The Mortal asks:

What should I anchor to?

The Kite Oracle replies:

One of the most ingenious proposals for solving the kite anchor problem comes from Mark DeRoussier. He suggests bringing a crate of beer to tie your line to. You must, of course bring sufficient beer that there is still enough weight to restrain your kite when you have drunk a few bottles, but this problem is limited, as the empty bottles provide a solution to the problem that you have drunk a lot of beer an there are no toilets near the flying field. In this way, the ballast can be maintained throuout the day.

A good choice of anchor is the tow-hook on a car. This is both capable of anchoring a large kite and easy to move round the field. Note, however that while a car can handle large kites, there *is* a limit, after which the car will start being dragged down the field until it hits something solid. This can be pretty difficult to explain to insurance companies.

A simple peg driven into the ground is cheap and effective. A simple tent-peg is sufficient for smaller kites, while larger pieces of iron sill secure more sky-art. When using pegs to secure the sort of toys that Bob Anderson plays with, one peg is not sufficient - drive in another couple of pegs behind and tie them to the first peg, to hold it firm. Another technique is to use a piece of angle-iron, with holes drilled down each side (rather like a piece of Dexion shelving, but much heavier), layed flat on the ground and with a peg driven through each hole.

On many flying fields, you will find that the landlord had provided a series of stakes roght round the perimiter, which are handy to use, but beware of the barbed wire which they tend to stretch between them - if the wind is not exactly perpendicular to the fence, your kite will need little encouragement to use this to rip it'sself to pieces. These fences may look sturdy enough to use for large kites, but beware what happened to a certain New Zealand flier: The kite ripped out the post, which hung in the air, suspended by the fence-wire. The kite continued to pull, ripping out the next post, then the next and so on, untill the flier was left with a lot of explaining to do...

By far the best solution on the beach is to use a sandbag. Either a postbag, or for big stuff, one of the large bags used for transporting sand and gravel. These are convenient to bring to the beach, contain no sharp objects and will when full restrain very large kites.

It is worth considering carefuly how you want the system to fail if it is overloaded. There are several places to choose from:

Loss of grip against the ground

If you are using a sandbag, this is a small problem, as you can jump on the bag to hold it firm. The same problem with a car can be solved in a similar manner, except that any damage caused to this anchor is more expensive to repair. If it is a peg that works loose, then it may do so without warning, providing you with a spiked metal high-speed projectile capable of initiating an expensive lawsuit. You are reminded of the British flier who tied off to a telegraph pole that he found sticking out of the beach. The kite pulled it clean out of the ground and proceeded to drag it throught the neighbouring town, where he had to follow with his cheque book.

Failure of the anchor

If the kite manages to break off the top of your peg, the front of your car or remove your carabina from your sand-bag, then again, you will have a dense flying object seeking out something expensive to hit downwind.

Failure of the line

Whether the line fails at the top, middle or bottom, the release of tension will cause the line to slice across the flying field, seeking out people to hurt.

Failure of the kite

If you make everything else strong enough, it may be time to find the weakest part of your kite. In a sparred kite, it may well be a spar that snaps. In a soft kite, there is more choice: perhaps the removal of one or more keels, perhaps the simultaneous failure of all of the bridles (more likely than it sounds). Peter Lynn is noted for designing the bridle to fail in a manner that is easy to repair.
You owe the Kite Oracle a crate of beer.
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