31/07/2023 After Portsmouth
We managed to get set up early on Saturday morning and flew a session with the Jørgen Møller Hansen Double Malay Stack from 1994 along with five Revolution kites in his 1997 design. The stack was staked and the Rev 1.5 were somewhat overpowered in the brisk and turbulent breeze. The new offshore breakwater is somewhat substantial and with the war memorial the art kite arena is not the easiest place to fly in a WSW breeze.
The main arena had a more stable breeze for the two team presentations on Saturday when we flew the RSS Revolution sails in the bright sunshine that lasted most of the day. There was a late afternoon mega team fly of four line kites.
Sunday was grey and often wet with the wind occasionally stronger than on Saturday but with lulls. We did the first arena presentation at the previously allocated time, 11:30am but were called back soon after for a mega team fly as the agenda had been adjusted given the difficult, wet and windy flying conditions.
We did a final arena slot at 3:20pm and the event closed early.
Having watched the forecasts earlier on last week the conditions at the event were better than might have been expected. It was a successful event for us and there was some very well tuned team flying.
The wind speed had moderated somewhat but was still about 15mph or thereabouts so RSS sails again.
The medley was started quite a few tracks in so we did get to fly with some recent additions.
All set for Portsmouth next weekend with a vague plan but mindful of the brisk breezes that are currently forecast for both days as an Atlantic depression sweeps across the country.
Ahead of the day I was not sure if it would be worth trying to fly as the windspeed was forecast to be 16mph gusting 32+mph on the Met Office.
In the event things were a bit calmer but an initial flight of a full vented 1.5 sail was quickly substituted with an RSS sail.
The open vent kite by Revolution has been of good service to the team as it maintains good characteristics even when high wind lulls.
It was not a long session today.
11/07/2023 After Berrington Hall
The Leominster and Hereford Kite festival at Berrington Hall 8th and 9th July was an opportunity to spend time flying the Jørgen Møller Hansen kites.
The weather on Saturday was fine to start with a good but variable breeze so the Eight Diamond kite was flown in two sessions. A thunder shower around 2:30pm was very wet! We subsequently set up the Double Malay stack and were hit by a following shower. The kite was too heavy to be flown so was packed with the tails still wet.
Sunday started brighter and with a similar breeze so the Double Malay stack was flown dry. A second flight was accompanied by Rev sails in the 1997 graphic.
We left the site at 2:45pm as there was a large shower approaching...
We knew the site was likely to be challenging but the breeze today was particularly difficult. Light and sometimes downwards at low level and strong but shifting higher up.
We did persevere with the Jørgen Møller Hansen Eight Diamonds from 1993 and were rewarded with an extended flight later in the afternoon.
The end of the session was an elegant avoidance of a kite eating tree with tails suitably draped. There was a break in one tail but it turned out to be at a point that it had previously been fixed with a temporary repair!
The 1997 design Rev 1.5 sails were flown as well.
The southbound Blackwall Tunnel was closed this weekend because of works on the Greenwich end in preparation for the new tunnel.
The Rotherhithe route was slow but what I had not anticipated was the 'Fun Run' on Blackheath which as usual took up all of our usual flying area, and some!
Given that the wind was clearly at the top end of our safe range for the day's project we headed back towards Hackney only to find a circuitous diversion was in place for Northbound Blackwall Tunnel traffic. It was quite bizarre to find the way through the diversion and wonder where all the rest of the traffic went to...
Another sunny day but with a threat of rain later which only eventually arrived after 5:00pm.
Light wind again so a short flight with Zens but the focus soon switched to the Decs original 3m Rokkaku from 1991 which had also been set with s lightweight frame with SLE spine and four wrap spreaders.
Happily it also performed in line with the other two 3m sails so we have a light wind contingency. The frames were originally prepared in April 2022 so it is great to have seen them all fly. Next up will be to get them in the air together and that is certainly on the agenda for Hampstead or Berrington in early July.
Summer weather today and as the temperature was approaching 30 degrees Centigrade I did not stay quite as long as usual on Blackheath.
The wind was forecast to be about 2mph and from the SE or NE. It was mostly from the NE after an initial launch of the 1991 3m Rokakku by Jørgen.
