Today was the fourth out-door rig of this large Rhomboid kite, but it had yet to fly for more than 10 or 20 seconds at a time. However there was definitely plenty of breeze on this occasion. We were down at the beach near Fort Glanville at Semaphore.
A smooth moderate strength wind was blowing on to the shore and a large mass of rain clouds had recently departed to the East.
After several years of constant kite making and flying activity, we had finally caught up with some members of the AKFA (Adelaide Kite Fliers Association) at their official flying site.
The site is some distance from our home in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, but we'll have to come up more often I think. Second Sunday of each month, all welcome, if you're in Adelaide and own a kite!
The big blue Box needs a bit of shelter from the wind to get it rigged more easily. Hence it took shape on the down-wind side of the car, in the car park. From there, it was straightforward to fly it on just a meter (3 feet) or so of line and walk it down to the sand.
All the while, there were a few other kites in the air. Some traction kite powered skateboarding along the footpath (sidewalk), a colorful HQ rotating Box and a couple of single-line parafoils. Note the absence of light-wind kites!
The Multi Dowel Box was really in its element. Smooth moderate strength wind gusting just into the 'fresh' range from time to time. Soon after letting out a few meters of line, Tony S. (president of AKFA) kindly offered a sand anchor to make things more convenient. That's the way to go at a beach site with large kites!
The Box was left to its own devices on somewhat less than 30 meters of line, wandering left and right in response to small wind shifts and gusts.
With the sea water lapping ever closer, there was not a lot of room on the soft sand for long line flying. That would take the kite uncomfortably close to trees and moving cars, in the prevailing wind direction. It would be a different story with a lower tide. Not to mention with the wind blowing from just about any other direction!
Eventually the breeze freshened back up a little so I whipped out the Windtronic anemometer and held it up. Gust after gust pumped the maximum reading up to 30 kph, with an average of 21 kph. The big blue Box was handling it easily, so it should still go ok right up into the 40s.
The over-size horizontal cross sticks were not budging a millimeter, as far as I could tell. If this kite ever gets tested to destruction, perhaps some other piece of dowel will give way first. For a change.
Also in my green bag of tricks was the set of spring scales, so we took a quick line tension reading...
While Tony pulled some slack into the line, I put 7 turns around the hook end of the scales. Then, taking the ring end of the scales in both hands to keep it steady, it was easy to read off the tension. Roughly 4.5kg, gusting up to 6kg was the result. Quite manageable really. I wonder what the Multi-Dowel Sled would have pulled in the same circumstances!
Eventually it was time to leave so the Box was brought down with the aid of a steel carabiner sliding along the line.
The de-rig in soft sand and with the breeze funneling between the dunes was a little chaotic but we got there. With more practice I'll figure out a routine for getting the Box packed away in windy conditions. It was all pretty easy on earlier occasions when there wasn't enough breeze to fly.
All in all, a great first flight despite the non-typical low altitude mooring. There will be plenty of opportunities later to put this kite up on 400 feet or more of line. Being a Box, it should cope well with extreme gustiness when flown more inland. As for strong thermal conditions, we might not being seeing them for quite a few months now. Nothing surprises me any more with dowel and plastic kites in thermals. This latest Box kite will still go overhead one day!
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