Richard and Jacqui Loydell of Kites for Africa, assisted by Andrew Wheeler, flew their 359 kite (71,8 m2) kite arch, which is apparently a world record, on Saturday 29 April 2000 at the International Kite Festival at Zandvlei, Cape Town, South Africa. Due to fluky wind conditions (irregular 90 to 120 wind shifts and speeds from 0 to 20km/h), the arch flew for about 40 minutes during the late afternoon and soon thereafter, a decision was taken to recover the arch before the wind created any more havoc! The flight was witnessed by all kiters (Ann and Chris Harris, et al), a large public gathering and recorded by national television and local press photographers.
The day started off like all kite festivals in South Africa - too little or too much wind!! Anyway, a fluky wind picked up in the late morning and soon everyone was in the air having fun. We then decided to give the arch a go and had over half of it launched and about 160 m of kites to go when the wind suddenly backed 180 then dropped to nothing and the whole lot crashed amongst the trees, food stalls etc - what a mess :-(( . We then packed it up and decided to try again later in the day.
Over lunch, a schools' kite arch competition (about 20 schools with their own homemade arches) was judged and by the looks of some of the kites, we have a lot of talented youngsters here in SA. The winds remained fairly steady in strength but not direction during the afternoon but despite this a great time was being had by all.
Later that afternoon we had another go and lady luck smiled on us this time, but not for long. The wind remained steady in strength and direction and the arch flew beautifully. The area was a bit small and part of it was flying over the neighbouring houses which gave me even more grey hairs. At one stage part of the arch snagged on a chimney but thanks to Roger Duffets's quick reaction a possible disaster was averted - thanks Roger!! We got the arch down just in time and the last 40 kites or so landed in the water when the wind dropped to zero! Phew. Thanks to all who helped with the recovery and stowage of the arch.
Some details of the arch:
a.. Made by myself (Richard) with no help over a period of several months (gave up counting after 3 months).
b.. An average of seven different coloured panels per kite. Various geometric designs. Some kites appliqued as well.
c.. 431 m of 320 kg spectra line with weak links built in at various points.
d.. Each kite is diamond shaped and 0,2 m2 in area; double hemmed on all edges; with dacron spar pockets and framed with a 3mm glass fibre longeron. Each kite has a 2,4 m long coloured polyester taffeta ribbon tail.
e.. about 18 km of polyester thread was used and the arch was sewn on an Empisal 328B sewmaster domestic machine (my favourite and first domestic machine).
f.. I could have flown a further 58 kites branded with the words "Kites for Africa" (14 kites) on a section of this arch, making a total of 417 kites (83,4 m2). I was prevented from doing it by the prohibitive "second tier sponsorship fee" (R20 000 about $ 3100) I would have had to pay to fly a "branded" kite. Unfortunately the sponsors of the festival were IMHO rather short sighted and were not interested in "sponsoring" my arch (I just wanted to recoup my expenditure). They could have auctioned it that evening at the kite auction to raise funds for the Cape Mental Health Society. Rather short sighted - sigh!
I will be launching our web site within the next few weeks (not to be missed) and all things being equal, improving on the arch record in the forseeable future!
Tight lines, must fly :-))
Richard and Jacqui Loydell
"Made for Africa, by Africa"
***** Kites for Africa*****
http://www.skybusiness.com/kitesforafrica (will be launched soon - under construction)