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"Tinkering"- How to safely grab a line?

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Postby theflyingtinman » Thu Nov 03, 2005 10:31 pm

Hafte wrote:Found an interresting little do-dad today. ... 1%5FHCL261

Might not be the best solution for water. Just thought I'd throw it out here. Its small but mght not keep you fingures as clear of the line as Tomatkins unit.

They also have the best prices I have seen on lots of hardware we use. Clam cleats, pulles, ss-rings etc.
Useful on leader line but I haven't seen one small enough to be effective
on kiteline.

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Postby tomatkins » Fri Nov 04, 2005 3:58 am

Hafte and Flyingman,

Thanks for the suggestion and comment. I have one of those cleat rope grippers from my windsurfing days. I used it to downhaul my sails. It worked great and was simple. I have been searching for items already manufactured, to use, but haven't found anything to satisfy all my safety and ease of use requirements.

So far, the best item I have found which could be easily carried and used in an emergency is a good old Rock climber's Caribiner (the kind with the screw up sleeve to keep the gate from opening). It can be clipped on a strap and used to tension a line, if you wrap 3 or 4 turns of a line through the gate and around one side of the caribiner. You can then put 4 fingers through the caribiner to hold it by one hand, while you let the line slip out by lightly grasping it with the other hand.

I have almost completed another line grabber made from PVC, about which I am quite excited. I will post a picture tomorrow, after I glue it up. It should allow you to feed out and brake the line by using only one hand. I am making 2 of them in the hope that I will be able to make a procedure where I can feed out 2 lines at once, and maybe control the kite, using 2 hand-held line grabbers, one on each front line. The design I am currently working on allows the brakes to come on automatically, stopping the line, and using the double handle, allowing you to hold both braked line grabbers in one hand. A picture will explain it.

I am not happy with feeding the kite out on a 5th. line, even though I can do it in a controled manner. Although, I am impressed with all the things one can do with a 5th. line, I don't really want to have to use a 5th. line when I kite.

Thanks for your interest in this project. First we make the the old-time blacksmiths......only we are PVCsmiths.

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Postby phlow » Fri Nov 04, 2005 4:13 am

mmmmmm, maybe i'm missing something, but i just wear ronstan or dakine gloves. no problems climbing up a line or playing out leader or flying lines.

less tech, less giszmos to carry out, less things to get tangled or snagged on lines.

i wouldn't kite without gloves.

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Postby tomatkins » Fri Nov 04, 2005 6:57 pm


Good point about keeping it simple. Gloves are a good idea. I want something hard between me and a kite string.

Here is a picture of the auto-braking line dispenser I referred to in my last post. I made 2 of them, so that I can try out the idea of doing a "controlled shallow water self launch" by feeding out 2 lines at once on a 4 line kite. The most promising but untested idea, so far, is to dispense out a front line and a back line on the same wingtip, after wrapping the lines in such a manner that you keep the lines that go to the other wing tip, with enough length that the kite can flag out, like a reride safety allows. Those longer lines can be kept from flying around and twisting and flipping over the kite, by securing them with a little Velcro device that I made and have successfully used. A kiter could use a Turbolauncher or some other form of "organized line unwinding device", where the line orientation is maintained by pre-raking, and pre-winding, much like one would do in packing a parachute. I have made many gadgets over the years which allow me to do this in a small apartment in about 5 minutes, usually the night before I go to the beach. Much more to come on that later, along with pictures of the little Velcro line holding device.

The PVC and bungee cord auto-braking line dispenser on the left shows the brake engaged, and the one on the right which is is being held open, shows the open breech, and the line running through the groove. The one on the right shows it in the mode where the line can be controled as it feeds out. The bungee closes the breech and securely traps the line when the center handle is released. The line can then be held in the full braked mode by letting your fingers slip back to the rear handle. You can even hold both devices in one hand to multitask with the other hand, as you may need to do to pull off seaweed, ease out a potential line snag, wave off a motor boater, push the inquisitive dog away, etc. Remember, I haven't tried it yet on a windy, gusty day. That will be the real test. their strength may also be an issue, as PVC is pretty strong, but not intended as a structural material. I did run rope through all the pieces of pipe, just in case the pieces try to separate under stress. I am testing theories at this point, and PVC is an easy material to make prototype models with.

Since these devices are quite big, you probably wouldn’t want to take them with you, but you could put them in a kangaroo pouch in your impact vest, or bungee them to your board. More likely, this dispenser could be used to feed out lines from a boat with one person controlling the drift of the kite and the "on deck" rider easing out the 4 or 5 lines from the "organized line unwinding device". You could also leave the devices in the shallows, bungeed to a little anchored buoy, along with your flip flop sandals.

