Nine days at Berck was a real treat. We were not subjected to any severe wind or rain/snow and the event ended on a summery high note and an accompanying grid-lock on the roads out of town early Sunday evening.
The Mega Team performed very much in line with our expectations, a respectable 56 on Saturday 8th April putting in a polished performance over something like 25 minutes… Winds on the light side made for demanding flying at times.
We’ll be going back next year, I’m sure, so I will be looking out for the dates in due course <grins>
Easterly breeze today, not quite as strong as last weekend so full vented with a mix of spars. The white ‘race’ type did feel a bit stressed, 4 wrap would have been better.
Free flying to begin and then a final called session as a warm up to the Berck event.
We did a shuffle of kites into an extra bag for ‘logistical’ considerations. A cabin on the beach is booked, we just need to make sure that we have enough chairs…
It will be interesting to see how many fliers do actually turn up for the mega fly ‘rehearsals’ this year…
A complete contrast this week with a strong westerly breeze. Xtra vents with four wrap were not too much effort except in the stronger gusts.
Final arrangements for Berck are in hand. We will be an eight person team for the whole week with three additional fliers for the last three days…
We will be travelling out on Friday 31st March, the last official day of my employment. It is going to be a strange moment!
The forecast for today was not good but the approaching front stalled during the morning so we did get to fly for a bit today.
Very little air movement as we walked onto the heath at about 10:30am. We decided to fly first and then check kit ahead of Berck. Full sails with diamond rods got us into the sky but little else.
The kit check revealed almost all was in order. Mostly green race leading edges in the vented kites. Diamond leading edges in the full sails with black race uprights. Four wraps in the Xtra Vents…
We ended up with kite lines at all points of the compass and as the few first spots of rain arrived decided to call it a day. 3 hours later it is still raining, albeit, lightly…
Windy today, from the South so for the first time in a long time we were on Xtra Vents. Jade was on the line today so we have ‘borrowed’ from him the sixth kite from our set for Berck just in case we do not meet up in the meantime.
The details for Portsmouth came through today so that should be finalized in the next week or so pretty much wrapping up arrangements for 2017.
I will not be flying next weekend as I have to ‘work’ on tidying up a server room in the ‘handover’ to the outside contractor who will be looking after the company systems when I leave at the end of March. What fun!
The southbound A12 towards the Blackwall tunnel was slow and then closed as we were close to the final approach. We diverted to the Rotherhithe tunnel but probably lost ½ an hour in the process.
On the heath there was a reasonably steady westerly breeze so we were on 1.5 full vented with race rods or some mid vents… Where is that team set?
Much warmer than last weekend, probably double figures but still quite a bit of called flying today.
6 weeks to Berck. There should be 11 of us to contribute to the final weekend’s mega fly effort!
It was a really gloomy day today with no distant horizons.
The breeze from the NW was however quite consistent and so we were on full 1.5 sails with mostly race rods…
It was 2-3 degrees Celsius and so in order to keep warm we did do a fair bit of called flying. Thoughts were of Berck, just 7 weeks away!
Just need to get the Canadian ‘tour’ wrapped up now.
It looked like the Heath would be in the clouds as we approached up the hill from the Blackwall Tunnel.
It was a Northerly breeze on site, with the fog/clouds barely lifted and only occasional change in the flat grey ceiling.
Mostly full vented 1.5s with race rods. There were some lighter spells but as it was mostly not called flying that was not an issue. Plenty of close interaction with just a few accidental touches and over wound lines. Some themes become apparent but it would be very difficult to write them into a routine.
Arriving back in Hackney the sun was just visible through the thick high cloud.
We had a critical escalation of the projected costings for the Canada trip but flights are now booked. I had better set up the 2017 events web page on the Decs site!
The forecast was for rain today but the timing was a bit uncertain. It was still quite bright in Hackney but on reaching the A12 there was light rain. This increased south of the river but there was brightness to the south and west.
Walking onto the field there was another short spell of rain but it looked like it was clearing. By the time we had run out the lines it was stopping.
A lightish southerly breeze so we had opted for mid vents with race frame. Nothing called but plenty of close interaction.
The bright sky to the south occasionally rendered the Greenwich Park trees an extraordinary colour against a slate black northerly cloudscape.
Raining again now back in Hackney…
Light wind from the SE was forecast today. It was misty/smoggy on the A12 and on arrival on Blackheath the ground was hard with frost even if it had melted on the sunny side.
3mph from the SE was just about happening to begin with but then there was a lull. We ‘stood’ around commenting how warm it felt ‘in the sun’ compared to when there was any air movement.
Rowan was keen to try 360’s while in the lull but was suffering slightly from wet lines and kite as well as lack of experience.
The air movement then started from the north so we were then ‘flying’ straight into the sun. We were all on full 1.5 sails with diamond rods. Finally I decided to give the original Reflex a test flight in these very low wind conditions. It was interesting to find that there was a threshold effective wind speed for this design. Once above that the kite kicked in but below it the physical weight of the kite as felt seemed to have a negative impact. I will look forward to trying the 1.5 version.
On arriving home in Hackney we noticed a hissing sound from the front nearside tyre. A lucky escape fixed with a call to the AA… All done by 17:50 <grins>
I did not plan to venture out today as the forecast was quite clear that there would be no let-up in the rain all day. That proved to be the case.
My plan was to spend time on team matters for the 2017 events. Arrangements for Berck, Cervia, Saint-Honoré and Swift Current needed to be finalized, fliers and transport schedules arranged, communicated and booked.
As always this is a ‘stop – go’ process relying on everyone responding in a timely manner. The one good thing is that I, for one, will no longer have to negotiate time off work as I will be leaving work on 31st March just in time for the Berck event. <grins>
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.
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…
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.
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.
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>
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…
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.
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…
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…
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!
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…
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’.
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!
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.