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Launching foils in tight spots

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Gyre
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Launching foils in tight spots

Postby Gyre » Tue Nov 17, 2020 3:49 pm

I've been using Flysurfers for about 10 years, but had a bad experience the other day at a spot I've never kited before. (It's a popular spot, known to be a bit tricky.) I was using my 9m Speed 5. Beach is narrow and there is a line of tall trees about 30 m behind it. Wind was about 20kts, fairly gusty, and directly onshore. Three times I tried and failed to launch. The kite just wouldn't stay forward enough in the window -- was drifting downwind, toward the trees, while it filled. I'd pre-inflated before launch, tried sheeting in when it rose to get it to inflate (that just pulled it closer to the trees).

No damage done, just really embarrassing.

Eventually I borrowed a friend's tube kite and got out no problem.

I've never launched in a spot with so little downwind space before, so I've never noticed this problem. The thing that bugs me is that I can't figure out what happened. Sometimes when I launch, my Flysurfers stand up nicely and fly FORWARD in the window and then straight up (which is great). Other times, this unpredictable drift.

Do I just have to accept that I shouldn't try launching my foils in spots with limited downwind space?

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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby Jyoder » Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:21 pm

Did you really really pre-inflate? Do you know how to fly the kite on the pigtails at the kite with your hands until it is truly inflated?

Hold both front line pigtails in strong hand above both steering pigtails in weak hand. You can yank the fronts to launch the kite and sheet in/out and steer left/right with lower hand. Once kite is fully inflated, backstall it to the ground and carefully walk the lines and hot launch, or just burry a tip and side launch.
If it gets squirrelly, just let go of steering lines or release all but one front line. Or steer the kite to one side and it will fold on the ground and you can grab a wingtip.
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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby nothing2seehere » Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:44 pm

Genuine question. Is full pre-inflation the recommended method for stronger wind? I recall reading someone suggesting that full pre-inflation is necessary for low wind but for stronger wind, it can be advantageous not to bother as you get dragged downwind less when you launch (might not be ideal depending on the size and layout of your beach).
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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby joriws » Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:20 pm

Water is too deep to stand on and have better angle to lines or too deep even normal standing drift launch? Then final option is the swim launch.

Here is very tight beach next to me, there is no way I could launch feet dry.
VID_20180109_031138_00_001_2020-11-17_21-25-20_screenshot_drift.jpg
Swim launch example and some pre-packing tips..

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Herman
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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby Herman » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:41 pm

nothing2seehere wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:44 pm
Genuine question. Is full pre-inflation the recommended method for stronger wind? I recall reading someone suggesting that full pre-inflation is necessary for low wind but for stronger wind, it can be advantageous not to bother as you get dragged downwind less when you launch (might not be ideal depending on the size and layout of your beach).
I think it depends who you ask. For me I would say don’t preinflate in strong wind. Whilst I think I understand the possible benefits of full preinflation I don’t think it is worth the hassle of having to ré-sand the kite to stop it flapping and possibly tangling. My philosophy is largely taken from other peoples experience but talking smaller kites at edge of window it is roughly as follows:

Lay kite out and do no more than separate top from bottom.
Fold upwind tip and sand, then put extra sand along the TE.
Clear lines and trim in, hopefully to reduce any dragging from a sudden inflation. Hook in.
Lift the kite by tensioning the lines but with the intention of keeping the kite on the ground.
Control the kite by tension on the CL and more importantly on the rear leaders, holding the floaters is often comfortable.
Hold the kite on the ground using rear line tension, start releasing the rear line tension as the kite powers up.

Obviously trimming in seems counter productive if you are going to be oversheeting for control but it works for me as it puts the bar in a more comfortable position to use the floaters. I even trim in when backstall landing for this reason. By no means saying the above is gospel because this area of kiting is still a work in progress for me.

PS If you don’t hold the kite back the top and bottom surfaces will not separate and the kite will not inflate. You must also stop the top half of the kite overflying the sanded tip. Don’t rush to get the kite off the ground.
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Gyre
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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby Gyre » Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:21 am

Jyoder wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 4:21 pm
Did you really really pre-inflate? Do you know how to fly the kite on the pigtails at the kite with your hands until it is truly inflated?

