Monday, December 22, 2014

Leader line replacement for F.One 2014 Bandit 7

Finally got the replacement leader lines for my 14m 2014 Bandit. I seemed to need a lot more pressure than expected to remove the float and get the assembly all apart so I thought I'd document the replacement process:

 - Removing the float: The float covers another knotted line for adjusting the back line length. Because it is doubled up under the float, I had to pull pretty hard to remove the float up along the line. One side was so tight that I had to pull the broken leader line down with a set of pliers while forcing the float up the line. The side with the bar was a little easier to hold onto, but it was still tight.

 - Removing the plastic tubing: There is also a piece of plastic tubing at the bottom of the float closest to the bar. This can come out before you pull the float up or will pop out once the float has been removed. It doesn't seem to be necessary to hold the internal knots in place as it is looser than expected. It looks like it stops the line tidy straps from digging into the float. They can easily slide off the bottom of the line once it has been removed from the bar.

 - Undo the back lines: Each back line is attached to the leader line with a larks head knot. Undo this and separate the leader line from the back line. The float can either stay up on the back line or come off completely now.

 - Undo the leader line from the bar: There should be easily enough slack now to remove the looped leader line from the aluminium eyelet on the bar.

Replacement process

Shown is the bar, the replacement leader line, the plastic tubing the float and the back line 

 - Add the plastic tubing: The replacement set came with an additional plastic tubing piece but was not the same size as the original. This might be for a different size float, so I removed it and preferred the original plastic tubing as I knew it would fit snug in the float once it was back together. This step is needed now because it is easier to attach the leader line to the bar without the float.

 - Slide the plastic tubing over both the end of the leader line and the line tidy elastic cord. It should sit between the elastic cord binding and the knotted adjustment line

 - Attach the leader line to the bar: Push the end  of the leader line through the eyelet of the bar, open up the loop and thread the rest of the leader line through to make a lark's head knot.

The direction you thread through shouldn't matter too much in the end, but I tried to keep both lines threaded in from underneath so that I can check the knot while on the water. I have a suspicion my line broke due to sand getting in under the knot as the aluminium was scoured quite heavily.

 - Add the float to the back line: Thread the back line through the middle of the float. You may need to straighten out the back line's larks head to get it to smoothly fit through. On
e side I needed to poke it a touch, to get through the middle bend. This is done now so that it makes pulling through the top of the leader line easier.

 - Move the float to the top leader line: Recreate the larks head in the back line and loop it over the top of the leader line to pull it through. I found that attaching the larks head down on the single strand of silver cord made it easier to pull through. Once through, reset the larks head back to the monkey fist at the end of the leader line.

 - Move the float over the adjustment knots: All that is left is to now place the float down over the adjustment knots. This step may require some force. Make sure that the float is facing the right way (curving in). Push the float all the way down to about 5cm from the bar. Keep moving the plastic tubing out of the way.

Since the end of the knotted top leader line will be pushed back up the float I decided to bind it to itself with cotton. I'm expecting the cotton to break or be easily removable later on and is NOT to hold strain, it just has to hold the end in place until I can get the float into position. The other side seemed to have enough room in the float to not warrant the cotton.

 - Push tubing into place: As the float descends over the adjustment knots, it will eventually push the plastic tubing down toward the bar. Once the float is in its final position push the tubing back into the float so that it sits flush with the bottom of the float. My larger tubing fitted snugly so that it wouldn't move easily.  

All done! Check the lines thoroughly with strain to make sure all the larks heads are holding.

17m boosts

Archie's NNW ~13-17Kn (45min)

Lots of wind during the week, but only could get out on Wednesday. Not strong enough for Ben's 12m, and with my 14 still out of action I tried out the 17m Zephyr. Even harder for Sandy to launch than my 14m, but luckily the sand bank was sloped enough that it could be simply held against it to get enough curl for a clean launch.

Enough to easily get going, but the direction made it spoil over the land giving gusty pockets to keep you on your toes. Tacked upwind to Money's creek, then stayed around there to try some boosts. With the slower turns it was even harder to predict a wave, but managed a couple of decent floaters.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Around the Island

Went down on Friday after work to see if my leader lines had arrived. I had also packed Ben's 12 but it was too windy for that. Met up with Wardy, but no lines :/. Spent the afternoon watching and launching / landing othrs with smaller kit. 3rd day when there was too much wind. Still happy about the multitude of days that I have been able to get out in because of the larger kite though.

