21/07/2019 After Shropshire
There was a deluge on the M40 as we headed out for lunch and an after lunch stroll on Friday before the event.
The selected accommodation seemed fine on Friday evening.
Saturday weather was mostly dry but with a variable wind rolling over the field boundary of houses and trees. We did, however, manage to launch Expandable box kite 1996 after some helpful advice and energetic contributions from the gathered kite fliers who also confirmed the source of the design, Eiji Ohashi. It did not fly for long but we now understand the basics.
After a brief fly of the late JMH Delta and the 1990 Parafoil we set about launching the JMH Della Porta: Nine squares 1993. I had added inserts to strengthen the main spars and we had time to accept advice on the bridle settings which entirely matched my perception of how the kite had behaved previously. Finally we reduced the tail load by one half, looping one of original tail ends back to the other attachment point. We achieved a sustained stable flight before running out of field area.
Saturday evening meal at one of a number of local curry houses was rather good but there was a loud event back at the pub where our overnight accommodation was located.
On Sunday the breeze was slightly lighter but just as variable. There was not enough consistent breeze to get both of the parafoils launched within the confines of the site but we did get the anchors and safety line configuration established.
We flew two of the three meter Rokakku kites with heavy spars over two sessions along with the late delta as well.
We noted that while we could have flown the Rev kites during the course of the weekend the conditions were really not likely to have made for an interesting or constructive experience.
Most of us were off site at about 5:00pm just after receiving an award for team effort over the weekend.
Arrived soon after 10:30 am which was about the time that Jake had suggested he might get to the heath.
We had not had the chance to fly the JMH kites together for some time now and this was an opportunity to check some of the kites we may be able to fly next weekend in Shropshire.
First up, almost was the 8 diamond Della Porta. Not quite enough wind again but it is clear that this 'composition' is completely viable.
The 1990 Parafoil which I have been partly re-bridling was then launched in the light NE breeze and performed very well indeed. We removed the old 'cut and repaired' lines and I will leave any fine tuning until I have measured the profile of the larger 1991 kite.
Next up was the late delta with the light wind frame, mostly for Jake's benefit but I really like flying that kite so was happy to have the opportunity again.
Finally we put together what had been known as the 1988 expandable box kite with 60 cells but it was missing any bridling set-up. It was clear that this could be part of a larger composition and on checking the other bag back in Hackney it is obvious that it was the upper half of the kite from 1996, with 120 cells. We will hope to get the whole kite together next weekend in Shropshire. It will be worth the effort even if it does not get in the air.
We didn't quite manage any rev flying on this occasion but I am sure that we will do a bit next weekend on Saturday and Sunday.
A light easterly breeze so Zens with green race today. The high and low cloud threatened drizzle but it didn't happen. The ground was very wet from overnight rain and the plantain heads had sprung up over the last week.
Nothing called and there was an occasional lull which had us walking back, every which way, it seemed. We had a visitor today who had seen the Revs from a passing bus. He was a Blacksmith student at an institution in Herefordshire having completed the first of three years taking a summer break in London.
I had brought the 1990 JMH parafoil out with the intention of measuring the bridle lines. This was duly done with the kite remaining in the ski bag to avoid getting it wet. Three bridle lines have been replaced in parallel to repaired elements but they have not been finalised until the lengths have been checked against the overall profile. Getting hold of George Hamm's and Ed Wright's design principles has proved to be a bit challenging. At this stage we will probably just have to learn directly from Jørgen's practical interpretation. Having the larger and well tuned 1991 parafoil should give us some clues.
I hope to deal with the first of the two 'stairway' box constructions in the next week. The main issue is rusty metal fittings. It is probably impractical to replace with stainless steel so a clean and 'prevent' regime is in order.
Only revs today as there was a running event taking place and the wind forecast did not look great.
The high cloud was receding so fair weather cumulus but not very developed most of the time. The westerly wind was typical summer Blackheath, on the strong side this time, but consistently variable. Opting for mid vents with green race made a certain amount of sense until the arm ache set in!
Very little called as the variability of the breeze really was not conducive to team flying.
Festival in the Forest next Saturday in South London but we should be at Blackheath on Sunday as usual.
I did take the personal revs to Blackheath today but managed to 'forget' the handle bag. As no one else was expected that really didn't matter but I had also left the SLK toolkit behind as well. That might have been irritating!