Tomorrow, I will post a description and pictures of another device, which is simplified and small enough to take kiting with you.
line dispensers.JPG
line dispensers.JPG (125.44 KiB) Viewed 1411 times

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Postby KiteSurfingKen » Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:30 pm

Very Cool Concept, good luck coming up with a viable prototype. Along similar lines, check out this thread on the Best Forums for a camcleat DIY 5th line setup. This rig removes a lot of the need to grab any lines (although not entirely of course) ... t=5th+line
I was thinking about your design and I like the T end, but how about a long straight section with another larger T at the opposite end. In the middle of the straight section you could mount a small open faced Cam cleat on the PVC as a temporary stop. I found a very small one at the sailing shop that will grip kite line (has not been tested under very heavy load yet though). This would eliminate any moving parts that could fail. I also like the idea of integrating a line manager head onto one end of the T. Cutting slots in the PVC may be a quick and dirty way to do this. Way to get the creative juices flowing. Kite lines are the one of the most dangerous parts of this sport (aside from lofting). I am also a climber and have used the technique you describe with climbing rope to descend before, three wraps around the back provides enough friction to support up to 200lbs (roughly) and maintain good control. I believe the tool you were referring to is commonly called an "Ascender" it uses a jaw like mechanism to grab the rope when force is applied opposite the direction of travel creating a self locking design.
Looking at your design, I really like the fact you can load the line on the end piece without actually touching it just by rotating your wrist around. I must ponder some design ideas of my own...
The "Swiss Army Tool" idea sounds very appealing.
I would like to see the following integrated into a single device personally:
Kite Knife
Line Grabber (with brake)
Line Manager (For storage)
LED Light in case you get caught out after dark.
Small Streamer to tell wind direction (packs inside PVC when not in use)
EPIRB (Just dreaming now, this would really increase the size too much, but it could mounted inside the hollow PVC)

What other tools are people interested in?
Ken :thumb:

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Re: "Tinkering"- How to safely grab a line?

Postby kitezilla » Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:44 am

Update: 2008

Here are two pictures of the present stage in evolution of the line handling tool, which I have settled on and have been using for the last couple of years.
BF-Line handling device- breech open.JPG
BF-Line handling device- breech open.JPG (123.33 KiB) Viewed 1266 times
BF- line handler- working position.JPG
BF- line handler- working position.JPG (123.26 KiB) Viewed 1266 times

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Re: "Tinkering"- How to safely grab a line?

Postby ronnie » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:29 am

This cleat will hold kiteline. You have to cut a slot so you can put it onto the line. You need two of them to work your way along the line. ... ?theid2=89" onclick=";return false;

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Re: "Tinkering"- How to safely grab a line?

Postby Frankieboy » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:05 am

you should fix it somewhere on the harness, not on the board (if you loose the board...)

Excellent initiative I must say !


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Re: "Tinkering"- How to safely grab a line?

Postby BWD » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:12 pm

I think the safest option so far is the clamcleat CL263 - Micros as above.
But all of these are bad ideas.
If you must, just use a leather-palmed full-fingered sailing glove.
Close your hand halfway and let the crease in the leather at the first knuckle line form a soft, grippy, leather lined "clam cleat." You may be surprised how well it holds. And when you open your hand the line is released instantly, nothing to wrap around. If you are careful in technique!

This is an adaptation of the technique used used in sailing to play a highly loaded dinghy sheet.
It is relatively safe, given the gloves, and works well with any load that is safe to hold by hand. It grips kiteline enough to pull yourself through the water to the kite.

If you have to use a bare hand only use a pincer grip between thumb and the second knuckle of the index finger, again with no wrapping! This grip is also surprisingly effective if you have some strength.
If you need more strength go to the gym or don't pull on lines like this, let them go. Never wrap lines attached to a kite around any body part or any small object that is close to your body!
Die with ten digits, many years from now!

Sorry if this sounds like weenie advice, but it's good advice. Nothing against gadgets in general, but simplicity=safety. Learn how to use your hands more safely and free yourself from things that could go wrong. If anything I might consider trying the micro clam cleat, but I don't need to, I can use my hands. Gloves help.

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Re: "Tinkering"- How to safely grab a line?

Postby ronnie » Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:03 pm

Although I have two clamcleat CL263's, I have not found them necessary.

I have worked my way to the kite along the front line when the kite was at the top of its windrange. This was with the kite above the beach and spiraling a bit. It would be better to release the kite in shallow water , where it is more likely to stay down.
I passed the line across the harness hook and pushed with my left hand while pulling with the right, then grabbed the push side with my right hand while moving my left hand down to near the hook again and grabbing the push line. My right hand then grabbed the pull line again and so on. I walked toward the kite when pulling and pushing. You have to be careful and be ready to clear the line off the hook, if you cant hold it. I would NEVER wrap it round the hook.
I only have front leashed bows.
I found that this method reduced the maximum force each hand had to hold and made it easier.

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