Saturday was blowing even more, possibly 25+Knots. Everyone was in after a big session when I got there, but most were windsurfers. There's a distinct lack of regulars out or floating about on such a primed windy weekend. Another front came in to take the wind up near 35Knots:

Elliott Heads ESE 15-18Kn (45mins)

Headed down to Elliott again on Sunday morning as I had expected to have the rest of the day filled. I had contemplated taking out the 17m as it was possibly only 12Kn at the start, but I'd left it in the shed. The breeze picked up though so I was in the water by 7:50 on a clean 15+ wind with Ben's 12m.

I tried a couple of boosts down in the lee channel. Pretty fun to get back into super flat water but the channel felt a little cramped. Tried riding toe-side but could only managed a broad reach. Will have to seriously work on how to twist my back foot all the way around to get anything like upwind. Wardy was popping from toeside on the Friday so there's a LOT more I need to find.

Tacked easily up to the river mouth to work on more boosts. I'm boosting higher and cleaner in the first couple I do, but then am either rotating or not timing it right when I'm trying to improve later in the session. Accidentally landed a 360, and I'd expect that adding rotaiton is going to be pretty simple. Controlling it will be another matter though.

Headed back after a really nice session and caught a fin on the shallows with my last turn for home and dumped the kite into the water. Really annoyed that I'd have to pack up a wet kite after such a good session.

Elliott Heads ESE 13-18Kn (2hrs)

Turned out not going up the farm Sunday afternoon so I headed down to Elliott again for a big session (this time with the 17m definitely in the car). Looked a solid 18+ so I took out the 12m again. Managed a couple of boossts before Ian got up and going so I headed with him over to Coonarr. Ian didn't manage to get out the front, so I thought I may as well try going around the island. I was tacking well upwind and the open sea was fairly sedate, so it turned out to be pretty easy getting above the rocky point and heading downwind along the eastern island beach.

I'm struggling to do anything meaningful going downwind. I lose a heap of kite power doing anything less than a broad reach, and sometimes have to work to even keep the kite flying. I have heard of people doing long downwinders but to me they are worse than tacking hard upwind. I'd much rather spend the time going directly cross wind or slightly upwind while working waves or jump points than endure a long downwinder.

Finished up the first session with a couple more boosts in the river mouth. Once again I found the first ones to be the most successful so I'm overthinking the send or the launch.

The wind was building in front of a large dark cloud, so I came in pretty happy with the whole session and stoked I got around the island. Chatted for 20 minutes and the wind didn't escalate and the front looked like it was sliding inland, so I headed out a gain for a quick burst. Others were out too, but once a lighter leading cloud shot over the river we all headed back in. I was on my last run in when the wind dropped completely before picking up slightly from the SW. I had to safety back to shore and pack up in the rain. Pretty annoyed at reading the weather wrong, but it was a fun little session.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Borrowed Kite

Archie's NW 15-19Kn (15m)
Was hoping for the leader lines to be in by Thursday, but Ben came down anyway to go for a final run before his trip South. Managed to get out on his 12m for a little bit before he packed up. Still blustery coming over the land before coming almost directly down the beach at Archie's. Kinda boosted, but had far more success in the Elliott a couple of weekends ago with consistent wind.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Walk with the wise

Year 7 Graduation for St John's has just ended. A different graduation service with both 6's and 7's departing for high school next year. One of the bible verses chosen by an exiting kid caught my eye:
Proverbs 13:20  Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
It immediately reminded me of  following smart people, something that I've only kept up with my podcasting list. I really should go through an intentional review of my life again to re-establish this learning goal.

On the flip side, there have been parts of my life where I'm now looking back as being a companion of fools. Was there harm? There are certainly ways that my thinking has changed for the worse due to my companionship and attitude expected to participate with those companions. Might need a little more conviction to remove myself from these situations too...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Broken strings

Archie's N 16-19Kn (1.5h)

Storms over and lots of wind about. Scott had gone out Wakeboarding with the twintip so I couldn't get going until ~4pm, but strong enough to be comfortable 1/2 sheeted in and stayed there all session. Spent a lot of time trying to sync a boost with a wave. 2-3 that I was happy with. Landed a lot early on but didn't quite get the timing right. Started to send the kite a little earlier toward the end of the session and possibly worked out worse as I was floating a lot more but leaving the kite too far overhead by the end. Now that I'm boosting it felt weird coming out from the shoreline to hit the wave ramps. Was happier going further out and using the swell lines for boost targets. Lots of stacks but a fun session.

