Friday, October 28, 2011

Industry Stuff

Hi All
Sorry for the delay but I've been waiting for RRD's new slalom models to comment on but they seem to be taking forever so here is some random equipment news.  The testers from Surf Magazine are here testing new equipment, quite a highlight for us locals because we get the opportunity to see new models in the flesh and look at how they perform on the water against each other.  Unfortunately there is no slalom equipment this year, only wave/freestyle/freeride stuff.  Very disappointing.  The Fanatic guys are also here testing their own equipment and I spotted a 96l Hawk prototype.  It has the same width as the current 100l model so it will be thinner.  Very nice!  This board would be my idea of the ultimate freeride machine - light, fast, easy and fun.  Probably not as fast as the equivalent Rocket but so much more involving to sail.

I am a huge fan of the RRD brand and based on all the reviews and commentary out there, their slalom boards have to be among the best (specially for the advanced recreational guys).  What always disappoints me is when an admired brand gets it wrong (North's heavy sails for example) and RRD's Firemove is one such case.  Here is a fine example of a freemove design (probably one of the best) but the weights are way too high.  Their light construction 110l model weighs 7.6kg.  Totally unacceptable.  The equivalent Fanatic Skate weighs 6.3kg.  If Fanatic can get it right then the rest of the brands can too.

Gareth, my sailing partner unpacked his new Severne Gators (small sizes) this week and we rigged them.  They look really cool and it will be interesting to see how they perform.  I will report back once we have had a few runs. Let's see how they stack up against the Remedies.  He is also considering a Gaastra Savage 6.7m to replace his old GTX.  Good decision I think.  Gareth recently acquired a Rocket 105 (limited construction) and I recommended a 35cm Select S11 to complement the standard fin.  This may seem long for the board but the S11 is so manageable that you can go a little bigger than you could with the old SL7.  You may recall that we put an S11 39cm into Andre's Rocket 115 and it smokes.  The S11 is turning out to be a real star in the smaller sizes (39cm and down) and seems to work on every board in all conditions.  Perfect for the overpowered sailing done in this place.
Talk to you soon

Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Light Wind Boards

UltraSonic 147 Carbon
Starboard Ultrasonic148 
JP Super Lightwind

Manta FR 89.  

2011 Falcon 148 
                                                        Weight    Volume    Width      Length
TABOU MANTA F/R                          8.5          148          89            233
JP SUPERLIGHT                               7.         154          90            237
STARBOARD HYSONIC                    7.8           147          93           240
FALCON 148                                     7.9           148          85           230                                                                                                                       

I thought I would give you my selection of light wind boards on the market right now.  The Falcon is a 2011 model.  The 2012 Falcons only go up to 140 litres.  These boards are all great but my selection from this list would have to be the Starboard.  Not quite as light as the JP but pretty close.  This board has had stunning reviews for speed and the fact that it goes in almost no wind.  These boards aren't for everyone - the racing guys will opt for formula boards and the harder core people don't sail in light winds but for the rest of us they fill a really nice niche.  If you just want to cruise over flat water with the sun shining into the sea.  Sweet!  Find yourself a good Nitro4or5, 10m(ish) sail and experience something different.  

I favour a bit more length in this type of board so the Falcon may not be ideal.  The Tabou is a bit heavy and I think Tabou boards are so focused on handling rough conditions that they lose out on early planing (I may be wrong about this for this particular model but I don't think so).  The JP and Starboard models are, in my opinion exactly what you need for this type of board.  Well done guys - really intelligent.    

Monday, October 3, 2011

2012 Severne NCX Pro

We have just had a really good weekend's sailing with strong wind and rough but manageable water.  Andy and I were able to test a brand new 6.5m NCX Pro right out of the plastic packaging.  The sail sets nicely on the 430 Enigma and we used a Fiberspar carbon boom to keep weight down as much as possible.  The wind was a bit light when we started so I took it out on my Falcon 104/37cm fin.  The sail is light in the hand and powers up quickly accelerating to a good speed.  I would class it as a powerful 6.5m.  It was totally controllable for me but I finished my runs before the wind really picked up.  Andy went out after me and had to release some downhaul to keep speed through the gybes but the wind soon picked up and had him hanging on a bit.  The NCX is a powerful sail and when overpowered needs careful tuning to maintain control.  All in all a really smooth, fast ride.  One really classy piece of equipment!

Severne have incorporated some of the Reflex technology into this sail by putting a reflex tensioner on the 3rd batten from the bottom.  A nice touch and one which will find favor with the technical guys.  For my own quiver I would not choose a 6.5m in this model.  My new thinking is that (for me) everything under 7.0m should be a soft 6 batten sail.  I would have NCX's in 7.0m and 8.0m.  My smaller sails would be Severne Gators or Gaastra Crosses.  Other sails in this class would be Hot Sails Maui - Liquid, Maui Sails - Switch, North - XType etc.  All these sails are really quick (especially if you rig them on slalom boards) but are so light and easy to control compared to their slalom cousins.  If you have never tried rigging one of these sails on a slalom board, I urge you to try it.  You may never go back!
Talk to you soon