It really was a sunny Sunday despite worries about climate changes and the dismal cold weather during the week.
Another light wind, wrong sail day. Mostly full vented with race spars, kites occasionally falling out of the sky only to get snagged on the dandylion heads on the recently mown field.
Some fluent interaction without calls and plenty of attention from passers by!
The swifts have finally arrived in Hackney and at Blackheath. Their fast/slow interactions in flight are an inspiration every year and their screaming calls the signature of summertime.
A light wind exercise on Blackheath today. The premise being that the full vented B1.5 can be flown in light breezes with extra input from the flier and that the physical moves learned will translate to moves required with the full sail in really light conditions. I personally have no doubt that this will be effective just like the importance of 'maximising' break settings in low wind conditions. The 'fast forward' fliers will have no 'grip' in the sky and will be the first to give up in low wind conditions. <grins>
The switch to Zen/CR Masterpieces from the full vented B1.5s was an interesting transition. Suddenly having a sail that could hold altitude required a quick switch in flying technique. One day a careful comparison of the Zen/CR Masterpiece characteristics could be useful. Both kites worked very well today as the prevailing breeze switched off and then re-established from the North-East.
The trees in Greenwich park have turned full spring green in the last four weeks.
It was a quiet day on Blackheath today compared to the rigours of the previous 3 weekends.
Mid vented 1.5s with race rods were good to start with at 10:00am but the windspeed gradually freshened over about 2 hours so we changed to full vented 1.5s and finally Xtra Vented 1.5s with 4 wrap spars. The Xtra Vented kites are so 'smooth'. <grins>
Along the way I made time to re-shuffle spars in the team kites and leave behind some sand from Weymouth beach. Berck and Cervia had been deposited in the switch to and from the flight case. Carrying sand is hard work...
Arrived Saturday midday and the strong westerly breeze rolling across the buildings was not really 'flyable' so as it was not a day that was formally part of the event we retired early to a late lunch. ;-)
Sunday was sunny but the wind, although lighter, was still from the west and given the available space on the beach it was far from clean. We tried various sail configurations, JMH 1s, 1.5s and 1.5 venteds along with differing spar sets and did not find the 'right' configuration for the difficult conditions. 1.5 mid vents might have been the best option but we do not have a team set at this stage!
Monday started with sea mist which broke initially at about 10:00am with a light onshore (SE) breeze that continued fairly consistently for the rest of the day as banks of sea mist rolled in obscuring the otherwise sunny blue sky. During the breaks Ringstead Bay and White Nothe were occasionally visible. We only flew the JMH team 1s today and managed to refine some of the Cervia light wind moves in the four and six flier format.
Back to Blackheath next weekend...
Another full day at Cervia ending in the arena with Team for Fun. Zens to Vented today, mostly sunny with very light showers falling from blue sky!
Off to Mare Vita shortly followed by the Sicilian 'meeting' <grins>
Arrived back in London from Berck c7:30pm this evening.
The team used everything in the team kit during the four days in attendance. Xtra Vent, 1.5 full Vented, Standard 1.5 and the Rev1s. Once again, a very good event.
The team kit had to be transferred to the flight case this evening which meant de-sanding all the kites as well. We just hit our weight target for the Cervia trip.
Early start Monday morning, 5:00am alarm call! <grins>
The isobars were close together on the weather map this morning but the expected temperature was way up compared to the last few weeks.
The strong (c20mph gusting 30?) southerly breeze saw us checking 80 and 100ft line sets ahead of Cervia with a quick run through of Moby with Rev2s on the 80ft lines. As some of the fliers had rarely or never flown the Rev2 before it was a bit twitchy at times but eminently do-able. The transition to the Xtra Vents 4wrap on 120s was quite amusing, suddenly the kites were in treacle mode. These sails are just amazing for close proximity flying when the breeze gets up and reverse flying is just so smooth.
We flew some transitions from free flying to defined figures on the count of 10 which were maybe a little 'self conscious' but basically proved the concept.
The team arrive in Berck next Wednesday evening, stragglers (me included) on Friday evening and then the Cervia team re-group on Monday 22nd April. We are at Cervia until the end of the event, final day is 1st May, and then will be at Weymouth from about midday on Saturday 4th May for the rest of that event.
