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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog


14/07/2018 Blackheath

From the web cam it looks like it was sunny all day in Berck.  The initial brightness on the horizon just about reached Blackheath by the end of our session today.

The predicted 2mph gusting to 0mph was about right so not a lot of called flying today.

We were six up again and then Tom and Frances appeared en route to the north of England.  It was an opportunity to catch up on planning details for 2018 events and for Tom to get back in on the line albeit briefly.

Events for 2018 are shaping up.  We just need to get some formal invitations in place now!



A bright day with a blustery NE breeze probably averaging about 15mph.  Mostly Xtra Vent sails with race rods and the Reflex Super Spider with its standard frame.

Six up so mostly called flying today against a ‘random’ musical background.  The RSS was very light compared to the Xtra Vents.  There is a slight issue with the RSS when it is stalled at the edge of the wind window at the end of a move.  Getting it moving again requires ‘a lot of input’.  With so little sail area there is inevitably ‘not a lot of grip’.

The lightness and speed of turns was certainly appreciated by the fliers who tried the kite today.  We’ll have to get all the team to fly it in line with the other higher wind sails.



31/12/2017 Blackheath

The weather turned out to be fairly benign today compared to the forecasts, 10-12mph or less and no rain during our usual flying time.

The new kite had arrived on Wednesday having spent the previous few days in Leyton.  On Thursday I flew it for a short time in about 4mph with the new Diamond rods.  Today it was flown for somewhat longer with the standard Reflex frame alongside an Xtra Vent with 4 wrap frame.  Today the ‘Reflex Super Spider’ felt light and quick especially through wingtip turns.

We did not make much attempt to check the wind window but it felt reasonable without a strict comparison.

For our purposes we will have to fly it ‘inline’ in order to assess it fully but my first impressions are that this is a very useful configuration for a 1.5 sail.



24/12/2017 Blackheath

The low ‘anticyclonic’ clouds did not break but the SW breeze was mostly consistent.  We were mainly on full vented 1.5s with race rods which were only stressed a couple of times.

The UE device software has been updated and now has a ‘stereo’ option when using two units.  There were plenty of called sequences today with this improved sound system.

The new kite arrived at the courier transit facility in Leyton early on Saturday morning according to their tracking.  That is about 3 miles from home but delivery is not expected until Thursday…



17/12/2017 Blackheath

High cloud and a light SW breeze to start today.  Mostly 1.5 sails with diamond and race rods but I put up the standard Reflex as a reminder for the ‘feel’ of a larger sail.

Just a small bit of called flying today with some musical background.  We should be on site as usual on the next two weekends and hope to have a new kite to test fly at some point!

The fast approaching slightly lower clouds partly prompted our departure today.  It didn’t look particularly threatening but as soon as we were all in the cars it started raining…




The forecast was such that we had decided against any attempt to fly today.

The rain turned to snow shortly after 8:00am in Hackney and it was still falling at 1:00pm.  There is no real accumulation as the temperature has been just above freezing point…

A slow trudge in the slush proved the be hard work, not least because of the ‘age related slip fear’.  I may have to forego the usual bicycle circuit on Monday if conditions do not change.



03/12/2017 Blackheath

Low grey clouds and heavy drizzle at times today!

The breeze was from the NW and mostly about 5mph so there was some lift available for the wet kites and lines.  Full 1.5 sails, mostly with race rods worked with occasional wet face down moments.

There were some issues with wet line wraps; somewhat inevitable, I guess…

No calls and no tunes today, just the hiss of the traffic on the A2.



26/11/2017 Blackheath

Mostly clear blue sky with a reasonably steady westerly breeze today.  

Mid vents with race rods were used but the one full vent was only occasionally underpowered.

The fillers between the Decs tracks were supposed to have been edited out but somehow that hadn’t happened. Another try required but we put up with the drums today!

Just the occasional call today and we finished when the tracks ran out and the occasional clouds began to become more frequent.

Accidents at the Blackwall Tunnel meant that some of us took the scenic route home via Rotherhithe.



19/11/2017 Blackheath

Variable cirrus and other high cloud today meant that there was no low cloud formation so some sunshine filtered through.  The NW breeze was mostly at about 4mph but quite often dropped away after shifting towards the SW.

Full 1.5 sails with diamond LE and race uprights were mostly OK but a few line catches proved to be ‘final’!

