Very interesting - can you post a close-up photo of your cat's tramp showing the kite connection rigging ?
I dont have a picture of the rigging, but it is very simple to rig. Just a line forward aft with a loop for the carabiner to clip into the CL. See the pic below with my artistic attempts to give you an example of the rigging. The loop should be 12" to 16" back. from the front of the trampoline.
I've always thought a de-masted cat would be way to combine an experienced kiter / instructor with a newb needing to log kite flying hours without having to be in the water while learning to fly.
This is a great way for beginners to learn about flying kites in real conditions. I have been teaching kiting to the two sailors I have been working with on this project. We are trying to get a small fleet together for local races.
Can you swap kite pilots on the fly easily ( maybe kite on the water ) ?
Yes, in the water or in the air.
Can you fly the kite and steer, same person same time ?
Not with the set up we use. We wanted to limit our solutions to low cost/low tech, so the barriers to entry were easy to overcome. The only cost is the fore/aft line and a carabiner. This setup can be rigged in 10 minutes and all you need is a kiter and a helmsman.
Is it a good platform for a newb kiter to fly in moderate winds ?
Yes, In addition it is a great way for a person that will never kiteboard to experience flying a kite in real conditions. When teaching beginners, I can not steer and teach at the same time. One of the two sailors I am working with needs to steer while I am teaching the other. As they have improved I can steer and mostly give verbal suggestions.
Do you need a powered kite to get upwind or does the cat provide good lateral resistance & low drag and hence go upwind well ?
I seem to be able to go up wind in light winds too. Relaunch is harder in low winds because the boat drifts with the kite.
Here is an example of a teaching session. The wind was SSE IIRC. It was a quick session in moderate winds. http://connect.garmin.com/activity/244276084