There was a light breeze, there was some sunshine, It was Zens rather than Xtra Vents, quite a contrast to the last few weekends.
The circus was still in place and we were early so heard the build-up to the 11:00am show and then flew with background music highlighted by the crash of the cymbals.
The 'extra brake' setting for the high winds the last couple of weekends were just right for the low wind conditions today. My kite floated off the top of the wind window on one occasion but the spar configuration/weight distribution had the kite gliding towards the wind 'direction' without losing much altitude. I had to move quite quickly on the ground to take up the slack in the lines in order to re-connect to the kite.
Preparations are in hand for the Berck/Cervia/Weymouth events which follow after next weekend. It's going to be quite an intense month.
The clocks changed so I was late on Blackheath today.
Still cold so some of us went for Xtra Vent with race rods. The extra movement on the ground did help in keeping warm and it was interesting to see how well this configuration coped in the wind window against a standard full vent sail. I guess the windspeed was averaging 10mph so occasionally light wind flying tactics were required.
I like the 'speed control' feel of the Xtra Vent and also the reverse flying characteristic which seems particularly smooth to me.
With Easter being late this year the prospects of a warm Berck had seemed likely. Unfortunately the North Atlantic conveyer doesn't appear to be functioning normally and the Jet Stream is 'out of position' so we have a late spring and a worrying long term outlook. So much for 'summertime'...
Late March gloom with an overnight dusting of snow did not present any real obstacle in getting to Blackheath today but the wind chill on site made it feel colder than any other flying day this winter.
Full vented with green race for me again was over stressed on a couple of occasions even with extra brake. My kite and others with different frames were landed safely to ride out the squalls.
Conversationally it was decided that free flying as we have been 'practicing' recently does not really work if too much 'thought' is applied. 'Talking' about it or suggesting 'frameworks' tends to kill the spontaneous elements and the 'errors' multiply. Seems like it is one of those AoxomoxoA (EXWX3XMXE) situations and as such I am not going to speak of it further or directly in the context of this 'blog'. <grins>
If you encounter groups of fliers flying mostly silently and often closely with 'total concentration' please do not break the spell. Thanks!
Showery airflow from the South East today with occasional glimpses of the sun through deep layers of cloud.
Full vented 1.5 with green race again for me and unusually I was first on site so time for some 'solo' flying.
The first shower passed before other fliers arrived. We then flew freeform only daring to look back when shadows were occasionally visible on the ground. A pattern of moves is beginning to emerge and critically the use of the wind window comes to the fore. We are not trying to 'force' figures just taking full advantage of the available window. Moving very close together at all points in the window and then moving apart to line up for the next interaction. Variation of speed and the confidence of control in close proximity reminds me of flying with the Roks.
Today we had one instance of bound wet lines which unfolded elegantly once the lines were 'relaxed'.
Five weeks now until the start of 'main events' for 2013. <grins>
No sign of spring today. Low grey clouds, wind north easterly with light precipitation, not quite sleet!
Full vented 1.5s, (my frame was green race) but it sometimes felt that the Xtra Vent would have been the warmer kite to fly given more movement on the ground.
Once again a mix of uncalled free flying with called episodes thrown in occasionally. Of course it is easy to measure the capability to fly recognised moves but it can be much more interesting to improvise 'in the air' and find the space... As long as the fliers 'get the idea' the flying can be much more complex with a greater dynamic range. <grins> Once again some of the close rotational moments were particularly inspiring. Rolling the group of kites and rotating individually seems to really hit the mark.
We finished with a look at the four person 'sprocket' which is an interesting level of abstraction from the six or eight person version.
On Blackheath this morning we had a tantalising ten minutes of spring sunshine. The low convection cloud that soon re-formed burned off later in the afternoon just to prove the point by which time we were long gone home.
Full sail 1.5s with race today but when the sun was shining the easterly breeze dropped dramatically. Mostly free flying today interspersed with episodes of called elements as well as almost spontaneous pendulum and rolling ball rotations. For four the paired arc right followed by the full arc left, paired arc left and then full arc right needs a bit more work on hitting the transitions for what should be a great holding move. We finished with a re-run of plan-A.
Berck and Cervia are not so far away now, a different world altogether. <grins>
The prospects were a bit grim. North easterly breeze, snow flurries and all that.
