Kite Blog

30/12/2018 Blackheath

The tops of the Canary Wharf towers were hidden in the curiously luminous, low anticyclonic cloud this morning.

On Blackheath it was very damp underfoot with worm casts in addition to the goose shit. Not exactly the stable surface I had hoped for! The breeze from the west was somewhat stronger than forecast, probably about 9mph, gusting higher.

So not the conditions for flying both stacks side by side today but I did try the full 1.5 version. The slippery surface really was an issue but I did get to add some more 'forwards' assisting takeoff and parking the stack comfortably at the top of the window. The bits in between were not so pretty in my risk adverse mode.

I found a 'less tedious' breakdown sequence, bunching the kites together LE up and tying the centre and outer link lines before removing the vertical spars.

Then on to a more suitable kite for the conditions, mid vent 1.5 with race rods...

That will have been the last fly for 2018. I may be tempted out on New Years Day but at this stage it looks as if the gloomy anticyclonic conditions will still be in place.



Early rain was forecast and as I had to collect from the local butcher this morning I had decided to miss the flying session today.

Ordered some SLK flying line in preparation for some further work with the JMH rokkakus.

Cervia flights are booked and a lineup for Berck is becoming clearer now.

We should be back on Blackheath on the 30th. A Boxing Day flight looks unlikely as I may be attending a 'kite related' lunch!


16/12/2018 Blackheath

Clear blue sky over Hackney as we set out but we could soon see the approaching high grey cloud to the south west.

The light southerly breeze was just what we needed after a windy spell going back to early November. I set up full sail 1.5 with green race which worked ok. Ashley had a diamond LE with green race uprights. MW was working on her Rev 2 stack.

My intention was to do some more work on the 1.5 JMH stack today. I had done a bit of fettling of knots and link lengths on Saturday at home. Now for the moment of truth! The first four kites seemed well behaved compared to how they had felt in a stronger breeze a few weeks ago. The link lines between the two sets of four had been tied and 'put somewhere safe'. They were quickly 'found' and initially tied to the leading edges of the back four kites. I had been worried about the tight loops but setting the larks heads was fine.

As with the Rev 1 JMH 8 stack at Dieppe we got a very satisfactory 'first fix' result...

The cloud had thickened substantially by the time we left Blackheath, the sun long gone, but the rain was not due until later!


09/12/2018 Blackheath

No rain to contend with today and while it didn't feel it, the temperature was probably a bit over 10C. More silly coloured cloudscapes today, the sun was very bright when it did break through occasionally.

A mostly brisk westerly breeze so we were on the RSS kites again for further familiarisation. While nothing was called the sails do cope quite well with the lulls, they certainly do not drop out of the sky!

This was probably the last 'not so many of us' meeting before the New Year. Maybe this year we will aim to have a New Years Day fly.


02/12/2018 Blackheath

There was drizzle in the air on the hill up to 'Sun in the Sands' roundabout but it had stopped by the time we got out onto the 'heath'.

The wind was forecast at 13mph upwards so I had extracted the team RSS set so that we could get some 'hands on' time if conditions were appropriate. That was certainly the case today and I think that we all appreciated the 'forgiving' wind range of these kites.

Nothing called but there was a lot of close and slow interaction interspersed with faster broader moves as well as some interesting stacking. Curiously the holes in these kites allow an element of 'overlapping' in a way which would not be possible with 'full' sails.

We were treated to some 'silly coloured' dramatic cloud scapes as well as a persistent rainbow and a couple of light showers before most of the low cloud cleared and left us in very bright sunlight!


25/11/2018 Blackheath

It was a token session today really. The damp easterly breeze was fairly consistent under low grey clouds with an occasional brighter moment.

Somehow the combination of a cold damp 'strongish' breeze was not conducive to contemplative 'flying'. It was certainly not good for fettling the stacks. I might have to do some more measurement checking indoors rather than waiting for ideal outdoor condition.

I hope to do some more work on our Jørgen Møeller Hansen project soon. In the meantime this is the link to the site that Karen has recently updated:-


18/11/2018 Blackheath

Bright and sunny with a brisk easterly breeze today, probably 12mph gusting much more...

