THE WORLD’S FIRST NEWSLETTER DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO TRACTION KITING. THE PERFECT KITE?
Des inventors unveil purpose-built kitesailing powerhouse
French inventors Dominique and Bruno Legaignoux have introduced a radical and powerful new kite specifically for the kitesailing market. This inflated armature, curved surface kite (it’s actually a “slice” of a sphere) is very light, strong and purportedly easy to control in all winds. The Legaignoux brothers build it in sizes from 7m2 to 17m2 (75-185 sq. ft.) and claim it can be launched and controlled by one man, in deep water, without assistance.
The Legaignoux’s bring impressive credentials to kitesailing. Past French junior sailing champions, charter boat skippers and, for the past four years, full time kite inventors and developers, the 28- and 29-year-old brothers clearly do nothing halfway.
Dominique and Bruno set out with specific goals. From the start they wanted one man water launchability to maximize “time on the water” for the sailor. They wanted a stable static type kite, rather than the quick quasi-unstable dynamic types to minimize pilot error, maximize safety and thus give more time on the water. They wanted a simple, strong, aerodynamically “clean” kite to give maximum performance and minimum breakdowns. After four years of work, il seems they have succceded admirably (Kl is dying to do a product evaluation on this wing!-ed). The kite has no rigid spars and packs into a small bag. The static type flying configuration allows short 50-60 ft. flying lines, minimizing line drag and making the kite easier to launch and control. It is admirably strong-sharing with kites like Flexifoil a structure almost entirely in tension-with no complex high drag bridling system, simple two line control and lots of horsepower! The kite is patented worldwide; US patent #4,708,078.
In 1985, after just three months of waterskiing experience, the Legaignoux’s were radar timed kiteski-ing at 17 kts. in 3 ft. chop at Speed Week in Brest, France. In 1986 at Brest and again at Port St.Louis, France, in light winds, they beat most windsurfers, even those with big 8 & 9 m2 rigs, finally managing 15 kts in 10 kts of wind.
Parenthetically, the Legaignoux’s skis differ fundamentally from those used by Cory Roeseler and Dave Culp in the US. Rather than using the ski’s edging ability to provide leeway resistance, the Legaignoux’s sail their skis flat, as a windsurfer does, and gain all side force from the large fin or skeg under the board. This is more efficient than edging skis at low and intermediate speeds.
Dominique and Bruno have already undertaken an impressive waterski R&D project, having built 15 pairs of skis, all specifically for kitesailing.?They have also attached their kite to sail-boards, small catamarans, snow skis and sand yachts.
Future projects include a search for a sports manufacturer to purchase rights to and build the kite commercially; using the kite for paragliding (flying non-rigid hangliders-usually done with high effîciency parafoil wings); and developing its use over ice, snow and sand.
WHO’S WHO ?UPDATE:
Bruno and Dominique Legaignoux. (Regrettably misspelled in last issue’s Who’s Who) The Legaignoux brothers have developed and patented an innovative inflated armature curved kite capable of being launched and relaunched from the water by a solo sailor/waterskier. They have spent 4 years working on the kite and on special waterskis for speedsailing and sport sailing (featured in Kl 2/89 ): Quimper, France.