The challenge today was to set up the Edo kite solo. After the kind assistance of the team at the beginning of June I knew that I had to establish a method to accomplish this. I know that ground stakes are only to be used 'carefully' and as conditions were relatively calm I used the mooring pin to attach the bridle and the flying line. I set the spars and then walked the kite away downwind and placed it face up with the leading edge/top of the kite upwind secured, on this occasion, with my jacket.
I then combed the lines back towards the anchor point. This is a slow process but it helps to know that it will resolve successfully.
The bridle point was then switched from the anchor to the flying line and the kite was walked out and placed face down leading edge still to the front and the bow set. Then the kite was rolled and the bridle lines checked with the leading edge on the ground.
Finally, keeping the bridle lines supporting the kite it was turned to leading edge up and launched once the centre of the window had been found.
I launched the kite several times and while it was stable in the centre of the wind window when the wind was lighter as soon as a stronger flow occurred the kite tracked clockwise until it inevitably hit the ground.
On breaking down the kite the process was reversed but I put a holding knot in the bridle lines at the anchor end first before taking the comb back to the kite and looping the lines together, using the carabiner to hold the final loop!
RSS kites today in contrast to last weekend. Today there were also very localised heavy showers to contend with on the brisk SW breeze. We were mostly lucky but were dressed accordingly anyway.
Extended no call flying watching the highly contrasted clouds passing by.
The plantain seed heads that were becoming prevalent in recent weeks had been mown so really no issues today!
No JMH kites today as it was clear that conditions would be a bit fierce.
Happy to have the 'drum kit' bags back in use finally for kite transport and storage. Both of them were damaged during Cervia and have been replaced with new.
Zens with green race today gives a measure of the breeze today from the SW. Mostly fair weather cumulus in long standing lines with very high cloud gradually thickening.
There were occasional lulls which made a perfect excuse for putting together some of the JMH kites.
First up was the re-framed late Delta. Mainly 10mm carbon tube but with a re-purposed Rev SLE spreader. This is a very good light wind option now. I note that this was flown on the rear connection point. I tried the middle point but the sail was immediately spilling too much air, not enough brake, one might say!
Following this I put up both of the 2m Rokkakus having split the main rods for portability. The yellow kite flew perfectly straight away, the blue kite needed the lower bridle shortening slightly, a clove hitch around the 5mm peg that I had prepared before leaving Hackney this morning. I had remembered both kites as being slightly unbalanced but they were fine in ‘just enough’ breeze today.
I had repaired the Edo after last weekends attempt but will wait until the missing diagonal ribbon fixing is replaced before trying another flight.
I have decided that the Della Porta: Nine squares is probably needing stronger spars and have discovered that Not Zen green race rods with a short carbon rod supplement will fit inside the white fibreglass rods. This may be the next week’s project in addition to de-rusting one of the 'stairway' kites...
I had hoped for 8-10mph today but it ended up more like 13-15 with significantly higher gusts. Full vent 1.5s with green race were ok most of the time. I had not taken the RSS kites so that was not an option.
During the week I had prepared a light wind frame for the large JMH delta and also modified the frames for the two Rok and Rev JMH Rokakkus which need further bridle adjustment.
Today I opted to put together the JMH Edo from 1995. The fact that the bridle took a considerable time to untangle should have been an indicator that this was not really the right kite for the day. In the event there was too much breeze. This really is a light wind JMH design! Good to spend the time looking at the configuration anyway.
28/05/2019 After Scarborough
The weather forecast for the weekend indicated that Saturday was going to be the day that offered the opportunity to fly JMH kites as well as the Revs and possibly Rev stacks.
On that basis we set up with the full banners and tent configuration first thing on Saturday. Not Zens were the right sail all day with green race as usual.
We flew the three large JMH Rokkaku kites with the light weight frames and they looked stunning together in the sky. There was not quite enough breeze for the Della Porta: Eight rhomboids kite but it appeared to be completely viable. We did try the Della Porta: Nine squares but once again it exhibited the oscillation with the top of the kite dropping down. Two spars were broken on impact with the ground. We will have to have a close look at the bridling before further attempts to launch this kite.
The Rev 1.5 eight stack was flown towards the end of the afternoon.
There was rain first thing on Sunday morning with a blustery westerly offshore wind throughout the day. The Rev RSS kites worked reasonably well even in the strongest gusts but it was hard work. We did not put up banners or the tent and used the car as our base...
Monday started with the same blustery conditions but as the wind direction slowly changed from west to north it eased somewhat and certainly became more consistent and without the wild changes in direction. RSS sails were again all that we were able to fly but as there was little else in the air that was not a problem really.