Full vented with green race mostly, I was on the RSS again which meant that I occasionally needed to move a bit faster. Some called moves today, nothing too challenging but it was the free flying interaction that impressed me most...

I have located this text and all that precede it in an orderly manner at I will eventually deal with the remaining 'translation' issues where characters, mostly punctuation, were not handled properly. Some of the invisibles took a bit of finding!

No 'stack' work today as it was a bit windy and a bit cold too!


11/11/2018 Blackheath

I arrived on Blackheath today in bright sunshine with a mostly blue sky. While showers had been forecast I had for some reason assumed that they would be elsewhere but on the SW horizon there was a very dark area of cloud. After a few minutes it was apparent that it was approaching fast.

I set up an RSS ( it was a fairly brisk SW breeze) assuming that it was going to be a fairly sharp shower and that the rest of the kit should stay in the dry. It was only when the sun was obscured by the leading edge of the cloud that a brightness could be seen on part of the horizon. The darker, unmistakably wet part of the shower was going to pass to the south of Blackheath.

There were a few spots of rain and then the clouds cleared and we were able to proceed with setting up the stacks that MW and I had tied during the week. First up was MWs Rev2 stack fronted by a relatively new vented sail. Some of the bungees on the old sails were mostly perished so will need replacing. For the time being they were tightened anyway. The stack flew very well for a first fix, four sails so far with maybe five or six to be added...

I then set up the first four of the JMH 1.5 stack. I knew that there were some discrepancies in the line lengths but it flew ok despite being somewhat overpowered. I'll do further adjustments when the breeze is more appropriate and when we can rig the whole eight stack.

On leaving Blackheath there was another 'anvil shaped cloud' approaching from the SW...


04/11/2018 Blackheath

I have noticed previously that the high level cloudscape can be particularly varied and interesting in the remains of Atlantic hurricanes that have been swept up by the jet stream that delivers the weather to the UK. Today was one of those occasions, with temperatures well into double figures as well!

Light SW breeze so mostly full 1.5s with race rods. Nothing called today, not least because minds (and some bodies) were elsewhere...

The sleeved kevlar turned out to be too tough really for the link line application but fortunately the alternative arrived just in time from Holland. Today we started MW on re-rigging a Rev2 stack that was flown occasionally back in the nineties. The sails are still bright so had obviously not seen much 'daylight'. We may include the additional Rev2 'prototype' that came into my possession at some point early on in Rev history!

I decided that preparing the link lines for the 1.5JMH stack would be an indoor job so that delivery can be quick and easy on the field, as with the Rev1 stack at Dieppe.


28/10/2018 Blackheath

At 9:00am the rain looked steady so the prospect of flying today appeared remote. The forecast was mixed but in the event there was a break in the 'showers' around our normal start time.

Full vented with green race and an RSS in the occasionally brisk ENE breeze.

There was some warmth in the sun but was definitely 'gloves' weather; the first this Autumn. We did not last long as there was an approaching shower. More rain back in Hackney at 2:00pm.

I have located and ordered some 1.2mm kevlar cored polyester line so should be knot tying next weekend...


21/10/2018 Blackheath

Clear blue sky with steady westerly breeze, probably 4 gusting 8 mph. Wet underfoot to start but soon dried out...

Zens and CRs with green and black race rods mostly. There was a bit of called flying but nothing too energetic. A neat transformation from circle to vertical line and the reverse suggested a whole range of novel moves that just need to be 'called'.

Once the ground had dried a bit I ran out a new line-set for the stacks, the standard 100ft 200lb (thanks to Vliegertak Kite Lines) replacing the shorter 300lb set used previously. It was good to see the two four stacks flying 'together'. Still not so much for the fliers to see though!

The next task was to locate 8 sets of 1.5 ultra light/3 wrap spars. With a couple of donated sets I was able to find enough bar one centre spar so I substituted a green race one for the front kite! I hope to rig the 2008 JMH 1.5 sails to match the Rev 1 set. Just need to decide on the appropriate link line as the kevlar cored pink polyester would be overkill... and I am not sure if I have enough anyway.

