So you want to go kiteboating! Normally a boat is bigger than a board
so to kiteboat you normally require 2 or more kitesailors; however, you can also kiteboat using a special small
catamaran made specifically for kiting: KiteCat:
Eric goes kiting with a KiteCat on a light wind day
Photo by Bill Barker
Contrary to common beliefs, kiteboating is lots of funs
especially when you share a it with friends or with family members.
Furthermore, you normally don't need much wind to kiteboat.
As long as the kite can fly and water relaunch comfortably, you can go
kiteboating. On the other the hand, when it is over 25 knots, you will
definitely want to go kitesurfing instead. So the best wind range for
kiteboating is from 5 to 20 knots.
To kiteboat you need the following equipment:
A water relauncheable traction kite, lines and
associated control device. As you don't have the same flexibility
as in kitesurfing, select the kite that is easy to relaunch (such as a
Flat LEI). Similar to kitesurfing, make sure you have a safety
release system that you can depower the kite at any moment. Furthermore,
you may want to use a kite that provides some depowering capability such
that you don't have to come back to the beach/dock and change to a
smaller or larger kite as frequent. Similar to kitesurfing, you would
need a number of kites to cover the whole wind range.
A boat, normally a sailboat
or a catamaran without a mast is good.
Some attachment point on the deck just forward of the
center board to attach the kite (via the chicken loop in case of
A helmet for the kitesailor piloting the kite
A harness for the kitesailor piloting the kite
The same boat safety equipment you normally needed on a
boat: life jackets, flares, lines, paddle, etc.
You normally don't jump while kiteboating so just select
a kite good enough for cruising. For a small boat of 2 kitesailors,
just select the kite slightly smaller than the kite you would normally use
for kitesurfing in that condition.
The best place to go kiteboating is a large beach where the wind blows
parallel to the beach (cross shore) where you can simply launch your
kite on the beach, push your boat into water, attach your kite to the
boat and then go.
Otherwise, you would need some flat water area where you
can launch your kite from the boat (you may use some device such as the
Turbo Launcher to facilitate the water launching).
Before starting to learn kiteboating, it is recommended that you already have some
experience flying a traction kite. If you have never flown a traction kite, please
review the Kite piloting and the Kite power controlling sections before
How To Start?
Kiteboating is simple, simply launch your kite, attach it to your boat and steer the kite
in the direction you want to go. The force of the kite will pull the boat in the
direction it goes. You can attach your kite to any place on the deck
just forward of your center board. Just make sure you have some
very firm and solid connection to the deck.
If the boat is small and you have enough beach space to launch the kite,
you can simply launch your kite, jump of the boat, attach the kite to the
boat and then go. Use the technique describe in Kite piloting
to launch and land your kite.
However, if the boat is big or you don't have enough beach space, you can
launch your kite in flat water. If possible, it is better to prepare
the kite of the land and then bring it on to the boat to launch. If
not, it is normally doable but not easy to prepare the kite on the boat. You
may consider using the
Turbo Launcher to assist in water launching of the kite.
To facilitate launching and relaunching of the kite in the water, it is
also desirable to rig a 5th line.
Similar to kitesurfing, if you have enough power to get going, simply lock your kite at
30 - 60 degrees in the forward moving direction.
If you don't have enough power, move your kite in a sine wave pattern to get going.
Similar to normal sailing, you use the rudder to turn the boat
downwind or upwind.
One of the major differences between kiteboating and normal sailing is
the boat position
and sailor weight distribution. In normal sailing, the boat is heeled
leeward and the sailors normally stay on the windward side of the boat
to counter the heeling force. In kiteboating, due the low kite
attachment point, the boat normally does not heel at all and the sailors
can stay in the center or anywhere on the boat.
How To Jibe?
It is not easy to tack a sailboat so to change direction, it's better
to jibe. You jibe a kiteboat similar to jibing in kitesurfing:
Turn the kite up to zenith
Turn the kite to the other direction
Steer the boat in the new direction
It is very easy to jibe a sailboat and normally it is more less feel very
natural to any kitesailor.
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