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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

Felix

We were expecting anticyclonic gloom but leaving Hackney on the A12 the sun broke through dramatically with Canary Wharf towers still submerged in the low cloud and mist.

 

Wet underfoot on the heath so getting started in the light breeze had its wet line moments.  2-4 mph so full sails with diamond rods.  Rowan had been hoping for a light wind day and this was just about perfect.

 

We don’t, by habit, go for shorter lines in light wind conditions.  I have always enjoyed the long walk forwards from the top of the window.  Sometimes the curve in the lines suggests that the kite is gliding rather than remaining under control.

 

Nothing really called today but we did do some close following without losing too much ground.

Felix 

Felix

The weather window looked a bit close today but we did manage to have a gentle fly under a changing high cloud base grey sky.  There was a shower on arriving and an occasional brightness from the sun.

 

It was  a light westerly breeze so full 1.5 sails with race, 2 wrap and diamond spars in the mix.

 

Traffic was noticeably light both ways today, no queue on the northern approach to the Blackwall Tunnel going home for a change.  The expected rain had settled in by 1:30pm in Hackney.  A dark afternoon…

 

Felix

Felix

26/12/2016 Blackheath

Mostly clear sky apart from con-trails with a brisk westerly breeze today.  Full vented sails with race rods were mostly manageable except in the stronger gusts.

 

Rowan set up 15 inch clip less handles and tied off at the right leader knot first time of trying.  He did of course have the advantage of using a set of close tied knots of my making at about ¼ inch intervals <grins>

 

We will probably head out for a New Year’s fly next Monday if we do not get out before. 

Felix

Felix

18/12/2016 Blackheath

A very late start for some of us today but there may have been an advantage in that the wind was lighter earlier.

 

It was from the west again today, 4-5mph after midday but we were under a very low cloud cover with limited distant visibility.  The usual horizons to the south and east were missing.

Full 1.5 sails with diamond rods felt crisp but it was all free flying today, nothing called.  That being said, it really was quite remarkable how organized the flying was.  There was plenty of close controlled interaction across the wind window.

The cloud cover began to break towards the end of our session and the sun was visible for a few moments as we walked off the field.  By the time we were back in Hackney the gloom had descended again.

 

Felix

Felix

11/12/2016 Blackheath

Mostly clear sky again today but the breeze was from the west, mainly consistent but quite light so 1.5 full sails with race rods were only occasionally overpowered.

 

We started out mostly free flying which was often very well ‘tuned’ but then flew some quick called sequences.  5 fliers is not ideal but we found an adaption of the double leaders benefit and blender which worked well.  

 

Plans for a trip to Canada in June are beginning to look realistic.  It is always exciting to make preparations for new destinations.  The only downside is that I realize that my memories of our previous trip to Montreal are somewhat faded.  All I can really remember is that my boarding pass for the return flight was torn up at the gate and two of us were upgraded… Very strange!  Maybe that was the event that ended with a thunderstorm? <thinks>

 

Felix

Felix

04/12/2016 Blackheath

Clear blue sky today with a mostly brisk easterly breeze so we were mostly on vented sails with race rods.  Rowan was on a mid vent and had the advantage in the lulls.

 

Mostly free flying with close patterns but Ashley did call some quick sequences just to switch the focus.

We packed up a bit early after noticing a burning smell.  Turned round to see a pall of black smoke directly upwind in the direction of Sun in The Sands roundabout, the A2/A102 junction.  The Map App showed considerable congestion so we headed home via the Rotherhithe tunnel.  There was a hidden benefit in that we stopped by at the Ginger Pig to place an order for Christmas lunch.