A longer session today, not least making up for last week.


14/10/2018 Blackheath

No repeat performance today after last Sunday! It did not look as if we would have any flying today but at 10:30am the radar was no longer showing heavy showers approaching from the South so we 'took a chance'.

Full sail 1.5s with Race rods mostly in the NW breeze before the rain arrived again.

So that was our token OSOW effort for another year... I note that last year Chris Murphy first visited us on the second Sunday. It looked as if we had much more flying on that occasion!


07/10/2018 Blackheath

Sunshine to start and with a light northerly breeze we were flying into the sun. Zens with green race to begin with...

We then set up the two four stacks and 'everyone' took them for a spin. I managed to get a couple of photos as well! High cloud had moved in by this time.

As the wind was occasionally dropping down I decided to join the stacks and try the longer handles on the full rig. Forward flight was really not happening when the handles were on full forwards. I will be interested to try this setting in a 'higher' wind speed in due course.

Everyone got to fly the full stack and I am hoping that we can do a 'repeat performance' next Sunday for OSOW...


30/09/2018 Blackheath

Sunny to start with a light westerly breeze c10:30am. I set up the full eight stack of Rev1s as at Dieppe but found that the ground surface was less consistent and provided less grip so quite quickly opted to split the stack into fours... MW was more than happy to fly the four on the 200lb set of lines while I checked over the shorter 300lb set that I used to use on the six stack.

After some considerable corrections to this lineset we had the two four stacks in the air for quite some time before setting about team kit maintenance.

Switched green race leading edges back into the 1.5 JMH full vents, re-installed diamond leading edges in the 1.5 JMH full sails and de-spared the Not Zens for winter storage...

Then, back to the four stacks for a short time. I had used a set of 15 inch handles for the 300lb lineset and found the extended range of movement to be advantageous as expected but without feeling too risky with 'full on' power. I will try them on the full eight when the opportunity arises, in a lighter breeze! We did witness 'popped' end caps so might want to tighten the LE bungees at some point...

We may have the full contingent of Blackheath regulars on site next weekend!



I had hoped to sort the team kites today as the last night that we were in Dieppe was the night fly so we had made up a temporary 'small' bag...

The weather forecast had not been looking good all week and this morning it was very wet but without the high winds originally expected.

Suffice to say sorting the kites will have to wait another week, at least; the current forecast for next Sunday is not great!

Time to think about the schedule for next year. It looks as if we will not be needed at WSIKF to make up the numbers... Given the potential cost that is a 'good thing' really.

There may be some more interesting projects developing closer to home, post Moscow...


17/09/2018 After Dieppe

Travel to Dieppe went smoothly and we had a chance for a stroll around town before registration and heading off to the gite in Puys.

We had varying numbers of fliers for the first three days but then were settled on eight from Tuesday morning onwards.

I had tentatively hoped that the opportunity to rig a stack of 8 Rev1s would arise during the week. We duly tied two linked 4 stacks and the first fix was very successful. I flew the stack alongside the 1991 20sq meter JMH parafoil which was a great sight.

The graphics on the JMH Rev 1s work extremely well in the stack...

The post Moscow project got an airing on Friday evening reasonably successfully but the 'joke' title of the group in Moscow needs to be discarded without delay. Curious to be flying moves that I drew back in 2010, finally. We did not get to do the full Dutch Windmill which was first flown at Portsmouth...

Great to be flying in a large group with consistent 'graphics' but there is massive opportunity to create something much more exciting than plain black!

Our journey back from Dieppe on Sunday was slow after arrival in the UK. It took almost an hour to get out of the port at Newhaven and the M25 was blocked so we had to do a cross suburban route back to Blackheath and the Blackwall Tunnel...


26/08/2018 Blackheath

There was only going to be a narrow window of opportunity today before the rain arrived.

The southerly breeze was reasonably consistent probably 8-10mph so mid-vents with race rods felt comfortable most of the time. Still getting to know the 15 inch handles on a new set of leaders but there were no issues today.

At the end of July Blackheath was brown underfoot. It is now mostly back to a new growth of green.

