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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog


18/02/2018 Blackheath

Probably 8 mph gusting 15 mph today from the South with the temperature about 10C, so fairly benign for February in London…

Mostly full vented 1.5s with race rods and the RSS with standard reflex spars.  I am interested in the line settings for the RSS as it seems more sensitive to precise adjustment or maladjustment as the case may be with my current set.  Time to get the ‘equaliser’ out really!

Another flier put the RSS kite on their own lines and seemed perfectly happy with the overall performance compared to the full vent sail.

We are in discussion about an event in Ireland at the end of June.  Always good to go somewhere ‘new’.



Sunny to start but the convection clouds soon developed and eventually became an almost continuous cover.  The westerly breeze was about 15mph but gusting considerably higher.

Mostly Xtra Vents with four wrap spars (which were occasionally overpowered) but once again I was flying the RSS kite with the standard Reflex spars.  In the higher gusts I definitely needed additional brake and it was clear that the ‘tractor’ like stability of the Xtra Vents did have some advantage that may or may not be countered by the lighter weight and speed of turns of the RSS kite.  (A further brake step on the RSS kite may do the trick)

Quite a bit of called flying today but it was limited by the ‘tired hand’ factor.  The lack of warming sun eventually saw us packing a bit earlier than usual.  As luck would have it traffic back to Hackney was slow today!



There were a few sunny intervals today when there was a perceptible warmth from the sun but it was mostly thick low clouds in the brisk and cold NE breeze.  The forecast was for 13 - 26 mph but I don’t think that  the gusts really approached 26 mph.

Full vented 1.5s with green race and the RSS again but I went with the standard Reflex spars today.  Speed and window were mostly consistent given it was mostly called flying today.  The edge of window lulls had me needing to move quickly to get the sail moving but ironically in some of the gusts I felt that I could use more brake!  

The Portsmouth event is confirmed now so we only have a couple more events to finalise.



Mostly stable WSW breeze under cloudy sky today.  12mph (probably) gusting to c18 plus but only briefly.

Mostly on 1.5 full vented with green race, (I didn’t look closely). I was flying the RSS with the ‘Diamond’ rods.

There certainly seemed to be a good wind window match between these kites and when I added 2cm ‘forward’ on my line set others in the team found that this sail and configuration worked fine.  I had also tightened the bungees reducing the sail profile deflection to about 2cm, probably less than half than with the factory setting.

Nothing called today.  We were looking out for the occasional breaks in the cloud…

Invites have arrived for Berck and Cervia. Just need to get the ‘team’ up to speed!




For a while this morning it looked as if the forecast rain was going to arrive late.  The radar showed a shadow effect persisting from St Albans down to East London.  It was not to be; the initial rain really did close in and then turn to snowflakes in Hackney…

Our plans for a mid vented 1.5 sail are almost finalised and they should be ready in time for Berck.  We also have other sail projects in the pipeline for later in the year.

The forecast, however unreliable at this distance, looks positive for next Sunday!



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…