Kite Blog


25/12/2022

No Kite flying today and the weather last week was against us!

The rain was to the south of London this morning mostly but it did get here for a while around midday. I was aware of brightness to the north as I did the cycle circuit but was home before the rain.

A New Years Day fly is planned but the forecast is currently looking a bit light on the wind front, but sunny. We’ll see how that develops!

Felix


11/12/2022 Blackheath

Ice and fog today with a very light NE breeze some of the time.

We flew Zens and Robertshaw sails as a personal memorial to Maggie and other kiters that we have known and lost. We toasted them with small shots of Gammel Dansk.

There are some foggy pictures from Marian Linford to review.

Felix


04/12/2022 Blackheath

Last Sunday was wet and windless so it was good to have a bit of a breeze today even if it was easterly and cold.

The third sail had been completed and was flown in the measured 8mph breeze which occasionally faded to almost nothing. The rain held off and the grass was not actually wet.

The red sail was flown as well, also with the diagonal lines across the mesh and some images were captured for further consideration.

At home afterwards I took the call from Maggie's nephew that I had been dreading. So sad to lose such a dedicated flier... RIP Maggie

Felix


20/11/2022 Blackheath

Forecasts for today suggested sunny conditions with windspeed of 11mph around midday from the west. That was very much what we saw with a lighter breeze at the start of the session which was soon after 10:30am.

We started with full sail 1.5 kites and then switched to the two new JMH vented sails and had a good session along with the kite medley.

I captured a few images of each kite against the mainly blue sky.

The third sail is progressing well after the blue fabric arrived on the 15th November. All being well it will be finished for a test flight next Sunday.

Felix


13/11/2022 Blackheath

The forecasts had been switching between misty and sunny. In the event it was foggy to begin with and although the base lifted for a time and there was a glimpse of the sun it lowered again before midday.

The breeze was light 4 1/2 - 5 mph except when it faded to much less. The ground was wet but we did fly Zens for a while with the kite medley which is now much changed and far too long.

I had hoped to fly the new JMH vented 'red' sail and did get it in the air with a certain amount of effort. It is slow, which I expected but aside from that it will be interesting to fly it in an appropriate breeze as with the other 'yellow' sail.

I have started work on the third 'blue' sail and the Icarex blue fabric is being shipped.

Felix


06/11/2022

The second sail was completed on Tuesday and we have been watching the weather forecasts gradually changing towards a very wet morning today.

At 8:00am there was a lull but the heavy rain arrived soon afterwards. There was another lull around midday but by that time we had decided not to travel.

At the moment the forecast for next Sunday looks promising...

Felix


30/10/2022 Blackheath

There was a moment when the weather looked problematic this morning in that the band of rain was more intense and not as far east as expected but on the way to Blackheath there was brightness to the SW and the rain eased.

I set up the new 'yellow' sail but the breeze was not close to the forecast 11mph, more like 7-8mph so more suited to a full sail then a full vented...

We flew full sails with the kite medley for a while and then there appeared to be a slight increase in the underlying windspeed so I switched back to the new sail. Momentarily in gusts the sail responded positively but in the lighter wind it felt underpowered, only offset by a very quick turning speed. It looked very good (beautiful!) in the sky so I will look forwards to flying it in appropriate conditions.

Felix


23/10/2022

Another missed Sunday, this time because of torrential rain this morning, last week due to injury having fallen off the road bike due to an encounter with a delivery cyclist on a power assisted bicycle in the Olympic Park.

I had hoped to test fly a sail that Jørgen designed in 2008/9 but in the event I added a couple of finishing elements and attached a previously unused bridle. The full story is here:- Rev 1.5 Vented but the drawings were actually started at the beginning of September.

There is a second sail to fabricate but I suspect that it will not be completed by next Sunday.

Felix


09/10/2022 Blackheath

A southerly breeze was forecast and some sunshine. The breeze ended up at the higher end of expectations so we flew full vented Rev 1.5s. The sky was mostly clear of clouds locally although the front edge of an approaching system could be seen in the far west.