The rain started soon after 11:00am and is still steady in Hackney at 12:30...


19/08/2018 Blackheath

Cloudy with a mostly brisk SW breeze so we were on full vent 1.5s with race rods. We used the RSS kites in Scarborough but apart from that the last time we flew full vented appears to have been in Cervia...

Nothing called, just a relaxed fly. Jade joined us for the first time in a number of years.

We expect to be at Blackheath next weekend but will be travelling the following weekend with a brief visit to Lytham St. Annes a possibility. Dieppe follows taking the next two weekends. It will then be the 23rd September when we are back on Blackheath!

I am hoping that Dieppe will see the development of the Super 16 concept following on from the Moscow event.


12/08/2018 After Portsmouth

Travel to Portsmouth was a bit dramatic for some of the team with repeated torrential downpours.

The event on Saturday was very well attended. We set up close to the War Memorial as the other end of the south side of the arena was dominated by 'commercial operations'.

Not Zens were used extensively early in the day but the JMH mid vents came into play later...

Sunday was going to be wet but we had a narrow window in which to get prepared before the rain started. It was a 'one-kite' day, that being the mid vent. It did get very wet on site but by the end of the afternoon we were actually able to pack everything 'dry'.

Interesting to meet with fliers who had originally met the team in Germany in 1989...


05/08/2018 Blackheath

After last weekend's respite we were back to high summer today. Intermittent light breeze from the SE generally but switching 90 degrees to either side. No sign of the swifts which is what I would have expected...

Zens and CRs again but I set up some 15 inch clipless handles on a new set of lines. The increased brake provided felt very 'familiar' so walking 'fast' downwind in a very light or no wind situation was now 'possible' with the larger sail. I can now see that limiting the 'forwards' option, (more brake) prevents the sail load spilling in light wind and can appreciate that it would be very difficult to hit a 'close to' full sail loading just by feel!

The full vented JMH 1.5s LEs have been checked and oversewn where necessary. The re-sewn JMH Not Zen sail arrived from San Diego so everything is ready for Portsmouth.

The weather forecast for next weekend is cooler and maybe a bit wet!



The long hot dry summer spell ended this weekend and the Blackheath regulars decided to take a break rather than cope with potential transport difficulties, rain and high wind.

It does appear that 'summer' will return shortly so we should be on site as usual on 5th August for final 'preparation' ahead of the Portsmouth event the following weekend.

I probably need to tackle LE degradation on the nearly 10 year old full vented JMH 1.5s in the meantime. They are next on the list for re-making but we may need to postpone that until the end of 2019!


22/07/2018 Blackheath

Mostly high cloud today with an intermittent WNW breeze.

Zens and CRs again but from the outset the occasional stronger breeze moments were really at the top end of the comfort range with green race spars. There was some direction shifting but only through a c120 degree arc.

Some further conversation today about the elusive sound tracks, both for the team and the 'post Moscow' project.

I am hoping that a re-sewn sail will turn up in time for Portsmouth. Why is it that these arrangements always seem to get pushed to the wire?


08/07/2018 Blackheath

Some of us were south of the river yesterday afternoon/evening for the Devonshire Road Nature Reserve event...

Blackheath today was looking very 'summer' dry. The surface was crunchy underfoot not least because I have full hearing after a month of cotton wool and eardrops.

Zens and CR sail today mostly green race, a great combination! The circular nature of the wind direction kept us guessing as did the drying flowerheads and their propensity to snag lines at launch. We all succumbed at one time or another.

Not a lot called today but we did have the sound sticks in action... Terry Riley and Steve Reich again.


02/07/2018 After Tramore, Ireland

It was a really delightful weekend in Ireland... The local aviation authority had designated kite flying permission up to 500 feet between midday and 5:00pm. So that is basically what we did.

On Saturday the breeze was initially consistent from the SE but became minimal later. We kept the show on the road flying the Not Zens. A PA system was provided and we eventually found the audio connection and set about mirroring our recent Blackheath 'method' of running a medley of the teams familiar musical accompaniments along with some recent additions. Overall we had a lot of airtime.

