lot more to be proved with the Nacra, there is the possibility of a much bigger project looming.  More on that later.

·         Breeze: About 12knots dropping to 10knots NE (Scarborough). 

·         No pictures/video I’m afraid

·         14m LEI – should have used a bigger kite.

·         Launch sequence –

o   foils installed in canal

o   cat towed out by support boat (thanks Chris)

o   kite pilot arrived at cat, in deep water, on twin tip (should have gone for a bigger board…only just enough breeze to stay upwind)

o   all worked well – way better than in the chop at Sandgate!

·         Flew on foils only for short periods.  With the light breeze and smallish kite, working the kite generated enough speed to get us up but, somewhat surprisingly, we didn’t stay up for long.  Importantly, however, it all felt quite good while up – quite stable.

·         Reaching (we didn’t try to get good angles) we generally did close to wind speed.  Speeds on port tack (bearing ~125°) somewhat better than starboard tack (bearing ~325°).

·         Tried running deep and did close to wind speed by looping the kite – note bearing of ~225° at end below. 

·         Rig for running, allowing the tow point to move from side to side, worked quite well…except when the cleat, used when reaching/beating, caught/locked the bridle…that could have been ugly with the load on the windward hull (windward in the sense that the kite was flying to the other side in its loop…we were pointing close to square)

·         We nearly (or possibly we did) fly the boat off the foils when the kite was high. This was at the end of a loop that generated good speed which had the foils working well, and hence the boat was flying reasonably.  With the addition of vertical lift from the kite, we nearly took off altogether.  Longer kite lines, to keep the change in line angle at the kite low in loops, are needed for downwind.

·         We sailed under the kite and put it in the water at the end of the square run.  With more experience this looks likely to be easily avoided – but it’s unlikely to be a reasonable strategy in more wind as, if we foil consistently and therefore go faster, we’ll definitely sail under the kite more quickly.


·         Got home and there was beer in the fridge! J