The Tracer, and a possible problem with the funky sail.

In article <BupC5n.tF@news.cso.uiuc.edu> mjg51721@uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Michael James Gebis) writes:

>Yes, that's right, the pattern is 
>non-symmetrical.  This seems to lead me to conclude that stretching of the
>sail will be very bad, as it will stretch in an odd and non-aerodynamic

Whoops.  I've already written one fairly lengthy response to this question,
and I stand by what I said--that the Tracer does not *suffer* from an
assymetrical sail, nor does heavy use cause problems--if anything, the Tracer
improves with age.

Having said that, let me relate to you some details from a conversation I had
with TC Powers today.

For those who don't know:  TC is a local guy who started sewing kites a couple
of years ago.  Things got a bit out of hand, he went out and blew $1500 or
so on a Bernina computerized machine, and eventually started working with/for
Dean Jordan of Jordanaire kites after moving to Florida.  TC had some input 
into the design of the Pro, and did a lot of the sewing for those high-end
kites, especially a lot of the custom sails.  About 5 months ago, TC left
Jordanaire, bummed around for a while, then moved to Cincinatti for 3 months.
He just showed up in DC today, and, in a typically TC move, went out to fly
before worrying about finding somewhere to stay.

What this has to do with the Tracer:

TC tells me that he's now working for Mike Simmons on the Tracer.  He's been
sewing a bunch of custom sails for Mike, and working out a lot of new design
features to improve the kite.  This includes a completely new bias profiling
both on the sail *and* on a number of new panels.  In addition, the sail
will have new graphics.  TC also hinted to me about a change in the trailing
edge tensioning line.  He looked at my Tracer and asked if I only had the one
line in the trailing edge.  He then said that he couldn't reveal anything,
but strongly suggested I take a look at one of his new Tracers while I'm
at SunFest this week.  

I'm unclear as to what the current status of the Tracer is.  The modifications
to just the sail suggest a longer construction time then on the original
Tracer.  I don't know if there will be a "pro" version of the Tracer, or
if all Tracers will have these changes, or whatever.  I'll be sure to
mention anything I find out about this week.

You heard it here first!  ;-)


john nicoll (jkn@ohm.york.ac.uk)

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