Time, it has been said, marches resolutely on and leaves a record of what has gone before if we are careful to observe.
There are so many historical events over the course of time. The most recent events and happenings are well recorded and documented but can still be open to varying interpretation. The more distant events are harder to trace and often do not have many validating or corroborating sources of information. So it is with the history of the earth, of mankind, of cultures and nations, and of devices and inventions.
Several years ago, sixteen to be exact, I set out to puzzle out for myself a credible timeline of kite history. The purpose in my mind was simple: order the events and chronicle the people who had contributed to the development of the kite and used it in innovative and interesting ways. A simple task, I was sure.
Not so! Here I am sixteen years later publishing for the first time my efforts at recording a brief, and hopefully useful, chronology of the kite. I have postponed the publication of any of the timelines on this web site many times. I did this because I continued to find conflicting evidence about the order and timing of events. Revision, checking more sources, update and more revision became an ongoing state of affairs.
I believe that the timelines published here today are very accurate, but they are not infallible. As with any historical effort covering a broad scope there is room for error even with the most thorough checking of facts having been carried out.
I know that these timelines will need to be revised again and again as new information is brought forward and as conflicting evidence challenges details or dates.
I have published the timelines at this juncture because I believe in their accuracy. I know that the scrutiny of kiters and people with a deep interest in things historical will undoubtedly lead to challenges and the correction of possible errors. I welcome your input, your questions, your dialogue and your sharing of factual evidence. Only through such cooperative effort can a properly validated timeline of kite history be available for use by students in schools and for reference by kiters who would like to know more about the development of this amazing device, the kite.
To begin your journey through time and experience the chronicle of the kite, I invite you to visit the Best-Breezes Timeline of Kite History.
Please contact me if you wish more information, have questions or can suggest some sources or evidence to improve the timeline.
Bob White - Hifliercanada - October 30, 2006
Captain Jean-Luc Picard:
"Time is a companion that goes with us on a journey. It reminds us to cherish each moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we have lived."played by Patrick Stewart, from the film "Star Trek: Generations"
On August 14, 2006 Anne Quemere successfully completed the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from New York to Brittany in a special boat powered only by a kite.
Anne's historic and epic crossing was noted as follows in her daily journal on her web site:
Launched in New-York (USA) on June 18th, 2006 the Oceankite, piloted solo by Anne Quéméré, crossed the “Ile de Ouessant” this day, after some 55 days of a 3450 (total) nautical mile Atlantic Ocean crossing.
At dawn, weather conditions became extremely difficult, (North-East wind with 30 knot squalls, accompanied by heavy seas and strong currents close to the “Ile de Ouessant”), increased the safety risks. The team that met Anne took the decision to tow the Oceankite because of the heavy sea-going cargo ships.
The crossing thus ended on August 13th, 2006 at 6. 45 PM at 5°50 W. latitude.
The Connétable 2006 Challenge was a true achievement in all fields: the navigator Anne Quéméré completed this solo crossing with a new sailing concept; on the physical plain: the piloting required excellent physical conditioning as well as requiring constant attention. From a technical aspect, the Connétable prototype, conceived and produced by architect Marc Ginisty showed its true capabilities. An extremely difficult weather pattern, accompanied by long periods of calm weather during these 55 days, slowed the crossing of the Connétable.
After crossing the Finish line Anne admitted that this challenge had been more difficult than the previous two, on the Southern Atlantic in 2003 and on the Northern Atlantic in 2004, where she had paddled the complete distance.
The dramatic story of Anne's complete voyage can be found on her web site. Her accomplishment is a major milestone for kite traction and a personal triumph of determination and careful planning by both Anne and her team. Congratulations Anne!
For previous entries on this story see:
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!