A cooler start today under full cloud cover. The breeze at c5 mph from the NE occasionally dropped out completely but full 1.5 sails with 3 wrap mostly worked OK. I was flying the Diamond spars again and having finally tied on a set of ¼ inch stepped leaders enjoyed the fine tuning and snappy responsiveness <grins>
I’m still puzzling about the best way to secure the leaders to the handles and how to incorporate a stake loop. Sad or what?
We persuaded Rowan that he should join the line today and fly some infinities "∞". What he didn’t expect was that we would also turn the line to face up, form the ball, burst, 180, return, go to spokes, move one space, 180, return to original position and etc. It was interesting to see just how much a beginner can cope with in the ‘obviously’ sympathetic line and that recovery from being ‘out of position’ could be so quick.
Having previously set Rowan up with a bit more ‘forwards’ it was evident that when he joined the line today a bit more brake was needed and duly applied on the 1/3 inch stepped leaders that I had been using before today.
The cloud cover broke at about 12:30 and having failed to screen up it seemed sensible call it a day at that point. Must remember to carry sun screen to Dunstable next weekend whatever the forecast suggests.
Blackheath was in full on summer mode today. The recently cut grass is brown but the plantain seed heads have carried on growing to provide plenty of snagging opportunities. The forecast suggested light winds and it was 0-6+ mph predominately from the NW but with big swings either side.
It was another opportunity to test drive the Diamond spars but, while the spars are great, flying directly into the sun without sunglasses makes appreciation of the ‘top of the window’ capabilities a bit difficult. While I could see the kite and still feel control I could not see the lines to understand quite how slack they had become on some occasions!
Lower down in the wind window the JB Pro 1.5 sail with Diamond spars felt light but very precise. We flew Zen (Race rods) and Robertshaw (3,4,3_3,3 I think) sails as well as the 1.5s with Diamond and Zen spars today. There were some moments of ‘silly close’ light wind flying.
Rowan flew a Robertshaw sail with 3,4,3_3,3 spars on 80ft lines and he kept the kite airborne most of the time despite the light breezes.
So it was ‘Race for Life’ again on Blackheath today. Maggie phoned ahead having parked up in Greenwich Park at about 10:00am. I arrived a bit later having encountered a slow bus (108) in the Blackwell Tunnel.
In the spirit of the day we flew pink kites but with a twist. The ‘Diamond Spars’ really are very good indeed. We used the iQuad training sails two SUL sails (pink and purple) and one Standard sail (pink/gray) and put them through their paces against a 2 wrap set.
The weightless ‘glide away’ was just magic as well as the top of the window ‘slack line’ performance.
It is fair to say that high specification equipment may not really make things easier for a beginner but it certainly opens up the possibilities for the more experienced flier. The Diamond spars are very light and when pressured, ‘snap’ back into line, very quickly.
The forecast was for a proper summer’s day and that indeed was how it was today. Arrived on Blackheath at 10:00am and initially the breeze felt fairly light but I set up the full vented with green race rods. Over the next 2 hours the breeze gradually increased and by the time we wrapped, heavier spars, or the Xtra Vented sail, would have been more comfortable.
Needless to say the new Diamond rods stayed in the bag. The current forecast for next Sunday looks promisingly light but such forecasts tend to morph during the week.
Rowan flew again today on 120ft lines. Initially the 20th Anniversary sail with 3 wrap and then the vented sail from the iQuad set with 4 wrap spars. He avoided heavy impact with the ground and only very occasionally had issues with tip wraps or flat down landings. Not ever having flown a 2-line kite he has no problem with adapting hand positions for left or right facing traverses.
Blustery summer wind on Blackheath today with occasional dark clouds spitting a few raindrops. Xtra Vents with green race were occasionally at the limit. I did not get to change to the latest refinement of close knotted leaders but adjusted an incorrect placed figure eight knot in the current set fairly quickly on the field. Knowing that a knot can be broken open with a little persistence helps a lot!
Having finished final exams at secondary school last week my son Rowan joined us today and flew an Xtra Vent on 80ft lines. This was his second time out with a Rev and he clearly enjoyed getting to grips with all the variables. Lots of testing of input and responses. He quickly found mobility on the ground... <grins>
Leaving Hackney at 10:30am it was another grey day and it looked like rain was approaching. Another summer day!
Full vented 1.5 kites were once again the best fit on Blackheath, mostly with race rods to coast through the lighter moments. The swifts were out in numbers, but high up, not flying through the kite lines.
Talk today was of 'holding the handles'. The consensus was finger tips only, no fist shaped grip, with the possibility of the small finger in opposition. Light wind technique for sure!
I'm struggling with leader knot tying. Does anyone know how to tie knots accurately at quarter inch intervals? <grins>
Arrived 10:00am at Blackheath to find that the plantain heads had taken over from the dandy-lions. Loads more line snagging potential until the next mowing!
Cold 13C NE wind, low grey cloud, vented with green race rods flying solo did not last long. Further acquaintance with the new leaders convinces me that this is a good thing. 3/8in step more brake worked a treat today! 1/4in might have been better so I'll get tying this afternoon <grins>
Sounds like it was bit windy in Weston-Super-Mare yesterday. No further news today.
Another sunny summery Sunday on Blackheath even if the temperature was not consistently in the t-shirt range. Two in a row must be good!
Another 'mostly wrong sail' day today with some careful line adjustments thrown in for good measure. It's amazing how 'wrong' line sets can be and how much better it feels flying on correctly set lines. Light winds, dropping off completely sometimes, made for occasional hard work but we did get some neat 'no call' interactions going in the air.
I have been setting about tying top handle pigtails with much shorter adjustment gaps, aiming at about 1/4 inch intervals. Not quite got there yet but today's effort at about 3/8 inch using 1.5 bridle line as supplied by Revolution proved quite effective. Not that I change very often, of course! More brake for high winds and more brake for low winds means that the setting usually remains the same. The exception may be 'more forwards' for Mega Team and those 'Leading Edge Up' hovers.
Some of the team will be at Weston-Super-Mare next weekend but I will be working!
PS And Damon was flying kites on Blackheath as well. FJM
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...