As with last week the re-instated football pitch was in use and ML opted to set up to the east of the road as the NE breeze was not obstructed in any way. We've flown on this field before (notably on one snowy AGM winter weekend) but it does feel strange being a bit lower than the rest of the heath.
Full vented with Race/3 Wrap worked OK today and in the short free form fly we did see some great rolling interactions. I'm almost inspired to try and write out the moves and try a stop-frame animation. In free flying the individual wraps are of course never an issue as the flier chooses the moment to get out of them, the more elegantly the better, in the course of further interaction. <grins>
Very conscious today of horizontal handles and 'long arm' flexibility in order to hit the slow rotation points and to maintain position 'height wise' at the same time.
Turned out that a missing flier had not heard the 'breakfast' call today...
Canary Wharf was seemingly hiding in the mist as we hit the A102 towards the Blackwall Tunnel this morning in bright sunshine.
On Blackheath there was a slight breeze from the SE but a football pitch had been marked out on our usual flying site and was very much in use so we walked a bit further to the west. Jacob arriving a few minutes later complained that we did not really have to walk so far. However, his arrival was a good excuse to break out the team Rev 1s as he does not have his own kites.
So it was very slow and close (treacle) flying for some of the time. Those sails really do go slow and close especially with good ground positioning to avoid the bumps (turbulence). Seeing the JMH sails in the sky with the mirrored graphics reminded me just how much that he had identified with and contributed to our project.
<pauses for thought>
I think that Jørgen had ideas that may not have been realised yet by The Decs in a practical sense and I am very happy to be continuing to explore the possibilties within the team and the larger team formats. Some of the flying today underlined the 'simple precision' that I believe Jørgen had identified.
It was a good breeze most of the time and the Rev 1 kites were a perfect fit...
The forecast was fairly dire so it was with a certain level of optimism that we drove to Blackheath this morning in light rain. The gondolas were evident in the rear view mirror approaching the Rising Sun roundabout so it was not 'that' windy.
Standard vented 1.5s with race/ultra light(3 wrap) dealt with the occasional lulls in the S/SE breeze. Four fliers took the 'lazy' option of no call free flying often in close proximity and with only one entanglement in over an hours continuous flying time. The variation of speed seems to produce the most interesting fragments of potential organised team moves with expansion and contraction of the group of kites providing an underlying rhythm.
The light rain as we set up had gradually increased and showed signs of turning to sleet so we wrapped up soon after midday realising that it was 'now' very wet!
Berck and Cervia seem a long way away at the moment but I hope that we will be able to set up a Super 16(12) event for 16th-17th March somewhere in England.
It looked like a high cloud grey day travelling towards Blackheath this morning but the cloud base was soon below the Heathrow approach flightpaths over the 'heath'.
Another Xtra Vent day although somewhat more marginal than last weekend. It was a less consistent breeze so occasionally the 4 wrap spars felt very heavy. Cold again so occasional spells of energetic long arm flying kept things comfortable while making lazy, though occasionally intricate, uncalled moves. Especially interesting today were times when the kites would be drifting across the window rotating individually but also as a group.
Plans for the year firmed up this weekend with attendance at Berck and Cervia basically confirmed. Just got to book the channel crossing and the flights now. Looking for inspiration for the projected Super 16(12) event in March now, 16-17th that is...
I did not notice that the cable car across the Thames was not operating this morning on the way to Blackheath. This, apart from flags along the way, would be an indicator that the close isobars on the weather map were an accurate forecast.
So it was Xtra Vent with 4 wrap that kept things sane as Jacob called some close moves in what would have been very challenging conditions for any other sail/spar combination. Counter rotations were the flavour of the day in linear format or paired. Curiously we still managed to back-up during flying spells. The sunny conditions were a complete contrast to last weekend's snow cover.
We learned during the week that the Exmouth event will not take place this year. We have tentatively planned a 'Super Sixteen (or 12)' event on 16th-17th March but have not yet decided on the venue. Also planning 'something' 'somewhere' between the Portsmouth and Bristol events at the end of August, 27th - 30th that is!
Heavy snow (for London) today makes it look like our gamble on the weather for the Shipley meeting last weekend really paid off.
