Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Previous Post, New Sail, Gybe Tips and PWA Thoughts

Andy has corrected me on a statement I made last time regarding him being untouchable on his Reflex2/69 Manta/39 Select S11.  He reminds me that 2 of the other local power sailors are far from easy to keep pace with.  One is Hennie, a world class sailor and the other is Harry, a force of nature.  Both of these guys are extremely strong, very heavy and really talented in wild conditions.  I will re-phrase my comment to "Andy is untouchable by normal human windsurfers"

I purchased a 6.4m Gaastra Cross yesterday as the start of my crusade against cambered sails for recreational sailors like me.  I spent much of the day tuning, tweaking and sailing with different equipment combinations.  This is a fine sail as I knew it would be and I had a lot of fun despite being underpowered at times.  I rigged the sail on a Fiberspar 430 Radius RDM mast which has always worked well on my Remedy 6.0.  I'm not sure whether this is the right mast for the Cross however and will need to do some comparisons with other masts when the wind blows again.  The new sail felt a bit heavy in the hands initially but lightened up with a bit more downhaul.  This removes power of course so my feeling is that it will be a higher wind sail than I initially thought.  In the gusts the sail was really easy and fast so I'm pretty satisfied.

The new Crosses are very cool and actually look better in the flesh than in photos.  Stunning graphics!

I had planned to replace my beloved North Ram 7.8m with a new Gaastra Savage 7.8m to continue the no camber journey but I have chickened out a bit for now.  The Ram is such a fine sail and so easy to use - I don't want to spend a whole lot of money just to be disappointed.  I am still considering the Savage but will need to think a bit.

A group of local windsurfers went out for dinner and drinks the other evening to a nearby game lodge and the conversation turned to matters of a windsurfing nature (surprise).  Grant is busy working on his gybes and mentioned that he has been advised to enter the gybe with his front hand in the palm-down position as opposed to his normal palm up grip.  This is absolutely right and was good advice.  Remember that one of the corner stones of a successful gybe is continuous mast foot pressure and this is achieved by pulling down on the boom with the front hand (elbows down!).  You can't really pull down on the boom with your palm facing up.  Pushing down with the front hand has other benefits as well.  It makes you bring your weight forward - another requirement for a successful planing gybe.  Transform your gybes by rotating your front hand 180 degrees!  Bargain.

On the PWA front I'm noticing some power pairs developing in the various sail and board constructor camps.  You have Bjorn and Cyril on Severne Reflex3's.  An awesome pair.  You have Antoine and Finian on RRD X-Fires.  The new Avanti sail brand has Finian and Peter Volwater.  Fascinating stuff.  The brands who have lost talent are Pryde (Micah joins Maui Sails), JP who lose Antoine and North who lose Cyril and (maybe less significantly) Patrik Diethelm.  Loft have one shining star in Ben van der Steen and I will be watching this guy with interest through the heats.  He is a phenomenal sailor and is currently on some of the best kit out there.  Gaastra seem to have adopted a slightly different approach.  None of their guys are currently top sailors but they are young, really talented and any of them could win any slalom race on the day.  Maybe a longer term approach?  I keep expecting the other two Moussilmani brothers to leave Simmer and join Gaastra but they seem to be hanging in there.  I must say I would miss the two green sails in the heats if they ever left Simmer.

That's all for now.  Our wind is quickly backing off now as winter approaches so any decent breeze is a bonus.    

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