Relaunching a strutless kite - Slingshot UFO, Maui Cloud

Strut-less kites require some special techniques and finesse to re-launch.  This quick walk through experience will help you explore some options for re-launch if you are struggling.  As we have said before, we recommend playing with these kites in shallow water before embarking on any offshore routes so you can get comfortable and experienced with their re-launch.

Malcolm Crennell,  an experienced foiler passed his thoughts along to us and we thought it was well written and true enough to share this knowledge with you.  He has years of experience on the Cloud kites and we've found the same tricks to be true for the new Slingshot UFO.  Here is his thoughts...

Keep an eye out for UFOs!

Tucker’s MacKite review was pretty spot on of how I’d review the Clouds.

Same benefits and same quirks (variances in techniques).

Also Alex Fox’s discussion on the SS website BLOG also echoes many similarities.

Here’s a few strutless kite launching/landing quirks I have learned along the way that may be useful to be aware of.

Think of them as “cheat codes”.

During launching they don’t skip on their tip to the edge of the window to launch. They roll over, then up.

As Tucker noted in the UFO review video, they don’t reverse launch great, as the strutless canopy doesn’t back fly really at all. The unsupported strutless canopy tends to collapse with too much reverse flow over the canopy, where a strut would hold the canopy open. The strutless kite might get a width’s worth off the water before this collapse occurs. Just let it roll over and hot launch. It even seems that with assisted launches, you need to be more hot as a pilot and even then you don’t feel near as much pull as a strutted kite it seems.

When they’re on the leading edge down with water pinning the canopy down, pulling the center lines toward you will pull more water on top of the canopy and hold it down. You may have to swim or move towards the kite to let it slide downwind which allows the canopy to slide out from under the surface. One or both of the large tall tips will start to fill first and then the wind will push canopy open. If there’s enough wind to launch, there’s enough to open the canopy and spill the water off.

this is the hardest relaunch. on it’s trailing edge, canopy down in water like an anchor, superlight wind

Usually ends up in this position when wind is too light ( it starts to roll over to launch, but a stuck tip/weeded line holds it down and it rolls over),or you backstall it because it’s single digits and you’ve come to a stop. The biggest issue really is that the wind is so light, that no kite would launch anyhow. If the wind is over 10 then much less of a problem, like any other kite

Self landing quirks. (normal technique may result in relaunch before you can secure it!)

Put it down on a tip, walk up to centerline split. Pull LOWER centerline. this will invert it onto it’s back. Don’t let go until kite secured!

Pulling on the top centerline to leading edge and pulling it down pointed into the wind like a conventional kite may be followed by a pinwheel, or flyaway. No struts to allow the wind to pin it down. That said, you actually can put it down like a normal kite IF the wind is super light, or there’s a wind shadow, but pin it down immediately.

When the kite’s on the ground, they can be placed like a strutted kite leading edge down pointing into the wind, but they are very prone to the nose lifting and blowing away (like an SST only way more vulnerable due to their feather weight, and long upswept trailing tips that catch the wind and tip the nose up off the ground. There must be a weight and/or tether on the kite at all times.

One alternative, it to place it on the ground on it’s back ( like the resting positioning in the self landing french video). This negates the tips levering the nose up in puffs. It still needs a weight and/or tether.

So in summary, don’t drop the kite!

I add in building a sand dam in front of the kite to keep air from getting under the canopy when its on the beach

17th Jul 2020 Tucker Vantol, Malcolm Crennell

Recent Posts