Monday, January 30, 2012

Musings about Booms

Christiaan, an enthusiastic sailor from our nearby wine territory contacted me about tweaking his boom collection to make it more useable.  For his large slalom sizes he has an old Nautix Jumbo which is not stiff and for his very big formula sails he has a Gulftech Maximum boom which is.  One of his options was to cut the Gulftech boom down so that it can be used with his sails of around 7.5m.  This would do away with the floppy Nautix and still leave him with a boom long enough to carry very big sails.  The other option is to replace the Nautix with a modern stiff aluminium boom like Aeron's VGrip or Severn's Alu Race (2 good options if one is not prepared to go carbon).

The first option would save money but the extremely wide back of the boom would probably not go that well with a 7-8m freerace sail.  The big downside of this option for me however, is based more on sensitivities and aesthetics.  The Gulftech Maximum boom is, in my opinion, one of the beautiful objects of windsurfing and the thought of taking a hacksaw to it and then maybe grafting another pin mechanism onto the stumps fills me with dread.  This boom is an object which perfectly represents the "form follows function" philosophy of the Bauhaus movement.  For those of you not familiar with this stuff, the movement was established in the 1930's and their driving ethos was that if you build an object designed to perform a function you need to strip everything away which is not necessary for the object to function perfectly.  Every component needs to be well made and perfectly positioned to do its job.  If you get this right then the resulting object will have an integrity and beauty of its own.  If you get it right you create a space where art and technology merge.  Art becomes technology and technology art.  The Gulftech Maximum is a product which embodies all of this.

Anyway, Christiaan has decided to replace the Nautix rather than hack pieces off the Gulftech.  Good decision Christiaan.  Walter Gropius is looking down on us, has heaved a sigh of relief and is giving you a big thumbs up.

Good winds and I will talk to you soon.      

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