The Canada Geese flew across a couple of times c10:00am today as a reminder of their previous presence on our regular pitch.
Just across the A2 the Olympic fence has now been firmly established.
Casual flying only today switching from green race mid vent to standard race full sail. The white race rods in Maggie's mid vent felt very light and responsive. Removing momentum from the flying equation will demand further specific input from the flier so it will be interesting to see how the very light sail/spar combo develops.
The forecast weather duly arrived and so we were able to fly white kites in respect of the event in Japan on the 11th March last year. During my last long visit to Japan we travelled to Sendai in NE Japan and on to Matsushima and saw the islands that are the inspiration for the placed stones in the raked gravel gardens.
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Today on Blackheath was a two kite day. The 1.5s with Race Frames (white for Maggie) alternated with the Zens. Happily we all had two line sets so switching was not a chore.
The early cloud cover eventually burned off and fortunately the generally northerly breeze switched direction (c180 degrees) often enough so that we were not always flying directly into the sun.
Berck is just five weeks away <grins>
The weather did not look promising this morning, it was raining lightly and the forecast was for more rain.
On the way to Blackheath I saw two cyclists doing the Blackwall tunnel. Crazy people!
I was not quite sure which 1.5 kite would be best today but the bag that came to hand was the mid vent and with green race rods it worked very well. As the team do not all have mid vents it is not a kite that I fly very often. There were only a couple of moments when the gusts stressed the frame to any extent. The rest of the time it was just the right kite to be flying.
After a couple of bright interludes when the sun almost broke through the clouds the southern horizon turned very dark and the rainfall increased. Later, after much more rain, the southerly breeze switched to a stronger north westerly but that was seen from home.
I wonder how things have progressed in Gandia today?
Not many isobars on the map and the projected 4mph did not materialise in a consistent direction for more than a few minutes during the time we were on Blackheath today.
Mostly it was a shifting 1mph perceptible only as a directional cooling effect in the warming sunshine.
It was occasionally possible to get the Zen/CR1 to the top of the window and hang on the rising air but the cumulus effect only became fully evident later in the day.
I am looking forward to hearing reports from Spain next weekend. Sorry not to be there in person...
The 'half term fair' was still in place today but the prospects on Blackheath were altogether brighter than last weekend with sunshine and a variable NW breeze.
Full vented 1.5s with 4 wrap were occasionally struggling in lighter moments but Race Rods felt over stressed in the gusts.
Six up today so it was entertaining to visit the 'sprockets' once again. This move demands a special level of concentration as even an experienced caller may get the sequence wrong at the critical moment. Properly colour co-ordinated kites make all the difference in providing visual clues. <grins> We did not have that luxury today but survived...
The remains of last weekend's snow was still lying on the heath this morning but our usual pitch was occupied by a 'half term' fair, generator trucks, bouncy castles 4WDs barking dogs and all... Not a pretty sight!
The forecast 6-7mph NW breeze was not in evidence so we made do with the 1-2mph SW one that was in place most of the time. The dull grey low cloud cover occasionally showed shifts of colour and slight precipitation. Rain, not sleet or snow.
It's great to have the Zens/CR1s in the bags so it was another lazy fly until a missing layer meant that core temperature could not counteract my chilling feet.
Plans for Berck, Cervia and Weymouth are basically finalised. I am very pleased at the prospect of 9 days in Cervia. My time in Berck has, however, been further curtailed to just 3 days...
I had go out and check the local road conditions before deciding that it would be OK to set out to Blackheath today. In the event traffic was lighter than usual. Only five inches of snow...
Blackheath presented a bright white field under a gloomy sky. The breeze was slight but remained steady between 10:30 and 12:30.
The Zens were the kite of choice today along with the Robertshaw with a race frame. Powering the kites to the ground provided a curious bass thump with a higher pitched sail rattle.
The construction next to the Olympic stadium was shrouded in the low lying cloud as we drove towards Blackheath this morning as were the towers at Canary Wharf.
On the Heath wet grass meant bound lines after the initial winding out. Always a puzzle, that one, especially to 'beginners'! <grins> It's not so funny when it happens in the middle of complex team wraps...
A lazy Zen day, in the best sense, as in flying the Zen kites following or 'ad hoc' without the need for rehearsal. Rolling the four kite ball was always going to be a challenge in very light conditions but we seem to be learning how to slide the kites as required.
The Team Agenda is 'falling into place' for the year. We hope to confirm most of the events that we will be attending in the next week or so. Just need to make sure that we have spare line sets and we will be ready to go...
Watching the weather forecasts during the week it appeared likely that mega vented sails would be needed today. As often is the case on a windy day the median may have been about 15 mph but the gusts were probably much in excess of 30 mph.
So having set up the standard vented with 4 wrap initially it was not much of a surprise to find that really the mega vented sail was the more comfortable option even if the standard vented was still flyable.
We ended up flying a four person team with two regular vented, one mega vented and a vented Rev 2. An amusing mix and I think that I was able to keep the Rev 2 appropriately slow <grins>
The rolling ball and 2 to 4 LE rotations featured today along with the burst Felix/Leaders Benefit move.
