Kite Blog


19/05/2019 Blackheath

Cloudy today with occasional brightness and the threat of a shower. Light NE breeze which was mostly steady.

Zens and CR sails mostly with green race were comfortable but I did feel somewhat constrained having woken today with an aching left leg.

Despite the discomfort I did put together the Della Porta: Nine squares 1993. All seemed ok but there were some questionable knots on the bridle ring and an odd overlay of a couple of the individual bridle lines. As the last time that this kite had been flown five spars had been damaged I was not overly hopeful. The first launch was too short but the kite was certainly tracking to the centre of the wind window. The second launch was longer and appeared to be going well until the top edge of the kite dipped and caught the wind on the back of the kite. The kite was grounded and nothing actually got broken on this occasion but obviously something is not right.

A light shower meant a quick pack away of this kite and then a further short Zen session.

I may stick to the other two Della Porta kites for Scarborough!

Felix


12/05/2019 Blackheath

A quiet day on Blackheath, light NE breeze and a first sighting of swifts against the blue sky and bubbling cumulus.

Took the Della Porta: Eight rhomboids 1993 today but didn't check to see if the tails were in the bag. As with the other two kites from this period the tails are actually bagged separately...

Still, no broken spars in this one and there is a chance to try it next weekend ahead of the Scarborough event the following weekend. I'll try to sort the broken 5 spars for the bigger Della Porta: Nine squares 1993 in the meantime.

Some of the team will be attending the Shropshire Kite Festival 20th - 21st July. We will take JMH kites on that occasion, for sure, looking for advice on re-sparing some of them.

Felix


05/05/2019 Blackheath

We took all the team kit to Blackheath today for de-sanding. Many hands made relatively light work of this necessary process.

Some of the sand dust is well and truly ingrained in the mesh and fabric of the full vent sails. Only a thorough soaking will remove that!

It has been an energetic month with 21 flying days since 5th April. I did not get to fly a kite today and have been reviewing images from Cervia this afternoon. Many of them have been posted on Facebook already!

Felix


02/05/2019 After Cervia

I had decided not to make notes during the event and do find myself somewhat at a loss to find the words and details to summarise Cervia. It was a very good event, needless to say!

Caterina made it known that she wanted to talk about our 'location' for the event and had planned to reduce the size of the single line art kite area where we have been for quite a few years now and add a new area to the south of the main arena for the displaced art kites with us as a buffer before the large 'inflatable' kites.

On the first morning of the event we set up immediately out side Bagno 111, Adriasol, our lunch venue from previous years. That was to remain our location for the entire event, setting up the 'tent' and newly acquired JMH banners depending on the weather prospects.

Apart from Robert Brassington and Joel Schultz the single line fliers did not take the opportunity to migrate and so we utilised the area along with Team 4 Fun.

We did fly some of the JMH collection kites as requested as and when the conditions were favourable. We also set up the 2007 JMH Rev 1 and Rev 1.5 stacks with special help from David Hathaway on the Rev 1 bridles.

The team did a very effective relay effort in flying the stacks especially when the conditions were not good for normal team flying.

The final day of the event included our participation in the 'Black Sail' project with Ashley looking after the music selection and calling the routine. This was deemed a success and the response outside the immediate Rev community was very positive.

Felix


15/04/2019 After Berck

It was my 25th visit to Berck according to the records that we have. Conditions were not forecast to be good but we survived the only one really wet day and mostly coped with the offshore wind spells. The NE winds were often pushed round to a northerly flow by the sea-land tendency.

Conditions were not good for flying the JMH collection kites much of the time and there were space constraints. It is not good manners to occupy temporarily vacant space where tethered kites have landed... The large Delta kite was the one that proved very stable and with a small launch window so the obvious choice for the night fly on the final Saturday evening.

Travel to and from Berck was straightforwards and the grid lock on the final Sunday afternoon did not materialise but we found that we had to queue in a holding process before being able to check in at Eurotunnel for the return crossing.

Just a couple of repairs/finishing need to be done before repacking for Cervia. Re-bridling the Rev1 four stacks may have to wait until we are on site. I need to locate the rest of the spares.

Felix


31/03/2019 Blackheath

Preparations rather than the clock change meant I did not get to Blackheath until 11:15am. Quite a steady ENE breeze so we did put up full vented 1.5s with green race. All very straightforwards so far!