The breeze on Sunday was initially much stronger offshore NNE. During the course of the afternoon the potential onshore sea breeze occasionally prevailed but between times there were moments when the wind direction was changing by the minute.

On Saturday we flew the JMH 1991 parafoil for an extended period from a ground anchor but on Sunday the turbulence early on proved to be too much.

The CR 'sun shade/kite storage facility' in its new configuration worked perfectly even in the early blustery conditions on Sunday.


24/06/2018 Blackheath

The final full weekend in June was another light wind day, thermaling around the compass.

Just a bit of high level cloud mixing with con trails kept the full intensity of the sun at bay. I have done a bit more work on the 'not tent/sun shade' so that is all set for Tramore.

Zens with green race today along with a Robertshaw with black race. We were on 120ft lines but mindful that we may need 100ft sets next weekend. Nothing called today but I did take the opportunity to use the sound system to play Steve Reich's Pulse and Quartet that were released earlier this year.

Just the odd swift today. Not as many as in previous weeks and probably fewer overall than in previous years.


17/06/2018 Blackheath

It was a bit of an 'edge of seat week' as it was apparent that there was very little or no wind at all in Moscow down on the river. Wednesday saw an improvement but by that point it was basically too late for creative work by the TV people. The chance of performing live on the Thursday evening had always been 'remote'.

Anyway there was a breeze on Blackheath today from the west. At times it was too strong for 1.5 full sails and green race rods. Mid vents would have been better.

We did get some called flying today, not least in response to passers by. Always amusing to explain how long we have been 'doing this'.

Almost all set for six in Tramore, Ireland, the weekend after next. Fine tuning packing is all that is required.


10/06/2018 Blackheath

Another typical June day on Blackheath. Today we were joined by the swifts which I suspect I will also have noted in previous years. Sometimes they seem to be very close to the kites.

It was Zens with green race for most fliers today. Nothing called and in the variable thermaling wind we were often at the 'close to vertical' top of the window.

I did a bit more 'testing' on the configuration of the 'not-tent'. The intention (sorry) is to get it available when we travel to events by air. We may have to source a 'club hammer' locally, of course.

Looking forward to seeing the 'Moscow' team performance on Thursday. Preparations appear to be well underway...


03/06/2018 Blackheath

The prospect was for a typical June summer day on Blackheath so I had planned to do some further configuration on the 'not-tent' that we often use on festival sites as a cover for the kites and bags.

The green race rods for our personal Zens had arrived before Scarborough, now was also the opportunity to distribute them and fly the kites which we did, taking advantage, or not, of the 180 degree shifts in direction. The only safe place was at the top of the window but when that is really 'straight up' it can be a dizzying experience.

We did fly the Zens sporadically and wondered how the Basingstoke event was faring. Light wind in a bowl is not likely to be easy.

The 'not tent' is now set with Rev spar end caps at all the guy rope fixing points, doubled up at the front and back of the 'cover'. I just need to locate the spare 4 wrap Rev 1 spars and we will be set to go...


29/05/2018 After Scarborough

The drive north on the Friday before the holiday weekend took about six and a half hours. We followed a weather system and eventually encountered some rain.

There was time for a look around the town before heading to the local YHA. We noticed that the castle was enveloped in the low cloud.

Saturday started with a much higher cloud base which remained a moody presence for much of the day. The brisk northerly breeze was not warm but it was mostly consistent.

JMH Mid vents worked fine until being overpowered as the breeze strengthened towards the end of the day. There was too much for the 1991 20 sq metre JMH parafoil.

Sunday was a considerable contrast with clear blue skies, a similar northerly breeze, just a bit less of it. JMH mid vents again but today we were able to fly the parafoil, first on a short line, and then later on about 20 metres of line. It was almost at the limit for 'hand holding' the kite but we found that releasing the line produced a quick collapse and landing.

Monday was forecast to be foggy. It was bright and sunny at the YHA first thing but the upper part of the town and castle were in the fog/low cloud off the north sea. The breeze was stronger and so we flew the RSS Spiders, at length for the first time, to good effect.

The drive back to London was much easier than anticipated. From a long way north we became aware of a weather system to the south. It had cleared London not long before we arrived home...


