Lately our days have been filled with helping friends at the local kite shop. Last week we took an afternoon off to fly some kites and rest. We gathered up all our rokkaku kites and were going to have a theme fly. The wind was in the low teens and the temperature was warm but not too hot. Perfect.
We got two vintage rokkakus up and anchored and were putting together a third when a squall blow up off the ocean. Got the kite we were working on back in the bag so it wouldn’t get too wet and only then realized how high the wind had picked up, upwards of twenty-five to thirty miles per hour. What made us aware of the wind was our two sand anchors whizzing by our heads. The rokkakus took off in the high winds and lifted the anchors off the ground. There was a mad dash to grab kite lines and spools and keep the kites from going completely out of sight. Needless to say, there were some nasty line burns and cuts on our hands.
One kite ran into the side of the condominium, lost its lift and slid to the ground. So far, so good. It wasn’t going anywhere. The other was going to be our problem child. It lifted the anchor close to twenty feet in the air and way above the dunes. Then the anchor caught in a tree beside a neighboring beach house. Yes, you read right. The anchor caught in the tree. The kite was flying high above the house and out of reach.
Luckily, the resident of the beach house were there and were able to help get the anchor out of the tree. We tied the kite to a pole and released the anchor. Then neighbor brought the anchor to the back to the beach where we re-anchored the kite and walked it down. These neighbors really went beyond norm in helping retrieve the kite and I’m sure they will be talking about it for a long time to come.
Needless to say, we were done flying kites that afternoon. Maybe soon we will get the chance to fly the rokkakus again.
The weekly community kite fly was another matter. There was no wind that day. Not to mention it was hot. Tried to fly two different low wind kites; the Laima and the Skate. Both needed constant supervision to remain in the air. It just wasn’t worth the effort and the kite fly was cut short.
I’ve gotten behind in writing this blog. The weather was not cooperating and there have been other activities which have kept us from the beaches. The last day we flew was Memorial Day. Fort Macon State Park had finally opened so there was the weekly community kite fly on the holiday weekend. And it was a busy weekend. The park was crowded which made the kite fly somewhat of a challenge. More fishermen, more sun bathers and more people walking along the shore. This gave us a greater audience to view the kites but it also cut down on the space to fly.
Because of the holiday, we chose to only fly red-white-blue kites. And we only carried a couple as our kite cart is still in need of repair. We put up the handmade Painless Parafoil and our new Killip foil.
For the first time in a long time, I brought out a dual line stunt kite. The red-white-blue Window NG. I had forgotten that noise that this kite can make as it circles in the sky. It drew a lot of looks and comments. Especially with the twenty-five foot tube tail following behind.
I particularly enjoyed flying the Painless Parafoil as it is one of the first kites I had built. Although few people who see it recognize the stylized eagle I appliquéd on the bottom panel. The creator of the Painless Parafoil, Stretch Tucker, was supposed to give a workshop this summer in Pennsylvania but, in light of current events, he is unable come. However, I have his plans for the Flowform 16 and will be starting that kite soon. And, if I’m lucky, I will still be able to attend the workshop and finish the construction there.
The weather is not looking good for a community kite fly this weekend. So, for now, I will have to clean up the kite room and begin planning for the Flowform.
Another beautiful day on the beach with good winds and good temperatures. I pulled out a kite bag containing kites that hadn’t been flown in quite a while. For a couple of them, it had been years. It was a show of square-head dragon kites.
I find this style of dragon makes a great show in the sky and, at the same time, is very easy to handle. The head is framed with two spars crossed and it has a three-point bridle. Essentially it’s a della-porta kite with a large attached tail which has a slight taper down its length. Each kite is about twenty-five feet long. It takes a while to wind everything up at the end of the day but it’s worth it.
Two of these kites, the Green Dragon and the Dog, were made by Skydog Kites. The Dog is the logo of Skydog Kites and is still in production. In place of the green dragon, Skydog Kites now makes a pirate motif on a square-head dragon kite.
The other three dragon kites were made by Go Fly A Kite. A company that is no longer in existence. I guess that makes these kites collector items. After some research, I found the lion and tiger motifs were also used on smaller round-head dragon kites. They were advertised as the Wildcat Dragon kites. The Joker kite reminds me of my father. He liked to play cards with friends and, every now and then, would vacation at a casino.
It was a wonderful, relaxing afternoon; sitting in the sun, watching our kites dance in the wind. The walkers on the beach seemed to like watching the kites, too. Quite often, a cell phone would come out for a picture or two. As the sun went down, the temperature cooled a little and it was time to pack everything away for the day.
Luckily, the Sunday community kite fly at Fort Macon State Park has started up again. So there was an excuse for flying more than once. This week the winds went up a notch and made flying somewhat of a challenge. I only put up one kite, the Illustion Delta kite by Skydog Kites. It had a hard time with the rising winds and after a couple of crashes, I figured it was time to pack it away and return home.
Now to figure out the theme for our next trek to the beach.
What better way to spend Mother’s Day than to sit on a sunny beach and fly kites. After getting a Mother’s Day message from my daughter and grandkids, we gathered up kites, lines and anchors and headed for the beach. This day I had in mind a color and style theme. So I grabbed my Power Sleds and matching line laundry. All of them in my favorite combination of red, white, black and gray.
I was lucky enough to get the my set of Power Sleds in matching colors before the pattern was discontinued by Premier Kites. I believe there are two more sizes of Power Sleds, one smaller, the Power Sled 10, and one even bigger, the Power Sled 81. I never saw the Power Sled 10 in my colors and the Power Sled 81 is larger than I feel I can safely handle. My smallest is the Power Sled 14, then there is the Power Sled 24 and the Power Sled 36. They are still available in a variety of colors and patterns.
I have several line laundry in the same colors but the wind wasn’t strong enough to give enough lift to hang everything on the kite line. However, I did put out my Spikey Bird. I like to put sand in his feet to hold them on the ground so it seems like he is actually standing below the kite.
After everything was flying well, we sat and watched the waves and enjoyed the sun until it began to go down and the temperature became a little chilly. I had my Mother’s Day dinner in the crockpot when we left the house so I knew it would be ready when we got home. It was a peaceful, restful Mother’s Day, though I did miss not being able to see my family in person. The time will come when we can all be together again.