(a 900sq.m. Kuwait flag kite!)
To those who guessed that the new big kite (from the last newsletter) is a Kuwait flag, you're right - I lied.
It was commissioned by the Al Farsi family, keen kite fliers from Kuwait who I first met at the Portsmouth International Kite Festival in 2003. They've been frequenters of the London Kite Store for many years- thanks for the referral Andy. Prior to the first public flights, Faris Al Farsi and companion, came out from summery Kuwait to wintery NZ for a week's flying practice. For Faris, I suspect the 50C to 0C climate shock was mild compared to the culture shock. For our part, we were impressed with the traditional Kuwaiti meal Faris and Kahlid cooked for us, and particularly by the real time supervisory cell phone linkage back to mum that enabled them to get the finer points correct. With just 10 days to go, it was decided to try to get the kite to the Portsmouth and Bristol International Kite Festivals. After we'd all become too impatient to wait for the initially intended Kuwait launch (on their National day, Feb 27 '05) we'd tried first for the Scheveningen (Holland) event on 18,19 Sept so there would be sufficient time to set up media, but there was no room for us there this year, on account of beach erosion by winter storms. Fortunately Jon and Gill (Portsmouth) and Avril at Bristol were accommodating and we were successful in getting the kite to England in time and into the air at both venues. It flew for 4 hours on the Saturday at Portsmouth and was also up for brief periods (no wind) on Thursday (press day) at Clifton Downs (Bristol). Hopefully there will be suitable conditions sometime during the coming weekend for a sustained flight at Ashton Court and a decent shot at meeting the Guinness criteria. The owners are interested in taking this kite to a few international events each year and I'll be pleased to refer inquiries to them-or contact Meg Albers, mail to:firstname.lastname@example.org who acts for them. Some statistics, just in case you haven't remembered from the 1000 or so time I've bored you with them already: Flat area; 42m X 25m, 1050sq.m Area while inflated and flying; 850 -950sq.m. (We can pin this down by scaling from a square-on photo taken while it's flying.) Weight; 200kgms (with Spectra flying, side and safety lines). Internal air mass: 4500cu. m's, 5.5tonnes. Graphics; Kuwaiti Flag (green, red, white and black). Reinforcing and thru cording; 1000kgm and 2000kgm Spectra, 5km's total length. Flying line; 22mm Spectra, or 50mm polypropylene- both 25 tonnes. Fabric; 50gm/sq.m ripstop nylon with polyurethane and silicon coating (supplied by Dominico Goo), 2,500sq.m. total. Hours to make; 750. Wind range; 3km/hr (the lightest wind flier of any size we've ever made) to, I expect, 40km/hr plus (but this a learning curve we'll be climbing very carefully). Pull will be substantial when the wind gets up, but a 1.5tonne SUV has been an adequate anchor so far. Orders invited (different graphics) at NZ$75,000 per kite. Flying such a big kite does tend to overshadow 'normal' flying- but so far during this set of events (Bristol is the second in six) everything else is also flying very well. Those kite predators that hover around the fringes of events (stakes) have managed to get the occasional bite in- but no actual fatalities as yet.
The new single line fish kite is getting a very good response; better than any new design we've had for many years. Some art kite makers have suggested that groper style lips should replace the current piranha style teeth-not a bad suggestion either. Thank you Robert Brassington- we're now square for the time you left me sitting in the rain waiting for the bus from 5am 'till 10am in Berk Sur Mer 2 years ago?! I'd also like to thank Andrew Martin Beattie for the loan of his laptop- on which I'm writing this newsletter, but unfortunately it would be an outright lie, redolent of oleaginous hypocrisy, as they say. This computer is, comprehensively, a heap of shit. There are not words available to describe the many and creative atrocity's it has committed in the 5 (long) hours of our acquaintance. One example though, on account of some of the keys being, in Andrew's own words, 'a bit dodgy', there's an auxiliary keyboard supplied. Unfortunately, this second keyboard has the same diseases. But not to worry, between the two, there is from time to time an almost a complete set. But wait, it's not quite this simple; identically positioned and marked keys can have quite different and alluringly mysterious functions; like on keyboard 2, 'caps' will cause the next key pressed to fire a blank then whip the cursor back a few spaces, but not always. It also has the charming (at the risk of being sexist here) habit of randomly deleting bits of previous paragraphs without apparent instruction or even breaking stride; she can definitely do more than one thing at a time. My average for this newsletter has been around 10 keystrokes for each actual letter that makes it onto the screen. Understanding single line kite stability is simple by comparison.
It is with profound regret that we note the sudden and unexpected death of Dave Kennedy, WindSpeedPro, California. Dave was a distributor of Peter Lynn Traction Kite and Kite Surfing Products. Dave came into the Kiteworld quite recently but rapidly made a deep impression on all who met him. His enthusiasm for kite traction was especially evident with his larger than life participation in recent Spring Buggy Breaks (SBBB) in the Nevada Desert. Thank you for the wonderful memories Dave, the Desert will be a little more empty without you. He was our friend.
Redwood Lodge (now Corus Hotel), Ashton Court, Bristol, England, Sept 3'04.
[Addendum : Since this newsletter is being written on my laptop, I have the opportunity to add a few notes. First, since Peter took such pleasure in mocking my navigating ability on the way from Shavingfoam to England (via Germany!) last year, may I point out that he managed to drive from Milton Keynes to London without noticing the junction with the M25, despite it being one of the largest junctions in the country, sign posted 10 miles in advance and one of the biggest exit slip roads in the kingdom. Also, it would appear that in his old age, his ability to tie knots is waining, I handed him a strap and asked him to anchor it with a larks head and he had to puzzle for half a minute to work out how to tie it. Please note that this paragraph has been typed without difficulty on the computer he was unable to use as noted above.
(and it only took him 25 minutes!)