 

It appears that the proponents of Berck 2017 100 had not appreciated the number of fliers needed (?) and had not actually mobilized enough French fliers to render the project likely to succeed before making their proposal.  The Decs will be in Berck for the whole week anyway so we will contribute on the basis of business as usual…

 

Felix 

Felix

27/11/2016 Blackheath

Late start today.  The northerly breeze was reasonably consistent so we were on full 1.5 sails with race rods.  The kites were occasionally over stressed.  Mid vents would have worked better…

It was cloudy with the forecast suggesting brighter intervals during the afternoon.  The weak cold front passed over with a visible thickening of the cloud but no precipitation.  The following clearer sky was tantalizing in the distance but we succumbed to the cold and headed for home.

The sun broke through as we turned past Victoria Park on the edge of Hackney.

Now we must get the team set for the Berck 2017 100 fliers project.  My suspicion is that if the French fliers turn out in force this really could succeed.

 

Felix

Felix

20/11/2016

Light rain in Hackney turned to heavy drizzle at Blackheath in a brisk westerly breeze so I didn’t even stop the engine, just drove back to Hackney.  Fortunately the Blackwall Tunnel approach northbound was not too congested today.

Earlier in the week the forecast for the heaviest rain was mid morning rather than during the night as actually occurred so it was not unreasonable to travel in hope…

Felix

Felix

13/11/2016 Blackheath

Six up today with a northerly breeze mostly between 4 and 7mph.  Full 1.5s with diamond rods felt precise most of the time.

 

There was some warmth in the sun but as it was right in the middle of our wind window the intermittent clouds were a bit of a relief.

 

Ashley called a string of moves, some now familiar, some new today which attracted the attention of quite a few ‘passers by’ on the heath.  Strange how they have never seen anything like that before…

Felix

Felix

06/11/2016 Blackheath

Mostly brisk NNW breeze today so full vented sails with race rods to cope with the lulls.

Not too much debris on the field after the previous night’s fireworks.

Plenty of close free flying watching patterns develop and drift with the changing wind direction. 

After a sunny start the cloud thickened as is often the way at Blackheath.  Back in Hackney the cloud cover was complete by 2:00pm and very grey!

Felix

 

 

Felix

30/10/2016 Blackheath

 

The clocks changed so a more relaxed start to the day but the fog really didn’t lift so we had to put up with a cotton wool environment.

 

There was occasionally an easterly ‘breeze’ which probably reached 4mph at its maximum.  That is just about enough to do team moves if it is consistent but of course it was not. 

So full sails with diamond frames.  I was not feeling too energetic but others did 360’s in the lulls.  Some of the interactive free flying was quite neat so all was not lost!

 

We had very wet conditions underfoot, the Canada geese browsing and the money spiders putting out their silk and covering every static surface close to the ground.

 

What fun <grins>

It was also ‘that day’ every autumn when the tree colours hit a point, at which if you blink, you miss it…

Felix

Felix

23/10/2016 Blackheath

Arrived soon after 11:00am today. Some sunshine provided ‘just enough’ warmth to contend with a chilly easterly breeze which was about 7 mph when we arrived but more like 14 mph when we packed up.

Mostly mid vents with race rods. We really should sort out a team set of this sail as it really does become very useful at a certain wind speed <grins>

Nothing called today, just lots of close flying based on trusting the other fliers to keep it smooth and not to try and ‘show off’.

Felix

Felix

16/10/2016 Blackheath

Late start after heavy rain gave way to a showery SW breeze.

Full vented with race rods felt very smooth except in the occasional higher gusts.

One shower passed Blackheath Village just to the South East with a dramatic cloudscape when the sun reappeared. Later a shower looked like it would be a direct hit.

Back in Hackney after a 30 minute wait on the Blackwall Tunnel approach it is now raining very heavily!

Felix

Felix

09/10/2016 Blackheath

The sky was cloud free over Blackheath as we arrived but the cumulus was beginning to form as we wound out our lines.

NNE breeze so not quite directly into the sun today. The breeze was 7-8 mph so it was mostly full sails but Rowan flew his mid vent with green race without issue.

