Monday, December 11, 2006

Session 16: Hampton Beach in 30 knots

I headed down to Hampton Beach on Sunday 10 December, only to see the 30knot wind drop to nothing as soon as I tried to launch my new 7m Cabrinha Crossbow! I tested the kite out in the remaining light breeze - it turns very quickly.

I also tried out unassisted launching by positioning the kite at 45 degrees across the lines upside down then walking backwards with the bar reversed. The kite pulls around so that it is upside down, and can then be lauched by pulling on a rear line, as a water launch. Easier than loading up a wingtip with sand.

Another 30+ knot day on Monday 11 December, but this time I got some action. I got on the water at 4:30pm and the wind was howling. The 7m kite was well up to it. Lots of speed and big waves, particularly out a bit. Going upwind fast. Noticeably less bar pressure on the new Cabrinha 7m kite, and heaps of power.

I did several out and back runs without mishap. Still a bit rustier going to the right, on one occasion I started to gather too much speed even with the bar out (should have flown the kite high?). Put the kite in the water once, and relaunched it without any trouble.

Then on my last run, I found myself accelerating again, and eventually crashed out. The kite did not hit the water very hard, but it did rip out a panel between 2 struts. I body dragged in with the kite half in the water. Just as well I wasn't too far out.

The kite tore along a seam along a strut, and along the leading edge. I dropped it around to SHQ as it could be a warranty job - it is the first time I had used this new kite. Up until the rip, things were going great.

I would not have wanted to be out with a bigger kite in this strong wind, but others appeared to be using 9m (and possibly even 12m) kites.

Postscript: Cabrinha replaced the kite under warranty, arranged by SHQ, which I am very thankful for. It is worth buying locally from a good shop like SHQ, and they provide good advice on gear and venues too.

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