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Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

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frankm1960
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Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby frankm1960 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:38 pm

I've heard this method is dangerous but I haven't figured out why.
I know the kite pulls very little when the 5th line safety is deployed. I can easily
hold it (12m) with one hand in <20kts.

Here's the technique I'm talking about.
I layout my lines, straight up wind, then pump up my kite, set it LE down with weight as per usual. I go back to the bar, pull the 5th line through the bar
up to the stopper and clip (the 5th) to my board (or a sand bag if >15kts).
I then go back to the kite, hook up all 5 lines as per usual. But then I grab the kite and flip it on its back, wing tips up, kite straight down wind, let go of it and wait for it too steady out a bit.

I then walk back up the lines, clip 5th to my safety. Mean while the kite is still on its back
wing tips flapping. I then haul in the bar and launch.

It's the same idea as if I had deployed my 5th line and then re-launched.

So far I've only used this technique in <20kts.

I especially like it in the winter time, it's easier to keep the kite from sliding away.

Any c-kiters out there fill me on the inherent problems with this solo launch technique?

I know, buy a bow kite :) But seriously, any comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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Toby
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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby Toby » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:43 pm

but then you walk to the side so you have it on the side of wind window?

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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby BWD » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:30 pm

Of course it's not safe, it's a kite.
(But at least it doesn't have lines that can wrap around a tip and turn it into a propeller!)

I think you take a BAD risk to leave the kite on its back with tips up on the beach.

Only 20 degrees of wind shift can roll the kite and launch you into a beach drag.
The tips work like rudders, just like they work to start a turn when the kite is flying.
A little gust with tips up and you could quickly have the kite turn or roll dramatically.
It could go from feathered dead downwind to reverse launch or hot launch or halfway to the windo edge, with uneven or no line tension, pretty unpredictable I think....

I think certain things about C kites are safer than bows, because they are less likely to take you by surprise with their behavior when one little thing goes wrong (ie bridle tangle, pulley jam, broken line...). but you give up any advantage if you let the kite get into bizarre positions or start trusting the wind too much....

A couple weeks ago I had my C kite sanded down and parked on the beach and the wind shifted suddenly about 30+ degrees, the kite rolled, dumped the sand off and shot off into the bushes.
I was about to unsand it and launch and already had lines attached, so it was almost a kitemare!

So, no kite is safe, and having a good experienced helper is always nice!

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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby pbmaniac27 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:34 pm

i think your technique sounds fine

with the 5th sheeted in as the OP says even if the wind did shift the 5th would still be engaged and there would be little power. The kite would then resettle and you would be good to go.

love how versatile 5ths are

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kitezilla
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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby kitezilla » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:20 am

I have found the 5th line to be a great tool to aid in self-launching both "C" and Bow kites. I have used 4 different techniques, none of which are "safe", but all of which should be considered "tricks" and practiced first in low, steady wind in shallow water.

I never used the technique exactly as you described more than a couple of times...more out of worry about hurting the kite, than myself. Both "C" and bow kites are quite stable while flying suspended only on a 5th line, most of the time, but gusts and wind shifts can make the kite veer, and lulls can make the kite fall...so in fluky wind, with all three things happening at the same time, the kite can dance around and either crash into the ground or swoop near the ground, where one of the 4 very loose lines can snag on a rock or bush....and then unpredictable and weird things happen.

If you practice the technique you described, you may become the world's best at it. Let us know how the first 20 or 30 launches go.

I would not "walk up your lines" while you practice the technique. Instead, walk to the outside of the lines. I once got taken airborne by an old "C" kite, when the sand bag slipped off and, as the kite launched, the bar rocketed at me, caught one foot, and instantaneously dragged me and then, lifted me upside-down...until the kite crashed. No harm done, since one of the "good" features of the old "C" kites, is that they crashed pretty quickly, once they went nuts...the bow kites stay up longer and are slower to crash.

I would also fasten the 5th line down more securely than tying it to a board or sandbag. If you do it at the same place each time, you might consider digging a hole and burying a "deadman" anchor of a netted bag of something heavy (sand), and just leaving an "eye" of rope sticking up, which you can shackle the 5th line to.

By the way, what is the surface of the "beach" like where you use this technique?

Don't be afraid to be inventive, but don't endanger others or get "cocky", showing off your technique. You will regret it.

Have fun, but remember Safety first!

frankm1960
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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby frankm1960 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 3:29 am

@toby, yup I walk to the side and launch. So this technique needs plenty of room.
@BWD, that's what I can't figure out, why is it a BAD risk to leave my kite on it's back, wing tips flying? It's in the same position as if I had activated my QR; tension only on the 5th line, kite can't fly.
@kitezila, I walk up on the outside of the lines, I could walk up the 5th but I don't bother. The beach I'm at has small rocks but mostly course wet sand.

