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Kite Anchors

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Cascaded Dog Stake Anchor

Cascaded kite anchor

I got this idea to increase the holding power of those corkscrew-style "dog stakes" (found in pet supplies) by combining two together. The pulley and cable enables it to remain effective even if the wind changes direction. Part of the inspiration came from a scheme for a cascaded kite bridle.

The stakes aren't fully screwed into the ground for these photos, because the grass would obscure parts of the stake. For this scheme to work well, it's best to keep the two stakes fairly close together. I'm putting them a foot or so apart, for 8 feet of cable.

If the stakes are too far apart, the kite gets a mechanical advantage. Imagine pulling down or sideways on a clothesline - it's easy to rip out the anchor bolts or snap the clothesline.

Cascaded kite anchor, pulled to one side

Here I've simulated an 80 degree change in the wind direction. Any pull on the pulley is still distributed equally to the two stakes. If the flying line's angle above ground is high enough, it should easily pass over the downwind stake, and be able to turn completely backwards.

That's also partly why I like spiral dog stakes. They don't care what direction you pull in, they won't slip out easily, unlike a tent peg driven in at an angle.

Pulley section

Detail of the pulley section. The carabiner is optional, you could use any connection scheme you want. The link between the carabiner and the pulley is permanent part of the assembly, and has a threaded closure for more strength (compared to most inexpensive carabiners). It's rated at 880 pounds. The pulley itself is only rated for something like 480 pounds, but that can easily be upgraded in the future. It has a spring clip to retain the removeable pulley axle.

Stake section

Detail of one of the ends of the cable. The cable is 1/8" inch twisted steel, rated for 1200 pounds. I can't say for sure what force the three clamp fasteners can take.

Right now, I'd say that the swivel rings on the dogstakes are the weakest point. Even so, the cable and pulley assembly could be used on any other type of stake or anchor. For instance, with a longer cable you could gang two sand anchors together.

Here's the real gimmick with this system - If you make two more pulley and cable assemblies, you can then put in four dog stakes, each pair with it's own pulley and cable. Next, you take the third pulley and cable assembly and hook the cable ends to the pulleys of the two that are connected to the stakes.

I don't see why you can't build it up to use 8 stakes, or more, doubling each time, provided the components toward the kite line tie point are beefed up.

[note: As of May 29, 2009, I still haven't actually tried it out with a real kite.]

Stake comparison

stake comparison closeup

While we're on the subject of dog stakes as kite anchors, here are two different models. The top one was about Cdn$8.00 or so, from a hardware store. The bottom one was Cdn$3.00 from a "dollar store". I would only use the cheap one for smaller single-line kites.

The three features of interest here are:

  • All parts of the top one are made from much thicker steel rods.
  • The swivel part of the cheap one does not wrap around itself, only around the stake. It would be more likely to straighten out and fall off.
  • The ring on the bottom stake is merely (and poorly) butt-joined to close the circle. A line or carabiner could easily pull out through the gap.

So, you get what you pay for.

Coming soon...

Barry Ogletree's wonderful anchor strap and pulley pull-down strap that I've recently received. main index < kites <