20/05/2018 Blackheath

I could only cope with a relatively short flying session today after tackling part of the Cornwall Coastal Path yesterday. Two and a half hours from Eagles Nest to St. Ives was quite a challenge.

The weather today, like yesterday, was sunny with clear blue skies. There was a typical Blackheath summer breeze from the east. Light and variable sums it up.

Full sail 1.5s with diamond leading edges and race uprights mostly. There was a bit of called flying but I was definitely not able to move on the ground as normal so everything felt like 'really hard work'. This is not how Sunday flying is supposed to be!

I am sure that everything will be back to normal in tine for the Scarborough event next week.


13/05/2018 Blackheath

The forecast had not looked promising but the expected rain arrived further east and was somewhat less than expected.

There was some moisture underfoot but not enough to wet the lines. The breeze was light and variable. We flew full 1.5 sails which seemed very small and light on the 120ft lines compared to the Not Zens on 100ft lines we had used so much in Cervia.

We de-sanded the 20 square metre parafoil and checked the location of the small tear which needs to be 'repaired'. It is on the upper surface towards the back of the kite so quite difficult to spot. I am hoping to apply the transparent patch from the 'inside' of the cell. This could be interesting...


06/05/2018 Blackheath

We were intent on checking the team kites post Berck/Cervia, mainly to dispose of any accumulation of sand. In the event there was surprisingly little but we did shake the kites out before re-packing them loosely.

We also took the opportunity to fly the original Zens against the 'Not Zens' especially with the green race rods that had worked so well at Berck and Cervia. I had also intended to compare the bridles but that will have to wait for another time.

We did get to fly some called moves today against various pieces from the Decs recent repertoire.

The wind on Blackheath was from the East but nowhere near as consistent as the Cervia variety. The thermaling effect was in full operation! This was a timely reminder as to why the flying in Cervia looked so good...


02/05/2018 after Cervia

Somehow the note making gets neglected towards the end of this event.

The first clouds appeared on the 10th day. The eleventh day had a difficult offshore breeze, known locally as 'the mad wind' as I understood it... There was a little rain at the end of the day.

The twelfth day was cloudy with light wind which eventually strengthened sufficiently to allow us some great final arena performances.

In summary we had 10 perfect Cervia days out of the 12! We often had the 'right sails and sparing' just when we needed it... Altogether an amazing event.


27/04/2018 eighth day Cervia

There was a real 9/10 mph easterly across the Adriatic today so there was no issue with the morning breeze. We started with full vents local to our base. We switched to mid vents for the second after lunch session with our sound system in the North arena.

Typically, even though it had been a steady breeze all day by 5:00pm we had to switch to 'Not Zens' for the second part of our arena presentation and the mini mega fly of 15 kites.


26/04/2018 seventh day Cervia

It was supposed to be a 'no arena' day today but did not quite work out that way.

Not Zens first thing from some time after 10:30. An early lunch and we had anticipated going to the North Field but the organisers did not think it necessary.

We did a short time in the arena and then the announcement regarding the North Field was made. The request was for the 'designated' fliers to move for the rest of the event.

We did do a bit more in the arena before being asked to move on for a formal event.

Come 4:30pm it appeared that the 'no arena' idea had been dropped so we diid a presentation. We opted for the mid vents which were at the top of their windspeed range really... No harm in getting to know the sails.

The sand was beginning to blow. We should have been flying the RSS kites!


25/04/2018 sixth day Cervia

National holiday in Italy so very busy on the beach.

Short fly in the morning after the breeze began to build at about 10:30.

We had anticipated using the main arena after an early lunch but the organisers asked us to occupy the north arena which we did for about an hour and a half. We were able to utilise our sound system for much of the time. I did remember to take the units back to the hotel for a re-charge.

'Not Zens' in the morning, mid vents early afternoon and full vents for the 5:00 pm arena spot.

A good 12 flier routine with Team For Fun


22/04/2018 third day Cervia

The parafoils, rokakkus and 'tent' had arrived the previous evening thanks to CR.