I hoped to test fly some of the JMH kites today and started with the Della Porta: Four rhomboids 1993. Not knowing this format of kite (same as Della Porta: 4 squares) I was anxious to find a way to manage the bridle initially and then move the kite to a safe launch point. The kite is 4 metres tall, (measurements still to be amended on the collection site) so I positioned the kite at right angles to the flying line stake point and sorted the bridle with the 'comb' that Jørgen had fitted. Then with a 'helper' on the line I gradually walked the kite into the wind window turning it upright up to the point that it was ready to launch. The frame of the kite which is somewhat flexible was supported by the bridle at all times. The kite launched and flew very well! (grins)

Next up was a more complicated affair, the Double Malay stack 1994. As with the Double/Single Eddy stack 1989, the flying line was staked and the kites set up nose to the ground starting from the front of the stack. We encountered some difficulty with the tails during set-up as well as a final 3 sail 'loop through'. Once set the whole stack was rolled to the ready position and as soon as the breeze was right the stack launched successfully. The stack was flown from the 'control bar' initially but we found that it was stable enough to stake the bar. To land and pack the stack was flown towards the edge of the window and pulled down by the flying line leaving all the tails to the downwind side. Spars were removed starting at the back of the stack and the kites progressively bundled together with the tails free. The tails were then looped together and bagged with the kites.

We then flew the Revs for a quick called session to wrap up the days flying.

I have to juggle kites and bags for transport to Berck but I think that we have test flown enough kites for that event and will have others to show at the Cervia event which follows very soon afterwards.

Felix


24/03/2019 Blackheath

The forecast indicated light NW breeze and some broken cloud.

The breeze was just a bit too light for the Double/Single Eddy stack 1989. I had replaced the spreaders and found today that the main spars are very brittle which given that they are 30 years old is hardly surprising!

Did some more bridle adjustments on the Della Porta: 4 squares but something is not quite right. Probably need to start from the beginning again!

I did remember to take Rev handles today but didn't get a chance to use them.

We need to 'cadge a lift' for one person travelling back from Berck on the evening of Sunday 14th April. We are two fliers down for Berck, one of them being a driver with vehicle!

Felix


17/03/2019 Blackheath

Fortunately this was the one Sunday in March that Jacob was in London so we could start assessing the JMH kites.

Ironically having been concentrating on selecting kites to try and additional equipment I had left my Rev handles at home. Spares were offered but I did not get to fly a Rev today! For those that did it was RSS sails which gives an indication of the wind speed, probably about 15mph I would guess.

First up was a set of 6 banners. Now we remember why we don't do banners at close quarters. Very noisy indeed, partly, I expect because the fabric is like new.!

The late delta seemed to be a reasonably safe choice and was made with different line attachment points. The front most point seemed to work fine but the kite did need a reasonable length of line for it to be stable.

Jacob flew the orange/purple Rokkaku from the bridle. Far too much wind really!

Finally we set up the late Della Porta: 4 squares with two tails. We do not think that this kite was 'finished' and it currently has a bias to the right. I was surprised that it could be flown at all given the wind speed.

We did have a celebratory Gammel Dansk at the start of proceedings today!

Felix


10/03/2019 Blackheath

It was windy as forecast so I did not expect to be on site for long today. Soon after arriving there were relatively long spell where the RSS kites were quite comfortable.

Gradually the length of the calmer spells shortened and so kites on the ground time increased. It did not feel as if anything was going to break but it was sufficiently uncomfortable flying so we called it a day at about midday.

The Aarhus trip was straightforward but I have to go back to collect four more kites weighing in at just under 20kg/44lb in the skiboard bag.

Might have to have a celebratory Gammel Dansk on Blackheath next Sunday, weather permitting!

Felix


03/03/2019

The weather for the 10th March still does not look promising. We didn't even try today given the rain and wind!

All set for Aarhus, Wednesday. The prospect of so many unique kites to fly is a bit exciting. A whole new chapter, even.

Felix


24/02/2019 Blackheath

Blue sky and sunshine in Hackney but heading towards the Blackwall Tunnel there was fog closer to the Thames with the tops of the Canary Wharf buildings appearing above it. Emerging from the tunnel south of the river it was fairly dense fog but at the top of the Sun in the Sands hill the sun was shining again in a blue sky.

A light east north easterly breeze was only just perceptible when we arrived but it did strengthen gradually and switch to more easterly before the thermal activity really set in. Zens and CR sails with mostly green race worked most of the time. Some extended free flying with a musical accompaniment was interspersed with called sequences. Some of the free flying was very effectively using the full window as well as close interaction with some clear interpretation of the musical 'mood'.

I am booked to fly to Aarhus on Wednesday 6th March, returning on Friday 8th March so I will be watching the weather forecast for Sunday 10th March with particular interest.

Felix


17/02/2019 Blackheath

Our arrival today coincided with the southerly breeze freshening somewhat so we eventually decided on full vented 1.5s with mostly race frames after having tried full sail and mid vents as well. The breeze was mostly c11mph but often more and with just the occasional lull.

