The centre has a JP Super Lightwind (165l/250cm long/95cm wide) on test and I had the opportunity to test it against Gareth on his formula board. We rigged identical sails (Gaastra Swift 9m) and pulled each down the same amount and did some varied sailing. In the light wind we sailed round the island in our lagoon and when the wind picked up we blasted back and forth on a 1.5km run across the wind.
We chose the island route first because it provides a wide range of wind and water conditions and requires you to sail across a wide variety of wind angles. In the light wind the formula board planed earlier and also stayed on the plane better through the lulls. Its 70 cm fin would have had a lot to do with this. The formula board was much better downwind but strangely, the JP proved slightly better upwind in these light conditions. Gareth's board is not that good upwind so beating it in this angle is not all that difficult. Regardless, Gareth easily won the race proving that in the light, varied conditions the dedicated racing machine had the overall advantage.
As soon as we had completed the island leg, the wind picked up and we were fully powered for our drag racing. Here the JP smoked the formula board on every run - no contest!
Here are my impressions of the good and the bad of this JP model:
The Good -
- The fin they supply with the board is a pleasant surprise. It is a carbon fin, thin and soft which results in really good control at speed. As mentioned above it allows the board to motor upwind with little effort.
- The deck of the board incorporates domed sections under each foot which give good support, comfort and confidence. A nice touch.
- The ride over rough water is comfortable and the nose never digs in regardless of the chop.
- The bottom shape is a very slight V along the entire length of the board and this makes for a comfortable ride and really easy gybes. Stand on the leeward rail and the board shoots round providing you have the speed.
The Bad -
- The board in the construction tested is far too heavy. I'm not sure whether they plan to make this model in the light construction but if they do then it would be a big improvement.
- The fin, although good, is really not powerful enough. If you are in the market for this board you should consider getting a second fin with more power for the really light conditions. When the wind picks up the standard fin is perfect.
- Ease to plane is not quite up to that of the formula board we were using.
This Super Lightwind is the bigger model in the range. I have the feeling that it may be aimed at the intermediate sailor. I think that the smaller one (154l/90cm wide and 237cm long) would be more suited to the advanced sailor and I would be interested to do exactly the same test with this model (in the light construction).
Talk to you soon