Not much called today but we did have some of the team tracks playing.



12/11/2017 Blackheath

Variable breeze from the NW today, sunny spells in between dark cumulus.

We were on full vented 1.5 sails with race or 4 wrap spars.  Xtra vents with race rods would have been a better set up as the wind speed was based around 15mph but was gusting much higher for extended periods.

We had a ‘line’ incident’ at the start and the solution was to pull the lines tight together and then tease out the counter twists under pressure.  There really was an actual crossed line at the core of the problem which was simply resolved by untying one line at the handle end while holding the line tension to the kite.

Mostly called flying today, once we got started, with various tracks from the team music list.

I had taken the precaution of wearing extra layers so remained reasonably comfortable.  Others were less prepared for the 7C less windchill.



05/11/2017 Blackheath

Clear blue sky to start but over the two hours on site the fine weather cumulus gradually built up in the WNW breeze.  

Full vented 1.5s with race rods were only occasionally overpowered.

Mostly free flying but when we added some music to the mix there were a few calls as well. 
No issue with the site today.  The breakdown and cleaning were well advanced…



29/10/2017 Blackheath

We were on site at the normal time despite the clock change!

Northerly breeze, probably 10 plus mph gusting higher so full vents with race rods.

While the temperature did reach double figurers (centigrade) today I was glad of an extra layer, just in case!

The clear-up after Blackheath Firework display may impact our regular flying site next weekend but the plan is to be there as usual…



22/10/2017 Blackheath

It was not quite as windy as had been forecast but we still flew the Xtra Vents with 4 wrap spars today.  

While it was not actually ‘cold’ it was a timely reminder to layer up and remember the gloves, ‘just in case’.

No calls and no music today.  Just the whistling lines…

We might be on site a bit early next weekend after the clocks change!



15/10/2017 Blackheath

The day had started with clear blue sky but a dense layer of low cloud formed before we set off from Hackney.  This cloud layer gradually broke up in the SW breeze and later in the day there was plenty of sunshine.

Full vented kites with race rods were only occasionally slightly underpowered.  We were talking again today about the merits of a mid vented sail and the cost of getting a team set for the rare occasions when they would be needed.

Doubling up the the music playing device worked very well today once the technical issues were resolved finally.  Martin has the reserved ‘seat’, of course…

When it is working the web cam at Berck streamed via You Tube is very good.  I hope that it will be in place for the kite event in April next year!  A two hour window should work very well…



08/10/2017 Blackheath

The light west to north westerly breeze today was a bit elusive but there was some warm sunshine to make it feel less autumnal than might be expected for the OSOW weekend in the UK.

Full sails with diamond LE and race uprights but we had one casualty with an awkward ground contact.  Two clean breaks in one diamond spar!  I’m wondering if they are still available?

Some called moves today with a different soundtrack…

Chris from Ireland (Ohio/New York) paid us a visit today having recently moved back to London.  We will expect to see him on the kite circuit again!



01/10/2017 Blackheath

The weather had not looked promising but we were lucky with our usual timing.  It was showery during the drive from Hackney but there was no rain on Blackheath.

SSW with low clouds and the occasional brightness.  The breeze was probably 12 mph with occasional higher spells so we were flying mid-vents with Race Rods.

Nothing called today but we had musical accompaniment and the occasional passing murmuration of starlings.

It seems very early but we are getting asked about plans for 2018.  It is 30 years for the team so we might have to do something special <grins>



24/09/2017 Blackheath

A mild sunny day with a gentle SE breeze today.  Mostly blue sky with high cloud approaching very slowly from the west.

Full sails with Diamond LE and Race uprights were just occasionally a little overpowered in the variable breeze.  There were quite a few direction shifts suggesting thermals were passing by…

After last weeks introduction to music on site, this week with the brighter weather brought out interested ‘passers by’ in greater numbers than we have seen in a long time.  

It was almost all called flying today interspersed with conversations with our audience.  Quite a change…



17/09/2017 Blackheath

Back at the usual time and place today.  NNW breeze was supposed to be 6mph but it was not consistent.

Full sails with Diamond LE and Race uprights seemed fine when there was some air movement.

Quite a bit of called flying today not least because we finally (after how many years?) acquired a viable rechargeable music playing ‘device’.  Somehow, even for intermittent flying, having something to counter the A2 traffic noise was very welcome.