It had the SLE spine and Revolution four wrap spreaders so the 'light wind' configuration. It flew really well and for a while sat at the very top of the window which is uncomfortable for the flier as balance becomes an issue when looking up almost vertically for any length of time. At other times it locked onto a mid window position. A great flight and I did manage to catch a minute of video and a few stills which are on the web site.
It was another good day on Blackheath but the breeze was a bit lower than forecast and I was short on hands so did not feel sufficiently confident to attempt a flight of the Jørgen Møller Hansen Nine Squares from 1993. I had prepared a bow line rig to apply along the four outer spines but the application will have to wait for another occasion... next Sunday, maybe!
We flew mid vented sails with the kite medley so at least I got to fix that deficit.
The weather was 'just right' on Blackheath today and although getting there and back was a bit slower than normal due to road closures for a sporting event it was well worth the effort. The Jørgen Møller Hansen Eight Rhomboids from 1993 flew very well with a light weight frame and bow lines. Thanks to Martin Linford and Ashley Mottram for help at crucial moments!
Another Sunday without actually flying a Rev... I'll have to make amends but I am very happy to have resolved the issue with Jørgen's 'flat' kites.
Access from home was officially via the Richmond Road Bus Gate so the Half Marathon was not an obstacle today. The closure of parts of the A12 next Sunday for Ride London may have more impact on journey times to and from Blackheath.
Today I was prepared to set bow lines on the Jørgen Møller Hansen Eight Rhomboids sail for light wind conditions given that the new frame is about half the weight of the original fibreglass. It felt as if there was enough wind for a launch anyway and so that is what we did. A couple of short flights followed and it appeared that the frame was too flexible when the kite topped out. The breeze caught the other side of the kite in a similar way to what we saw with the Nine Square sail before the spars were strengthened.
I think that bowing the sail will help keep it centred in the window in light conditions and will reflect the actual wind produced bow that keeps the sail centred in higher wind speeds along with the very long tails. I did notice the elasticity of the bridle lines as well as the catenary they showed in flight today.
I did not get to fly a Rev but did get to set the stakes and 'safety' line for the single line kite as well as setting the bow lines.
There was little prospect of a kite flying breeze so I had left the JMH kites at home today.
The grass had been mown but there was little more than an occasional breath of wind so after a gentle attempt to fly Zens we called it a day!
Hackney Half Marathon next Sunday will cause a slight deviation from the normal route out and back.
We travelled to Blackheath with the full team kite bag, 40 sails and the groundsheet plus the ancillary kite bag to de-sand after Cervia. While there was not great volume it was everywhere, very dusty with it!
This task was accompanied by the kite medley and we did have time of a leisurely fly with Zens back on our 120ft lines.
Next week I might take the JMH snowboard bag but that will depend on the weather and if I can deal with it at home in the meantime.
I have been re-constructing the Cervia event from images captured by various people. The event was very intense and the 11 days passed very quickly.
Next up is a gentle event at Berrington Hall courtesy of the Midland Kite Fliers. It will be JMH kites only!
I wanted to check the configuration of the JMH 1992 Rokkaku sails and had hoped for light wind conditions. There was virtually no air movement much of the the short time I was on Blackheath today!
I separated the red sail from the stack and checked the bridle components. It looked as if the bungee element had dropped out of the main stack bridle but I have some spare pieces cut and knotted.
I did get to launch the red sail briefly but it was not a sustained flight.
The main JMH bag for Cervia is packed but I may swap back in the 1991/1992 Rev stack which did not initially appear to fit. Letting the packed kites compress seems to allow for further additions. The big 1991 parafoil will not travel but the smaller one 1990 may be accommodated.
Fortunately the traffic was light today and there were no diversions in place on the journey to and from Blackheath. The new footbridge over the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel from the south is in place and is bright yellow!
A slightly variable light south easterly breeze in warmish sunshine today so we were on full 1.5 sails. It was an opportunity to check 100ft lines ahead of Cervia and the change in handling of the sails was noticeable but acclimatisation did not take long.
I had set new sleeves on the 1994 set of 300lb 80 ft stack lines and so finalised the attachment points and attached handles. Four stacked 2007 JMH design Rev1 sails were flown to bed the lines and the 7-10mph breeze was perfectly manageable somewhat to my surprise. I had to revert to knotted leaders as prussic loops were not holding reliably!
