Thursday, January 12, 2012

PWA News

Here is some news from the PWA guys. It is what I have picked up to date and I'm sure there will be other moves in due course.  Some of these moves came as a complete surprise to me but I suppose long term brand loyalty is not really part of our sport. 

  • Micah Buzianis has left Pryde to go to Maui Sails.
  • Cyril Moussilmani has left North Sails to join the Severne team.  Cyril and Bjorn are going to be quite a force on the new Reflex3 sails.
  • Antoine Albeau has left JP Boards to join Finian on RRD.  Just watch the master on these boards!
  • Peter Volwater has left Maui Sails and Finian has moved from Pryde both to join the new Avanti brand which I will discuss briefly.
The new Avanti brand is quite an exciting development.  The designer is Dan Kaseler and looking at what they have come up with one gets the impression that they have gone out of their way to create the best race sail available today.  The whole thing is made from Technora.  Most of the battens are carbon tubes.  The downhaul pulley is a special new lightweight/low friction unit created specially for the job.  They have developed a mast range for the sails using a new technology for enhanced performance and reduced weight.  The list of innovations goes on and I urge you to visit the Avanti site and do some browsing.  Very impressive.  

One needs to see the thing performing however and it is going to be really interesting to watch how Peter and Finian do on the course.
I like the emphasis on lightness (7.7m sail weighs just over 5kg - unheard of for a full race sail) and on the use of high tech scrims and carbon tubes.  I have come under some fire from manufacturers in the past when I suggested these things (they claim to have tried them and found no benefit) so lets see how they stack up now someone else has done it.  I have always believed that you can engineer the amount of stretch you need with these scrims by orientating the weave in each part of the sail and I bet Dan has been working with this approach on his ocean yacht sails and has incorporated the principles into this new line.

One thing I would hope for is that the Avanti team has given the area of sail rotation to someone other than Dan.  He is dynamite at building fast sails but not so good at making sails which actually rotate.  I remember the first Naish Stealth wide sleeve sails which were fast but simply refused to rotate.  You had to kick, head butt and punch after each gybe to get the thing to pop.  NOT GOOD.  Hopefully someone else has handled the rotation aspect (please !!).

Talk to you soon.  We have quite a few of the PWA big guys here for the weekend and I'll give some feedback on their equipment and how they performed against each other and against the local hot racers in the next post.  Click on the picture below to enlarge it and you'll notice that Finian's toes are almost as long as his fingers (probably his secret to going as fast as he does!).            

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