The Half Hitch Knot

And Its Kiting Applications

The simple Half Hitch has many uses, but I have just a few for the MBK Kites. In particular, the Roller and Dopero kites, where this knot is easily unpicked to adjust the wing-tip ties where they attach to the lower horizontal spar. However, this is also it's main disadvantage in that it eventually comes loose! It's fine for a single long flight though.

Another very handy application is attaching a plastic ribbon tail around the lower end of a vertical spar. A single hitch is quick and easy, yet sufficiently secure. The crushed plastic helps to prevent loosening, and the forces on a tail in flight are very low anyway. I have never lost a tail this way!

Now, if you really want to go overboard with knot-tying...

The book Knots: The Complete Visual Guide has an amazing average review score of 5 stars from 12 reviewers - the last time I looked. If it's a more general knot-tying resource you need, this would definitely be it!

Back to the Half Hitch...

Tying the Half Hitch knot - step 1.
Tying the Half Hitch knot - step 3.
Tying the Half Hitch knot - step 5.
Tying the Half Hitch knot - step 2.
Tying the Half Hitch knot - step 4.
Tying the Half Hitch knot - step 6.

Actually, there is one other use for the Half Hitch in the Dowel kites... The nose of the Sode has a loop tied around it, when rigged ready to fly. The loop is Lark's Headed around the upper horizontal spar's bow-line. Effectively, it's just 2 lines side-by-side, which are then hitched around the nose of the kite to hold some tension in the sail. Because of all the insulation tape over the nose, just the one hitch seems to hold fine! A bit surprising, but it sure is handy since it's very easy to unpick before packing down the kite.

If multiple hitches are used in any situation, the top one will quickly loosen off unless it's secured with glue. Eventually, the next hitch starts to loosen too, and so on down the line...

You can use a couple of hitches to attach a bridle line to its spar, as long as a drop of glue is added. In this situation the glue can also be used to prevent the knot from shifting along the spar. These days I prefer to use a Double Wrap Slip Knot here.

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    Carbon Diamond High Wind Experiment

    Sep 23, 14 01:22 AM

    This day's flying had been anticipated for at least a couple of weeks. A 'drag bucket' added to the tail end of the 2m (7ft) span Carbon and Tyvek Diamond was an attempt to raise the upper limit on the flyable wind speed for the kite. From earlier experiences it seems the unmodified Diamond becomes unstable at around 30 kph.

    The first flight was done with the drag bucket adjusted for fairly minimal effect. As half expected, the kite soon started to fly way over to the left and right. So, the wind speed up there must be at least 30kph! This was down at Brighton Beach, but all thoughts of doing KAP soon evaporated, due to the high wind speed. Not to mention the turbulence coming from some high buildings directly upwind.

    For a second attempt, the Velcro fastener was re-adjusted to considerably open up the intake of the bucket. The bucket being two Tyvek flaps which come together over the tail-most region of the sail. This had an immediate effect. More stability! Unfortunately, the extra drag also helped keep the kite at a lowish line angle in some of the fiercer gusts. Lots of line tension ensued, with a huge amount of distortion apparent in the sail.

    At this rate, something was going to break pretty soon, so I struggled to get the kite down to the sand. After shifting the towing point forward by about 3cm (1") the kite seemed a little more comfortable. When the sail of a Diamond distorts badly, it reduces the amount of effective area below the towing point. This is like shifting the towing point back - adding to the problems of too much wind!

    And then the inevitable happened. The already broken-and-repaired horizontal ferrule gave way and the kite promptly folded up and sank to the sand. But not before I had carefully observed every second of the kite's struggles, trying to learn more about Diamond kite behavior in high winds.

    Just an hour after arriving home, the weather station at the nearby airport was reporting gusts to 50kph! It was less further down the coast, but I suspect the Carbon Diamond felt the brunt of around 40kph for at least a few seconds at a time.

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe the value on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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