Monday, 5 June 2017

Basingstoke Kite Festival

And back at Basingstoke we were, for the 9th time in a row, and for the 5th time as part of the arena displays. Weather was mostly sunny on Saturday, more cloudy on Sunday, with rain the last hour and a half or so. As to the wind, it was the typically challenging Basingstoke wind, especially on Saturday.

We flew our current competition routine ('Chariots of Fire') and our make-it-up-as-we-go-along routine ('Adiemus'). We didn't fly well, far from it, but we tried as well as we could. Especially on Saturday, we really struggled adapting to the wind as it changed so quickly. Just prior to our first slot the wind was suitable for our standards, so we briefly warmed up with them. Wind then dropped and we switched to our ultralights. And then just as we were about to fly our first routine, the wind dropped even more, and we had to switch again, to our Cubans.

Twice we had to abandon our routine before the scheduled end, though .... The first time was on Saturday: the wind speed (or, rather, lack of it) and direction had created a 'Corner of Death' in the south-west corner of the arena. Once you got near it, you simply had to keep walking backwards to keep the kite flying, but as you walked backwards, the wind got worse ... in other words, once you're in it, you can't escape from it any more. And we weren't the only ones caught ... The second time we couldn't finish our routine was on Sunday when an Indian fighter kite swooped down over us as were flying, and circled around my lines. To avoid my lines getting cut, I immediately let my lines go slack and landed the kite. Fortunately, no damage to my lines, but I really can't understand why a kite 'flyer' (I use the ' ' deliberately ...) feels it is fun, or even acceptable, to sabotage a kite performance. To say I was unhappy is putting it mildly ...

Besides Flying Fish, the other dual-line pair was of course Team Spectrum, They flew as a pair ...

... and Carl flew two and three kites solo. Carl also got caught in the 'Corner of Death' on Saturday, by the way.

Two quad-line pairs at Basingstoke this year. First of all, the reigning UK quad-line pairs champions Amalgamation, Josh and Tom:

And secondly, a pair I'd not seen perform officially in a festival arena before (though I know Graham and Bill): the Dunstable Downs Old Gents:

As usual for my festival reports, my focus is on the pair-flying, but of course there were lots more kites in the sky. Pictures of most of these can be found here. And this lifter kite obviously belongs to us ...

Picture credit of us flying: Carl Wright

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