Just a cautionary tale from an issue I had yesterday.
I typically keep a carabiner with a loop of 550/parachute cord on my harness's pass leash line, that was I can attach the carabiner to a fence post or something and use it to use the anchor technique to self launch or land the kite if I need to.
I was doing this yesterday. Conditions were ~15 mph side shore winds, with a 12m kite. I attached the carabiner, using the parachute cord, to a steel fence post, returned to my kite and set it at the edge of the wind window, on its wing tip. The kite bounced there once or twice, then started up towards 12, then tomahawked onto a Hobie Cat, causing an 8 inch tear to the kite canopy. Fortunately the kite didn't move much afterwards and the beach was pretty empty otherwise. No other damage than what happened to the kite. Fortunately after than I got to demo a 2014 Cabrinha Switchblade 14m.
Up until today that method of launching/landing worked great. I prefer to have another kiter help, but if no ones around it typically goes very well. I don't want to just pull someone off of the beach who doesn't know what they're doing for help.
I don't know how many other people use this set up. The cord is military issue 550 cord (550# break strength). It was used as parachute cord in WWII. It's basically attached to my harness every time I go out, for a whole summer/fall, so maybe the salt water degraded it a bit. Also I think the edges of the sign post wore at the sheathing a bit of the cord. There's 7 strands inside the outer sheathing, so I was surprised it broke so easily. The kite was at the edge of the wind window and pretty light winds, so not too much pull on the cord.
Take what you will out of that. I think learning from other people's mistakes is good. Learn from mine.
donohu90 wrote: I was doing this yesterday. Conditions were ~15 mph side shore winds, with a 12m kite. I attached the carabiner, using the parachute cord, to a steel fence post, returned to my kite and set it at the edge of the wind window, on its wing tip. The kite bounced there once or twice, then started up towards 12, then tomahawked onto a Hobie Cat, causing an 8 inch tear to the kite canopy.
I think the cord broke due to the tomahawk, otherwise your kite would have just drifted downwind as if it had been released. If your kite has a tendency to bounce on the side of the window, pull a bit of depower in and will often settle down
I wouldn't put the fault in the cord here. It sounds like there was a snag in your bridle or lines something, it went up slowly up to 12, looped, at this point when it gets into the power zone you can have 1,000 or more pounds pressure. One way to prevent this problem is to go with weaker line 50 pounds or less (it will act as a fuse) so it will break earlier, and also clip your safety to the post, so if you get a loop the kite will flag out. You are probably tempted to increase the strength of that paracord, but there's so much pressure in the kite when it loops like this it can even pull out a post and hurl it downwind or if that holds it will blow out every panel in the kite when it crashes.
Last edited by edt on Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
donohu90 wrote:I was doing this yesterday. Conditions were ~15 mph side shore winds, with a 12m kite. I attached the carabiner, using the parachute cord, to a steel fence post, returned to my kite and set it at the edge of the wind window, on its wing tip. The kite bounced there once or twice, then started up towards 12, then tomahawked onto a Hobie Cat, causing an 8 inch tear to the kite canopy.
If I have you correctly, the issue is that as you ran to your bar, the kite self launched and then crashed?
Could this have been avoided by running your hand along one of the front lines to keep it inactive? Then, as it started to lift off, you could yank on the line or grab it and walk quickly towards the bar. This should flag it out on one line, depowering it, like in a self rescue.
Lot could have happened as others pointed out. One thing to adjust for future launches is when you set the kite at the edge of the wind window, stay there for a bit make sure the kite is where it should be (upwind/ downwind). Then look at all your connections and bridles, making sure there is a clean connection all around. Your hands should still be on the kite. If they were and you your kite was bouncy, you would notice something wrong and not let go and maybe start over. Also take this time to look at your bar.
The more I self launch with an anchor, the more I take notice of the bar itself. I run my lines downwind. when ready to self launch I bring the bar up to my anchor, clip my HP leash to the flag line and the anchor, and use a separate leash to clip the chicken loop. I also lay my bar out towards the water and pull the lines and floaties away from the bar towards where the kite will be. This gives me an indication if anything will cause my kite to self fly (sticks, roots, posts what ever might grab the bar). This also keeps my floaties from wrapping the bar when the kite fully tensions the lines. The only reason I don't like this method is i get my kite and when landing that gets more sand stuck to it. I do prefer this method though because if anything happens it is my own fault, and there is no rush to get out of the way of a given launch away to make room for the next kiter to go. I don't forgo any safety checks I might do for launch. I bring my kite out to the edge, find where it will sit and then check all that I've mentioned and happily walk back with a hand on or near the centerlines just in case.
Get a rope. Find a post or solid fixed object. Tie the middle of the rope around the post. Use a quick release knot. Tie one end of the rope to the chicken loop, also with a quick release knot. Tie the other end to the bar end that will lead to the steering line on the bottom. Also with a quick release knot. Tie it such that the rope from the post to the bottom bar end is short enough to skew the bar as if steering down - just a few inches shorter than if it were neutral. Again, use a quick release knot. Set kite in position, at least partly depowered on trim line. check lines. go to bar. leash on. release rope to bar end. Hook in and release rope to CL. launch. Don't waste any time. Retrieve rope from post if you might need it somewhere else. Be glad that if the kite starts to bounce up into the window before you are in control of the bar, it will be steered back down by the rope to the bar end. Ride.
YMMV but it works for me. Test all launching methods in gentle conditions with a helper, and without obstacles. Be careful, know your gear, know your knots and ropes.