I had hoped to fly the JMH Rokkaku Stack today but after a number of launch attempts decided that there was probably just a bit too much wind for it really. The memory of the near perfect arena flight at Portsmouth suggests that the required conditions are in quite a narrow windspeed range.

We should be back on Blackheath next Sunday but roadworks start on the tunnel approach on the 17th October running to 31st October. I do not know if the expected congestion will have a serious impact on travel to Blackheath from Hackney at the weekend. That will be one to watch when the work is under way.

Felix


02/10/2022

London marathon occupied Blackheath today but next year it will revert to spring dates which may coincide with Cervia.

I did not consider an alternative flying site but contented myself with the usual cycling circuit followed by some more plotting on the 2008/9 JMH design sails.

I have established a full size traced design and have been preparing card templates but also making full size digital records in CAD and using Photoshop to make a fully textured rendition. Images will be posted on the web site in due course.

Felix


25/09/2022 Blackheath

Slightly lighter breeze from the north today in bright sunshine at the start so mid vents seemed to fit the bill.

We flew with the kite medley on shuffle and I was amused that we did not chance upon either of the two tracks that I added during the week.

As the clouds thickened the breeze dropped occasionally and eventually we switched to full sails to lighten up the flying.

Once again the JMH Rok Stack stayed in the bag. I will get to it eventually and plan to shorten the main top bridle for the stack and then shorten the lower link lines to the back sail.

Next Sunday the London Marathon will be taking over the heath so we will not be flying there. I might venture into Victoria Park but may just have a 'lie in' for a change. The following weekend is One Sky One World so I hope that the weather will be favourable.

Further ahead; initial plans to attend Artevento, Cervia 2023 are in hand and flights have been booked. It will be the 30th anniversary year for the grid concept which was first observed at Scheveningen in June 1993.

Felix


18/09/2022 Blackheath

The wind was 6-8mph from the NW and fairly steady under a gradually building cumulus cloud base with enough sunshine at the beginning to keep the temperature comfortable under extra layers. The grass has more noticeably regenerated along with other greenery so the heath is mostly back to normal in appearance .

Full vended 1.5 Revs were the order of the day and were flown to a longish section of the Kite Medley. The problem is that it currently stands at 3 hours and 54 minutes so we only managed to get about one third of the way through. Maybe I should set it on shuffle and see what happens.

As we were enjoying busking to the tunes I did not get to fly the Rok stack today. Maybe that will happen next week. In the meantime work progresses on the JMH vented sail designs from 2008/9 that have been re-drawn onto an actual Rev 1.5 profiles.

Felix


11/09/2022 Blackheath

Hackney Carnival was cancelled and so I was able to travel to Blackheath by car today with the usual drum kit bag but without the club hammer and mooring pins. As I did not plan to fly JMH kites there was no need to carry the extra weight.

A light 5mph southerly breeze was fairly consistent but did fade occasionally and there were a few gusts up to 8mph or thereabouts.

So it was a gentle fly with full Rev 1.5 sails with the kite medley as accompaniment. Reincarnation by John McLaughlin Trio was a new addition to the list today.

The heath is returning to a more normal grass green after the heatwave had turned it completely brown. Some of the new growth is surprisingly dense given the short time since the rains arrived.

Felix


04/09/2022 Blackheath

There were no thundery showers but the southerly breeze did end up at the upper end of the forecast, 10mph gusting higher.

We started on full sail 1.5s but midway through the session the gusts made these sails feel uncomfortable so we switched to full vents.

There was quite an unusual cloudscape today, part of a slow moving depression topped by the jet stream. It is unusual to see such an articulated range of cloud height except with the remains of tropical storms which this was not.

I will not be travelling to Blackheath next Sunday as Hackney Carnival has us locked in 'vehicle wise' from 7:00 until 21:00.

Felix


28/08/2022 Blackheath

The easterly breeze was forecast to be about 8mph and that is what I measured.