Travel to and from the event was not too difficult for a Bank Holiday weekend with a total mileage of just over 500 miles.
Cloudy today with occasional brightness and the threat of a shower. Light NE breeze which was mostly steady.
Zens and CR sails mostly with green race were comfortable but I did feel somewhat constrained having woken today with an aching left leg.
Despite the discomfort I did put together the Della Porta: Nine squares 1993. All seemed ok but there were some questionable knots on the bridle ring and an odd overlay of a couple of the individual bridle lines. As the last time that this kite had been flown five spars had been damaged I was not overly hopeful. The first launch was too short but the kite was certainly tracking to the centre of the wind window. The second launch was longer and appeared to be going well until the top edge of the kite dipped and caught the wind on the back of the kite. The kite was grounded and nothing actually got broken on this occasion but obviously something is not right.
A light shower meant a quick pack away of this kite and then a further short Zen session.
I may stick to the other two Della Porta kites for Scarborough!
A quiet day on Blackheath, light NE breeze and a first sighting of swifts against the blue sky and bubbling cumulus.
Took the Della Porta: Eight rhomboids 1993 today but didn't check to see if the tails were in the bag. As with the other two kites from this period the tails are actually bagged separately...
Still, no broken spars in this one and there is a chance to try it next weekend ahead of the Scarborough event the following weekend. I'll try to sort the broken 5 spars for the bigger Della Porta: Nine squares 1993 in the meantime.
Some of the team will be attending the Shropshire Kite Festival 20th - 21st July. We will take JMH kites on that occasion, for sure, looking for advice on re-sparing some of them.
We took all the team kit to Blackheath today for de-sanding. Many hands made relatively light work of this necessary process.
Some of the sand dust is well and truly ingrained in the mesh and fabric of the full vent sails. Only a thorough soaking will remove that!
It has been an energetic month with 21 flying days since 5th April. I did not get to fly a kite today and have been reviewing images from Cervia this afternoon. Many of them have been posted on Facebook already!
02/05/2019 After Cervia
I had decided not to make notes during the event and do find myself somewhat at a loss to find the words and details to summarise Cervia. It was a very good event, needless to say!
Caterina made it known that she wanted to talk about our 'location' for the event and had planned to reduce the size of the single line art kite area where we have been for quite a few years now and add a new area to the south of the main arena for the displaced art kites with us as a buffer before the large 'inflatable' kites.
On the first morning of the event we set up immediately out side Bagno 111, Adriasol, our lunch venue from previous years. That was to remain our location for the entire event, setting up the 'tent' and newly acquired JMH banners depending on the weather prospects.
Apart from Robert Brassington and Joel Schultz the single line fliers did not take the opportunity to migrate and so we utilised the area along with Team 4 Fun.
We did fly some of the JMH collection kites as requested as and when the conditions were favourable. We also set up the 2007 JMH Rev 1 and Rev 1.5 stacks with special help from David Hathaway on the Rev 1 bridles.
The team did a very effective relay effort in flying the stacks especially when the conditions were not good for normal team flying.
The final day of the event included our participation in the 'Black Sail' project with Ashley looking after the music selection and calling the routine. This was deemed a success and the response outside the immediate Rev community was very positive.
15/04/2019 After Berck
It was my 25th visit to Berck according to the records that we have. Conditions were not forecast to be good but we survived the only one really wet day and mostly coped with the offshore wind spells. The NE winds were often pushed round to a northerly flow by the sea-land tendency.
Conditions were not good for flying the JMH collection kites much of the time and there were space constraints. It is not good manners to occupy temporarily vacant space where tethered kites have landed... The large Delta kite was the one that proved very stable and with a small launch window so the obvious choice for the night fly on the final Saturday evening.
Travel to and from Berck was straightforwards and the grid lock on the final Sunday afternoon did not materialise but we found that we had to queue in a holding process before being able to check in at Eurotunnel for the return crossing.
Just a couple of repairs/finishing need to be done before repacking for Cervia. Re-bridling the Rev1 four stacks may have to wait until we are on site. I need to locate the rest of the spares.
Preparations rather than the clock change meant I did not get to Blackheath until 11:15am. Quite a steady ENE breeze so we did put up full vented 1.5s with green race. All very straightforwards so far!