Took a couple of waves to the face when I'd mistimed the exit run from the beach smack into a breaking wave. The last one I hit broke the left steering line at the bar and had to get the kite rescued as it was floating near swimmers. Looks like the line snapped through wearing onto the aluminium eyelets. They are scoured a lot more than I'd expected so maybe there's been some sand in there or something. The other side is Ok but definitely has wear, so I've ordered another set of leader lines for the summer.


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Guy Leech Gear

Archie's & Lelly's  ENE 14-17Kn (1.25h)

Went shopping for some gloves on Tuesday after losing a lot of skin layers over the big weekend. Picked up a pair from BCF, but the construction looked shoddy. Limited options though. Went around to BigW to look for another rashie and found some Guy Leech cycling cloves for 1/2 the price! Picked up some more Guy Leech apparel while I was there including a set of 2-in-1 shorts with an elastic (spandex?) insert. Thought they might work well to stop the chafing.

Enough on Wednesday to get out at Archie's. Wind felt more NE but was almost flush onto the beach by the time I was done. Looong reaches parallel to the beach to get down to Kellie's again in 3 tacks. Toyed with a couple of boosts but the wind just wasn't up to it. Didn't get in too shallow as I wanted to keep clean air. With the wind dropping slightly I broad reached back to Archie's for a little more play. Fully sheeted out by then but couldn't get near the wave zone due to surfers / swimmers. 
Still undecided on the gloves. I think they helped but my forearms were now getting tired on the long stretches more than my legs. Fingers were still sore at the end, but it feels like they may have been saved a layer or 2. Bit cumbersome getting them off and carrying yet another piece of soggy equipment home, but at least they didn't get in the way when out on the water.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Elliot Heads ESE 16-18 Kn (1.5h)
Friday was looking like the start of a big weekend. Scott & Carina were at home by the time I knocked off work so they jumped in the car for a trip to Elliott. Ben had Pr Greg and Joseph along for the ride too. Fair few kites out with some spectacular jumps going on.

Ben and I headed out to the mouth and got stuck into it. I'd been watching boosting vids so I was keen to try a straight up boost rather than load & pops. Took a little bit to get the timing right but seemed easier and much more height immediately.

Scott had a small go on Ben's before he headed off and managed to get up at a slow pace. After Ben had packed up Scott had a go on mine and managed to do a couple of turns to compliment a solid set of runs. He's progressing well! Might have some snowboarding experience coming to bear on the turns as they took me a lot longer to nail.

Archie's ESE 15-18 Kn (30min)
Woke up early Saturday and hoped for wind. Yep! Headed down and was in the water by 5:30am while Scott took out the surfboard. Was weird tacking upwind and going South and took a little getting used to hitting all the waves on the opposite stance. Tested a couple of push-offs but need a LOT of work going right. The swell was huge, and turning to catch the swell lines paid off with a couple of nice faces to carve up.

Elliott Heads SE 18-22 Kn  (1h)
Got down to Elliott at about 2:30pm but it looked to big for my kite. Lots of sand being blown and no-one out on anything bigger than a 10. Played around with the trainer kite for a bit and it felt good enough to try the board. First run felt so very close. I could pull myself up but just couldn't get onto the plane. A keen kid helped me get the board back for another go and this time I got up and going for about 40m. Couldn't track upwind but mighty happy that it's possible to kitesurf with a 3 metre trainer kite. Lot of work on the arms though without any harness. Tried another run but the wind had died just a little and couldn't repeat the performance.

Ben had arrived at the same time as Scott and set about launching his 12. He seemed Ok with it and Andrew reckoned his 10m wasn't giving him all that much. Encouraged I grabbed my 14 and went out. Lots more boost practice and some of the best for the weekend. It feels a lot higher than off the waves and I'd be happy to call it 2.5m+. Scott reckons I was higher than a bodylength up so that's good enough for me.    

Elliott Heads ENE 12-16Kn (1h)
Quick trip down on Sunday too, but it looked pretty placid and blowing more Northerly to close out the main launching spots. First run ended up a fair way downwind and had to walk up the island to get going again. The wind came in surges to be good going for ~2 runs before dying down to ~12Kn and struggling to stay up. After a couple more island walks we called it a day to get ready for the LAN. Ben grabbed his phone for a quick vid after he landed.

I hit a good gust and thought I could boost, but drove it too hard upwind and started to rotate when I launched. Tried to go with it and nearly made it (although I'm quite certain that even if I got the rotation right I'd have still ended up on my back). Somehow I ended up on top of the board, so after saving the kite it scooted me along for a while until I could gather it in. After watching the vid it looked like a botched send too. There's no way the kite should have peeked into shot as I was launching. Rather fun anyway. Would do it again.