An old-fashioned square-rigger sailboat, traveling directly downwind, cannot travel faster than the wind. It is less efficient for two reasons: 1) By traveling with the wind, it reduces the relative windspeed, and 2) it does not collect as much wind as a sailboat traveling across the wind.
A sailboat traveling across the wind can go faster than the wind, is more efficient, because 1) its motion raises the relative windspeed, and 2) the motion adds to the area of wind collected.
The first example is in drag mode, the second example is using lift mode. If you add a propeller-type turbine to the sailboat, to extract electricity, that does NOT change the fact that the crosswind sailboat is operating in lift mode and the downwind-square-rigger sailboat is operating in drag mode. Make sense yet?
Same with a Makani machine - a crosswind sail pulling a propeller along. Lift-based.
If a person wants to say the Makani wind energy system is a drag-based machine due to the load providing “drag” against the working surfaces, then all lift-based turbines are drag-based machines.
If the thrust force on Makani’s spinning secondary rotor is said to categorize the Makani device as “drag-based”, then the thrust force on a kite-reeling rotor or kite flying a crosswind pattern is also “drag”, which would make kite-reeling devices drag-based devices too. They do operate on the well-established drag principle of the working surfaces being “dragged” downwind.
Now the fact that the working surfaces achieve this downwind thrust force by rotating blades or a kite flying a pattern is just another way to harness a higher amount of thrust force from a larger area. A larger, stationary (non-crosswind-flying) kite of the same area, could achieve the same thing, and it would be called a drag machine.
So, to my way of thinking, it would be the kite-reeling concept that has aspects of both a lift-based machine and a drag-based machine, NOT the Makani-type devices. Still, overall, I would say the kite-reeling machine operates in a similar fashion to a drag-based or savonius-type device, even though it uses lift to achieve that, it does not take advantage of the high speed of the working surfaces to directly drive a generator at high-speed, but instead throws away that high-speed motion, instead using the low speed of the resulting thrust force to spin a generator using a gearbox. And the working surfaces have an upwind phase where they use power rather than generating power, characteristic of a drag-based, Savonius-type machine. As you point out, the theoretical efficiency is that of a drag-based machine such as a Savonius.