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About this blog

My personal observations

Entries in this blog

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Felix

 

14/08/2016 After Portsmouth

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

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

Felix

 

31/07/2016 After Beverley

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

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

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

Felix

Felix

 

10/07/2016 Blackheath

Mostly cloudy today on the heath with the occasional spot of rain in a somewhat blustery SW breeze. Full vents with 4 wrap after initial attempts with lighter spars. It was sunny later in the afternoon after the end of the TDF. Most of the personal kites we were using today have been in use for many years and are not in any way compromised by wear issues. The last set of 1.5 team sails arrived in 2008 at Portsmouth as I recall. We have just retired them from regular team use so they were good for seven years. We have zig-zag stitched the leading edge mesh as necessary and have no reason to believe that this and frayed fabric edges have any real impact on flying characteristics. The only issue that we have seen over the years with Revolution Kites is with ‘stretchy’ fabric. Some of the earlier sails we had made were only good for a short time and ended up on the walls of kite collectors. <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

03/07/2016 Blackheath

A running/walking event was taking place on the Heath as in previous years so we used a slightly different pitch today, closer to the paid parking in Greenwich Park. The WSW breeze was mostly 7-8mph but quite often dropped away as is typical here in the summer. Diamond rods LE and Race verticals felt comfortable most of the time. Events on Saturday night meant that it was a limited line-up today but we expect some busier meetings ahead of the Beverley, event at the end of July. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

26/06/2016 Blackheath

Another promising forecast but not a full summer’s day. NW breeze so if it wasn’t for the cloud cover we would have been facing the sun most of the time… Full vent with race rods almost coped with the regular lulls. Nothing called today as we discussed the parlous state of political discourse. Next weekend there is an event on Blackheath so we may have to use an alternative flying site! Felix

Felix

Felix

 

19/06/2016 Blackheath

Still not a full summer’s day but the grass had been cut (again) so we were snag free. It was actually getting close to a traditional Blackheath Summer’s day in that there was a cycle of thermal activity which meant that every 10 or 15 minutes the wind peaked and then dropped away. We had a complete mix of sails, from full to full vented with a couple of mid vents in the middle with mostly race spars. Rowan joined us today after his self-inflicted exile for his final year at university. Next formal event is Beverley near Hull at the end of July. Just a little bit of preparation is now required. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

12/06/2016 Not Blackheath

So we got in the car and went all the way to Blackheath with the rainfall gradually increasing all the way. A brief stop at the usual location and then we set off for home… I do not see much point in flying in the rain especially when there is a possibility of thundery conditions as was forecast today. I took delivery of a line equalizer on Friday as well as 150ft line sets for our Rev1/Zen project. Just need the extra long handles now to complete the line-up and I am wondering about profiling the sails with a ‘sewn insert’, a bit like that 15ft two line delta kite from way back when! <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

05/06/2016 Blackheath

Proper Summer like day today but with a light NE breeze occasionally above Diamond territory. Race uprights is a quick and very satisfactory fix in borderline conditions. After a trip out into the countryside yesterday it was good to see that the Blackheath verges are doing their best again. I didn’t spot the litter collecting feature until later as in the attached image. Specifics of team moves were under discussion today. A wing tip turn is ‘as stated’, a 180 pairs switch, kite ‘place’ to kite ‘place’. Failure of ‘team fliers’ to grasp the overall picture is something that we have lived with for many years and so ‘un-necessary comments’ from the caller may be directed at the wrong ‘team flier’ which is not helpful. A quick check of the JMH 3m Rokkaku showed that previous ripstop damage had been repaired so the frame replacement can proceed without further issue ahead of Dieppe. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

29/05/2016 Blackheath

Another early(ish) start but the weather was not summer like at all. Vented 1.5 with race rods were occasionally overpowered in the chilly Northerly breeze under low cloud cover. We discussed handle holding today. I find that a horizontal grip helps with avoiding inadvertent input in long power pulls. This comes from ‘light’ wind situations but it is quite often useful even on days like today in the middle of some turns. It is also especially good for ground launches. http://www.vliegertakkitelines.nl/product_gallery appears to have line equalisers available in case anyone has been looking for them… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

