Monday, January 2, 2012

Some Medium-to-Light Wind Board Options

Joos, our local doctor and avid windsurfer approached me for some options for medium to light wind sailing.  His current board for these conditions is a 115l Manta which he sails with a 7.8 Reflex 2. His problem is that the board (74cm wide) is uncomfortable over the chop.  What should be comfortable cruising turns out to be uncomfortable thrashing over bumpy water.

I use my old Falcon 104 in these conditions and have no problem with the chop as long as the speed is manageable.  The challenge then, is to find a modern equivalent for this old war horse - something which planes easily, accelerates effortlessly and which eats through the chop.  Ideally the board should not be wider than 70cm for those of us who weigh between 75 and 85kg.

Here is a workable short list:

Tabou Manta       110l/69  cm
Tabou Manta       113/71  cm
Fanatic Falcon     113/69  cm
Starboard Isonic  107/68.5cm
JP Slalom V111   118/68  cm
RRD X-Fire         114/70  cm

Each of these boards carries big sails easily, is light and is designed to handle choppy water.  Remember that the top racers use these boards in much stronger winds than we could manage so they are all designed to remain controllable over rough water.  With a Select S10 43cm fin, a good race (or camless) 7.5m ish sail you have a light wind combination which is going to kick ass in comfort.  

I have not seen one yet but I have a good feeling about the new Tabou Manta 71/113.  Their 110l board is an awesome performer but in my opinion not quite as easy to get planing as the others on the list.  I'm sure they have introduced this new model to give that early pop.

If my sail on the new Falcon 99l was anything to go by, the 113l model will be fantastic.

The JP has a nice amount of volume for the width.  I'm not sure what this extra volume does but I'm sure they have found an advantage (possibly to keep going through the gybes in light wind where static flotation becomes a factor ??)

The RRD is something I would really like to try.  Their new tail is reported to improve early planing AND enhance control.  Nice if true.

Before I sign off there is something else you can do to enhance comfort over chop and that is to learn to handle it.  You need to ensure that you are hanging off the boom and not standing with your weight full on the board.  Newton's laws are always with us!  Your legs need to actively bend and straighten as you traverse the bumps.  If you ride into chop passively with stiff straight legs you will get thrown about and you will lose control.

Talk to you soon


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