Professor Brian Cunningham of Bolton England has been awarded the Guinness Book of Records award for travelling the longest distance in a kite powered buggy: 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) across land by kite power in September 2004.
The original crossing of the Gobi Desert was reported by The Manchester News and posted in Best-Breezes in a Sept. 28, 2004 posting here.
During his records setting journey, Cunningham was accompanied by his wife, Christine, who acted as first aider and photographer, and two other expedition members, Kieron Bradley, aged 32, and Peter Ash, aged 36, both from Norfolk.
Cunningham is no stranger to adventure. In 2002, he attempted to cross the Antarctic in a kite buggy but failed when he hit one of the most windless periods on record. At present he does not have any plans for additional kite traction adventures.
The buggy used by Cunningham was specially designed for the long distance ride and for the conditions of the Gobi Desert. It was named the "Parastorm Gobi Buggy". The buggy carried Cunningham at speeds up to 50 mph and was equipped with independent rear suspension, adjustable shocks, ride-height adjustment, wheel camber adjustment, full underseat belly pan, 18” four-ply wheels all round, quick-release off-line flying system, oversize splashguard, and a special rear axle brace.
On June 20, 2006 Anne Quemere passed the mid-point in her solo voayage across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Brittany, France. As previously reported in Best-Breezes, Anne's solo journey under kite power is a truly amazing feat of modern technology, kite traction and individual skill and perseverance.
Each and every day I have followed Anne's adventures on her web site. Reading her postings has been an experience that provided insight into her highs and lows as she has battled heavy seas as well as dead calms. Her fortitude is remarkable and I encourage you to visit her site to watch her journey continue to unfold.
The vessel has been rigorously tested by the storms of the Atlantic and survived a capsizing, just as it was designed to do. The Naish kites have been excellent traction engines whenever winds were in the proper range for flight.
Keep up the great work Anne - you are a true kite traction pioneer!
Note: all photos and map courtesy of Anne Quemere's web site.
Anne Quemere of France is an accomplished solo adventurer. Having crossed the Atlantic Ocean by rowing solo in both directions (westward in 2002 and eastward in 2004) she had already established her reputation as a courageous and determined adventurer.
Anne Quemere's latest undertaking is to pilot her specially built Oceankite boat across the North Atlantic from New York to Brittany, France entirely under kite power. The trip is expected to last from five to six weeks and will cover a distance of over 5,600 kilometres. A new adventure in kite traction is under way!
Oceankite, built by Marc Ginisty of composite materials, is designed to provide comfort and safety to Anne during the arduous crossing of the mighty North Atlantic. Once underway, Anne will be on her own as her support team will only monitor her progress through modern communications and GPS location systems powered by solar arrays. It will truly be a solo voyage.
Oceankite is equipped with eight kites for traction although only one will be used at a time. The craft has a length of 5.5 metres and a beam of 2.15 metres. It is designed to be self-righting in case it capsizes in heavy seas. There is space to store the extra kites, foodstuffs and various navigational equipment for the long weeks of the ocean crossing. The entire unit acts as autonomous cell which provides Anne with a degree of comfort and protection while handling the seas under kite power.
Each traction kite is a four line, 16 square metre, multi-celled inflatable kite. It is steered and directed by a bar to which four kite lines are attached. A harnessing hitch provides the anchor for the pulling force of the kite on the boat. Anne then steers the kite by maneuvering the control bar, much as a kiter flies a quad line kite. Multiple kites were packed in case of damage to a kite or in the event that the boat capsizes and the kite totally fills with water and cannot be launched again.
The route that Anne is taking will enable her to harness some of the power of the mighty Gulf Stream. This current moves at a rate of 150 kilometres per day and will provide some additional forward impetus to her self-contained boat. However, due to the current's fairly constant direction it can also carry a boat into storm paths. Extra time may be required to work against the current and navigate around some weather systems as they emerge.
Anne is providing an on-line account of her journey and it will be interesting to watch the progress of this amazing woman in the days to come. You can follow Anne's accounts on her web site and track her progress as well as read her journal entries daily.
All in all, Anne's current kite sailing adventure will be an exciting and rigorous challenge. Good luck Anne! May your journey be blessed by the Best Breezes possible!
For a video of Oceankite under way with Anne Quemere at the controls, visit the blog/website of Le Passeport Oceanique Universel. Scroll down to the June 2, 2006 entry entitled: "Video et ziqmu". The video loads quickly in high speed and is definitely worth the wait if you are on a dial up connection. The video features a helicopter view of Anne Quemere directing Oceankite under full kite power on modest seas. The view is dramatic!
For anyone who has ever chased after a kite when their child simply let go of the string, Garret Leiva of Michigan has captured the moment in a funny and warm hearted look at the magic moments of kiting with a young child.
Writing in The Grand Traverse Herald, Traverse City, Michigan, Garret tells the intriguing story of his mad dash to rescue a Dora the Explorer kite that he had handed to his daughter so she could enjoy flying.
Garret - many of us have been in a similar situation - but few of us have written about it with such terrific insight. Visit Garret's account "Chasing After Kite, Fleeting Youth" for an interesting read.
Kites are often used as props in advertising layouts in both print and video media. They make an interesting and active backdrop that conveys a sense of playfulness, colour, and friendship. The intent is to draw the viewer into a pleasant and relaxing situation and help focus positive attention on the product being sold.
One interesting variation on this theme is the use of a kite in a billboard advertising a small Nissan urban car that is gaining attention in both Asian and European markets.
The billboard presents the full image of the car in a typical street scape setting. The kite is attached to the billboard by some sort of wire to make sure that it "flies" above the street scene. Cleverly, the kite appears attached to the passenger side of the car with a line shown in the graphic image. To get a larger view, click on the image above.
The 3-D effect of the kite flying in the sky is quite dramatic and shows the appeal of kites in almost all settings.
Photo source: BillBoarddom