In response to reader’s requests, there will be nothing at all about kite flying in this newsletter- and I’ll tell some other lies as well.
What about the war then?- can I talk about the war?!- well not without arousing strong feelings both ways- and this is probably not the ideal forum for that.
NZ is far away from all that stuff anyway, except that, tomorrow I’ll be a long way from Ashburton, I’ll be in the US- at the SBBB (spring break buggy blast) in the desert. Which has started me thinking a bit- like thinking that it will probably be a good idea to suppress my generally bad attitude towards authority while clearing Los Angeles immigration for a change.
Like thinking that if I was the US of A and had just been seriously attacked on mainland soil (Sept 11) for the first time in nearly 200 years* then maybe I’d be hitting back at someone also.
Ironically, 191 years ago, in 1812, the USA was at war with England, their allies in the current war. The Brits sailed up the Potomac and set fire to the White House (was it subsequently painted white to hide the blackening, hence the name?). They also sacked the curiously named town of Buffalo, but that’s another story.
But- and here’s an interesting bit, President and Mrs Maddison had to leave home in such a hurry that the champers and dessert were already laid out for supper- so the Brits, including one Arthur Wakefield, sat down for a bite to eat and made a toast to the jolly old King before lighting up.
Now Arthur didn’t stop doing things to annoy the natives after this, he continued his career in colonial NZ (his brother Edward G. was a major driving force behind European settlement here).
Arthur eventually got to be on the menu** himself , clubbed to death with a greenstone mere in the Wairau incident, (a precursor to the NZ land wars). Wairau is north of here but Arthur’s nephew, Edward J, (Edward G’s son), in alcoholic decline, settled finally in Ashburton and is buried just down the road.
This is all approximately true.
Maybe we’re not so far away from everything here after all!
*But, ‘Remember the Alamo’!
**Metaphorically speaking only.
Peter Lynn, Ashburton,
NZ, March 27th 2003.
PS: A very sad PS.
As we were driving to the airport today, we had a phone call to tell us that Gerard Van de Loo had finally lost his battle with Cancer. Many of you will have known Gerard and share our loss. For those of you who didn’t , I am sorry, you missed knowing a very special person. For well over 20 years he was our delightful, caring friend with his warm humour and smile. Over the years we met at and enjoyed many kite festivals around the world. There always seemed to be laughter and fun, with the odd glass of wine, we shared ideas, interests and long discussions, not only about kites and business.
It was Gerard’s passion for kites, and business acumen that established Vlieger Op so successfully, and had a major influence on the expansion of kiting in Europe. With Gerard’s encouragement and support of our products, matched by a personal integrity in his business dealings that was exceptional, we were able to be part of this expansion in a way that would not otherwise have been possible for us.
I am glad we had the chance to tell him how much he meant to us, and especially glad that Peter was able to visit him earlier this month for a sad, precious, hour. All our family will miss him; on the kite field, at Vlieger Op, down in Italy, in so many places and in so many ways. To the many of you who will also miss him, our thoughts are with you in this time of loss, and I hope we will have the chance to share a wine and good memories sometime. Meanwhile we extend our deepest sympathy to Fia, Robin and Marign and grateful thanks that they allowed Gerard to share so much of his life with us. I know Gerard will be in our thoughts often, and always remembered with love.
The new single line kite we hinted at last month is:-
In a wrenching break with tradition, it’s not an animal, it’s a, a, a-----
A geometric shape!:
Not a complicated one either, but a special form of rectangle, commonly called a square.
Completely soft, double skin, with open leading edge, ram air inflation, and through cords rather than ribs.
In form, with it’s 2 tails, it looks rather like an Edo style, albeit that it’s square rather than rectangular
By construction, the skins, top and bottom, are each comprised of 256 pieces (16 x 16) and it has two tails, one from each lower corner, and each of 48 x 2 x 2 pieces.
So, it’s a flying quilt and will be offered initially in 2 sizes: 3.2m x 3.2m and 6.4m x 6.4m.
There will be some standard patterns but we will also make to your own original design based on colour swatches we can supply.
It looks great, but does it fly?-
YES, it’s excellent, good in light winds and with a reasonable wind range even without additional drogues. Such promising performance so soon in a development (just 2 prototypes and 2 days flying) indicates to me that with minor refinement of bridling and through cord lengths it will soon be superb.
Unfortunately, the photo’s are crap- bad photography (mine)- so you’ll have to use your imagination- which will get said imagination into gear for thinking up an exceptional pattern!
And, at last, we have a safety release harness hook for kite surfing, (and other kite traction activities).
There have been many unsuccessful attempts at this, here and elsewhere, but at last we have something that works, is reliable and is manufacturable. See photos.
Not only does it have a release feature, but it also swivels (to untwist lines after jumps) and swings (to minimise pelvic strain).
We’ve tried it immersed in a sand slurry under loads above what is conceivable for even extreme use, - it always releases when you pull on the conveniently dangling ball and has never yet released unintentionally.
These will be available in volume later in the season from here and from Holland at an absurdly low price- but in the short term, favourite customers can get them, at a somewhat higher price, directly from here- where we are now flat out making them one at a time.