We pitch the tent on the Bagno side of the beach as there was still space. A slightly 'rusty' set-up but I am sure it will get better during the following days.

There was not quite enough breeze to get the Parafoil aloft but our efforts were sufficient to dry the sail from the previous evening.

We had a morning session in the arena followed by an after lunch session. We decided to stick with the 'not Zens' after lunch despite the gradually rising breeze. We were just set to change sails when the formal presentations started somewhat after 2:30pm.

Our next session was with the RSS kites and we found them to be fine in team. We even managed some fairly radicle 3 stack rotations in the sky.

The 5:30 arena presentation was with the full vents, not least to be compatible with Team For Fun in the 'mega' team fly at the end.


21/04/2018 second day Cervia

Notable for the night fly after the evening meal on the beach.

We flew the 20 sq Metre JMH Parafoil from the bridle. Various people took a turn and much to their surprise managed very well. The breeze was 'just right!


20/04/2018 first day Cervia

We secured Bagno storage and set up all the Revs first thing. Setting up the kites is a 'one off' for this event...

The new 'not Zens' worked well on the 100ft lines. We did check the 1.5 full sails with Diamond LE and Race uprights and there really wasn't anything in it. Either kite worked but our preference was for the larger sail for the remainder of the day.

Lunch was followed by a fairly long session in the arena before the formal event started at 2:30pm.

The breeze which had been from the north eased around to the east and eventually pretty much died away in time for our 4:30 arena spot. We set up a bit early and did some slow flying but there was little else in the air on the festival site.

It was a great start to the event but the strength of the sun left some evidence of over exposure...


08/04/2018 Blackheath

The rain/drizzle almost stopped for a while but there was little or no breeze so we did not really get any flying today.

Rowan persevered walking and running 360s...

I ran out a set of 150ft lines and briefly flew a Zen using longer handles. Typically I needed a small increment of extra forward, much less than the leaders offered.

The new sails have arrived in the UK. I hope that delivery will be as advised on Tuesday. I will then have to shuffle the team kit box ahead of our departure to Berck on Friday.

All being well, in addition to the new Rev sails we will also be flying a 'new to us' 1991 Jørgen Møeller Hansen parafoil.


01/04/2018 Blackheath

Last week the slow recovery from 'flu' and the clock change conspired against me so I did not get to fly...

Today the Easter Circus was on our regular field so I set up on the 'church' field just before the footballers arrived.

They were intent on using the marked field so there was no conflict!

A light northerly breeze was not particularly consistent and I was not in the 'mood' for running around so full 1.5 sail, diamond LE and race uprights...

The forecast had indicated higher UV levels and despite the thickish cloud my glasses were at their darkest.

We will have to do a kit check ahead of Berck and Cervia next weekend. Hopefully this will include the new sails!



I have been suffering from a bout of 'flu' for the last few days so, given the weather conditions today, did not venture out!


11/03/2018 Blackheath

There was an easterly breeze again today but it was arriving from the Iberian peninsula not the Siberian north!

Full vented 1.5 sails with race rods and the RSS kite once again.

I have been filling a gap in my music history so today we had 1970s classical at length...

Not too bad against the low grey clouds with brighter interludes, only a hint of higher humidity keeping it cool.


04/03/2018 Blackheath

Southerly breeze 6-8 mph, about 9C and only a light occasional shower today! Quite a contrast to the weather during the week...

I did not switch spars in the RSS kite today but it did keep on flying, albeit with a lot more input than a standard 1.5 sail with black race rods.

Line sets ordered, kite sails in hand, events listed and just under six weeks before Berck...

'Time to relax... and fly kites'


25/02/2018 Blackheath

Almost cloudless today but the sun couldn't really help much in the strong easterly breeze. We did notice some possible thermal effect when the breeze dropped after shifting direction slightly.

Xtra Vents again today and after re-adjusting my line set 'considerably,' in the case of one line, the RSS kite performed very well indeed. We switched kites around between fliers to understand a bit more about the 'variable' settings in use...

New sails, Zens and 1.5 mid vents in JMH designs should make the trip from The Scilly Isles to San Diego before the end of this coming week. That will be something to focus our attention ahead of Berck!


