At least from when Archimedes yelled "Eureka, I have found it" while running down the street naked, baths have played a key role in invention.
I for one have always been a fervent believer in bathing, evidence to the contrary that my best friends have never told me about notwithstanding. It has always seemed to me that for the inventors, showers are neither contemplative enough nor conducive to doodling- until now that is. Nop and Michelle Velthuizen, my usual home away from home when in Holland, have just rebuilt their bathroom and have a shower wonderfully adapted for inventing things in. No cold drafts and the water temp. doesn't vary or suddenly go cold- which makes for a relaxing atmosphere- and, best of all, a heavy glass door that fogs up in a most satisfactory manner- quite perfect for finger doodling. They have also thoughtfully provided a rubber squeegee type blackboard eraser for when all available door area has been filled with sketches. The pace of innovation is relentless however, for no sooner had I noticed the possibilities of this new inventing tool and resolved to be an early adopter than I was facing kitesailing competition from Nop who had the advantage of perhaps 3 weeks use of it before I even arrived. He had built a new 4 hulled kitesailing boat using parts from 1994 "kitesurfer" 3 hulled planing kitesailing boat parts that were still lying around. For speed, especially in rough water even his first generation new model is very hard to beat- (and no doubt there is a 2nd gen. aesthetically zebra striped exotic wood version already gestating). Well powered up on one of our very best kitesailing planing catamaran's, I couldn't catch him, not even after kilometers hard chasing- until he broke up that is. After gloatingly continuing on course for another hundred metres or so just to cement the victory I then did the gentlemanly thing- went back to pick him up- (don't get concerned, just a temporary aberration of behavior I'm sure). While clambering aboard he tangled my kite so I
released- the recent fatality in Germany being fresh in mind. Nop then departed at high speed on my boat leaving me sans kite and adrift adjacent to the remains of his. I wonder if he thought this move up while in the shower also? I'll definitely have to get one of these.
I haven't caught up with the details yet , but hear that Stefan did very well in the Dutch Kitesurfing comp. last weekend. Congratulations Stef.
Yes it's true we are working on a new Arc range to slot in between the Standard Arc and the radical F Arc. They currently have the working name G Arcs ('cos G comes after F). So far we have not made any two G Arc prototypes the same but when the results from the current round of user testing is complete (you may see one at a beach near you), we'll decide which balance of characteristics to select and hopefully have them in production for the beginning of next (Northern Hemisphere) season. There will not be any radical changes in the Standard Arcs or F Arc ranges in the next year or so but incremental development will continue batch by batch. Being the only maker of a fundamentally different design up against 25 or more other manufacturers essentially all making the same kite with minor variations, we are in an interesting, challenging and, I would say, privileged position. Arcs didn't exist even 3 years ago so the pressure to catch up on the 17 year lead that the tube kites had has been extreme. We've made mistakes and have had to overcome various problems that seemed insurmountable at times but development has been very rapid to date, suggesting that there is lots of upside still available. Now, with kites that already match our rivals performance in most respects and exceed them in some crucial characteristics it may be time for us to take a more active stance and start to challenge more on the water, in the market place and in various kitesurfer forums. The feedback we are getting is clear; for new users, the easy flying and good water relaunching of our standard range is highly valued and the performance edge of our top range (F and G) Arcs is now attracting attention from well outside our 'traditional' user group. We are also getting increasing support from users in challenging the negative propaganda about ram air kites that emanates from tube kite salespeople. Claims we hear of are: Arcs: "don't jump", "don't go upwind", "don't have
good power control", "don't water relaunch". Propaganda wise, I guess
this is their attempt, Goebel's like, at the big lie, four lies actually. For 2002 Arcs, (Standard, F and the new G's) and allowing for variations between models; jumping and hang time are definitely strengths, upwind is the best there is, de-power is in the top group and while water relaunch can be problematical after prolonged immersion, in the first few minutes it's easier because their greater volume causes them to sit higher and drift back faster. We could also add: they don't crash as often, don't puncture, burst less often, don't need to be pumped up, don't de-laminate and releasing one side's lines causes all Arcs to de-power completely and flutter to the surface whereas tube kites always retain their curved form to some degree and can continue to spin once released.
While I've been in kitesailing in Holland and sitting in the sun in Sardinia (kitesailing occasionally), Ashburton was hit by a weather bomb and had it's heaviest snowfall for 59 years. A few roofs collapsed through lack of experience, none of ours luckily, and trees were damaged, including many of ours. A falling branch landed on Mark Abernethy's ute, (Mark's our number one large kite maker) rendering it undriveable. The Insurance people say it was an "act of God". Maybe it was divine retribution for his having shaved his head into a representation of a soccer ball for the world cup final. But I didn't miss all the fun, as it gave me an excellent excuse to play with my toy tractor dragging the fallen branches away once all the snow melted. Best of all, I became gloriously stuck and had to try all those neat features like four wheel drive and diff. Lock. Ingloriously, I still needed a tow out from big brother.