Saturday, April 30, 2011

New Select Fins

We have had a series of fin failures recently among the local sailors and all of these have been with Select fins.  I hope that this is just a co-incidence and not an indication of quality problems at Select.

Having said this I have to say that the new Select designs are really working on the water.  I tested a new S11 39cm some time ago and found it to be a great fin (see earlier post).  I found the new model to be better than the S07/SL7 fins it replaces.  We have been sceptical of the shape of the longer S11 fins (from 41cm up).  They have put a bulbous tip on the thing which just looks wrong so I have been wanting to test one of these bigger models for some time.
Hennie, one of the local power sailors has been quietly assembling a quiver of S10 fins for his JP Slalom boards. This puzzled us at first because Select bill this model as a light wind fin for wide boards - the last thing you would consider for overpowered blasting.  Hennie however, is one of the fastest sailors on the planet (45.3kn) so when he rates a piece of equipment the rest of us need to pay attention.

With all of this in mind, Andy and I were keen to test a new 43cm S10 against a new 43cm S11.  The wind played along perfectly yesterday and we rigged our 7.8's with Andy's 110l Manta and my 104l Falcon.  We took turns on each of the new fins matching each other on a tight upwind run followed by a flat out downwind blast.  Each leg is about 1.8km long.  Between these runs we did some 90 degree sailing as well.  We were pretty much overpowered on all points of sail but managed to keep everything under control and had a real blast.

What we found was interesting.  The S10 is dynamite upwind and fast downwind.  The new S11 with bulbous tip is not so good upwind but was faster downwind.  Both fins are extremely controllable.  My RS7 41cm fin would have tried to break my ankles in the same wind but the S10 and S11 were a breeze.  Very impressive.
I think the old RS7 is probably better upwind than both new models but you pay for this upwind ability when the wind picks up and your board tries to break your legs.  They seem to have softened the fins both longitudinally and in the twist and the results are very apparent - greater ease and control at speed.

Well done Select and thanks to Anthony for lending us the fins        

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