Full sail Rev 1.5s were fine and we did a short session with the medley before launching the 1986 JMH Flare kite which I hoped to photograph for the index page on the web site. It was the last kite from the JMH collection to get a 'new' image.

The kite was hand held on the 2.5mm braided polyester line which has a good shock absorbing element. The Flare kites require a solid initial wind speed and then launch quickly to a very high aspect. We did not see any evidence of directional bias noted when flown in c15mph. That was probably overpowering the kite.

Felix


21/08/2022 Blackheath

The heatwave passed and today there was a gentle 7-8mph breeze from the SW.

Zens were almost overpowered but I wanted to see them fly against the four rokkaku stack on a shorter flying line.

After a session with the kite medley I set up the stack on a shortened spectra line with the bungee ground anchor attachment. The stack with the pilot kite was well behaved so I shortened the flying line by another ten paces. At this point the stack was less stable occasionally. I removed the pilot and tried a bridle adjustment to the final kite. This did not work so was removed and I had a couple of partially successful launches but did not get sustained flight.

I think that anchored flight with a short line is unlikely to succeed but I will try to find a way to stabilise the stack without a pilot knowing that we can use one if all else fails!

Felix


14/08/2022 Blackheath

Given the continuing heatwave I was not expecting a long session today. The forecast 6-8mph easterly breeze was present most of the time with an occasional lull or gust.

Full 1.5 Rev sails were fine most of the time so a gentle medley session was flown.

I had laid out the JMH Delta 1987 in preparation hoping to finally test the 18mm dowel spars. A good flight on 4mm braided polyster with the wind mostly at about 8mph followed. A gust which may have been as much as 12mph stressed the kite and one leading edge spar broke at the spreader cross point. A keel setting, one step up might have been the better choice than the apex setting selected today.

However, it is possible that the dowel was flawed so I will have to consider the options. It is clear that the weight of the 18mm dowel was not an issue. The 19mm grey Exel fibreglass tube might have been a possibility but it seems that it is no longer in production.

Felix


07/08/2022 Blackheath

A Zen breeze was forecast and occasionally there was a light circulating breeze that might have been predominantly from the NW.

The grass is no longer showing any sign of green but the plantains seem to keep on pushing up their seed heads.

Last weekend at Portsmouth was very successful on the Saturday but stronger wind on Sunday left us with few options. Other fliers at the event were also unable to continue Saturday's performance.

Images and notes have been posted on the web site:- Portsmouth 30th-31st July 2022

Felix


24/07/2022 Blackheath

Breezy from the SW and mostly cloud free. 12mph gusting to 22mph or thereabouts so there was a possibility of flying the JMH Asymetric Stack finally after a long wait.

Fortunately extra hands were available but further work will be required to get this stack performing properly. The 10cm fix on the front bridle seems to have worked but the back sail was not settling so the lower bridles were shortened using 6mm pegs. This did seem to stabilise the sail against the rest of the stack but there was still a right turn bias in stronger gusts that brought the stack down.

It may be that if the stack had been hand held rather than anchored it would have been possible to reduce the impact of the gusts.

No Rev flying today and we did not get to fly the 1992 Rok stack as had been planned.

Felix


18/07/2022 After Cleobury

We arrived in Cleobury-Mortimer in time for an hours walk out into the nearby countryside and ended up at the flying site as the early arrivals set up their camps. There are very well established footpath routes all around the village.

Saturday was mostly very low wind but we did fly one of the 3m JMH rokkakus with the lightweight frame. We also set out the set of 1992 JMH roks and found a fix for the tensioning sliders. The aluminium sliders have polished the line and have lost their edges as well. Inserting a small dowel in the line loop at the back of the sliders seemed to work.

There was a bit more breeze on Sunday but it became rather variable as the thermals travelled through. We did set up the JMH Asymetric Stack 1995 and waited for a moment to launch. A couple of sticks got broken and replaced before a final attempt to launch failed to find the centre of the wind and any further attempt would have needed a new location for the ground anchor.

We made an early departure and had a relatively straightforward journey back to London but encountered slow traffic on the re-configured Euston Road between the underpass and Kings Cross.

