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The Beaufort Wind Scale

For best performance most kites are designed to fly between certain wind speeds, however some kites will fly in a wide range of wind speeds.

The Beaufort scale was long in use as a system for estimating wind speeds. It was introduced in 1806 by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort (1774-1857) of the British navy to describe wind effects on a fully rigged man-of-war sailing vessel, and it was later extended to include descriptions of effects on land features as well. Today the accepted international practice is to report wind speed in knots (1 knot equals about 1.85 km, or 1.15 mi, per hour).

The Beaufort scale is divided into a series of values, from 0 for calm winds to 12 and above for hurricanes. Each value represents a specific range and classification of wind speeds with accompanying descriptions of the effects on surface features, as follows:

For more precise readings, wind-speed meters can be bought from kite shops or yacht chandlers.

Please note:      For your own safety you should not fly a kite in winds which are stronger than a Force 6 on the Beaufort Scale. Please be a sensible kiter.

 

Beaufort*

Avg miles
per hour

Avg km
per hour

Knots

Surroundings

0
(calm)

 0 0 0-1 Smoke rises vertically and the see is mirror smooth

1
(light air)

1.2-3

2-5

1-3

Smokes moves slightly with breeze and  shows direction of wind

2
(light breeze)

3.7 – 7.5

6 – 12

4-6

You can feel wind on your face and hear the leaves start to rustle

3
(gentle breeze)

8 – 12.5

13 – 20

7-10 Smoke will move horizontally and small branches start to sway. Wind extends a light flag

4
(moderate breeze)

13 – 18.6

21 – 30

11-16 Loose dust or sand on the ground will move and larger branches will sway, loose paper blows around, and fairly frequent whitecaps occur

5
(fresh breeze)

19.3 - 25

31 – 40

17-21 Surface waves form on water and small trees sway

6
(strong breeze)

25.5 - 31

41 - 50

22-27 Trees begin to bend with the force of the wind and causes whistling in telephone wires and some spray on the sea surface

7
(moderate gale)

32 - 38

51-61 28-33 large trees sway

8
(fresh gale)
 

39 - 46

62-74 34-40 twigs break from trees, and long streaks of foam appear on the ocean

9
(strong gale)

47 - 55

75-89 41-47 branches break from trees

10
(whole gale) 

56 - 64

90-103 48-55 trees are uprooted, and the sea takes on a white appearance

11
(storm)

65 - 74

104-119 56-63 widespread damage

12 (hurricane)

75+

120+

64 +

structural damage on land and storm waves at sea

 

General Kiting Info
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