Full sunshine as well to the point that I was feeling that I had too many layers!

Six up so mostly called and accompanied flying today. Steve Reich, Pat Metheny: Electric Counterpoint had an airing as well as some of the team pieces from recent years.

We ended up with Steve Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards which at 21:42 was a bit long, but none the less, an interesting experiment.

Looks like I will be the one doing the Aarhus trip to collect the JMH kites. I am hoping that this can be arranged soon!

Felix


10/02/2019 Blackheath

A brief visit today as the weather forecast was not really very helpful. In the event a 15mph westerly breeze occasionally dropped off but there was a considerable wind chill, feeling as if it was only just above freezing point.

Occasional raindrops for most of the time until a settled band of rain arrived a bit before 1:00pm.

RSS kites again and it was noted how much 'lighter' these are compared to other high wind formats. The lack of gauze is a definite benefit especially in damp/wet conditions! There was some neat close uncalled flying with just the occasional kite contact.

The trailing edge of the band of rain abruptly gave way to sunny conditions back in Hackney.

Felix


03/02/2019 Blackheath

A light WSW breeze and mostly sunny session today.

Zens with green race and a couple of CR sails were eventually a bit overpowered but to start it must have been 4mph, if that, ending with 7 or 8mph, I guess!

Some excellent silent and close flying today along with relaxed called sequences and musical accompaniment.

It might have been good for the stacks but I was intent on checking out the 100m of 2.5mm diameter red sleeved spectra with the large JMH Rokakku and especially the line grips that arrived during the week. It may take a bit of practical experience to figure out the best way to get the grips to engage but they certainly take line handling to a different level.

It was a 'from the hand' launch of the 3m kite which is always amusing and while it might have been a bit risky the kite did handle the full line length and a walk down was required.

Felix


27/01/2019 Blackheath

Blustery, chilly NW breeze, probably 15 gusting 30mph. Mostly cloudy, just the occasional burst of sunshine.

RSS kites handled well, not too much of a struggle and of course dealt with the lulls. We noticed some pinching of the sails around the vertical spars which may have been due to the 'springs' being set on the inner of the spar rather than the outer side. Probably not of any importance but worth remembering if we decide not to use the springs...

Further work on the web site this last week as I found the coding for handling an image library. https://www.felixmottram.com/decorators/pictures.html Pleased to be able to get a scaleable group of images all together with the option to isolate images in a 'new tab'.

Interesting to go back to some of the older images and find that the source prints really were not very good. Re-scanning is not an option so we'll just have to accept them as they are. A work in progress:- https://www.felixmottram.com/decorators/olderpictures.html

Felix


20/01/2019 Blackheath

A hazy blue sky today, a light NNE breeze so dark glasses all round.

Zens with Green Race and a CR were not overpowered, 2-5mph probably!

I had wondered about putting up both JMH 8 stacks for a ‘photo-op’ but in the event we opted to spend time familiarising ourselves with the line settings for the 1.5 stack. Ideally I would want to have much finer steps than those on the provided leaders but today we started with the settings I had made in 9-10mph, put on much more brake and then stepped back to the starting position. Different fliers hold handles ‘differently’! Gripping the handles tightly, especially if they are held vertically, has a considerable impact, not that I actually spotted that particular aspect on the field today…

It ended up feeling quite warm even if the actual temperature was only 6-7C.

Felix


13/01/2019 Blackheath

A bit of a contrast to last Sunday, the wind still from the west but 15+ gusting 30+mph.

Very bright, almost sunny with a mix of thin high and lower cloud.

Full vent 1.5s were clearly overpowered so it was the RSS kites again. Even they felt like a bit of a handful in the higher gusts.

Still suffering from a lingering 'cold' which has the rest of my household in their beds today!

Portsmouth and Scarborough events are going ahead in 2019 and we have fliers lined up but not finalised.

Felix


06/01/2019 Blackheath

A bit of a struggle to get out today due to a lingering 'cold' that stopped me in my tracks on New Years Eve.

A light westerly breeze so Zens with green race, a great configuration. Landfall by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet was a bit 'moody' but interesting to 'fly with'.

There was variable high cloud but that was doing nothing to stop the UV getting through. A very dark sunglass day.

We should be confirming Berck arrangements in the next day or so.

We will then be making arrangements for the JMH kites in Aarhus to be packed and road transported back to the UK. I am hoping to set up a weekend on Blackheath in March devoted to checking and test flying the kites, some of which are illustrated here:- https://www.felixmottram.com/jmh/ on the linked pdf.

Felix

January 2019
Felix Mottram