Plenty of quick calling again and the ‘passers by’ were on questioning form today as in:- ‘Never seen anything like it’.

I flew the two medium JMH roks which are really ‘light wind’ kites now as noted last week so they occasionally felt stressed on the relatively short lines I used. A little bit of fine tuning is still needed.

By the time we left the heath the cumulus cloud cover was almost complete with some moody shades of grey.

Felix

Felix

02/10/2016 Blackheath

Another late start but there were some sunny spells…

Full 1.5 sails with race rods in a Northerly breeze so straight into the sun.

I had hoped to put up the JMH roks and did fly the 3m kite and one of the 2m kites as well deciding that they really are ‘light wind’ kites now. I would not feel comfortable tying them off, they are ‘hands on’ kites!

Ashley has been calling various quick sequences recently and this continued today. It will be interesting to see how a complete routine will develop.

Very sad to hear of Corey Jenson’s passing. He was a friend of the Decs from the early days and a great supporter/contributor to the 2008 Mega Team project.

Felix

Felix

25/09/2016 Blackheath

A bit late arriving on Blackheath today but we were then six up so Ashley called plenty of fast paced team moves.

Green race in vented sails almost covered the lulls and occasionally felt overpowered as the gusts blew through. No actual showers but quite a lot of stately cumulus clouds ‘marching’ by.

The plantain heads were occasionally troublesome. Maybe the site will be mown before Autumn sets in properly…

We switched spars in the team kites post Dieppe and contemplated the Zen project on 150ft lines and the 8 stack of Rev1s.

Felix

Felix

18/09/2016 After Dieppe

Good to be back in Dieppe after a long absence.

Arrived Friday 9th September c2:00pm and went directly to the site which was still being constructed… We went for a walk around the town and then back at the tent found that supper was arranged for that evening on site.

It was pretty much a one kite event over the eight days flying. Full 1.5 sails with Diamond leading edge with the uprights switching between Diamond and Green Race. It was only on our last day, Saturday 17th that we switched to team JMH vented sails with 4 wrap spars late in the afternoon when the rain finally eased.

Along the way when the wind was particularly difficult coming over the town we did try the 150ft line sets which turned out to be helpful in softening the shocks and extending the available window. We will certainly use these lines with the Rev1/Zen sized kites in the future.

The Rokakku kite that I originally flew in Dieppe in 1988 took the single line arena one lunchtime during the week. The multiline arena provided an extended launch area and then I walked the kite across the site. It was the only kite flying bar one small delta towards the east end of the event area.

We flew the 3m JMH Rokakku with the JMH 1.5 sails. There should be some images available soon.

We also set up the ‘Robertshaw’ tent in various configurations having prepared guy ropes on the ferry…

There were some good mega flies during the week despite the occasionally challenging conditions.

A great event. I certainly hope to go back another time.

Felix

Felix

04/09/2016 Blackheath

Full vented sails with 4 wrap worked comfortably today. We set up handles and lines for Rowan after last weekend’s disappearance.

Some intricate close flying without calls was followed by some rapid calling by Ashley.

We are just about set for departure to Dieppe early for some of us next Friday. Just waiting for the final Rok spars and fittings as well as guy ropes for the ‘tent’. The second wave is set to arrive on Saturday…

Felix

Felix

28/08/2016 After Exmouth

We had realised that travelling on a Bank Holiday Friday to the West Country might be a bit difficult so opted for leaving London early. This worked in part but the combination of the very early start and the long drive meant that the rest of the day was not great. Some of us did, however, have a very good evening meal at a local ‘French’ restaurant.

We did get a good start on Saturday morning flying out on the estuary but then almost suffered from a complete wind recess at the appointed hour for our first arena performance. Luckily after a few 360’s the wind settled in a completely different direction long enough for our routine.

The wind was somewhat changeable for the rest of the day…

Sunday morning there were light showers but after our 2:15 slot it got very wet. Somewhere after this Rowan’s handles and line set ‘disappeared’. If anyone finds a ‘clip less’ set of handles and 120ft lines we would very much appreciate their return.

