MBK Soft Sleds

by Ian Hammond

MBK Soft Sled - newly minted

MBK Soft Sled - newly minted

I'm on holiday in India and thought about bringing a kite with me as I knew I would be on the coast quite a bit of the time but then thought 'I'll probably never use it just carry it around'. Of course I got here and wished I had a kite. So I figured I can make them at home with not much so I should be able to here also.

It took a bit of searching to find garbage bags as they are getting rid of single use plastics here but I found a small shop that had bags. Any colour I like as long as its black and of very thin, light plastic. They also had tape and ruler and crayons (which I thought would work better on black plastic). Finding a fishing shop for some braided line also took some searching. Then a couple of hours on the guest house floor and an original size soft sled was ready to fly.

It flew straight and reliably from the first flight on. An ideal kite for travel as it packs down small in my backpack with practically no weight. I've now flown it on many beaches (I live 200kms inland so not used to beaches). In a variety of wind strengths. It starts to loop when it's too strong but doesn't hurt it. Though I have strengthened it a bit with both sides of the outer edge of the pockets taped down by cutting the pocket down the centre once its fitted. So it's a flat join that has a single layer of tape instead of a 90deg join.

The red and blue ones are the ones I built at home. The middle size one is 10 percent over size. Its the first one I made and liked it so much I made the big one which is 1mtr tall (I think it was 160 percent) and the small one is -25 percent. It came about because a friend's son asked for a kite and I thought they are a tough enough design to withstand a child's play. I previously gave a child a 2 skewer diamond which they broke and destroyed in less than 24hrs.

The only thing with this design is, I find, they need both hands to hold up and get both pockets filled to launch so tying the line down with about 4mtr of line out and held taut then away it goes. Flies reliably once its launched. Except – twice now, on different coasts, I've had the 'no fun here police' tell me to put it away. India has a long tradition in kite flying so that's not what I expected to find here. I wasn't flying in busy areas. Generally up the beach away from most people. Strange.

Thanks Tim for a great design. Ian.

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Nov 18, 2019
by: Tim P.

I've lost count of the number of times birds have interacted with my kites :-) Usually it's just a close and curious fly-past though. Sometimes circling around the kite a couple of times.

Regarding the 'no fun here police' I believe there are laws in some parts of India forbidding kite-flying due to the indiscriminate use of manja - flying line coated with glass powder! The cause of many cuts and the occasional death unfortunately, when cut-down kites drift and the line gets strung across roads and alleys etc. But Dacron down at the beach? Just tell 'em you don't use manja!

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