I'm sad not to be personally able to attend the Gandia event but hopeful that there will be a UK presence.
A bright sunny morning looked like an opportunity to get some time on the Zens but soon after setting up c10:45am the breeze picked up and we switched to the standard 1.5s. It was not long before these were feeling overpowered and so we were back on the full vented 1.5s with Race rods.
Following on from last weekend we tried the parallel figure eights with wing tip turns and a stop on the diagonal with five kites diced. That is definitely a move for a confident grid one day. Finding the form of words to explain the move on the fly is a bit of an issue... Linear arcs switching from 2 and 3 to 3 and 2 was a bit of a challenge descriptively.
Somewhere along the line today we flew some 360 degree pendulums in fairly tight order which is, in my view, a good indication of flier co-ordination.
Another grey day but lighter breezes meant standard 1.5 sails with Race rods for the first time in a long time.
Four fliers settled into some neat 'free form' flying with some good slow and close flying. Somehow linear flying as in 'follow the leader' seems so 'yesterday' after 'free form' but we did fall-in for some 'V' infinities and then some parallel switched 'two to four' infinities before trying some parallel figure eights. I have in mind the possibility of interlacing all of these moves with another four kites in opposition so it is as well to get familiar with the basic moves, simple as they may seem in isolation. Remember the 'Sprockets'!
The team agenda for 2012 is shaping up quite quickly which is great. However it looks as though access to Blackheath may be somewhat restricted during the Olympic period so we may have to find an alternative site for the duration.
A Happy New Year to everyone!
A gentle start to the new year. 4 fliers, nothing called, warmed by mulled wine for some. (thanks Martin!)
Full vented with race rods once again fitted the bill. Only occasionally the frames felt stressed or there was a need to move on the ground.
The cloudscape was particularly dramatic as it can be occasionally on the heath but eventually the rain started with the look of settling in for the rest of the afternoon. 2 1/2 hours later it is still raining steadily...
A quiet last fly in 2011. Full vented with green race rods handled the occasional stronger gusts just fine. In the lulls moving on the ground was not too energetic.
One year we rotated face to face pairs in the arena at Berck. Not something to be taken lightly in a formal demonstration. Today we tried the 'not touching' version rolling across the window. Sliding transitions are 'a state of mind' rather than explicit control. The flier has to see the picture and demand that the kite complies! <grins>
The sun shone briefly soon after midday and then it was back to 'Hokkaido Highway Blues' in the afternoon prior to the second holiday roast with all the trimmings!
The forecast sunny day did not materialise after a large 'shower cloud' drifted across London, north of the river in the main, mid morning.
Switched from Vented Race to Full Sail Race and back to Vented Race as the peripheral affects of the shower passed through.
With four fliers plan A and even plan B got a look in as well as some free form flying which at one point evolved into a very good rendition of the rolling ball. The leading kite has to be the one rotating down to LE down from the vertical. Everyone else has to transition accordingly. <grins>
Boxing Day may be a low key day (I'll be there) but New Years Day should see a few more of us on the Heath again.
Grey day with lowering cloud base did not turn to rain in the short time on the Heath today.
Vented with 3 wrap or Race just about coped with the higher gusts. Mostly long arm treacle style individual flying for me but we did find an opposing infinity, by chance, which looks as if it could be very effective in a large team configuration. It's the kind of move that, I think, translates into the grid with very little effort once the idea is in place...
One more weekend before the holiday period and then the 'serious' event planning starts again. <grins>
Standard vented 1.5B with 4 wrap spars (mostly) again today but not quite at the marginal level of last weekend.
There was a very high base layer of cloud cover and in the SW breeze we had a clear view of the NE London circling stack of planes waiting to approach Heathrow.
For the first time this autumn gloves were a good idea if not actually essential!
Four fliers today, some called routines and some excellent free form flying.
The forecast was for a slight front clearing to the south east at the beginning of the day. At 9:00am it was grey and wet but within a short time the cloud cover began to break up and by 10:00 driving towards Blackheath past the Olympic stadium the sun was dazzling!
A further bank of cloud with a few spots of rain cleared to an almost completely blue sky but with a serious leaf blowing breeze we were at the comfortable limit of the standard vented 1.5 with 4 wrap spars. If we all had the Mega Vented kites that would have been the sensible option but we stuck with the kites in hand and flew 'Plan A' a number of times.
'London Pete' turned up with his vented 1.5B and it checked out just fine especially once the bungees were adjusted. It is always interesting to switch to different line lengths and flying his 1.5B on 80 ft was a complete contrast to flying Maggie's Vented 2B on 120 ft. <grins>
Hmmm! Twenty Eleven Twenty Eleven....
The fog did not lift while I was on site today. The sun almost broke through on a couple of occasions but the church and the other local buildings only appeared occasionally as flat grey shapes. The A2 was mostly out of sight. Flying in cotton wool with only 1mph gets disorientating and with no feedback down the lines kites inevitably fall off the edge.