I hoped to test fly some of the JMH kites today and started with the Della Porta: Four rhomboids 1993. Not knowing this format of kite (same as Della Porta: 4 squares) I was anxious to find a way to manage the bridle initially and then move the kite to a safe launch point. The kite is 4 metres tall, (measurements still to be amended on the collection site) so I positioned the kite at right angles to the flying line stake point and sorted the bridle with the 'comb' that Jørgen had fitted. Then with a 'helper' on the line I gradually walked the kite into the wind window turning it upright up to the point that it was ready to launch. The frame of the kite which is somewhat flexible was supported by the bridle at all times. The kite launched and flew very well! (grins)
Next up was a more complicated affair, the Double Malay stack 1994. As with the Double/Single Eddy stack 1989, the flying line was staked and the kites set up nose to the ground starting from the front of the stack. We encountered some difficulty with the tails during set-up as well as a final 3 sail 'loop through'. Once set the whole stack was rolled to the ready position and as soon as the breeze was right the stack launched successfully. The stack was flown from the 'control bar' initially but we found that it was stable enough to stake the bar. To land and pack the stack was flown towards the edge of the window and pulled down by the flying line leaving all the tails to the downwind side. Spars were removed starting at the back of the stack and the kites progressively bundled together with the tails free. The tails were then looped together and bagged with the kites.
We then flew the Revs for a quick called session to wrap up the days flying.
I have to juggle kites and bags for transport to Berck but I think that we have test flown enough kites for that event and will have others to show at the Cervia event which follows very soon afterwards.
The forecast indicated light NW breeze and some broken cloud.
The breeze was just a bit too light for the Double/Single Eddy stack 1989. I had replaced the spreaders and found today that the main spars are very brittle which given that they are 30 years old is hardly surprising!
Did some more bridle adjustments on the Della Porta: 4 squares but something is not quite right. Probably need to start from the beginning again!
I did remember to take Rev handles today but didn't get a chance to use them.
We need to 'cadge a lift' for one person travelling back from Berck on the evening of Sunday 14th April. We are two fliers down for Berck, one of them being a driver with vehicle!
Fortunately this was the one Sunday in March that Jacob was in London so we could start assessing the JMH kites.
Ironically having been concentrating on selecting kites to try and additional equipment I had left my Rev handles at home. Spares were offered but I did not get to fly a Rev today! For those that did it was RSS sails which gives an indication of the wind speed, probably about 15mph I would guess.
First up was a set of 6 banners. Now we remember why we don't do banners at close quarters. Very noisy indeed, partly, I expect because the fabric is like new.!
The late delta seemed to be a reasonably safe choice and was made with different line attachment points. The front most point seemed to work fine but the kite did need a reasonable length of line for it to be stable.
Jacob flew the orange/purple Rokkaku from the bridle. Far too much wind really!
Finally we set up the late Della Porta: 4 squares with two tails. We do not think that this kite was 'finished' and it currently has a bias to the right. I was surprised that it could be flown at all given the wind speed.
We did have a celebratory Gammel Dansk at the start of proceedings today!
It was windy as forecast so I did not expect to be on site for long today. Soon after arriving there were relatively long spell where the RSS kites were quite comfortable.
Gradually the length of the calmer spells shortened and so kites on the ground time increased. It did not feel as if anything was going to break but it was sufficiently uncomfortable flying so we called it a day at about midday.
The Aarhus trip was straightforward but I have to go back to collect four more kites weighing in at just under 20kg/44lb in the skiboard bag.
Might have to have a celebratory Gammel Dansk on Blackheath next Sunday, weather permitting!
The weather for the 10th March still does not look promising. We didn't even try today given the rain and wind!
All set for Aarhus, Wednesday. The prospect of so many unique kites to fly is a bit exciting. A whole new chapter, even.
Blue sky and sunshine in Hackney but heading towards the Blackwall Tunnel there was fog closer to the Thames with the tops of the Canary Wharf buildings appearing above it. Emerging from the tunnel south of the river it was fairly dense fog but at the top of the Sun in the Sands hill the sun was shining again in a blue sky.
A light east north easterly breeze was only just perceptible when we arrived but it did strengthen gradually and switch to more easterly before the thermal activity really set in. Zens and CR sails with mostly green race worked most of the time. Some extended free flying with a musical accompaniment was interspersed with called sequences. Some of the free flying was very effectively using the full window as well as close interaction with some clear interpretation of the musical 'mood'.
I am booked to fly to Aarhus on Wednesday 6th March, returning on Friday 8th March so I will be watching the weather forecast for Sunday 10th March with particular interest.