Hold both front line pigtails in strong hand above both steering pigtails in weak hand. You can yank the fronts to launch the kite and sheet in/out and steer left/right with lower hand. Once kite is fully inflated, backstall it to the ground and carefully walk the lines and hot launch, or just burry a tip and side launch.
If it gets squirrelly, just let go of steering lines or release all but one front line. Or steer the kite to one side and it will fold on the ground and you can grab a wingtip.
This is a really interesting technique -- never heard of it before. I don't think it would have worked that day, the wind was too strong. I pre-inflated by securing the upwind tip on the ground and holding the downwind tip and the vents open. It doesn't fully inflate that way of course.

Maybe it just goes without saying that the stronger and gustier the wind is, the more unpredictable the launch is going to be.

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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby Gyre » Wed Nov 18, 2020 4:50 am

joriws wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 8:20 pm
Water is too deep to stand on and have better angle to lines or too deep even normal standing drift launch? Then final option is the swim launch.

Here is very tight beach next to me, there is no way I could launch feet dry.
VID_20180109_031138_00_001_2020-11-17_21-25-20_screenshot_drift.jpg

Swim launch example and some pre-packing tips..

Thanks, this looks amazing. You're standing when you unroll the kite, then you start swimming to unroll the lines? Think you could have done this if the wind was 20kts? I was dealing with an onshore wind, and I feel like my kite would have been blown back to shore faster than I could swim out the lines. (For anyone else having trouble getting the video to play in the forum post, go direct to facebook.com/696692741/videos/10157415209622742/) Quite similar to the drift launch technique described here: viewtopic.php?f=197&t=2392752&p=932444#p932444 which I've done successfully many times, but only when standing on the bottom -- still haven't succeeded in doing it while swimming.
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nothing2seehere
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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby nothing2seehere » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:52 am

I'd guess that the reason to swim upwind is to unroll the lines quicker and to reach deep water for the foil. If the winds were stronger then you'd presumably need to swim further but the kite would drift in at the speed you unroll the lines again. Feasible but difficult and probably not worth it in 20knots and you would need to practice in light winds first a few times to get used to the technique and know that your bar wrap technique is working properly.

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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby nothing2seehere » Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:57 am

Herman wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:41 pm
nothing2seehere wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 5:44 pm
Genuine question. Is full pre-inflation the recommended method for stronger wind? I recall reading someone suggesting that full pre-inflation is necessary for low wind but for stronger wind, it can be advantageous not to bother as you get dragged downwind less when you launch (might not be ideal depending on the size and layout of your beach).
I think it depends who you ask. For me I would say don’t preinflate in strong wind. Whilst I think I understand the possible benefits of full preinflation I don’t think it is worth the hassle of having to ré-sand the kite to stop it flapping and possibly tangling. My philosophy is largely taken from other peoples experience but talking smaller kites at edge of window it is roughly as follows:
For a newbie to foil kites, what are the benefits of full pre-inflation in stronger winds? I'm lucky enough to have a very good launch spot so I can take my leafblower down with me if I want to so full inflation is easy (except for keeping the thing on the ground after its inflated)

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Re: Launching foils in tight spots

Postby Herman » Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:35 am

^^I am relatively new at closed cell foils myself but I am happy to share my thoughts on the subject. Hopefully others will clarify if I am off the mark. The discussion below is for powered conditions launching at edge of window: (cobra launch!)

Basically preinflation eradicates or mitigates the problems of launching a under inflated kite. This comes at the expense of the kite being more lively and flappy on the beach which can induce bridle tangles.

Problems of underinflated launch:

1. Top and bottom surfaces stick together so no air gets in.
2. Air only gets in at the top, when the kite lifts off the bottom half luffs and twists. To stop the kite crashing, by the top overflying the bottom, you pull lop rear leader. The kite then drifts back into the middle of the power zone untwist and inflates with a pop in the middle of the power zone and you know what comes next.
3. Preinflation obviates the need for patience during the launch.

I have probably missed something but no2 is a biggy imho.

PS if you could sand the kite and then preinflate afterwards it would be interesting to know if full inflation was best unfortunately I don’t have the experience to offer any judgement on that. I will be interested to know what you find?
Last edited by Herman on Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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