Those who know me will probably have stopped reading this already on account of it being something I know nothing about- but the subject is a different sort of housekeeping.
We're making some changes to our business structure:
As from 1 June a new company, Peter Lynn Kites Ltd has taken over most functions from Peter Lynn Ltd. Peter Lynn Kites Ltd will now make and sell large inflatables, manufacture and distribute framed single line kites (sold mainly in NZ and Aust.) and distribute all Peter Lynn kitesurfing and traction kite products to the Southern Hemisphere. Jenny Cook is 50% shareholder in this new company, with Elwyn and I through our holding company owning the other 50%.
Peter Lynn Ltd retains the ownership of our designs and intellectual property (patents and copyright) and will be actively involved in licensee management and kite + development (that's me).
Stirling Research Ltd (based at the beach in Christchurch) will become a stand alone research and development business, providing product development for Vlieger Op, Peter Lynn Ltd and some other customers.
At the same time we have engaged Meg Albers (USA) to undertake a re-organisation of our small single line kite products with a view to expanding this aspect of our business.
Hopefully Elwyn will get some considerable lightening of the administrative load she's been carrying for 30+ years. Hopefully I'll get to hide away in my excellent new workshop for the next 30+ years and come up with some truly new things- and get to do more kitesailing.- and never have to sit in an aeroplane ever again- ha ha!
BIG kite, progress:
The monster is coming on well. First test flight is likely to be in the next few weeks- if we can find a big enough anchor.
What is it called did I hear you ask?- You'll just have to wait for this answer- but at 1000sq.m., it's not a pussy cat, and that's for sure! (hint: it starts with Q).
|Thought you might appreciate this photo (left) of our high tech Spectra stretching system (line for cording). It's interesting, keeping the tension on for 5 or 6 hours halves the springback on 100m from 3m to just 1m - wonder if kitesurfing line makers know this?
|Also, the nostalgic photo (right) of Phillip McConnachie hanging on to the MegaBite at Fano last week- probably the last time either of us will fly this kite as Guinness record holder- and thanks to Dominique Scholtes, it's current owner, for lending it to us for this last fly.
SB Buggy, Although tracing it's ancestry back to the Millenium buggy we developed in 1999, any connection is now of principle and concept only.
The central concept remains that of swinging arm rear suspension as used on Quad bikes, that is, such that both rear wheels rise and fall together rather than independently. The effect of this is excellent response to bumps without the unsatisfactory heeling that side pull from a kite inevitably causes when suspension is independent. It's very hard to understand how any buggy suspension system that doesn't use this principle can have a place in the future.
The second major development in the SB Buggy is that all suspension elements are now elastomeric: No pivots, spindles, sliding elements or 'sealed' (they never remain so) oil filled spaces. In the suspension system, front and rear, salt sand and water has nowhere to get in and nothing it can wear out.
The front suspension is now leading-link rather than trailing-link. Almost everyone who looks at this for the first time says it looks wrong and should be the other way around. Fact is, leading-link works better. After 3 years trying endless geometry's of trailing-links, I went back and re-acquainted myself with the theory of such things, still half remembered from eng. school and 10 years building and racing motorcycles.
This indicated, counter intuitively, that leading-link is better, and the superior results were immediately apparent. With the best trailing link system we've had, washboard sand almost always caused wild small amplitude tramping, especially while turning, with subsequent loss of traction (and blurred vision). Because their geometry is fundamentally correct, the leading link systems are very resistant to this, and don't even require the
level of damping that would be expected.
This is not quite the whole story though- hubris still had one for me: The first gen leading-link system we had in Nevada in March/April performed perfectly, but then I tried to be clever and increased the "trail" by 35mm without testing. This unit was a step backwards when first used at Wroughton (England) in May- useable but twitchy at high speed.
OK, I've learnt this lesson, again!- the next generation as used at Fano in June is an advance even on the Nevada version. Front suspension rate is adjustable merely by tightening or loosening two 12mm nuts- They can be let looses for max. travel or tightened until there is zero for those places where suspension is not required. Rear suspension rate is adjustable by changing rubbers- 5 different grades are available.
'Italian' seat. The fourth major innovation in the SB Buggy is the seat. There are rails built into the seat sides that can be adjusted for different fit by straps at the back. These side rails can also be pre-bent to match different body shapes. The effect is to lock the seat down over the flier's hips to almost any desired extent- in the limit, grip is almost sufficient to jump the buggy- as is usually only possible for seat belted systems (which are only safe for light weight buggies, of which this is definitely not one). Granted, early versions of this seat were made for NZ bums and didn't fit the larger backsides that seemed to be prevalent at Fano this year- but this is currently being remedied with a special wider "European" seat.
As a spin off, this style of seat is now an essential feature of the KiteCat and other kite boats- how did we ever manage without it?- and why didn't someone think of it 10 years ago?!
Wheel sizes are optional; standard or wide "barrow" types fit directly and there is a bolt on drop-axle for big foot wheels (see photo) so that the buggy height doesn't change. As part of the bolt on axle system, rear wheel camber can be specified with order- we've found that 5 degrees doesn't cause a noticeable increase in rolling resistance, and has the bonus of doubling tire wear (turn the wheels when wear develops).
Custom features available on request.
Length overall (mid settings): 1.90m
Width overall: 1.50m (Standard), 1.60m (Bigfoot)
Weight: 32 kgm (standard wheels), 38 kgms (big foot)
Rear axle bolts: 15mm (standard wheels), 20mm (big foot)
By releasing one bolt, the front wheel folds into the seat for transporting.
Max. length of any component (for shipping) : 1.4m
and, the KiteCat:
The first one hasn't arrived in Europe yet (hopefully this week) but there are now two more under construction here. One is destined for the US, the other will go to some lucky person somewhere.
Features were adequately described in last months newsletter, but I neglected to provide the specifications in concise form:
Length overall: 4.10m
Width overall: 1.95m
Packed dimensions: 4.10m X 0.55m X 0.45m
(some of these may change marginally as refinement continues boat by boat).
SB Buggies and KiteCats are available now ex NZ, prices on application.
For the KiteCat, shipping by sea from here to Europe costs about NZ$350, and takes 6 weeks.
Ashburton, July 1 '04