Our arrival today coincided with the southerly breeze freshening somewhat so we eventually decided on full vented 1.5s with mostly race frames after having tried full sail and mid vents as well. The breeze was mostly c11mph but often more and with just the occasional lull.
Full sunshine as well to the point that I was feeling that I had too many layers!
Six up so mostly called and accompanied flying today. Steve Reich, Pat Metheny: Electric Counterpoint had an airing as well as some of the team pieces from recent years.
We ended up with Steve Reich: Variations for Winds, Strings, and Keyboards which at 21:42 was a bit long, but none the less, an interesting experiment.
Looks like I will be the one doing the Aarhus trip to collect the JMH kites. I am hoping that this can be arranged soon!
A brief visit today as the weather forecast was not really very helpful. In the event a 15mph westerly breeze occasionally dropped off but there was a considerable wind chill, feeling as if it was only just above freezing point.
Occasional raindrops for most of the time until a settled band of rain arrived a bit before 1:00pm.
RSS kites again and it was noted how much 'lighter' these are compared to other high wind formats. The lack of gauze is a definite benefit especially in damp/wet conditions! There was some neat close uncalled flying with just the occasional kite contact.
The trailing edge of the band of rain abruptly gave way to sunny conditions back in Hackney.
A light WSW breeze and mostly sunny session today.
Zens with green race and a couple of CR sails were eventually a bit overpowered but to start it must have been 4mph, if that, ending with 7 or 8mph, I guess!
Some excellent silent and close flying today along with relaxed called sequences and musical accompaniment.
It might have been good for the stacks but I was intent on checking out the 100m of 2.5mm diameter red sleeved spectra with the large JMH Rokakku and especially the line grips that arrived during the week. It may take a bit of practical experience to figure out the best way to get the grips to engage but they certainly take line handling to a different level.
It was a 'from the hand' launch of the 3m kite which is always amusing and while it might have been a bit risky the kite did handle the full line length and a walk down was required.
Blustery, chilly NW breeze, probably 15 gusting 30mph. Mostly cloudy, just the occasional burst of sunshine.
RSS kites handled well, not too much of a struggle and of course dealt with the lulls. We noticed some pinching of the sails around the vertical spars which may have been due to the 'springs' being set on the inner of the spar rather than the outer side. Probably not of any importance but worth remembering if we decide not to use the springs...
Further work on the web site this last week as I found the coding for handling an image library. https://www.felixmottram.com/decorators/pictures.html Pleased to be able to get a scaleable group of images all together with the option to isolate images in a 'new tab'.
Interesting to go back to some of the older images and find that the source prints really were not very good. Re-scanning is not an option so we'll just have to accept them as they are. A work in progress:- https://www.felixmottram.com/decorators/olderpictures.html
A hazy blue sky today, a light NNE breeze so dark glasses all round.
Zens with Green Race and a CR were not overpowered, 2-5mph probably!
I had wondered about putting up both JMH 8 stacks for a ‘photo-op’ but in the event we opted to spend time familiarising ourselves with the line settings for the 1.5 stack. Ideally I would want to have much finer steps than those on the provided leaders but today we started with the settings I had made in 9-10mph, put on much more brake and then stepped back to the starting position. Different fliers hold handles ‘differently’! Gripping the handles tightly, especially if they are held vertically, has a considerable impact, not that I actually spotted that particular aspect on the field today…
It ended up feeling quite warm even if the actual temperature was only 6-7C.
A bit of a contrast to last Sunday, the wind still from the west but 15+ gusting 30+mph.
Very bright, almost sunny with a mix of thin high and lower cloud.
Full vent 1.5s were clearly overpowered so it was the RSS kites again. Even they felt like a bit of a handful in the higher gusts.
Still suffering from a lingering 'cold' which has the rest of my household in their beds today!
Portsmouth and Scarborough events are going ahead in 2019 and we have fliers lined up but not finalised.
A bit of a struggle to get out today due to a lingering 'cold' that stopped me in my tracks on New Years Eve.
A light westerly breeze so Zens with green race, a great configuration. Landfall by Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet was a bit 'moody' but interesting to 'fly with'.
There was variable high cloud but that was doing nothing to stop the UV getting through. A very dark sunglass day.
We should be confirming Berck arrangements in the next day or so.
We will then be making arrangements for the JMH kites in Aarhus to be packed and road transported back to the UK. I am hoping to set up a weekend on Blackheath in March devoted to checking and test flying the kites, some of which are illustrated here:- https://www.felixmottram.com/jmh/ on the linked pdf.