The Zens (Race Framed) worked well even if the lines 'glued' in the wet atmosphere. The real surprise was the CR kite with race frame. 'More brake' after last weekend revealed a great configuration which felt 'crisp' even in the very light air. Looking at the bridle (Rev 1) compared to the Zen it is very interesting how much difference can be achieved in the handling characteristics even if the sails are a very similar area.* All the more reason to check out Carl's bridle configuration in due course.
*The kites were very wet and so, somewhat unusually, taken out of the bags and set up to dry out at home providing the opportunity to check the sail area/geometry.
A glorious sunny November day. It was not actually much warmer than last weekend but it certainly felt it. Light breezes so full 1.5 with race rods. Four fliers switched between 'free form' and 'called' with 'Plan A' getting a couple of runs through. The 'free form' is developing into something like the 'no cut' fighter kite set-up. Fly close but avoid actual impact. The group migrated across the sky on several occasions and certainly attracted the attention of passers by. We had applause from a distance a number of times.
We flew 'arcs' as noted in a graphical routine posted recently. We found that there was a simple transition from 'two pairs' to 'fours' which can be repeated like an 'infinity'. With a little fine tuning it will be a great holding move. It will be interesting to try the transitions from twos to threes and fours.
I had a new kite to fly today.* The Carl Robertshaw sail arrived yesterday! I spared it with a four wrap centre and three wraps the rest. At this stage it has the 'standard' bridle but it certainly felt different to the regular Rev 1 sail. Long arm 'fast forward' seemed to work very well. It will be interesting to add further brake to this kite as the supplied pigtails on the clip less handles were at the maximum setting... <grins>
*See http://www.waddingtoncustot.com/exhibition/current/1/ for the current exhibition at work!
A grey November day, and chilly in the NE breeze even if 12 degrees centigrade is warm compared seasonal averages... Green Race in vented sails again! Being aware that the kites were occasionally over powered in flight we noticed how much flex we were seeing in the spars when attempting ground work. It was difficult to keep the kites still.
The Rev 2 B Vented with Race Rods showed no spar flex by comparison and was very light, in pull, on 80ft lines.
A lazy team fly again today with no calls; close flying turns providing plenty of potential for composing manoeuvres although much of what occurred would be challenging to repeat. I flew a constant 'diagonal square turned infinity' for some time and watched to see how the other kites interacted. I would be interested to see how this could be integrated into a routine.
The trees in Greenwich park have turned colour since last week. Blink and you miss the autumnal moment.
Green Race with full vented today. Occasionally over powered but mostly on the comfortable side with arms down and handles horizontal pulling the turns as necessary and holding altitude. I am still amazed at how much input is possible with long arms in 'slow' flying. The angle of the sail is so critical..
A lazy day in team terms. Only three so finding the gap in the middle of random flying was my game plan with the occasional lapse into piano scale moves.
The team kites have been washed and aired thanks to one of the younger members of the the team. There is still sand in the kite bags though! Seems like it is there by default.
Breezy on Blackheath today starting with vented and Green Race Rods but eventually switched to 4 wrap. Could have flown the Mega Vented which would have spared the aching shoulders.
I'm enjoying getting 'tuned in' to a wind speed with a given kite and using the 'long arm' movements to 'pin' the kite for turns and speed, especially when flying slowly. Today I spent some time flying a V shape with a 90 degree turn low down and inward or outward 180 turns at the top of the window. Hitting the diagonals precisely, 'rail track like', out of turns is particularly satisfying. <grins> (piano scales...)
Another sunny Sunday. From 10:30am it was a Zen breeze until a residual weather front approached about two hours later.
We were four fliers and occasionally fell into team order.
Steve (goestoeleven) joined us when we had switched from Zen to 1.5... Steve had obviously enjoyed plenty of flying time since the last time he joined us on Blackheath. We flew ad-hoc and then some called moves. 'Pendulums' and 'rolling balls' were flown.
When we were packing up a local person approached us and explained that she had 'almost crashed her car' having been distracted by watching our kites...
The temperature is still not normal in London but not as hot as last weekend.
Full vented with Race just about held up today in the lulls but were sometimes over powered. I'm going to tie some new leaders with close 'figure eight' knots as an Autumn project as I need some extra brake points.
Four fliers today repeatedly 'rolled' the ball quite effectively. We also addressed rotating the 4 flier face in stack, rotating it through 180 degrees... That was fun!
Attached is an image from last Sunday. Thanks Maggie...
Back to Blackheath today but obviously conditions were a little unusual for October with the thermometer at 29 degrees Celcius! I left the Heath at about 1:00pm to seek shelter from the sun.
Stephen Versteegh has proposed Scheveningen as a Mega Team event for 2012 which is very exciting. I hope that everyone will be able to commit...
Today was almost a 3 kite day - I started with 1.5 SUL (Ex iQuad) as I did not have the Zen in the bag. Subsequently Zen and then the Race 2. I'm more convinced now that the Zen suits our Rev 1 flying style with the stiffer/heavier frame set that we have been using by default. Next time out I will try the Race centre but I am sure that I did not find it comfortable the first time out. I must try Carl's kite on my own handles sometime to get a feel for the larger sail and alternative bridle...
By the time I left the Heath today the wind was overpowering the 1.5 sail with SUL rods. The Zens had been put away sometime earlier...