The Dowel Diamond Kite

Long Climbs In Light Warm Breezes

Compared to the last time this Dowel Diamond kite went out to fly, average wind speeds today were a little higher.

Dowel Diamond kite in flight.

A light breeze shifted twigs and leaves around, with the gust strength creeping into the 'moderate' range from time to time. But I was sure the Diamond would cope, despite its new design suiting lighter winds than the original kite.

Rigging the kite was quick and easy, and it was soon away, climbing strongly while I let loops of line off the winder.

At about 50 feet up, I paused the climb to grab the camera and take a few photos. Some video as well, which you can see at the bottom of this page.

From there, I let the kite up to around 200 feet for a while.

After a few minutes at this altitude, it seemed the Dowel Diamond kite was being pushed to the limits of its stability from time to time in the moderate gusts. Wanting a more relaxed flying experience, it seemed like a good idea to just take it all the way down and adjust the bridle.

The bridle was still at the 'maximum light wind performance' setting. As far back as possible in other words! So, I just slipped the sliding knot towards the nose by a centimeter or 2 to ease up the pressure in the sail. Off went the kite, more stable this time, and still holding good line angles.

Shaking loops of line off the winder with my left hand, I let line out by slipping it through my right hand.

The Diamond was not pulling very hard at all, and there were no sudden gusts, so there was no danger of getting line-burn. I let the kite fly for a few minutes at a time at various altitudes, before finally seeing the black tab come off the winder, signaling 120 meters of line. That would do! A decent thermal would float the kite up to around 400 feet at that length of line.

The weather was warm, and clouds were generally hazy and smooth, and fairly high. The wind strength seemed to vary from minute to minute, and thermal activity seemed fairly gentle today. The Dowel Diamond kite hung low or high depending on wind speed, but spent most of its time around 50 degrees of line angle, with not much line sag.

As wind speeds edged towards moderate, the kite would respond with a little fish-tailing as the vertical spar flexed from side to side. The 3 point bridle kept the wing-tips from waggling, unlike traditional Diamonds with their 2-point bridles.

Although some video was already 'in the can', I felt an impulse to get some more despite the high altitude of the kite. It turned out to be a good move, catching the kite on a long climb from around 200 feet to over 350 feet.

Also, wind shifts caused the Diamond to track sideways across sky during the climb.

Initially, it was just an increase in wind strength that triggered the climb, but towards the end there was definitely some thermal assistance! It felt like I was tilting my head back until it was about to fall off...

The cloud cover was the only way to tell how the kite was moving. There's the last 10 seconds of it in the video down there. Sometimes I don't even bother to fly on total blue-sky days since the video would be boring!

Eventually it seemed a good idea to bring the kite down so we could get out of the heat. On its way down, the Dowel Diamond kite soared almost directly overhead from time to time, like when a Delta is brought down. With the kite only 30 feet off the ground I took another photo of my 4 year old Aren flying it from the winder. During a lull I managed to get both flyer and kite in the frame... All up, a decent flying session with the Dowel Diamond kite!


The story above was an actual flying experience with the described kite. My write-ups are definitely warts-and-all since things don't always go totally as planned. However, half the fun of kiting is anticipating the perfect flight. When it happens, it's magic!

 




E-book special of the month (25% off)...


The
Sode is a traditional Japanese design, and this MBK version is exciting to watch in rough air!

If you have made Diamonds before, this kite takes a little more time to make. It's still a straight-forward build though, using the same techniques as used for my Dowel Diamond. 

Get the e-book for making the MBK Dowel Sode kite. The cambered sail makes this a very efficient design. Of the Dowel kites, this design is one of my personal favorites!

This Sode flies steep and steady over the Light wind range, and starts to move around quite a bit when the wind picks up to Moderate levels. Tail(s) are entirely optional, but may be added for looks.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



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Wind Speeds


Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7