Felix


10/07/2022 Blackheath

A Zen day with almost completely clear blue sky. We did fly the Zens with the kite medley for a short while. There were lulls but it seemed to me that I could go ahead and do some configuration work on the 1992 JMH Rokkaku stack.

I contemplated a longer line for the 2 square metre PL lifter but it didn't seem to cope with the weight of line in the light breeze moments.

We re-attached the red sail to the other three and attached the lifter kite on the same line as last weekend. After a couple of false starts we got a launch and it was interesting to see the lifter acting more like a drogue than a lifter. It was quite often below the line of rokkakus but it seemed to have the desired stabilising effect. Even in the c3mph breeze the stack of Roks was pulling hard, not a comfortable hand holding proposition.

I will hope to try this again at Cleobury amongst the other things that we might attempt!

Felix


03/07/2022 Blackheath

The expectation was for a 1.5 mid vent flight and that was about it, 5-6mph gusting occasionally to 11-12mph.

I put up the red replacement JMH 1992 rokkaku sail with a 2 square metre PL lifter. The lifter was able to launch the rokkaku repeatedly unless it had folded without some line tension. I am hoping to use the lifter to assist the last sail in a rokkaku train/stack.

I might try that at Cleobury ahead of Portsmouth at the end of July. Suddenly it is a busy kiting moment.

Felix


27/06/2022 After Cardigan

The journey to Cardigan went very much as planned with an initial break on the approach to Cardiff. After Carmarthen there was a Google inspired cross country section which included single track roads slightly to the surprise of the navigator...

We arrived mid afternoon at Gwbert and had a stroll along the clifftops towards the flying field. Unfortunately we encountered the boundary fence of a landowner not prepared to grant roaming access.

We tried another route and the finally drove to the site in order to be prepared for the prompt start the following morning.

While there was a sunny start the blustery showers did somewhat curtail our efforts but the conditions provided insight into the capabilities of the Peter Malinski Hex Train and the Jørgen Møller Hansen Double Malay.

The Hex Train impact fixed bridle points failed in high wind as we had anticipated that they might do. The issue will be to provide replacements.

The long carbon based cross spars on the Double Malay with the double aluminium tube centre sections proved to be vulnerable. I have to check if the short lengths failed...

We did not stay for the Sunday as conditions were forecast to be wetter and windier. We travelled to St. Davids, Brecon and Cardiff Bay instead.

Felix


19/06/2022 Blackheath

It was much brighter than the forecast had suggested but the breeze was from the north and sometimes as much as 10mph as predicted.

I had found an old but possibly never flown single vented 1.5 sail and remembered that Martin had never had a mid vent sail so I thought that he might like to fly it. The conditions were mostly just right for mid vents and the old sail performed well.

We almost completed the medley today...

I had expected to fly the replacement Hex Pilot but rather quickly realised that the grey tail was not in the bag. I am assuming that it is with the others in the Hex bags. That is next weekend's project at the Cardigan event. The long range forecasts have been amusingly inconsistent for this event.

It will be interesting to see how the weekend pans out...

Felix


12/06/2022 Blackheath

Sometimes sunny but with quite a bit of well developed cumulus about; the 10mph breeze drifted from westerly to a considerable degree either side as well as fading.

It was all too much for the re-made red 1992 JMH design rokkaku which I had wanted to test fly again. I may have to double check the bridle line lengths as there seemed to be a bias under stress.

Full vented 1.5s and a new addition to the medley accompaniment today, a Steve Reich composition Reich/Richter... A relaxing fly and the swifts were out in force, sometimes at the level of our lines.

Felix


05/06/2022 Blackheath

The drizzle started once I was on the A12 heading south. There had been a suggestion that precipitation would be starting at about 11:00am.

Arriving on Blackheath it really was quite damp with a minimal breeze from the north just registering on the wind meter.

Set up Zens and put the medley on as accompaniment. The comment was that cheerful music masked the dull surroundings.

