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Ray's World Adventures (pre) 1996

Another World Record for Ray Bethell

 Commemorative Certificate
Non-stop multi-kite flying for 12 hours and 12 minutes
on August 18, 1994 at the Washington State
International Kite Festival!


By Alec Marshall


It is the 18th of August 1994, and this is the day that Ray Bethell may go for a new World Record. Ray and I are on the beach at 6:30 AM and the winds are very light, less than 1mph. We set out his lines and 3 different sets of kites: Dark Stars from the UK, Peregrines and Kestrels from the USA. Ray tries them all and decides on flying the Kestrels as they were flying the best in this very light wind. But he was still having to do a lot of walking backwards to keep the kites off the ground.

At 7:00 AM Mel Edlund, also from Vancouver, arrives to help. We ask Ray if he was going to go for it or wait to see what tomorrow will be like and he responds, "I will let you know in a few moments." He was still having a hard time in keeping the kites airborne. At that moment the wind started to increase to 2-4mph and Ray says "Lets go for it, Alec!" I recorded the time on the log sheet, 7:10am, and the first 3 witnesses signed in. There was no shortage of witnesses even that early in the morning, every one wanted to help. Some of the witnesses had helped certify his other records and they kept coming back through out the day talking to Ray and wishing him encouragement and good luck, not that he needs any.

 Ray setting the record This man just loves to fly, the first 3.5hrs were very tough the winds were up and down 1-5mph, at one time I thought Ray was going to loose them when the wind really dropped off around 10:30am. He was continuously walking backwards in his efforts to keep the kites airborne. After covering about a 100yards he said, "I think it is game over, Alec." Then Mel shouted, "Hang in there, Ray, the wind is picking up. I can feel it on my bare legs." All of a sudden Ray started to walk forward! The wind was getting stronger and stronger and Ray shouted: "Good Stuff !" The winds stayed a steady 10-12mph for the rest of the day, just right for his demonstration routine and that is just what it was -- an all day demonstration. He never stopped, continuously flying his 3 kites simultaneously like a Team with passes, loops, dives, wraps, refueling, low groundwork, and his new move the Maple Leaf Split, a real crowd pleaser. His kites weave and soar with the wind he had the crowds that were watching him mesmerized. People spent hours watching him perform his kite magic. The commentators did a great job of keeping everybody informed of Ray's progress every 30 minutes or so.

When Ray was only a few minutes away from his last years record of 8 hours 42 minutes the announcer had a countdown at the last minute bringing every one in to the start of a new World Endurance record with a "9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1". The applause was deafening along with whistling, and cheering by thousands of people. It was a wonderful feeling so I went over to Ray and said excitedly, "Ray you have done it and you are now 5 minutes in to a New World Record!" He replied:" Good Stuff , Alec! Now I can really do some flying." The crowds that were gathered around him roared with laughter. And he certainly did just that for another 3hrs and 30mins, establishing a new World Record of simultaneously flying 3 full size kites none-stop -- that is no tea, pee, or beer breaks, just continuously flying -- for 12 hours 12 minutes!

 Alec Marshall with Ray in the background The record was made official with well over 150 recorded signatures from witnesses and officials at the Long Beach Washington 13th Annual International Kite Festival plus thousands of Spectators. Congratulations Ray!

Mel, Minky and myself, plus all the witnesses and spectators were very proud to be part of this wonderful achivement, A soon as the kites touched ground Gordon Wensley from Victoria, just like at all of Ray's other World Record attempts, was there to give Ray a couple of well deserved 'Cold ones' along with congratulations and a hearty hand shake. "If you had stayed up any longer I would have drunk them myself! I mean how long do you expect a full-blooded Canadian to stand around all day with a couple of beers in his kite bag" he said to Ray with a huge grin on his face.

Ray writes:

I would like to personally thank the four man safety crew who stood by all day to keep the event safe. Also big thanks to Alec Marshall for doing an awesome job of making sure witnesses sign in and out on the record and witness sheets. Without such help this World Record could not have been achieved.

I thank you one and all,

Ray




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