The large single line Cat we built for Sardinia, now owned by Herman van der Broek has an anthropomorphic body style. Getting ready for the next round of European Festivals, yesterday I was test flying a smaller version with amore kittenish body style. It has legs that are restrained by bridles to give the form of a walking/pouncing kitten. It is excellent, or at least I thought so until an enthusiastic spectator declaimed "wow I like your cow". Godamn, I HATE it when this happens.
Now, lots of things to announce: like three new kites and a breakthrough discovery. Firstly, there are rumours going around of new generation Arcs about to hit the shops-THIS IS NOT TRUE, there are no new generation Arcs about to appear, now or later. What we do is continually try minor changes and when we are sure these work and don't cause unexpected problems after at least 6 months serious use, they are fed into production.
In the last 12 months we have increased valve area to speed inflation and made minor changes to some panels to improve reliability, and more recently, to increase de-power and decrease stalling.
The Arcs we are selling now are consequently a lot better than those of a year or more ago. Bigger valves have proved to be a real boon by making inflation better as well as faster. Many puzzling effects disappear when inflation improves.
A discovery: "Wedging" The small changes we have been making to improve de-power and decrease stalling have also worked very well. They have the generic name of "wedging", and derive from a fundamental breakthrough in understanding. Fortunately these changes are easily retro-fittable so that even very early Arcs can be bought up to the latest specifications in respect to de-power. Various ways to "wedge" Arcs are now fairly common knowledge around the kite surfing world. Specific descriptions are included at the end of this newsletter and are available on our web site. Long before wedging, to build more de-power into Arcs we had tried progressively reducing tip sweep back.
Unfortunately, straighter leading edges take away much of the inherent resistance to catastrophic shoulder collapse- to the point when minor damage, porosity, wet fabric, stretched sections, or just poor inflation could set it off .By later ’00 we had settled on the minimum sweep back required for reliability.
The principle behind wedging, is basically a way to allow serious de-powering of the central span (power producing) part of the kite without risking shoulder collapsing by reducing tip sweep back. On 29th March2001we made a patent application for this (510825).And, three new Arc style kites: A Training Arc, the "T-Arc", This is Dominique Scholte’s design.(Dominiqueis Peter Lynn Products manager at Vlieger Op)It’s a wow.At 130/0.8 this is the perfect training kite for kitesurfing. It’s stackable, 2 line or4line as you want and very fast without requiring jet jockey reactions.
There will be a few coming in to Holland over the next few months but realistically, volume availability isn’t expected until next season. Also, a new size kitesurfing Arc- the 1410/10.0Currently in very short supply as all we have are the few we can make each week here in NZ, they will be available in volume as soon as a production gap becomes available.They have excellent de-power, height and hang and, the general view seems tobe, a little more power for their size than a similar size bladder style kite.
And, a completely new high performance Arc for buggying, possibly to be called the "H-Arc". Designed by Artur Bosche and Michel Dekker at Vlieger Opwith an aspect ratio of 7 (for the 6sq.m. projected size), they have spectacular turning and upwind performance plus characteristic Arc stability. Higher performance is possible because many of the design compromises currently necessary for kitesurfing don't apply for buggying(especially that the loads are much lower). We have now started to make one or two per week in NZ, continually using, refining and gradually increasing production- so there will be no general availability for this season at least, although the odd example might show up in use here and there.