We had just about got the sails and lines dry for a closing performance but the breeze was fading. We started OK but when the wind stops there is not much we can do <grins>

A very good weekend, all told, and the drive back to London on Sunday evening was not as bad as I had anticipated…

Felix

Felix

21/08/2016 Blackheath

I was on Blackheath on Thursday checking JMH rokkaku kites with some success and some failure. Testing to destruction has to be fun… <grins> Decisions about four point or six point bridles are outstanding.

Today the forecast was for a strong breeze so I had anticipated Xtra Vents. 4 wrap worked just fine and it was good to get the kit together ‘just in case’ for next weekend at Exmouth. A kite drop via a bus route was involved…

The Blackheath ‘regulars’ are off to Seasalter for a team lunch next Thursday prior to an early start on the road to Exmouth on Friday.

All being well we’ll be able to access the forum site later this week when everyone is home after WSIKF.

Felix

Felix

The weather held to the forecast from earlier in the week so it was a great weekend at Portsmouth.

On Saturday the wind was from the west at about 10mph for most of the day. Full 1.5 sails, diamond leading edge with race uprights worked just fine.

There was a wind recess on Sunday morning as the Northerly land to sea breeze was countered by the South Easterly sea breeze that, once established, was light but steady for the rest of the day. Slightly disappointing that this coincided with our first arena slot but it was a case of win some, lose some!

Rowan was on the line for the whole event, which was his first. We have a suspicion that he really enjoyed it and he will be flying at the Exmouth event as well.

Still no Forum site…

Felix

Felix

07/08/2016 Blackheath

A brisk SW breeze was almost Xtra Vent conditions but we switched to full vent with 4 wrap spars in order to cope with the lulls.

Six up so we did a fair amount of called flying in anticipation of Portsmouth. Rowan was on the line today and will be at Portsmouth so it was good to make a gentle introduction to the demands, or otherwise, of festival flying…

The Rev Site was not available today (or yesterday) so I will add this message as and when the site is back. I took all the text offline some time ago.

Portsmouth is next weekend, Exmouth two weeks later and then Dieppe two weeks after that. A busy end to the summer.

Felix

Felix

It was an interesting site and very well equipped! The flying field slopped down to the east but the westerly or slightly north westerly breeze was fairly consistent over both days of the event.

Full 1.5 sails with Diamond LE and Green Race verticals worked very well on Saturday even if they were somewhat overpowered towards the end of the afternoon. The vented JMH kites with green race felt very crisp on Sunday.

The only issues related to worn out leaders with one flier crashing out twice on Saturday! The moral of that story is obvious…

Tom Greenfield put the six stack of Rev1’s together on Saturday and managed a couple of demos. The sail fabric has just about reached the end of its life but it was good to see that the link lines had stood the test of time.

Felix

Felix

24/07/2016 Blackheath

11:00am arrival with the grass cut on the NS axis rather than EW.

Full vents with race frames were comfortable for the five fliers mostly free flying with close interaction. We did break into a called sequence when a family with dog stopped by. The dog seemed most intent on finding a shadow to rest in so was close to our feet.

If the wind had been lighter I would have put the Reflex and Zen sails head to head on the 150ft line sets just for a more complete understanding of relative capabilities, of course!

We are mostly set for Beverley and the weather is looking OK at the moment. Portsmouth follows two weeks later and then Exmouth and Dieppe at similar intervals so it is a busy summer ahead.

Felix

Felix

17/07/2016 Blackheath

Finally a summerlike temperature and a consistent westerly breeze. Mid vents with race rods occasionally felt overpowered.

The site had been mown so not much remained of snagging risks. What is not to like?

Rowan was on the line with us today.

Next team event is Beverley, the last weekend of July. Travel plans are still in the making…

Felix

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