Anchoring Big Kites

When you head out to the field with any hard-pulling kite, you have several options for how you will anchor it for optimal performance. Which option you choose depends on the space you have, wind strength and stability, and the kite or kites you plan to fly.

Standard Anchor

Standard, or Single-Point Anchor: This is the traditional way to anchor a kite. The main benefit is that it is easy and that it works. But if you are flying more than one kite, you'll be using lots of room. And if your winds are unsteady, you also risk tangles and crashes. There are ways, with a bit more effort, to increase stability and performance.

Two-Point Anchor

Two-Point Anchor: Anchoring on two lines will limit side-to-side movement in light or turbulent conditions. If the kite comes down, the range from side-to-side will be restricted by the opposite line. If an anchor or line breaks, the second line will keep everything from flying away. You can also use lighter flying lines when you rely on two of them. But if wind direction shifts, you'll need to shift your anchors.

Split Bridle

Split Bridle: Splitting your bridle is similar to using two anchor points, except that you actually divide your bridle lines into two separate sections and anchor each of them. (Look closely at the picture.) This only works with some figure kites like the Octopus. The benefit is much improved flying stability in turbulent winds. If you simply tie a knot at the end of each bridle section, you can bring them together and connect a single line whenever you want to fly on one anchor point.

Multi-Kite Anchor

Multi-Kite Anchor: When space is limited, try flying more than one kite from the same anchor. For larger kites, use a separate line for each piece to maximize safety and control.. Attach a carabiner to the primary line on the higher kite and let the line from the second kite slide through it. This will keep both kites locked in the same vertical area. Make sure your anchor is very secure.

Multi-Kite Lifter

Multi-Kite Anchor with a Lifter: Another way to place more than one kite at the same anchor point is to use the higher kite as a lifter to support and stabilize the lower kite. A "Pilot Point is connected to the top of the lower kite with a carabiner at the end. The lifter line slides through the carabiner. In lighter winds, a lifter will help launch and sustain several kites at one anchor. But again, make sure your anchor is very secure. See our Pilots Pilot FAQ for more information.

Tether Anchor

Tether Anchor: One final option is to anchor a strong line perpendicular to the wind and then attach several kites into this "tether" with shorter lines. This is another way to maximize the amount of sail you fly in a limited space. Increased safety is another benefit.

No matter which option you choose, make sure your anchor is solid. I've seen people connect 1200 pound flying line into 200 pound tie-downs or attach large kites to car bumpers and forget to set the brake. Consider where the weakest link in your flying system will be. And make certain the anchor you use is well-suited to the surface you'll be anchoring to.

Anchor Spikes Spike Assortment Sand Anchors

Much of this material is from a lecture Al Sparling, Susie and I presented at the last AKA convention. Thank you Al and Allan Robb for the illustrations.

GKPI offers a variety of straps, spikes, and sand anchors designed to make sure your kite stays where you put it. Check them all out in our Line, Anchor, and Accessories Pages.


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