I was glad to have a gentle fly after last weekends 'miss' even if it was a short session. The drizzle had fizzled out by the time our session ended!

Felix


29/05/2022

I had planned to go to Blackheath today and the revised route due to the A12 closure looked fairly clear before I set off. However, the East India Dock road became gridlocked at the approaches to Blackwall Tunnel.

I 'escaped' up Chrisp Street but almost got into another gridlock on Devons Road. Fortunately Rounton Road provided a timely bypass to a 'head to head' jam!

Felix


22/05/2022 Blackheath

Half marathon Hackney was not too difficult to navigate on the way to Blackheath. Only one bus gate in the way!

Almost completely sunny with an intermittent southerly breeze occasionally from the east or west suggested a classic summer's day on Blackheath with the thermals drifting by...

Zens were fine in the breeze and on the ground when the breeze was not there. No running around today. Didn't get through the whole medley of accompaniment but Steve Reich Quartet would have been too quick for comfort.

Getting back into Hackney was a gamble as it was not clear what had actually re-opened. I went for the bus gate route again as that was on the circular that had been distributed some weeks ago.

Felix


15/05/2022 Blackheath

A breeze from the east was forecast but there was a risk of some rain moving up from the south.

Full sail 1.5s still looking very small on 120ft lines.

The rain cloud to the south was in evidence from the start and within an hour the first drops fell. Even though there was no lightening it seemed sensible not to take any chances.

The contrast to Saturday was striking, one day of sunshine and then a thunderstorm, which is still expected later...

Felix


08/05/2022 Blackheath

A variable easterly breeze felt quite cold despite the almost cloudless sky and bright sunshine.

Full 1.5 sails looked very small on 120ft lines after having spent most of Cervia on Not Zens and 100ft lines.

I put together a three stack of the 1992 Roks but the breeze was varying from too strong to too light by the minute. Seems that we had beginners luck the last time this was flown on Blackheath!

After months of preparation Cervia is suddenly been and gone and the dates have been announced for 2023, 22nd April - 1st May.

Felix


04/05/2022 After Cervia

The first day of the event was wet but that did allow us to prepare some of the kites, Revs and Roks, in a relaxed manner. We prepared the signature tyvek sand bags but they were used differently this year, securing the ground sheet, various flavours of Rev sails and also in the preparations of JMH kites for flight and after landing.

Over the ten days the weather improved but we did not get any higher wind days so some of the kites did not get flown. No bad thing really as we were prepared for quite a range of conditions.

I have learned how to carry a real camera for use on the flying field, not least because we did not have our usual Cervia camera person at the event this time.

I did manage to capture quite a range of images and am working through them and initially setting them up on Cervia_2022

Other images may arrive from other sources in due course so I may have more to add to the site eventually!

Felix


17/04/2022 Blackheath

A gentle southerly breeze forecast was a bit directionally challenged switching between SE and SW but it was no big deal for the standard 1.5 sails that we put up initially. I had chosen to stake out a bit further away from our usual pitch as I could see that there had been quite a bit of vehicular movement from the circus. When five tractor and trailer units started to make their way off-site it was clear that I had made a good decision.

At that point we set about putting together the JMH 1988 Triple Malay Stack. It was set up upright and tethered at the top. It is clear that using two or three tethers would be better than just using one as we did today. It was a slightly tentative initial launch but we soon unhitched the tow bar and the stack flew freely with just an occasional landing and re-launch.

Every time we fly these kites a further level of insight seems to present itself. In reviewing images afterwards I spotted one dihedral that had slipped from the central position.

Breakdown and wrapping followed the established pattern for this composition so setting up next time should be straightforward.

Hopefully that will be at Artevento, Cervia where we will be flying over the next two weekends as well as the week in between!

Felix


10/04/2022 Blackheath

The forecast was for a light southerly breeze and fortunately that is what we had; 4-6mph which was just what I needed to test fly the 3m JMH rokkakus. In the event I only flew one of them as it flew so well. Most of the time it was anchored via the shock absorbing multi bungee device which was doubled up today as previously when it was used for the 1992 Rokkaku stack.

