Driftlaunch troubles

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Driftlaunch troubles

Post by mattrau »

Whats up forum?

I was attempting my first launch yesterday, and ran into a big problem. Before I tried to launch, I walked out my lines, hooked them up, grabbed the kite, and placed it in the water no problem. I then pushed the kite away, with the leading edge in the water, and the leading edge pointing downwind, not towards me. As I began to unwrap the lines from the bar, I was getting my lines all tangled. I tried two or three times, having to walk my lines out inbetween each time. What can I do to help myself out here? :cry:
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by JRN »

Make sure your lines are already off the bar before letting the kite go: Either drag out the kite with the lines trailing behind & make sure they are free of snags & tangles. Or, place the kite on your neck & shoulders while unwrapping your lines as you walk backwards & windward. You may also want to submerge the "nose" of the LE so you have water on the canopy by the main strut. THEN, release the kite slowly while keeping tension on one steering line, gradually play it out 'til all slack is out of the lines. At this point you can launch safely per usual precautions.
(please respond accordingly ;^{})
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by RandyL »

You can also attach your leash to your bridle while you're unwinding your lines.
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by Tighe »

There are a few different techniques though the technique is pretty critical, especially if there is any significant wind. As Jim pointed out, always have all your lines off of the bar before letting go of the kite. If you are taking your lines off the bar as you enter the water (holding onto the kite either on your head, on your leash or under an arm) by walking into the wind your lines get pulled off neatly by the tension in the water, so that you can cleanly see your lines extending from your bar downwind and then back up to your kite. Only then should you let go of the kite. Good idea to rotate your kite 90's from LE into the wind. Lots of pointers in the posts below.

Drift launches are the sketchiest launches to do and should only be done when there is no when else present to assist.

More than willing to step through the process if we end up lakeside together.

http://www.lakawa.com/phpBB/viewtopic.p ... ift+launch
http://www.lakawa.com/phpBB/viewtopic.p ... ift+launch
http://www.lakawa.com/phpBB/viewtopic.p ... ift+launch
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by tom_latcham »

Good drift launch technique is essential in this state with so many trees right to the shores edge. Since there are allot of steps and I am not the best communicator it would be best to hire an instructor to teach you good technique. However I saw some things on your post that could not only cause problems but could be dangerous to yourself, equipment or bystanders. I will attempt to explain my method.
Location is key. Nice shallows where you can wade out 2 or more line lengths from trees. With at least a good mile of wind fetch so wind is steady and smooth. I lay the kite down on leading edge into the wind and comb out and attach the lines downwind of the kite. Since the kite is upside down I lay the bar on the ground upside down and comb the lines out and attach them to the kite. I then wind the lines back on the bar in a criss cross pattern. As I approach the kite, I think about which way I am going to release the kite and I bring the lines around that wing tip to the front of the kite. For example if when looking out at the lake the wind is coming in side shore from the right I walk around the left wing tip with the lines. I the wind was coming in more side shore from left I would go around the right wing. If it is straight on shore decide left or right and just remember your plan. Not a big tip but will save you one bar flip when the lines tension.
2. Walk out and deploy lines
The 1st thing I do is attach the chicken loop to my harness. That way if something gets snagged and I move around no bridal or control lines get crossed with the bar. Now I hold the bar flat to the leading edge of the kite and flip the two together. With the kite on its back I wind up the rest of the slack continuing the criss cross pattern. Now with all the bridal and control lines on the canopy they won’t snag on sticks or roots or weeds when I wade in. Once past the debris sticks and weeds that blow into shore, I flip the kite and bar together again. Then (VERY IMPORTANT) I attach the kite leach to the bridal of the kite close to the center strut. (hope you have a bridled kite). That way if the kite blows off you head it won’t be pulling on the lines before they are completely unwound from the bar. This could cause a major kitemare. You never want the kite drifting if any lines are still wrapped on the bar. Now with the kite leashed and resting on my head I walk backwards into the wind and start to unwind the lines. Once a turn or two are out I lift each wing tip to make sure the bridals are untangled and free of sticks and weeds. Then I start walking and slowly unwinding the lines. With the kite on your head it is easy to watch the lines separate and pull out nice clean and straight behind you. If the lines catch on each other stop feeding line and keep walking into the wind until they start to feed out nice. Never unwind line when standing still. Once all the lines are off the bar it is time to drift the kite.
3. Drift the kite.
With all the lines off the bar and deployed neatly behind you. Now move the leash from the kite bridal to its normal spot on the bar. Last chance to check bridals. I lift each wing tip and make sure bridals are not tangled. If they are clean I move over so when I release kite it does not drift over my lines in the water. Then I turn the wing tip I walked the lines around on prep and turn the kite 90 degrees so that wing tip is facing into the wind and let the kite go. As the kite drifts back I make sure the bar is clean with no line wraps. The safety is properly attached ect. This is all important to get done before lines tension. Once the slack goes out the kite will turn another 90 degrees and be ready to launch. In heavy wind with white caps I add one more step. Before drifting the kite. I push down hard with both hands on the leading edge on either side of center strut. This will flood the canopy with water and prevent a gust or wave from flipping your kite before the slack is out. If you see any lines knotting or caching on the drift keep hand on safety release when lines tension just in case. Hope this helps. Call me or look me up at the beach for demo if you have any questions. Tom 952-454-6449
Barry P
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by Barry P »