I will hope to fly rokkaku sails next Sunday as a final preparation for Cervia but will not be too concerned if conditions are not suitable.
With the southbound Blackwall Tunnel closed I did set off early and hope that the direct approach to the Rotherhithe Tunnel would not be too slow. Unfortunately traffic travelling eastwards on the East India Dock road is given lower priority compared to vehicles travelling west! Now I know!
The wind on Blackheath was at the top end of the forecasts often steady at 12mph so too much for the light wind spars in the JMH 3m Rokkakus.
Full Vent 1.5s were comfortable and were flown today with G Weave frames that had arrived on Friday. We were flying to the medley again but it was not an extended session as the sun failed to have a warming impact.
I did manage to shuffle some lines and see the heavy stack lines that I needed to locate for Cervia. There is an extra set of 150ft 90lb lines that I had not expected but the long handles attached will be good for the stacks as well.
On setting off to return by the usual route I was confronted by stationary traffic northbound at Sun in The Sands roundabout so set off back towards the Rotherhithe Tunnel. That proved to be very slow as well so I took a chance through the back doubles to Tower Bridge where there was a short delay but I arrived home about 90 minutes after leaving Blackheath. That was only about four times the normal journey time!
The clocks going forwards, a forecast of rain and low 'feels like' temperatures made it quite easy to decide that kite flying could wait a week.
I did go to Blackheath and walked through Greenwich Park to check the view. The last time I did this I noticed an illusion that I wanted to re-visit. Seen through the trees the buildings of Canary Wharf appear to be much closer than they are when seen from the viewing point. This is amplified by the sense of approaching the viewing point as being 'uphill' whereas it is probably actually downhill as the view is of the lower portions of the distant buildings. All quite confusing and not easy to verify without access to a detailed contour map!
While the windspeed forecasts had been unsettled we actually got 5-8mph which was just good for the JMH Double Single Eddy train from 1989 so after an initial moment of doubt it was unravelled, spars set and flown.
One spar pocket needs to be re-sewn and on looking at images captured there was one spar on the second pair of sails that had disconnected from the dihedral.
After wrapping up the stack we flew full sail 1.5s with the kite medley.
A breezy session was forecast and the WSW breeze measured 12-14mph so it was really a bit much for flying the 8 sail Rev1.5 stack but we set it up with a view to bedding the knots of the new link lines. At the first launch it became apparent that there was not enough forwards on the handle settings so the adjustment was made and some images then captured!
We then flew full vented 1.5 sails with the kite medley. I'll have to do some further editing as it is at 4 3/4 hours of music now which is a bit impractical given that we do not have a whole day to fly at this time of year.
I will be moving on from the Rev stacks in Cervia preparations during next week. Not quite sure what comes next!
Lowering clouds just didn't seem to be moving today but the sun was occasionally just visible as a disc but there was no feeling of warmth. The wind was from the west, mostly between 5 and 8mph as measured.
Full sail 1.5 Revs were comfortable, not overpowered or underpowered for the duration of the medley flying.
I had replaced some spars in the last two sails of the 1991/1992 Rev 1 six stack and was hoping to get a good test flight in preparation for Cervia. I used Maggie's set of 100ft stack lines (150lb?) on extended handles and the stack was very well behaved with the four wrap, three wrap and race rods installed.
The 2007 Rev 1.5 stack may need some link lines replacing so that is next on the list of preparation 'to do' for Cervia.
The bright clear blue sky on arrival at Blackheath did not last long today. The breeze from the NE was as forecast 8 or 11mph but gusting a bit higher occasionally.
Full vent 1.5 sails were fine but I did not feel comfortable with putting the Jørgen Møller Hansen Double / Single Eddy up so flew the new three sail vented stack with standard race and 4 wrap centres. It was fine, even in the stronger gusts so will be on the list for Cervia.
Checking kites, switching spars and checking lines in preparation for Cervia is under way. Eight weeks can disappear quite quickly so I was keen to get an early start.
G Weave Spars should be shipped by the end of March for the second set of Not Zens that we hope to fly alongside the first set at Cervia!
