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Washing big foils

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  • Greg Walsh
    Hi Group I am a tad obsessive about cleaning my toys and I have found it a bit of a hassle to properly wash a big floppy foil after a day kiteplay. The idea of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2000
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      Hi Group

      I am a tad obsessive about cleaning my toys and I have found it a bit
      of a hassle to properly wash a big floppy foil after a day kiteplay.
      The idea of leaving salt on delicate coated kite fabric is abhorrent
      to an aging paraglider pilot like me.

      I also found dealing with great floppy lengths of fabric and lines a
      lot more messy than the simple rinsing of sailboard sails.

      This is a method of rinsing the inside and outside that I have found
      works quite well for my big ConceptAir. The CA has a velcro drain on
      each win tip. You will have to adjust the method to suit your kites.

      I put the kite in the plastic tub I use to carry wetsuits and other
      soggy stuff. Using a gentle garden spray fitting I put enough water
      in
      the tub to be able to cover the kite. I don't like the idea of
      blasting the kite fabric with a high pressure water spay.

      I also put the hose inside the velcro drain on the tip and put
      several
      litres of water inside the kite. A bit of very gentle swooshing
      follows to make sure all the fabric is properly wet.

      Working from the tip I gently ease the kite out of the water. The
      idea
      is to gently ease the water inside through the cells. ***NEVER***
      apply more than finger pressure to the fabric. The fabric of the kite
      must never bear the weight of the water inside. You don't want to
      stretch the fabric or strain the seams.

      As the kite comes out of the water I feed it up onto a drying rack
      made of a couple of lengths of 50mm plastic pipe hanging from my
      garage roof.

      Make sure the drain at the other tip is open. When you reach the
      other
      tip make sure most of the water and any sand is drained out of the
      tip
      drain and the kite is hanging from the drying rack. A fair amount of
      water drips off the kite but it only makes a small puddle. Carefully
      keeping the kite over the tub means most of the water drips back into
      the tub.

      The kite will dry pretty well overnight and be completely dry in two
      days. Usually the tips stay a bit damp as water drains down. The kite
      dries much faster if you inflate it with a vacuum cleaner or a
      **COLD** hair dryer. It also looks pretty cool having a fully
      inflated
      7 metre foil hanging from the roof of the garage. It will be
      completely dry inside and out overnight.

      I don't wash my kite after every use. I think excessivve washing
      would cause more wear and tear on the fabric. I'm past the stage of
      drowning it or getting really wet and sandy after a day of
      kitesurfing
      so I only wash it at the end of a weekend or if the forecast looks
      like there's not going to be any kitesurfing for a few days. I may
      wash it if I've dropped it on the water or if there is several days
      of
      accumulated salt. A quick lick will tell if it needs to be washed.
      (Don't let your girlfriend catch you licking your kite. She might get
      jealous.)

      After you've done the kite you can then wash wetsuits etc in the same
      water then pour the water on the garden. All this washing can be done
      in about 15 minutes and can be done in the relative comfort of the
      garage. A good thing with out short Autumn days and chilly nights.

      Greg
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