Brighton kite festival was a bit of a festival of two halves: Saturday the weather was warm and cloudy, although it brightened up nicely later in the day, but Sunday was quite damp, with the drizzle turning into rain at times. The wind on both days was rather variable (between 2-20 mph on Saturday, 5-15 mph on Sunday) but that seems normal for the site...
Having made it to Stanmer Park without my usual navigator, I was greeted by our friendly festival neighbours, Team Spectrum, who had kindly saved me a space next to their tent (and fed me muffins too!). Their performances during the weekend were as always great to watch, and they even managed to fly with (very wet!) tails on Sunday.
Apart from Tim Rohn and several of his friends, who showed some trick flying at various times, the only other dual-line act there was myself. So rather than two-man demonstrations, I flew to our usual music on my own. On Saturday I used my Airdynamics Taipan T5 V1, a North Shore VIP and one of the L-katz Peter Powells -it was very happy in the strong winds! On Sunday the only kite to come out was a North Shore Radical.
It felt rather strange to be in the arena flying on my own, so I found some other folks kind (mad?) enough to join me. Simon Dann (of The Flying Squad fame) enjoyed flying the old North Shores, the very same kites he flew many years back in his dual-line team-flying days. He hasn't lost his skills! I reckon we should do that more often, although we have to work on a good name. Somehow, "Fish Squad" doesn't really do it for me...
Carl from Team Spectrum also joined me a couple of times. As "Flying Spectrum" (according to commentator Simon Dann) we flew North Shores, and I even persuaded Carl to fly the Peter Powells with me. Unfortunately, right at that moment the wind dropped a bit, so the PPs weren't on their best behaviour... I don't think he will be rushing out to buy one for himself, but it was still fun to see the two in the sky, and great to have a chance to fly with Carl.
All in all, and despite the rain on Sunday, I had a great time at this lovely relaxed festival. It was interesting for me to fly with other people in a pair. It makes you realise how tuned in you get to your normal flying partner, and how used you are to a certain style of commands and flying. So, even though I very much enjoyed flying with Carl and Simon, and hope to to do that again at some future event, I do look forward to flying with Lex again as the regular Flying Fish!
Pictures of Irma flying solo, with Simon Dann or with Carl Wright: credit Carl/Jan Wright