We flew some of the new 1992 design Not Zen sails but did make the usual bungee adjustments after the initial unadjusted flight last weekend. The tighter sails turn with less resistance and really do feel more familiar.

Cervia preparations are proceeding well even if not all the kites that we will be taking get a flight before we go. I would like to fly the Triple Malay and the Double/Single Eddy stacks but that should not be a problem. The Double Malay Stack has new dihedrals and spreaders but does need quite a strong breeze. Maybe next Sunday will be windy!

Felix


03/04/2022 Blackheath

The weather held with a light breeze some of the time from NW to NE. We flew some of the new Rev sails along with the re-bridled cyan rokkaku which was then stacked with the yellow and blue sails. Finally we had a couple of short flights with the four stack of roks. It was a very good rehearsal in anticipation of the Cervia event.

On the approach to Blackheath at about 10:30am we noted that the clouds would probably thicken quickly but in the event that moment held off until after 1:00pm when we were ready to pack up the kites and head off for lunch.

Looking forwards to the Cervia event as all the preparations have fallen into place.

Felix


27/03/2022 Blackheath

A breeze from the east was forecast but the North Sea provided low cloud and drizzle so I did not get to check one of the Jørgen Møller Hansen kite stacks from 1988. Although it was not drizzling all the time the grass was saturated.

Full sail 1.5 Revs today and a complete run through the current playlist which is about one and a half hours, without breaks!

The 10 Not Zen sails in the 1992 design by Jørgen Møller Hansen, two sets of four and two other single colours are due to be delivered tomorrow morning as is the replacement sail for the 1992 Rokkaku though this may arrive later in the day.

It is the strange end to a project which was started almost two years ago. We will now be able to celebrate the 1992 Rok’n’Rev tour, 30 years on, as was intended.

Felix


20/03/2022 Blackheath

The midweek forecast was for windy conditions on Sunday so I went ahead with some maintenance on the Jørgen Møller Hansen Composite Kite (Della Porta): Eight Rhomboids 1993. Mainly plugging spar ends where there were some signs of degradation in the white fibreglass tubes but also seeing some restoration of the spar fabric tubes which might need further attention.

Even before Sunday the forecasts had the windspeed moderating to about half the previous speed so no chance of flying the flat kite.

It did mean that we could fly the newly configured 1991/1992 sail Rev stack and I opted to fly the two 1992 Rokkaku sails in train again. We captured some great images and I did get to do some time on the Rev stack lines, mostly holding the kites at the top of the window as anything above 6mph is hard work.

We flew the full sail 1.5 Revs as well but without accompaniment. These kites felt extremely light after flying the stack.

Felix


13/03/2022 Blackheath

The weather forecasts during the week had suggested strong wind and rain but the situation moderated as Sunday morning approached.

Full vented Rev1.5s were fine in the southerly breeze which was mostly about 11mph but sometimes gusting higher for minutes rather than seconds.

I had hoped to get a first fix fly of the stack of Jørgen Møller Hansen sails in the 1991 and 1992 graphics that I had been preparing over the last couple of weeks. I set the kites up anyway to check the link lines and had to un-loop a couple and re-attach some larks heads that had not bedded.

Luckily, Ashley Mottram, who had joined us for the first time in a while, was brave enough to try a launch in a lull in the breeze and had a short initial flight. This was followed by a longer flight and I managed to get some digital images captured as well as a short video which I have yet to review.

I did try a launch myself but was not comfortable on the relatively hard surface of the heath. I’ll look forward to flying this stack in a lighter breeze on the beach at Cervia.

Felix


06/03/2022 Blackheath

A cold ENE breeze, cloudy but with occasional brightness today on Blackheath.

The measured windspeed was up to 13mph but often dropping to 6 or 8 mph. Full vent Rev1.5s were fine.

I have been hoping to fly the Jørgen Møller Hansen Composite Kite (Della Porta) Four Squares as we have not had much actual flight time with it, to date. Often it felt as if there was enough breeze but the kite would launch and then slide to the edge of the window and fall to the ground, quite literally on occasions.

