Today photographer Corey Arnold joined us to photograph Don and the kiteboat. His images will accompany Michael Spector’s article in the New Yorker. Corey and Don spent the morning at Makani, and then we headed out on a boat test with the 18 sqm kite. Erika joined us on this test as well.
A good test today in big chop with a lot of wind. We damaged the telescoping mast during launch, but were able to launch the 18 sqm on the first try with no mast. We then practiced sailing close to the wind on the east side of Treasure Island, which was somewhat protected. Afterward, we sailed around the island to the city side of the Bay Bridge, jumping and surfing the waves. A wet but successful test.
Another test of the new T-foil, with good performance. Ride height adjustment buttons are now separate from the tiller, and currently located next to the steering wheel on the mast. Don hopped on the Protector briefly, and Joe and Greg kited alone for one starboard tack, hitting a top speed of 28 knots. Germain Belz joined us on this test.
Today we tested K2 off Alameda using the 18 sqm kite. We have been using the old A-frame launch mast on the front of the Protector for kite tests, and we left it up today as a camera mount, to take semi-aerial photos of the kiteboat. We also used a backpack-supported ski pole mount of our own design to take GoPro video on the boat. At the end of the day, we sailed all the way back to dock.
The wind was strong today, and the bay was a bit rough, so we opted for the 18 sqm kite to test our new hydraulic steering system. The steering wheel worked well–the feel was better than expected, and the placement of the wheel allowed Don and Joe to communicate more easily, although Joe’s new position was significantly wetter than his old position. The next step will be to move the ride height adjustment buttons from the tiller to somewhere on or near the wheel.
We were joined on this test by visiting kite designer Germain Belz. Today was also Andrew’s first time driving the Protector for us, and he did a good job of positioning the chase boat for photos.