IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve become obsessed with finding the perfect bar solution that is safe and allows for free spinning under load yet is not cumbersome. The pictures on my homepage show a current solution to a work in progress.
It is based on the great concept of the kiteproshop bar but has a better spinning system and can be retrofit to any bar. The down side is its expensive to set up and ends up costing almost the same as youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d pay for the entire bar. In any case IM000052.jpg and IM000054.jpg show an overview of the current setup. The key difference is that I put a Harken swivel (H164) between the harness and lines. This thing is amazing and it spins completely freely even with huge loads (950lbs). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pricey though at $78 from APS (http://www.apsltd.com//Prods/prod1802.asp
). Also there are two shackles mounted on a bolt at the end of the swivel. One reason other setups donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t spin is that there is no leverage if you attach everything in a straight line. The separation of the two shackles creates a moment arm and ensures the spinning occurs at the swivel. I also like having the option of being able to release from either side but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure someone can come up with a cheaper single shackle design. I tried triggers on the shackles as well but sometimes the trigger would get hit on particularly bad falls and release one line. So I went back to the standard string release mechanism with a small ball on the end.
Another issue that concerns people is being shackled in while launching. IM000053.jpg shows a cheap modification that I use if its really gusty to eliminate lofting nightmares. Basically itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s an elastisized rope with a plastic clip that goes around my wrist and clips into the release string from one of the snap shackles. If I let go of the bar and pull my arm towards me, the shackle opens and the kite comes down. After I get into the water I just unclip from the shackle release string and leave the rope plus clip around my wrist.
The pictures also show a fixed harness line. Of course none of this will work if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m in the fixed harness line. I have that there only if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m cruising or when IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m being dragged trying to retrieve my board.
As a different option, IM000055.jpg is a completely different setup that I tried once with a sheet cleat. It essentially allowed me to use a sheet cleat plus a second line (that goes through a Holt fairlead on the bar) based again on the kiteproshop bar idea. The little black eyelit travels up the second line when you release a snap shackle near the harness. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like the sheet cleat though because I found I needed instantaneous sheeting ability and by the time I uncleated the gust or whatever had passed.