18/02/2018 Blackheath

Probably 8 mph gusting 15 mph today from the South with the temperature about 10C so fairly benign for February in London...

Mostly full vented 1.5s with race rods and the RSS with standard reflex spars. I am interested in the line settings for the RSS as it seems more sensitive to precise adjustment or maladjustment as the case may be with my current set. Time to get the 'equaliser' out really!

Another flier put the RSS kite on their own lines and seemed perfectly happy with the overall performance compared to the full vent sail.

We are in discussion about an event in Ireland at the end of June. Always good to go somewhere 'new'.


11/02/2018 Blackheath

Sunny to start but the convection clouds soon developed and eventually became an almost continuous cover. The westerly breeze was about 15mph but gusting considerably higher.

Mostly Xtra Vents with four wrap spars (which were occasionally overpowered) but once again I was flying the RSS kite with the standard Reflex spars. In the higher gusts I definitely needed additional brake and it was clear that the 'tractor' like stability of the Xtra Vents did have some advantage that may or may not be countered by the lighter weight and speed of turns of the RSS kite. (A further brake step on the RSS kite may do the trick)

Quite a bit of called flying today but it was limited by the 'tired hand' factor. The lack of warming sun eventually saw us packing a bit earlier than usual. As luck would have it traffic back to Hackney was slow today!


04/02/2018 Blackheath

There were a few sunny intervals today when there was a perceptible warmth from the sun but it was mostly thick low clouds in the brisk brisk and cold NE breeze. The forecast was for 13 - 26 mph but I don't think that the gusts really approached 26 mph.

Full vented 1.5s with green race and the RSS again but I went with the standard Reflex spars today. Speed and window were mostly consistent given it was mostly called flying today. The edge of window lulls had me needing to move quickly to get the sail moving but ironically in some of the gusts I felt that I could use more brake!

The Portsmouth event is confirmed now so we only have a couple more events to finalise.


28/01/2018 Blackheath

Mostly stable WSW breeze under cloudy sky today. 12mph (probably) gusting to c18 plus but only briefly.

Mostly on 1.5 full vented with green race, (I didn't look closely). I was flying the RSS with the 'Diamond' rods.

There certainly seemed to be a good wind window match between these kites and when I added 2cm 'forward' on my line set others in the team found that this sail and configuration worked fine. I had also tightened the bungees reducing the sail profile deflection to about 2cm, probably less than half than with the factory setting.

Nothing called today. We were looking out for the occasional breaks in the cloud...

Invites have arrived for Berck and Cervia. Just need to get the 'team' up to speed!



For a while this morning it looked as if the forecast rain was going to arrive late. The radar showed a shadow effect persisting from St Albans down to East London. It was not to be; the initial rain really did close in and then turn to snowflakes in Hackney...

Our plans for a mid vented 1.5 sail are almost finalised and they should be ready in time for Berck. We also have other sail projects in the pipeline for later in the year.

The forecast, however unreliable at this distance, looks positive for next Sunday!


14/01/2018 Blackheath

From the web cam it looks like it was sunny all day in Berck. The initial brightness on the horizon just about reached Blackheath by the end of our session today.

The predicted 2mph gusting to 0mph was about right so not a lot of called flying today.

We were six up again and then Tom and Frances appeared en route to the north of England. It was an opportunity to catch up on planning details for 2018 events and for Tom to get back in on the line albeit briefly.

Events for 2018 are shaping up. We just need to get some formal invitations in place now!


07/01/2018 Blackheath

A bright day with a blustery NE breeze probably averaging about 15mph. Mostly Xtra Vent sails with race rods and the Reflex Super Spider with its standard frame.

Six up so mostly called flying today against a 'random' musical background. The RSS was very light compared to the Xtra Vents. There is a slight issue with the RSS when it is stalled at the edge of the wind window at the end of a move. Getting it moving again requires 'a lot of input'. With so little sail area there is inevitably 'not a lot of grip'.

The lightness and speed of turns was certainly appreciated by the fliers who tried the kite today. We'll have to get all the team to fly it in line with the other higher wind sails.


December 2023
Felix Mottram