I stumbled upon this technique one time last year. I wanted to take a break so I activated the QR and the kite landed nicely on it's back down wind and stayed put... I stood there a minute holding onto the 5th with my bare hands, hardly any force (12m in 15kts). I decided to "tie" the 5th to my board, walked up to the car and gobbled some food down, came back and the kite didn't move at all, just the weight and friction of the board was enough to keep it in position. So I clipped the 5th line on my harness, hauled in the bar and relaunched. It occurred to me then that I should try launching this way from the get go.

I've been using this technique almost always now. I used to use the sand on the wing tip technique and the other technique where you have the LE down and you turn the kite around until it grabs wind (lines get caught on the scuff pads sometimes) and slides straight down wind for a standard relaunch.

All the solo launch/land techniques I've used are hard on my kites but the one I'm using now seems to be the least detrimental (launching using the 5th).

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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby flipper231 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:49 am

If you walk up the 5th line then even if the wind shifts, you hold the midle of the LE, cannot see how it can go wrong. I do not like the board holding it, get a kite anchor or a dog screw. This can be used to drift launch. Attach the pump loop to the leash, unwind your lines, put the kite on it's back, attach to the 5th, drift the kite away by letting the 5 th go slowly. At the end, hook in and launch. Never tried it but know guys who use it in 20-25knots and chop...I wait for helpers

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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby BWD » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:11 am

It may not be as bad as I imagine, but still think it's not too safe.
Apparently you have been proving me wrong though, so far at least!
So I respect that.

But gusts and windshift can do funny things to kites that are partly on the ground,
-they don't necessarily react the way they would in the air or on water or snow.

There are a lot of things that can happen, even if not so often.

I have had kites flying upside down off the 5th line tumble in the air from a windshift and suddenly power up, for example.
And had kites roll on the beach and hot launch -sure the 5th saved my neck, but I still got dragged up the beach without a lot of room to spare!

But of course, If everything is aligned just so and if the 5th has good tension and if the kite is on the beach and if the wind doesnt shift, etc, sure it works great.
But that is a lot of "ifs," which has made me prefer other ways to launch.
When I have flat water I still usually launch from the water, not the beach unless I have help.
Personal choice though, if it works for you... ...

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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby speedyRider » Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:30 am

I do it like this in a flat water spot where sometimes i go and i am alone.
Rig the kite, and set the lines behind the kite (downwind from the kite, left side of the bar in the right side). I park it as normal. Then i take it and put it in the water parked just as you do it on the sand and run to the bar, put my leash on and hook the bar in the harness. I walk to the side, in the meantime usually the kite is putting itself in the downwind launching position as if you had crashed it in front of you. From there you just do a normal relaunch.

Ive done this in a very small area for launching as alone i didnt wanted to do the typical wingtip with sand technique as it was risky due to small area.

This is perfectly safe, done it even in 30 knots. There is no way you dont have time to run to the bar and hook it. You can even walk to it, the kite wont go anywhere, as it is a C-kite it wont relaunch it self even if it positions itself downwind with the leading edge down.

Only problem i see with this technique is if there are big waves in the shore you risk damaging the kite, but i do it in flat water and there isnt any problem

frankm1960
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Re: Is this solo launch technique safe? - 5line C-kite

Postby frankm1960 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:19 pm

@flipper, yeah that's what I was thinking, as long as there's no tension on the flying lines the kite "shouldn't" be able to fly at all, maybe shift a bit with wind shifts but it shouldn't take off...
@BWD, I'm not trying to prove anything here, just looking for information and a solid critique of this technique. If the wind shifts drastically (180), all bets are off for sure, it could be a disaster. But with normal wind shifts the flying lines "should" stay slack and the 5th "should" keep the kite from taking off :)
@speedyrider, I'm going to try that next time I'm up river, there's a good spot there where a drift launch could be done. A drift launch isn't possible in the spot I normally go though. Wish it was, launching from water is a lot easier on the kites.

I should note that I only solo launch/land in winds < 20kts. When the winds are bigger I either kite with others or don't kite at all and haul out the sail board.

I also noticed that the position of the stopper ball on the 5th line plays a big role. Too far from the bar and the kite will "fly" on it's back and won't stay on the ground. Too close to the bar and there's too much tension on the flying lines and the wind will press the kite hard onto the ground. Gotta find a happy medium but there's plenty of wiggle room.


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