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Getting most power out of a foil kite

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Re: Getting most power out of a foil kite

Postby Herman » Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:29 pm

Asking that question suggests to me that you do not understand the basic aerodynamics involved, that is not a crime, indeed to answer your question properly would require a book and for you to do a high level fluid dynamics course, (a degree in maths would not go amiss either.) Fortunately you don't need an in-depth knowledge to be a good rider as it is mostly done by feel. However a very basic knowledge helps with riding strategy and enables you to tune your gear and would allow you to answer your own question. No doubt you have received some good tips already.

A kite is a wing, but it is a soft wing and so I recommend you look at it as a sail. There will be plenty of video's on how a sail works and they will enable you to understand the following: (maybe some on kites as well)

How the lift forces are generated by the Bernoulli effect - results in line tension - often (unscientifically) referred to as power.
Effect of angle of attack - sheeting, trim etc
Effect of sail/kite camber - lift and drag
Front stall - luffing, overflying, Hindenburg...
Back stall - oversheeting, trimmed out too much, front pigs too long.......

Once you have a basic feel for the above you can then look at how riding/sailing and working the kite generates apparent wind and how this affects the airflow over the sail/canopy. Points of sail, why loads of power hard to wind, very little tension/power running with the wind.

Off the top of my head these are the most important things to know to get the most power out of your foil kite but as you have already discovered you can get by with the most rudementory level of knowledge because so much can be done by feel

There is also a big difference in sustainable power, working the kite, and instantaneous power, sending the kite fast and sheeting in hard as in a jump. Being able to tune and sheet the kite at the edge of the window for best VMG rather than most power is also important to get the best out of your kite. If it was easy every body would be doing it ?

Regards Herman.
Last edited by Herman on Mon Mar 09, 2020 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Getting most power out of a foil kite

Postby DukeSilver » Sun Mar 08, 2020 3:29 am

Next time you are launching your foil kite in the hot launch position - I.E. in light wind - you will notice how little the kite pulls while you are waiting for it to gain pressure with the bar sheeted in. Even after it has fully pressurised while sitting in the power zone, it will pull very little while sheeted in. Then notice the increase in power as you sheet out. Many kiters - even LEI users - are continually sheeting in FAR TOO MUCH, then wondering why they are not going upwind as much as other kiters who are trimming their kites correctly.

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