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Nathan's, Believe It Or Not, Kite Boat

I have been having an ongoing conversation with one of the Boatsafe students over the past few weeks. He has an unusual idea, but thought it sounded fun and interesting. I think almost everyone, at one time or another, has been fascinated by kites. Following is some of our ongoing conversation.

Capt Matt


kite_boat.jpg (4433 bytes)I heard about a guy who got 4 stacked stunt kites, a pair of water skis and entered a windsurf competition and won! I’m in the process of building a 3-wheel buggy that you can steer with your feet, so you can fly the kite that pulls you. I’ve seen a person’s 3-pontoon buggy and he said it works the same as a land buggy, but slower. I have a picture of a couple of people that have a small boat and they were using 15 kites to pull it. Search for kite or +kite +buggy on yahoo or another search engine and you should find lots of pictures. Do you have any clue of how much a windsurf sail, mast and boom cost? I would like to be able to put a sail on my kite buggy.

Nathan


Nathan,

Sounds like an intriguing idea. No, I have no idea about the cost of a windsurfer sail, mast and boom. You might check with a windsurfer rental place. I assume that they upgrade their equipment periodically. Perhaps you could pick up something used.

Keep in touch and let me know as you progress. Once your project is complete, we would love to have you write an article about it and take pictures that we could post for anyone who might have an interest.

Capt Matt


I am looking at getting some acetylene tanks to weld together my cart. I might make or buy a knee board to knee board behind my kite. I’m looking at getting a small 2-person sail boat that could be operated by one person and be used on a lake. That way I, or one of my friends, could drive and I could fly the kites. Kites that can be used for pulling things generally run from $80-250 and you need about 1-5 of them for a cart or knee board, and 5-15 for a two person boat. If you make your own kites, the poles you need to use cost about $20-30 and you still need sail cloth ($9 yd.). But, I found some paper that is extremely strong (tyvek, which is the paper used in priority mail envelopes) and it costs only $2 yd. Although they don’t perform quite as well, you can make a parafoil kite so you don’t need poles. Since I really like quad-line kites, I need to design a quad-line parafoil kite that is big enough to pull me. Once I do, I could send you instructions on how to make and fly my kite and my ideas about vehicles that could be pulled by them. If you wanted, you could put those on your site until I complete my project and send the pictures to you.

I made a gray print of the power kite that I think would be most cost-effective to make. I found that, with the cost of sailcloth, it is cheapest to make a delta. It is possible to stack them so you can get about as much power as you want with this design. I haven’t had a chance to try prototypes I’ve made, but I have made lots of kites before and don’t see why this shouldn’t work. If you want more info on kite making and about traction kites request an "Into The Wind" catalog from kites@intothewind.com or by calling 800-541-0341 or visit the <http://www.intothewind.com> web site. The attached bitmap is my gray print. You can change whatever you want and it should still fly if:

I need to get a directory name and a password from my ISP and then I’m probably going to put all my "kite know-how" online. (Note the pun)

Oh, I forgot to tell you how to fly a four line kite. If you want the kite to go up (assuming the kite is right-side-up) or go forward twist the handles so the bottoms of both are forward. If you want it to go in reverse or back up, twist both handles so the bottoms are toward you (back). To turn clock-wise, twist the bottom of the right one back and the bottom of the left one forward. To go counter-clock-wise twist the bottom of the right one forward and the bottom of the left back. It is lots of fun just to fly, but if you want you can stack them so they will pull you (on in-line skates, skateboard, buggy, skis or something else). You might consider buying or making a "Revolution", they are a lot more maneuverable (there is a picture on the intothewind web site.)

Nathan


Thanks for all the information, this sounds like a fun project. I’ll try to put something together that may be of interest to our readers.

Capt. Matt


I got a chance to try a no-wind (3/16 dowels and garbage bag sail cloth) version of the kite I sent the plans to you for. I found that the lower end of the bridle needs to be shorter - 8" instead of 10" and the handles could be a little bigger (12" - 14"). And a bit of information, keep the kite close to the ground (or water) to get the most power. Even if boats and computers are your things, I suggest that you personally might look into kiting because if you get a good kite (this one is decent if you trim the tail edge enough) then kites are a lot of fun. The kite I personally suggest is a revolution. It’s like a marionette in the sky.

Nathan

 

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