Today we performed a series of tests as part of our effort to improve our measurement of the kiteboat’s performance versus true wind angle (TWA), which is the angle between the wind direction and the heading of the boat. This information is ultimately used to produce polar plots, which are a standard method of showing the expected speed of a boat at different TWA. We are approaching this goal from several directions, which include adding a real-time update of the boat TWA to the boat mobile device displays and updating the KAIView software, as well as checking that the wind sensor readings are accurate. Today we towed K2 to calibrate the compass for this purpose. We additionally towed the boat […more]
Today we took K2 out for the first test of the year. We had hoped to test a new 18 sqm kite, but the wind was low, and we were not able to complete launching. This kite has a drastically different planform from our other kites. The trailing edge is shorter than the leading edge, which gives it more of a conical shape and means that the kite will always be more powered up. This kite also has much skinnier struts that more rapidly taper than those on our other kites. The kite struts are reinforced so they can be inflated to 10 psi (instead of 4-5 psi); we hope that this increased rigidity will offset the narrower diameter. This […more]
We had a short tow test today around the Bay. We had hoped to take advantage of a brief windy spell, but it died before we could take advantage of it. After circumnavigating Treasure Island looking for wind, we returned home. There was a lot of flotsam in the water, which made for exciting navigation off Alameda. Kai Calder, son of one of the Artemis designers, joined us on this test.
Today we took the 50 sqm kite out for the first time with the new, stiffer battens at the wing tips. The kite was still deforming a bit toward the middle, but the stiffer battens helped it hold shape near the flying lines. We’ve also been more successful at avoiding kite deformation by steering the boat to maintain optimal kite shape. With four people on board, we hit a top speed of 33.5 knots, and we were able to go up to three times the wind speed, clearing 30 knots in 10 knots of wind. It also helped to have Jacques Vincent, the co-skipper on the Hydroptere, take the helm for a bit. Near the end of the test, Greg hopped […more]
Due to stormy conditions, we started late today and brought only a 25 sqm kite, but we were lucky and missed the rain. The wind was strong, and for the first time we successfully executed multiple foiling uploop jibes. An uploop jibe facilitates foiling through the turn by pulling up on the boat when it’s most likely to drop off the foils and then powering up just after the turn, when the boat needs an extra boost of speed to keep going. However, uploop jibes are difficult because they require fast maneuvering of the kite and lots of wind in order to keep the kite from stalling above the boat and falling behind the boat. If the boat passes in […more]
The Kiteboat Project has existed in some form since 1997, when Don Montague first began attaching kites to boats. Between 1997 and 2006, Don worked with a team in Hawaii to develop kites for use with surfing canoes, small catamarans, and large motored cats; their accomplishments included wave-riding and several island crossings. Between 2006 and 2008, Don worked on modifying and testing the Trifoiler and Quadfoiler test platforms through Makani Power, a Bay Area wind power company that he co-founded in the fall of 2006. The current team began to take shape in late 2008, when the Kiteboat Project acquired funding from the Marine Science Technology Foundation and moved to its own workshop in Alameda. Since 2012, we have been operating […more]
Today we towed K2 with the Protector again. This time, we attached the load cells and the tow rope to the kite chair, to more closely approximate the kite force on the boat. After the tow test, we put up the 50 sqm red and blue kite, and we hit a new top speed with the boat, 36.3 knots! We sailed exclusively in the protected area off Alameda Point. Our data logger confirms that we exceeded 35 knots multiple times. Our previous top speed with this boat and kite was 32.5 knots. Note: Speedpuck said 37 knots, Jamie’s data logger said 36.3, which is probably more accurate; our previous top speed relied on Speedpuck’s reading. Screenshot from KAIView is attached.