It needs a consistent breeze which we didn’t really have low down today. After only partial success I decided to add 25ft/7.5m to the flying line and was rewarded by sustained flight, sometimes at a very high angle.

I have made a mental note that apart from needing a breeze at the top end of our usual comfort level, a longer line is a good idea!

Felix


27/02/2022 Blackheath

Finally a sunny day with lighter wind albeit still above 10mph.

It was a bit chilly but cloudless throughout. Full vent Rev 1.5s for a short while and then on to a test flight of the replacement set of sails for the Jørgen Møller Hansen 1985 Rhombus Kite Train.

The pilot kite, the Eddy kite that was made as a replacement for a missing sail in the c1985 Peter Malinski train, was called into service again and launched ahead of the orange set on 2mm line. The new cyan set are on 2.5mm line and so followed and then the red set on 3mm. If the wind had been a little lighter the dark blue set would have been added, also on 3mm line.

A successful flight but it is clear that over long spreaders need to be discarded and the dihedrals need to be set in the centre of the sails to prevent flipping. That is a rainy day kind of task but will pay dividends in terms of good flying of the train.

Felix


20/02/2022

It was another high wind forecast with rain as well so although I did travel to Blackheath no kite flying took place.

Back at home I was not quite sure how to tackle making the tails for the Rhombus set but finally found inspiration figuring that I could double up the fabric, taping it down, to make the cutting less arduous. Realising that the uncut sections at the one end of the fabric could simply be folded in sets of eight made the process even easier. Nine sets are ready to attach to the spines.

The project has seen a number of moments of inspiration, usually in respect of making the task in hand easier and less daunting. I will certainly be thinking of setting about further projects once this one is completed.

Felix


13/02/2022 Blackheath

We hadn't made a plan as the forecasts did not look good but on the day it looked as if the rain would hold off until about 1:00pm.

RSS sails were comfortable most of the time but the wind chill meant that it was only a short session, not that I was actually wearing gloves, of course!

The Rhombus sails are taking shape, eight colour strips are sewn in place and the ninth sail will be cut and then reinforcing and hemming will proceed. The transfer adhesive is very helpful but the residue is a bit persistent and could interfere with the sewing if it is allowed to accumulate.

Sewing in straight lines is a serious undertaking and requires intense focus!

Felix


06/02/2022

The forecast was not good, heavy early rain and high wind so no flying plans were made.

I have continued work on a template drawing for the 1995 Rhombus Train by Jørgen. He had re-made some sets of 9 kites so my aim was to get set up to make one or more sets for the future.

I have used the red set as a template as they are one of the sets that look quite new. I was particularly looking for seam details and hemming allowances. The preparatory drawings I did in CAD provided clues as to how best to tackle the coloured elements. The physical template will be used for the base pattern, the coloured elements will be cut from a directly drawn pattern on the fabric as that will be most accurate.

I will probably use an adhesive transfer tape for the flat seams even if that is not something that Jørgen would have used. My sewing skills are at a very basic level only!

Felix


30/01/2022 Blackheath

Bright and sunny but the measured breeze was often under 2mph for much of the time on Blackheath today.

Zens were set up and flown sporadically and I flew the Martyn Lawrence kite that was found recently as well as the Don Mock kite for comparison. The warming sun had an impact on this energetic activity.

Eventually the breeze found some legs and the Zens were in the air together but first I had a rising air flight at the top of the possible wind window.

We then settled in to flying with Terry Riley and Salome Dances for Peace: V. Good Medicine, Good Medicine Dance by Kronos Quartet and then a couple of tunes by Joe Lovano and crew before some high clouds filtered in and the chill suggested that it was lunch time!

There is a further issue with the Not Zen sails which I will have to pursue soon as I have not been given a proper progress update.

The large work surface was finished during the week and the first drawing/tracing completed yesterday.