22/05/2016 Blackheath

Better start time today. C10:30 on Blackheath. Diamonds in 1.5s mostly. I set up the Reflex for some comparison flying. The muscle memory that we have for flying the 1.5 sails is quite deeply ingrained so it is difficult to assess a sail with different characteristics. The larger sail does provide more ‘feedback’ down the lines without a doubt but the extension of the wind window requires some further learning. The kite feels ‘heavy’ but travels further, probably just as fast? We’ll have to check this further. The Decs flew Rev1s originally because that was the kite that was available. We eventually settled on line lengths of about 38m/125ft which gave us enough vertical spacing for eight kites. Flying on 36.5m/120ft definitely feels cramped now. It is difficult to fly a Rev1 fast and we also found that the Zen sail area was advantageous in low wind. I think that we might want to try a Rev1/Zen sized sail with the Reflex ‘stand off’ just for fun.<grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

15/05/2016 Blackheath

A bit of a late start today, almost made it to Blackheath by 11:30am but thwarted by heavy traffic on Cassland Road in Hackney. Not quite Diamond conditions today so full 1.5 sails with race rods. Some called moments and an occasional appreciative audience. This is the late spring/early summer week when everything is perfect except, maybe, the ambient temperature. We must firm up plans for Beverly and confirm arrangements for Portsmouth. Dieppe is all set apart from travel arrangements and the ‘delegation’ offering. I just located the file of original Decs photographs from 1996. As I had some anxiety about the location of said file this is very good news… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

08/05/2016 Blackheath

Summer has arrived since we were last at Blackheath. A month makes an extraordinary difference! We were set to de-sand the kites after Cervia but there was little more than dust to shake away. We set aside some of the vented JMH sails that need attention to the mesh edges. C10mph from the east so we were on our own vented kites on race rods today. I set up a couple of line sets, one on the Reflex handles. Wind speed was a bit high for the kite but I did park it at the top of the window at one point and noted just how high that was relative to the standard sails. The Reflex handles are provided clip-less with generous leaders on the top. These proved to be ‘well set’ using the end knot for our normal ‘brake’ setting. There is a ‘middle’ knot which I will try at some point to see if that is a viable ‘fast forward’ setting. I have noticed that the Rev Forum is a bit quiet lately but had set these posts locally some time ago… Felix

Felix

Felix

 

02/05/2016 After Cervia

The advanced party attended the event from the beginning. Those less fortunate mostly arrived on Wednesday 27th April ready for the final four days of the event. We were on the beach early every day and thoroughly enjoyed our flying and using the full selection of team kites. It was great to see the eight 1999 JMH sails together in the air again! Possibly a highlight were the two routines with six fliers using the Xtra Vents after which the comment was that we should make sure that we have eight sails in the future… Having the right kit available is as crucial as being able to decide when to use it <grins> I really hope to be able to attend the full event in 2017. Felix

Felix

Felix

 

24/04/2016 Olympic Park/QE Park

London Marathon Sunday so we used the alternative venue which is good for the Northerly breezes. The occasional sunny intervals were very welcome in the chilly breeze. Checking 100ft lines was really the agenda for today ahead of Cervia. By chance we ended up with an odd mix of 1.5 sails. I was on full vented with race, others on full sails with some diamond rods but green race verticals. I had about 1½ inches difference on the top lines so it was time well spent. The ‘late’ team will mostly be flying out to Italy on Wednesday and we are anxiously watching the synoptic charts. Looking good for the last day of the event, temperature wise, but we will enjoy it whatever the weather… The ‘early’ team are doing well by all accounts <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

 

17/04/2016 After Berck

We arrived late on Wednesday evening. Thursday provided a light wind opportunity so I flew the Revolution Reflex along with other interested fliers. I was impressed by the very positive feel down the lines even when the kite was lifting almost vertically. I am familiar with hooking onto rising air with no real feedback. Others thought that the kite felt ‘heavy’ but I was impressed with its actual speed. I am looking forwards to racing the glide on a firm surface, as opposed to soft sand! We used all our team kites over the four days but it was particularly good to get the new 1.5 sails in Joergen’s 1999 design into the air at a big event. We flew our JMH parafoil in the night fly alongside six of the new sails. We had to move a bit quickly when the fireworks started but fortunately we were not directly downwind! (Unlike in Glasgow many years ago <grins>) Felix

Felix

Felix

 

10/04/2016 Blackheath

Soon after 10:30 again today for a final casual fly prior to the Berck/Cervia launch of our event season. Some final shuffling of kit was completed and the flight box is now prepared for Cervia as well. SE breeze again but colder and stronger than last week. Vented sails with race rods today. The circus has almost completely packed up so we were back on our usual field, just a bit muddy underfoot because of the car park. Discussion today was about very basic routines and our dependence on regular ‘callers’ who take complete responsibility for organizing the ‘rest of us’ who don’t really think about the consequences of our line positions and wrapping overlay… <grins> Felix

Felix

Felix

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