[ img - tumi2.gif ]Hotel in Lima

Kite-surf, explained by a sailor

- An addendum to Guara-steered raft sailing -

[ img - Kite-WindWindow.jpg ]
[ img - controlled kite.jpg ]
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With few lines a modern kite can be controlled within all the wind-window. That means kite can be moved and can stay all over the sky-vault as sketched
Don't forget that we are talking apparent wind - not the thrue (geographic) wind. The wind window move and change together with the board speed.

In relation to sails, the expresions 'LIFT' and 'DRAW' we have from the airplane industry. The 'lift' is the lifting force across the wing (the sail) - and 'draw' is the resistance of air sweeping over the same. Take care here: When a kite surfer talk about 'LIFT' and 'PULL' that is not in relation to his kite - that is in relation to himself. PULL is the horizontal force - and LIFT is the vertical force on his own body.

A kite can deliver a draw in a line + and a sidewards movement of same.
As long as a kite pilot can follow the movement of his kite (running, biking or on a board)
then he can sail-on over the sea - at least until he hit land somewhere -

There is no direct mechanical connection between this "vessel" and her "kite sail". The force from the kite goes to the pilot, where the power line normally is tied to his waist - and he counter balance this draw leaning his weight backwards.
The navigation he do "handling" the board with his feets - while he is steering the kite with his hands.

An analyse of the kites draw is simple, because the force is by a lonely main line. As long as there is an angle between this line and the centerline of the board, we can divide the drawing kite-force in two components: a lateral force across and a forward directed along the board, and those two wind-components will drive the board.
And exactly this is the trick of the pilot: His way to navigate is to place his board angled in relation to the kite's draw: HIGH Lateral Hydraulic Resistance.

In relation to wind a kiter can sail beam reach, broad reach and close reach

port tack
= upwind
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left-going kite
left-going board
[ img - boardA.png ]
kite standing
board "heaved-to"
[ img - boardB.png ]
right-going kite
right-going board
[ img - boardC.png ]
starboard tack
= upwind
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heave-to is a sailor expresion: the vessel stopped with sail hoisted - drifting sideways

A board for kiting is a simple shaped board with a minimum of weight and no bouyancy. No bouyancy is needed, because the kite can yield the lift. As any wind powered vessel it hold a LOW forward hydraulic resistance and can yield a HIGH lateral dito - specially when tilted against the movement.
In the same way as any other wind-powered water-craft the forces of wind are attacking in the CE=Center of Effort, and this has to be in balance with CLR=the Center of Lateral water-Resistance in any moment.
And as with any wind powered vessel: the lateral kite-force is up against the HIGH lateral hydraulic resistance and give a leeway, whereas the forward kite-force will accelerate the board to planeing - speeding it up until the gained hydraulic resistance have reached the kite-force level.
- but that fact may be outside concern from a kitesurfer. CE and CLR balance is for sailors and technicians.

As athlet the kiter is concentrated on own body balance, and the play with forces of wind and resistance of the sea is the sports mans art.
The kiter is using his body directly as a link between the kite and the board - while the kite itself is controlled by his hands, he is navigating = steering the board with his feet. And we have seen that art developed to excellence.
And too - because of no boyancy from board - the draw from the kite have to be compensated against capsizing by the weight of pilot: excentric.

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In the center of the wind-window the kite can stay static and stable - and with the board across, the kiters use it to rise from their start position laying in water - then they steer the kite either left or right.
That is kiting !
Board across too can be used to kite directly downwind. Drifting a sailor would say.
That is not possible to sail directly downwind with a kite-board. A kite-board is so swift moving, that the kite because of lost tension in towing-line will fall out of the sky.
[ img - Kite-Surf-Step2.jpg ]

Some notes around power kite special facilities:

[ img - kite-test.jpeg ]
A kite board can't change tack through the wind eye.
Therefore, going upwind, kite boards doesn't tack - they shunt as a ferry = change aft to for and so they zig-zag up against the wind (or zig-zag down with the wind), keeping heel-side or keeping toe-side.

They can weer!
They weer when sailing slalom (downwind of course), or they could chose to zig-zag downwind, but they can't go directly downwind, as told.

The second picture show two kiters, and note that the boy is kiting with his back against the kite.
Toeside style versus heelside style.
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The professional interest in kites and sails is bunker savings
- but too environmental aspects -

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We see an increasing profesional interest from shipping companies followed by full scale tests on cargo ships - with the aim to save fuel.

These huge kites as tested can't be handled by men. They need an automated servo system (probably full automated) with a launch and recovery arm + a powered winch - and that is a technology still under development.

We look forward to more experience.
[ img - kite-arm.jpg ]
[ img - cargo-kitecontrolll.png ]
The kite is tied to bow, where the ship yield most lateral resistance, due to the presure in bow wave.
Due to the limited speed of a cargo ship, too downwind sailing is possible for those kites on big boats.

As difference from sails on masts, a powerkite give less heeling, due to its lower CE = the point where the kite is made fast.

The other option for shipowners is the Flettner sail = the Rotor sail: A vertical rotating cylinder as with wind abeam will be able to yield as a sail. The "Magnus effect" it is called. The Flettner sail is considered as a sail, even if the rotation of cylinder - a few hundred RPM - is powered by electrical motor.
The Magnus-effect will only work with wind abeam - and never running downwind with wind from abaft.
A key point by Flettner sails seems to be the surface speed of the spinning cylinder in relation to the apperent wind speed.

In relation to wind a Flettner sail can yield power by beam reach, broad reach and close reach
- the benefit of Flettner cylinders by downwind sailing tests may show

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[ img - NorsePower.jpg ]
[ img - fletner-4-enercon.jpg ]
Being a motor ship with help-sail (Flettner or PowerKite) the ship hold a basic minimum speed (by the motor) as is ramming the stem into sea. A sidesliding of bow is therefore more a theoretical case, than a real problem.
That means, if sail/kite is mounted in fore peak, then the ship is secured against excessive leeway.

We look foreward to more openness about professional results. For both Kites and Flettner sails I expect, that after the tests, their place will end up in the bow, simply because of the higher lateral hydraulic resistance with the wind abeam - due to the stem rammed into the sea and thus hindered in side-sliding.

And here come the relation to Kon-tiki rafts

As our starting point was steering system on the Incas Balsa Log Raft, and furthermore because we untill now have seen nearly all type of riggings on the Kon-Tiki replicas sailing out, then we feel a need to name, that a Guara-steered Kon-Tiki raft seems well fitted for Kite-sailing.

Just like a Kite-board, a raft is steered by move around her CLR.
Of course a raft will not plane
[ img - raft+sq.png ]       [ img - raft+kite.png ]
- becourse the sailing speed will be low - as with any raft there is little dynamic influence.
Tie the main line of the kite to the root of the mast, and fasten your steer-lines when trimmed - and then you should be able to steer the direction of the raft by lowering /lifting the Guaras.
But because we moved back the CE, when we tied to the mast, then the raft probably will need more Guaras down aft - to resist leeway of aft end.

To what use to sail a balsa log raft with a powerkite ?

I have no argument. I only say, that with a Guara steer-system, a powerkite is directly possible !


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a kly site - Lima, December 2019 - second edition of this page