Monday, December 29, 2008

Mounting a kitecam

I am setting up a kitecam to take video while kiting. The model of the camera is an Oregon Scientific ATC-2K which can take about 1h of footage (VGA 640 X 480 30 frames per second) on a 2 gig SD card. The device uses 2 AA batteries. It is a bit tricky to navigate the menu using the small LCD screen, but once set up it doesn't need adusting.

Side view

Top view

I may get lucky and get some footage like this amazing still photo from a kite-mounted camera taken by Dave Sheridan of him kiting over a whale! [link]

I have had the camera for a while and have been "too busy" to set it up. But a light wind day at Gnotuk Ave was a good opportunity to rig it.

After a bit of research on the Internet, it seems the best place for the camera is mounted on the main central spar. This puts it out of harms way and points it at the rider.

I also rigged up a nylon safety line to secure the camera in case the main mount system fails.

Camera mounting, kite leading edge down on beach

Camera mounting, kite upside down on beach

Camera mounting detail, note safety line to kite securing loop (used while inflating)

Now I just need another windy outing to shoot some footage. The camera will only be "right way up" for one tack - for the other one it will be upside down.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

An unexpected southerly at Hampton

Session 36. No stats. No buoyancy vest, no GPS. Naked this time!

In the middle of the afternoon the wind picked up to a good southerly at about 20 knots, which would not help the Sydney to Hobart yacht race in progress. I got down to the beach with Lena and my daughter Chloe at about 5pm with the wind still coming in strong. About eight other kiters out and several windsurfers.

I was intending to trial my kite cam, but was in too much of a rush to rig up the attachment to the kite spar. More on this later.

I took out the Crossbow 12 and got plenty of power. Several fast runs out into the waves to the buoy, then back surfing down onto the waves on the return leg.

I wore the surf socks again, but they are a little tight in the footstraps of my Litewave board.

I was inspired to try a few jumps and succeeded. Not a lot of height, but I got a bit of distance on at least 3 occasions. Dunked the kite too, but I was able to relaunch it, albeit a bit soggy.

I met Rick there just when I finished after about 1.5 hours of kiting.

We were having a chat on the beach when we noticed a fellow with his kite in the water heading for the rock groyne so we trotted over to help him out.

Previously Rick had his kite tangled with another one on the beach and had to use the safety release to get out of trouble. Watch out for others when you kite! Remember the beach is the most dangerous place, and please don't endanger others.

Here is the wind graph for the afternoon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Inverloch kiting with a strong south westerly.

Session 35 stats:
  • Max speed 44.5 km/h, distance 21.1km, duration 1h40
  • Wind 35-45 km/h, south westerly
I spent three days with the family at Inverloch from Tue 16/12 to Friday 19/12. Very light winds on Tuesday and Wednesday so we visted the penguin parade at Phillip Island and I tried my hand at some fishing.

On Friday a strong south westerly arrived. It was blowing during the night and continued all day. I got to the inlet launch site near the angling club and scoped the conditions out carefully. Nobody else about. My wind meter showed a steady 35 km/h gusting up to 45km/h. I was tempted to give the 7m kite a go, but decided to try the 12m first.

I launched about 8am off the beach, a little of which was revealed by the receding tide. Heaps of power in the kite. I overcooked my first water start, so backed off the power for my next attempt and got up and going.

In a word: fantastic!

Great fast runs across the inlet across water with a slight chop. This first map shows the high level view of my tracks. The second one shows the detail.

Good variety on the run. Strong wind while exposed to the prevailing wind, then a bit of a whole about halfway across, then strong wind again. Over near the other side the wind dropped close to the shore due to rotor effect from the headland. I had to fly the kite around to get going and back out into the wind.

It was a bit hard to hold the board edge due to the strength of the wind and the strong gusts. The really cool feature of this area is when you get close to the sandbars, just down wind, the water is flat so I could really crank up the speed. I clocked 44.5 km/h which is my fastest to date.

This satellite image shows location of the bars - which are completely exposed as sandbanks when the tide goes out further.

After 1.5 hours I was tired enough to stop. The wind kept blowing all day. A couple of other kiters and sail boarders were out later enjoying the good wind too.

In summary, a great spot when the wind is blowing. You can also kite out at the entrance, but an incoming tide is recommended for this. Another kiter said that you get great clean smooth water between the incoming waves. Next time maybe, with a companion. . .