Thankfully there was no travel issue today and so I did reach Blackheath in a timely manner. The forecasts had been at loggerheads over windspeed and there was actually a bit of everything from 4 to 10mph from the NW so we flew mid vented 1.5 sails after I had initially flown a full vent with 2 wrap spars. I will have to re-visit personal spars having switched out a green race set for the JMH 2008/9 vented sails.
The feature of today was some warmish sunshine only occasionally obscured by thin, patterned, high level cloud that seemed to be forming and dissolving through the flying session.
We were occasionally distracted from the kite medley by the antics of flocks of seagulls offering a fair imitation of starling's murmurations on a physically larger, more dispersed, scale.
I will have to fly some of the JMH kites soon in preparation for Cervia!
I set out as usual for Sunday kite flying but there were signs up on the A12 stating that the south bound Blackwall Tunnel was closed. Sometimes the odd sign is still showing on Sunday mornings after the regular overnight closure but the repeated signs were more insistent so I turned off at Bow Flyover and headed towards the Rotherhithe Tunnel.
On reaching the A13 close to the Rotherhithe turning it was clear that not only was the Blackwall Tunnel really closed but that the overspill traffic had ground to a halt. After having established that the line was hardly moving at all I set off towards Tower Bridge in the vague hope that I would eventually be able to get to Blackheath.
It was not to be... The traffic on The Highway was backed up to Cannon Street Road so at that point I gave up and headed for home via Whitechapel pausing to telephone my apologies to Martin on Blackheath.
Oh well... the forecast for next Sunday is looking promising!
A very good Sunday morning session on Blackheath. The weather was kind with sunshine and a reasonably consistent northerly breeze for flying the stack of new sails based on the original Jørgen Møller Hansen designs from 2008/9. Reversing the stacked sail order certainly transformed the light wind capability.
Full 1.5 sails were also flown along with the kite medley.
As Cervia is not so far away now, preparations are underway in respect of checking lines and deciding on which kites to take.
We will be travelling to Austria in September.
There was some occasional fine drizzle blowing through on the variable SW breeze this morning. Although it did measure 8mph initially it often faded away so full sail 1.5 kites were appropriate.
As we had been flying various flavours of very vented sails over the last month or so the full sails felt very responsive and were flown against the kite medley that was started quite a few tracks in.
The stacked set of three sails did get in the air but would really need a higher consistent breeze to be comfortable.
The event agenda for 2023 is shaping up and I hope that we will be able to send a team to Austria in September. The Cervia event may include an organised flight of Jørgen's kites at Ron Gibian's initial request.
While I did travel to Blackheath this morning there was no discernible breeze at all so I took a short stroll into Greenwich Park and notice a 'rising moon' effect while walking towards the view of the Dockland Towers.
I meant to check this view again but by the time I turned around the view was fully obscured by the trees.
We will do a 'not Rev' event at Leominster, Berrington Hall in July.
A breezy session with westerly air flow measuring up to 16mph with occasional stronger gusts. It was brighter than we might have expected but on the cold side!
Another flight with the yellow and blue sails but the centre spar of the blue sail looked better as a standard race rod had been replaced by a green one. The final configuration will probably be standard race rods with a four wrap centre.
A 'not Rev' event for 2023 is in the planning now at the Leominster and Hereford Kite Festival at Berrington Hall, 8th and 9th July 2023.
We are waiting to find out availability for the Hampstead Kite Event on 25th June or 2nd July 2023.
Blustery showers were forecast and the SW breeze measured 15mph gusting upwards.
A succession of part rainbows followed the showers that were mostly away to the north west.
The blue and yellow sails were flown today as once again the breeze was appropriate but the additional flex of the leading edge rods of the blue sail was very evident. I might try a four wrap middle spar in that sail.
An early finish today as the sails had dried from an earlier shower, another one was approaching and the wind was getting more blustery.
The forecasts eventually converged on 12mph gusting 25mph from the SW and we did actually get a bit of hazy sun through the high level cloud.
The three new sails based on Jørgen’s initial 2008/9 design were flown together and images were captured for the web site.
We then flew five kites, the new sails and two full vent Revs in a session which was sometimes called but also free flying with the kite medley.
An interesting start to the year...