Friday, October 22, 2010

A broken pulley at Brighton in a good northerly

Session 106, 22 October 2010 

Kite: Switchblade 14
Wind: 20 knots, N
Location: Brighton
Time 2:30 to 3pm (but not much kiting!)

After attending to some chores and carefully watching the wind, I headed down to Brighton in the early afternoon as the northerly looked like it would stick around.

There were several kiters on the water. I rigged up, mounted the kite cam, self launched then took off for a great run.  Good wind and not too gusty, and warm and sunny too.   I flew the kite low to get some shots of other kiters and looking north to Brighton.

I headed back to shore, executed a turn, then "pop" a pulley on the left bridle broke.  I thought it was my left wingtip (power) line broke, but later inspection revealed that one of the pulleys failed.  The kite looped before I got it onto the water.  I was still over 200m off the beach and the wind was blowing me along and even out; I was not keen on the prospect of drifting across the bay to Mount Martha.

I release the IDS and started winding in the lines around the bar.  It was hard work as there was still a lot of line tension.  Another kiter stopped to offer assistance and took my board to the shore.  Thanks dude!

As I got to the kite a friendly boat showed up.  Peter on the boat offered me a tow to shore which I gratefully accepted.

I had some difficultly turning the kite upside down, so I grabbed the leading edge on the water with my right arm and the tow rope with my left.  They then towed my slowly towards the beach, watching out for the reefs.  It was hard work hanging onto the kite which generated a bit of resistance going along the water.  It would have been better upside down I think.

Even with the lines wound up I was still getting a bit tangled in them and the bridle as I swam, so when they left my I immediately extricated myself from the small tangle.  The wind had a bit of west in it so I had no difficulty reaching the shore, which was a relief.

Pulley failure
The pulleys on earlier Switchblades tend to fail after a couple of years.  Contact your Cabrinha dealer to get free replacements if yours are the older ones.  The newer pulleys have a larger diameter spindle shaft and two ring sliders replace the pulleys for the outer lines.

From left: Failed pulley, old pulley, new pulley, slider for rear lines
Lessons learned:
  • Check my gear for any weak points
  • Possibly replace the pulleys and or some lines
  • Keep the line knife handy and practice retrieving it from harness
  • Practice self rescue
  • Use a surfboard in northerlies - at least you can paddle it to shore and tow the kite in

Getting ready

Having a ball, looking back to Brighton

The run back in.

Kite down, not limp left hand tip

Kite wallowing

WARNING: Use at your own risk!

Kiters at Brighton, You Yangs on the horizon

Kites on the beach

Ripping it up

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