My First Dowel Kite

by Carl
(Nassau, The Bahamas)

I used to make kites when I was smaller. Some were poorly constructed and refused to fly. As I got older and more experienced, I started to build better quality kites and their flying characteristics improved.

Recently, I spent a weekend making the Dowel Dopero. It flew great! I laid on my back and watched it dancing in the air. Then I let it out to 400 feet. The kite was "sleeping" in the air! I was so proud.

Guess what? I let out even more string! Yep, I flew it at 800 feet. It looked tiny up there. When I finally decided to reel it in, it started to flip.

No! I kept pulling it in and it crashed a few hundred feet away. I was so angry. Why did I have it so high in the first place. It was impossible to find it in the trees, and I only managed to salvage some string. It was only dowels and plastic anyway, so, I made a new one and a Dowel Sled.

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by: Tim Parish

That's a real shame - to lose a Dowel Dopero kite on the very first flight. At least it proved what the design could do, up to that point!

It seems a sudden gust up there might have caused a failure. Either a sail tie pulled out or perhaps an end cap tape let go. Either of which would have unbalanced the kite. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure this actually happened to my own Dowel Dopero once, when the general wind strength was a bit too high for it. The kite came to ground but was easily fixed to fly another day.

I lost my own Dowel Barn Door kite once, in similar circumstances. Moral of both our stories - don't fly higher than the distance to the nearest downwind obstacle :-)

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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