Kite cat update

Hi Fellas,

Had a great outing at Sandgate this afternoon.  I took out a couple of young fellas who are keen to help with some electronics and autopilot.  One has done work on autopilots on drones for CSIRO…the other has built me a sensor that reads orientation and GPS data (that will go on the kite) and relays it back to the main electronics station.  Hopefully I’ll have time to look at that this week.

I didn’t take a data logger with me, but I reckon we were hitting 20knots pretty comfortably when reaching in about 20 knots of breeze – that certainly got them interested.  (Yes, I know, real data would be better….”I reckon we were hitting 20knots…” is like describing the fish that got away….my apologies.)  The control systems guy wants to read about kite dynamics for starters and seems pretty switched on.  You couldn’t take two non-sailors/non-boaties out with a regular sailing catamaran in 20 knots and sail at 20 knots!  There would have been mayhem trying to get them on trapezes and capsizes without doing that.  But, with the kite, they just sat at the back, one steered (badly, but he got the hang of it) and the other occasionally pulled a rope when I told him to….and I could depower and give him as long as he needed before heading off again.  Kite boating is definitely the way to go.

I used a 14sqm LEI with  ~45m lines.  And I didn’t fly it hard – no looping, no aggressive sining…more or less just parked it at an elevation of about 40°.  And we were smoking.  I’m going to beef up a few blocks and their strops before putting more load through her.  Suffice to say, we’re nowhere near top speed yet.  She was humming this afternoon  - and not the slightest hint of heeling!  (The tow point is fixed in the middle of the main beam but pulled down with a barber hauler to the leeward gunwale for each tack – slight lee helm when beating but none reaching.)  

I’m annoyed I’ve not had more time on the boat this summer.  Had six weeks of pretty hectic work, during which Dom saved my butt more than once (handy having a smart son….), working with a bunch of lawyers….has rather confirmed my view of that particular set of pond slime….nice enough, but …..let’s not go there.   Nice that that work will fund further kite boat development.  I’ll be getting out much more over the next few weeks (though I have to see another set of legal clients tomorrow….if only they knew my view of their profession…!).  Let me know any  time you’re keen.

I’ve done some single skin launching experiments with Graham recently on land – they were quite instructive.  Boat trailer winch to ease/retrieve lines, through a set of blocks and a bar to enable steering as the lines are eased/retrieved.  With a few modifications we’re close to having SS handling well progressed.  The ephemeral 16sqm SS (which will be a very scary beast….I won’t be going near that on a boat without some judiciously stowed line knives!) is still coming.  My last discussion with the designer/manufacturer (Michel at Peter Lynn (Netherlands)) was early last week and he expected to finish it by now….but finding sufficiently little wind to test and tune it could be problematic!  I don’t think he’s prepared to launch it in more than 5 knots.  And yes, in 5 knots I’m pretty sure it will fly beautifully!

And you should see the linear actuator!  Looks very good but yours truly has a bug in the software that sees it losing position….that is, position is drifting slightly.  I’ll get onto that this week.

I’m drinking beer and loving life….hope you’re doing something similar.