Minor additions/variations...

Like others have said, a drift launch can be trouble. With more wind and waves your odds of getting into trouble increase. With that said - still, my most dangerous launches have all been assisted launches. Nevertheless I do prefer good assisted launches when I can get them.

You can find a drift launch video on You Tube that somewhat applies to kiting here. The guy there starts with all the line off his bar on the beach and then just walks out. That would be nice. In Minnesota that usually never works with all the twigs, weeds, and stuff on our shore lines. He had a side shore wind, so he didn't need to go out very far for the drift. We are usually kiting with mostly onshore conditions, so more shallows are necessary. Anyhow, you can clearly see the 90 degree drift technique, paying out the drift by using one control line, and the final 90 degree swing to a normal water launch.

I like to attach my leash to the board so I have two hands free at all times and have no distractions.

As soon as I'm in clean water (no junk to catch on the lines) I flip the kite (same as above) and start paying line off the bar walking backwards into the wind with the kite LE resting on my shoulders behind my head and one arm through the kite bridle to hold it in place.

I don't attach my chicken loop to my harness until I have payed out all the line from the bar as I'm walking out.

Once all the lines are off the bar walk back further if you can. More distance from shore is always good. Then I place the kite on the water (LE down and into the wind) and choose which side I want to drift it toward. To that side I slide it away while holding the LE until I get to the center line attachment on that side. I use this line to pay out the kite down wind and to the side as I back up. JRN uses the steering line on this side, I prefer the center line because the kite keeps its LE into the wind a little more directly so there's less tension on the lines as the kite drifts in case a knot starts developing. Tension on which ever of these two lines you choose is all you have to control the drift and prevent it from swinging the remaining 90 degrees and rolling or worse. I find that if I hold this line over my head as I drift the kite out, I have less trouble with loops developing where the lines cross over as they go out... loops turn into knots (bad).

Watch carefully for looping in the lines as the kite drifts. If it happens fix it while the loops are loose. If it doesn't work out easily, move up all four lines to the developing knot area to you so you can work on it - but never take your eye off the kite and always keep the right tension on that control line. Note: this is definitely not a good scenario, depending on exactly what this knot is doing or going to do. If the kite should get in a position to power up by mistake with messed up lines you are likely SOL and will need to entirely detach from the kite (Chicken Loop & Leash) and kiss it goodbye, very likely NONE of the safety-by-depower options will work at all. Save yourself and then rescue the kite. I never attach my leash to bar safety attachments all until kite is safely in the air.

Anyhow, once the lines are all out and straight the kite will swing the remaining 90 degrees all on it's own. Just do a normal water launch & enjoy.

I like Tom's dip of the LE to weight the canopy with water - I'm going to try that next time.
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by mattrau »

Man, you guys are great. Thanks for all the great tips, I will let you know how it works out for me! :D
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by Browbry »

Also: scroll down to find a "Self Launching" post recently on Lakawa chat & you might be able to pick off some additional pointers to help your game.
Tom L
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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by Tom L »

Here is the YouTube video link. The video is only good for showing the actual release of the kite. All the important work is already done. Someday we need to post a good video of the Minnesota self launch. It is a skill that is easy to do if taught correctly, but can be a kitemare if done incorrectly. Next time somebody is at a lake with a video cam, get one of the pros and tape a good self launch, it sure would be easier than all this typing.

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Re: Driftlaunch troubles

Post by JERRY »

and reading :)
"The Pessimist complains about the wind; the optomist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." William Arther Ward
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