Having been dazzled in the sunny intervals a rather dark cloud did produce a short shower that sent us on our way.  The last few spots falling as we got back to Hackney…



10/09/2107 Victoria Park

A music event on Blackheath meant that we had to find an alternative venue today.  There was a pop-up running event on the Olympic park so we flew in the east end of Victoria Park.

There was a running event in Victoria Park as well as a cricket match but there was still some space in the NE ‘corner’.

The westerly breeze was somewhat erratic and gradually strengthening.  Mid vents with race rods were OK most of the time.

Nothing called but there was a sax, bass and drums combo that set up close by soon after we arrived so we had a live accompanyment. It was a pity that the breeze was not more consistent but in a tree lined area that is what would be expected.

We should be back on Blackheath next weekend.



03/09/2017 Blackheath

SSE breeze today, probably 10mph and upwards, not that I measured it, so full vents with race rods of various flavours.

The approaching weather front which affected the rest of the country N,S and W looked threatening with slate grey clouds but the forecast held good and there was no rain on Blackheath while we were there!

No calls again today, end of season discussions about recent events and thoughts about priorities for next year took precedence.

We will not plan a formal team trip to Fanø next year as Cervia and Dieppe should be our main focus…



27/08/2017 Blackheath

A very light 3mph northerly breeze was not entirely consistent so we did not get much flying today.  Full sails with diamond LE and race or diamond uprights worked when the breeze was present.  Rowan clocked some 360’s but I was certainly not going to make that effort!

In these circumstances the great thing about Blackheath is that there is plenty of space and we are not going to impinge on anyone else’s kite flying space.

Jade flew his Portsmouth auction purchase, one of Martin Lester’s white kites…

I put up the 3m JMH rokakku for a short time.  It is OK in 3mph but hard work if there really isn’t any air movement.

Great to see that blue skies did arrive in Long Beach eventually.



20/08/2017 Blackheath

Westerly breeze today, often dropping away as thermals passed by in the sunny spells.  Full sails with diamond LE and race uprights were just fine.

No calls today as after the last two weekends Ashley was taking a break.  I was almost doing the same (break wise) as taking delivery of a not ‘new’ car has been slightly delayed.

We may venture further afield next weekend subject to transport arrangements and weather conditions.

In the meantime I will be looking out for reports from Long Beach <grins>



Everyone arrived in a timely manner for this event with some kites being delivered on site first thing on Saturday morning after transatlantic routing via Hackney and Bexleyheath!

It was a good breeze on Saturday from the west.  Our dilemma was that we did not have the mid vented option which would have been ideal… The full sails with diamond leading edges and race uprights were OK for the regular fliers but others showed their inexperience.

In the lighter breezes on Sunday this theme continued.  Happily there was a breeze which had been in question in the forecasts as late as Saturday evening.

An excellent weekend with some particularly good Mega Team routines thanks to Ashley’s calling…



We did eventually arrive in Exmouth on Friday 4th August just before midnight after considerable assistance from the roadside rescue company and in the replacement vehicle that was eventually provided…

All the travel aggravation quickly faded as it was a bright and breezy day on Saturday with just an occasional light shower.  The breeze was actually at the higher end of our comfort window with the JMH vented kites.  We did not have to resort to four wrap spars though; green race were sufficient.

Sunday was equally bright with the wind a bit lighter and more form the west than the north westerly of the previous day.  Full sails with diamond leading edges and race uprights worked well all day.

There were also opportunities to fly the JMH rokakku kites as well as assisting in the festival agenda with other kites.

An excellent weekend… I just need to have a careful conversation about my ‘car’ as we need to resolve transport arrangements for the Portsmouth event next weekend!



30/07/2017 Blackheath

The Cycle events of the weekend meant that our arrival at Blackheath was a bit delayed this morning.  I must not complain as a spin round the City and Westminster yesterday was, as ever, a bit of a treat!

Slightly blustery SW breeze today so we were on full vents with race rods.

Some called moves today produced some very enthusiastic responses from passers by!  Eventually it becomes a bit difficult to know exactly how to respond to “I’ve never seen anything like it before”.

There was a brief full sunny interlude but the cumulus consolidated into a dark grey mass of clouds that threatened ‘some’ rain.  I had expected a light shower but as we headed towards the Blackwall Tunnel there was a brief deluge!

Exmouth and Portsmouth are all set.  We’ll see what the late summer weather will deliver…