Felix


23/01/2022 Blackheath

Another light wind day under almost flat grey clouds. I measured 2.8mph from the south east but it didn't last for long. There was a pause and then a shift to the south for a while and then back to the south east. And so it went on.

We flew Zens with green race or actual Zen rods. The Zen road flexed under load which suggested to me, a reduced efficiency, as the input was not translated into immediate movement of the kite.

For accompaniment it was Charles Lloyd & The Marvels an album, Tone Poem, which I had only heard once or twice previously. It occasionally matched the mood of the moment quite well and ended with a distinctive bowed bass element. This was followed by a couple of tracks from Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi, Garden of Expression.

There seems to be a curious continuity between the sax players phrasing and which seems to suit the casual flight patterns we were finding.

I had taken the JMH Edo but the ground was still fairly muddy even though it has not rained for a while. Maybe we'll get some of the kites in the sky again soon. I have re-checked all places in this house for missing kites and have not found the 1992 Rokkaku sail. I did find a Martyn Lawrence fighter kite from 1991, or earlier, so will have to add it to the collection of small kites that occasionally get flown!

Felix


16/01/2022 Blackheath

There was a light c4mph westerly breeze under low occasionally breaking clouds that might have been slowly lifting fog.

Full sail 1.5s for a short session followed by a single line flight of the Don Mock fighter kite from 2000 and a Raindrop Kites Korean Fighter in White, Red and Lime. The Korean Fighter needed a bit of bridle adjustment but the Don Mock kite flew perfectly out of the bag.

There has been a further delay in the JMH 1992 Rev1 sail re-make in the Not Zen format project but it should be back up to speed in the next week and I hope that we will take delivery of the finished kites in February.

I have to re-confirm that the missing red 1992 JMH Rokkaku sail really is not hidden away somewhere in this house after finding four kite sails from the same period a week or so ago.

Providing that I do not find it a replacement sail will be made in the not too distant future, ready, I hope, for Cervia.

Felix


09/01/2022 Blackheath

A sunny day with a somewhat variable westerly breeze was just what was needed to fly some ancient (c30 year old) Revolution Kites.

I had found one 1991 sail and three 1992 sails without spars in their sleeves stuffed into a yellow Selfridges bag at the top of the steps down into our cellar as a result of a visit by Thames Water to install a water meter.

Today it took me quite a while to re-set the single line kite stakes and back-up anchor rope and get the 1992 Rokkakus ready for launch. I then set up the video recorder in a somewhat casual manner and set it running. I will have to dramatically edit down the 50 minutes recorded but it did capture much of what we were flying.

We flew the revs on 150ft/46m lines as the 1992 Rokkakus were on 100ft/30.5m spectra lines.

There was a problem with the yellow rokkaku which ended up hitting the ground at speed, breaking a spar and piercing the sail. I now have some more sail repairs as one of the re-made 1991 JMH design Rev1s is quite badly ripped. I am hoping to make up two stacks of the old Revs...

Felix


02/01/2022 Blackheath

A variable 8-20mph west, southwesterly breeze kept us entertained under a variably low cloudy sky with occasional glimpses of high white cloud and blue sky. Quite early in the session the lowering clouds thickened menacingly to a dark blue shade but then broke back to brighter intervals with occasional flashes of sunlight.

Joe Lovano, Marilyn Crispell & Carmen Castaldi, Garden of Expression was our initial accompaniment followed by the medley from two weeks ago; Bill Frisell, Thomas Morgan, Marc Johnson, Terry Riley, Pino Palladino and Ron Miles. I think that the varied selection of the medley gives the best opportunity to match the kite moves to the mood and movement of the music. It is curious to note that the free flying notion was first voiced over ten years ago. It is certainly a rewarding process for a small number of fliers flying together and today's session was energetic and occasionally quite intense.

I did take the JMH Composite: Four Squares today but there were too many lulls in the breeze to have made it worth setting up.

A shower was approaching from the west when we ended the session today.

Horizontal spars in spiral wound carbon fibre for the 3m JMH Rokkakus have been set up, colour coded and plugged.

Felix


December 2023
Felix Mottram