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On The Water and In The Air

Posted by Tom Benedict on 12/06/2012

Two big landmark events happened last weekend: we got the boat out on the water, and I had my turn with the World-Wide KAP Banner.

Sailing was… Well… You know that song, “Feels Like The First Time” by Foreigner? Yeah, it felt like the first time. Felt like the very first time. In case anyone thinks this means it was wonderful, passionate, and opened new vistas to us, you missed the point: It was awkward, bumbling, kinda messy, full of mistakes, but we all came away smiling.

In a place where the wind never truly dies, you can only go so far rigging a boat in the yard. A bunch of little stuff still needed to be done when we rigged the boat at the harbor. It took us two hours and involved more than a few mistakes. But finally we were ready to put in. I’d forgotten how easy it is to control the power on a cat, so we tried sailing out of the harbor with only the jib. We also completely forgot to put the daggerboards down. The result? We almost side-slipped into the harbor wall! Eventually we sorted it out.

Once the main was up and the boards were down, we found the boat pointed well. We were able to point 45 degrees to the wind and still make good headway. The helm balance was almost perfect, with just a slight bit of weather helm. The jib furler worked perfectly, and the main halyard winch worked well enough for the purpose. Our tacks were anything but picture-perfect, but eventually we made it out of the harbor and sailed as far south as the Mauna Kea Resort. Rydra asked that we turn around at that point, so we tacked back and headed home.

We weren’t done with the mistakes, unfortunately. Despite blowing every tack and having overwhelming evidence that we could bring the boat to a standstill at will, I was concerned about sailing into the harbor under full sail. So we lowered the main and tried to sail in with just the jib. This time we missed the harbor completely and almost hit the harbor wall. I had to jump overboard and swim/tow the boat away from a bunch of fishermen who were more than surprised to see our ineptitude. (At least they got a good laugh out of it!)

Eventually I put the main back up and we sailed in as the last of the wind died. We hosed everything down, packed everything up, and headed home alive, mostly injury-free, and smiling. Oh! And alive! Did I mention that? That’s a good thing.

We’ve got some tweaks we’re going to make before taking it out again. The battens on the main are an over-tensioned mess, I want to add stirrup ropes for climbing into the boat, and we need to come up with a better way to stow our lunch so it doesn’t get soaked. But these are minor tweaks. We’re good to go for next weekend.

And no, I took not one picture. Not. One. We were so busy sailing, the camera never came out of its case. Ah well. Next time.

The other big event was the World-Wide KAP Banner. There’s a story to this one:

Some years ago, a fellow KAPer named Ramiro Priegue came up with the neat idea of making a banner and sending it around the world to anyone who does KAP. As each KAPer received the banner, they were to sign it, take it out, photograph it from the air using a kite-lofted camera, and then pack it up and ship it to the next person on the list. His idea was warmly received, and shortly afterward the World-Wide KAP Project was born. The banner was made, and the first photograph was taken. Since then it has traveled all over the place. The banner is covered with signatures from KAPers from the far corners of the globe. It’s a piece of kiting and KAP history.

But where to photograph it? I thought about all the places I’ve flown on the island, and finally decided to take it to Anaehoomalu Bay. This is where I took my first really photogenic picture from a kite. It’s where I went when I switched from my first KAP camera, a Nikon Coolpix, to my second, a Canon Powershot. It’s where I got my kite stuck in a tree for the first time. It’s where I crashed my first rig. In a way it’s a part of my own KAP history. Plus, it’s gorgeous there.

I walked out to a spot where an old marine diesel had washed ashore ages ago. The engine is rusty to the point of being mummified. The thing is so old, it shows up in maps of the area. It’s one of my favorite KAP subjects. I pulled the banner from its bag and laid it out in the sand next to the engine. It was great seeing all the signatures everyone had put on the banner. There was artwork, logos, cartoons, names, stories, all kinds of things. I wanted to stop and look at them all, but I only had a short time to photograph the banner. I found myself wishing I could take a picture so I could read them all at my leisure. Then I had to laugh: That’s exactly what I was doing!

So without further ado, the banner for the World-Wide KAP Project at Anaehoomalu Bay, on the Big Island of Hawaii:

WWKB and Diesel

WWKB Hawaii

Posing with WWKB

WWKB Anaehoomalu Bay Vertical Panorama

Clear skies and fair winds.

– Tom

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