A steady N/NE breeze with full sail 1.5 Race or 3 wrap worked well today. Some plaiting of lines was un-done gracefully in the air. The lines were a bit discoloured from last weekend but not enough to show up in the snow against the monochrome sky.
Memories of Madison, Kites on Ice, when wrapping up. Cold hands...
We had a great afternoon on Saturday mostly flying 12 (full 1.5 Race Rods) and getting up to speed with some of the 'familiar' team moves in the larger format. It was a bit muddy as in the attached image.
Occasionally we came up against the limitations of 'in-line' flying and we did switch to grid for a while. I think that ease of movement on the ground in transition from one scheme to the other will help in developing the larger team format.
Saturday evening we found the local Indian and Brewery Tap... before returning to the bar next to the bargain Hotel.
Sunday was a very light wind morning with a dusting of snow on the field. We set up Decs Rev 1s with other Rev 1s and occasionally had groups of fliers in the sky in tight formation.
On the side we also discussed the potential of 'no-call free flying' in order, maybe, to develop fliers perception of the available space and possible moves subject to the actual prevailing conditions (rather than attempting to impose a pre-determined routine on given conditions). I have seen some amazing potential team figures flown spontaneously in this manner. It requires complete trust in and co-operation with fellow fliers and works best when speed control of the kites is utilised to the full with carefully tuned rotations being a particular focus.
We are hoping to set up another similar weekend event (Super 16 or 12!) in the not too distant future.
PS Thanks very much to everyone who took part. "Round of applause"
The anticyclonic gloom had descended on Blackheath today but fortunately the drizzle held off. The grass was very wet though so we had very tightly bound lines to contend with while setting up. It always amazes me just how much adhesion can result so quickly. It was a marginal breeze today which did not help matters particulary.
We persisted with full 1.5 sails and Race Rods and occasionally the breeze picked up enough to make interaction quite comfortable.
Just a lazy fly today, really, ahead of 'serious stuff' (or not <grins>) at Shipley Country Park next weekend.
A clear bright start to the year. Happy New Year to all.
Standard vented with green race rods worked well for me initially but a slight strengthening of the breeze towards the end of our fly showed just how finely balanced the configurations can be. Hanging on in a cold breeze is not as good as energetic input to keep the chill at bay.
The long range forecast for Nottingham (Shipley Country Park) on 12th-13th January is looking cold but not too wet. Should be fun, 'whatever the weather', of course.
Discussions on the field today about routines for 16 fliers. <grins> I must look up the previous correspondence...
A short fly today given the strong westerly breeze.
Xtra Vent with green race initially but replaced with Strong/4 wrap quite quickly when the initially warming sun disappeared behind clouds rapidly approaching from the west.
There were a few breaks in the cloud subsequently but also rain falling from apparently clear blue sky as in the attached image with tentative rainbow.
New Years Day promises lighter winds to round off the extra flying time over the holiday period.
Now is the time to start planning the summer events...
It was bright on the way c10:45am to Blackheath but the high level cloud was approaching from the west.
A brisk breeze so xtra vented with green race provided a relaxed configuration. No physical stress beyond dealing with the occasional lulls. Most of the time LE up was fine for holding the hover.
Plenty of close improvisation with varaible speeds today. We are just going to have to set about writing a routine including all these interesting serial moves. I'll just have to figure out just how to remember long sequences of moves <grins>
Blackwall Tunnel was busy on the way home and at Bow Flyover it was evident that lots of folk were headed to Stratford. Good luck to them. The rain arrived later as forecast.
It was dull and breezy at 10:30am today. Full vented with 4 wrap. Quiet, so I took the opportunity to try the new leaders.
I am convinced that shorter adjustment intervals are the way to go but equally sure that sliding knots are not sensible.
Ultimately, equalising the lines is the critical element so finding a way to undo and re-tie the end loops will be the best way forwards. A proper line equalising device makes sense here, not that I currently have one.
Having on occasions handed a mal-adjusted line-set to another experienced flier I know how much it is possible to compensate for incorrectly set lines
The sun did appear for a while today but then the low level cloud thickened and the gloom returned.
A Boxing Day fly is planned on Blackheath by a few of us, followed by New Years Day fly as well as the usual Sunday meets. 12th and 13th January we will be at Shipley Country Park near Nottingham for a Super 16 (maybe) event.