Rokkaku Kites Etc

by Eddie Lloyd


I've just made a few kites from your e-book that I bought and waiting for some wind to test them now!

Would you believe that since I finished making them our wind speed has dropped to virtually zero every day.

I am now going to make a 6 foot version of the Rokkaku and would like know if I could add a tail to make it more visually more attractive in flight. Also if you could please tell me what the maximum length of ribbon I could add.

I believe your maxim is 8 to 10 times the kite length and approximately one fifth of the kite width?

The ribbons I intend to add are about 15 metres long and 10 mm wide and I thought I would add about 6 of these. Would this have a detrimental effect on the kite's performance or would I simply be able to adjust the bridle's towing point?

I would also like to change some of your single line kites to be able to fly them on 2 lines for even more fun if possible. Again Tim would this be viable without upsetting the kite's flying performance?

The kites I would like to make and fly on 2 lines are your Dowel Delta, your Dowel Rokkaku, and the Dowel Diamond.

Any help you can give would be most gratefully received.


Funny how the weather can sense what you intend to fly, before thwarting you with unsuitable wind speeds ;-)

For the 6ft Rokkaku kite, bump up the dowel widths by 50% which would give you 7.5mm spars. A little thicker will do no harm.

If you stick to very light material for the tails, for example plastic from the lightest bags available, the kite will still fly with even quite ridiculous lengths! Any amount of tail will incur a small performance penalty, but this should not be a problem with the amount of tail you are considering. As long as it is light. That rules out old bed linen for example ;-)

My length of 10 times the kite height was a very conservative number for the Tiny Tots Diamond, intended to guarantee some success even with a sloppy build.

As for turning my single-line designs into stunt kites :-) ... I simply have no experience as to what exactly would happen. I suspect all three you mentioned would be steerable to a degree, and provide plenty of fun in the process. You could use twin bridle loops...

For example, on the Diamond, a loop going from each attachment point on the horizontal spar down to the tail end or near it. A Prusik knot on each loop could then be adjusted to the usual towing position - slightly below the horizontal spar or directly over it, as per my published diagrams.

For the Delta, the logical place to attach the upper ends of the loops would be where the spreader crosses the leading edge spars.

Of course the Dowel designs are not meant to be flown into the ground so be prepared for plenty of hasty on-field repairs with insulation or packing tape. In light wind they should fly around fairly slowly, so I don't think you will snap dowels too easily. If you have significant success, feel free to contribute in the Stories and Photos section of this site (see over in the Nav bar on the left).

Have fun!

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

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

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

Strong ...
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

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