Wednesday 2 August 2023

Portsmouth Kite Festival

With the kite festivals at Seal Bay, Brighton and Bognor cancelled, Portsmouth was our first and last two-day festival this year. 

Weatherwise, it was a festival of two halves. Saturday was sunny with a brisk wind, which gradually increased over the day up to about 23mph. Sunday was overcast, with occasional rain or drizzle, and variable wind, from 11-30+mph.

As always in my festival blog posts, the focus is on sport kite pairs and teams. Let's do the quad teams first.

The Decorators were present with a 6-man line-up and flew their usual solid displays, whatever the wind threw at them.

Do have a close look at the line-up, though .... Chris Goff had joined the team for the weekend!

It was good to see The Flying Squad back at a festival again; it has been a while since I heard 'Hindi Diamonds'!

The BercKite Team from France had their debut at Portsmouth.

And the same went for The Quad Mob, a new UK team, who flew on Sunday only.

It was really interesting to see four quad-line teams having very different styles of flying and interpreting music.

From quad-line teams to a quadline pair: Guido and Luca Maiocchi (M&Ms) from Italy. Excellent displays with their 'emmenthaler cheese' quads!

So on to dual line pairs and teams!

Fenix Pair is half Dutch (Ingeborg Aarts), half Belgian (Stephan Fiers), and they have flown at Portsmouth before a number of years ago. Nice flowing routines, flying vented L'Atelier Avatar kites.

Fracture attended with a 3-man line-up, Matt Constable having joined the team recently. Using vented Fury kites, they have a much more aggressive style of flying, which suited the strong winds.

And then Flying Fish, of course! We flew our Airdynamics T5 V2 kites throughout the weekend, adapting them to the prevailing winds with the use of patches and brakes. Saturday saw us fly wearing our new outfits for the first time at a kite festival!

On Sunday, we flew our first slot with all patches on, as the wind had dropped a bit.

Both Fenix Pair and Fracture flew their routines before our second slot of the day, when the wind had really picked up. and their Avatar and Fury kites really streaked across the sky. Warned by that, we added back brakes, and that really made the kites very easy to handle. I do think our second Sunday slot, in the strongest wind, was actually our best one of the festival.

Like with the quad-line teams, the dual-line pairs/team showed clear differences in style, Fenix Pair and Flying Fish more similar to each other than to Fracture.

Of course, Portsmouth wouldn't be Portsmouth without mega-teams!

The quad-line mega-team brought together 29 quad flyers!

For the dual-line mega-team (on Saturday only), Fracture, Fenix Pair, Flying Fish and the Flying Squad joined together. A veritable F-team! Four pairs/teams meant four different kites: Furies, Avatars, T5s and North Shore Radicals, and not all flew on similar line lengths. To say the kites weren't fully matched is a bit of an understatement (especially the North Shores flew much faster than the others) and in the strong wind, that resulted in a crazy hectic mega-team! We did survive without major mishaps, though.

Several more pics of the festival, including some of the single-line kites, are here. But I do want to highlight one individual sport kite performance. Carl Robertshaw flew a moving tribute to Sinead O'Connor, flying his Fulcrum quad to her 'Troy'.

Picture credits: Franca Perletti (Flying Fish), Helen Ribchester (Fenix Pair, Flying Fish, dual-line mega-team), Chris Matheson (dual-line mega-team), Barry Savell (dual-line mega-team)

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