I’ve been back for a while but needed a rest from the blog.
On the PWA front Micah was the winner in Korea – a good result for a great guy. He was always going to be on the podium but was quite lucky to get first place because Antoine Questel rounded the wrong bouy in a crucial heat. The organisers need to be a bit better at marking the race bouys so that they stand out for the racers (maybe a luminous red flag on top of each marker). Anyone who has raced on a busy piece of water knows that there is always a plethora of markers (mooring bouys, yacht guides, kelp markers etc) and it can be difficult for the guy in front to identify exactly where to go. Things can look completely different looking back at the beach to what you envisioned when standing on the shore. Anyway a great pity for Antoine but good luck to Micah. As I said before, I am surprised to see him do so well because my feeling is that both JP and Maui Sails have fallen behind a bit in slalom design this year. I may be wrong.
Finian has been plagued by bad luck – firstly by cutting his heel open on a broken bottle, then he broke a fin in a crucial heat and then went on to snap his boom in another so we have yet to see the new Avanti sails in full flight. Peter Volwater is doing OK.
Another surprise for me is the performance of Cyril Mousillmani. When he moved to Severne, I predicted big things from him but he has not done much. Bjorn on the other hand is flying on the new Reflexes. Even when he gets a bad start he invariably screams through the field with ease. I am beginning to suspect that set-up and sailing style are a huge factor with the Reflexes. If you get everything right for yourself, you have the fastest thing on the water but if you don’t mesh 100% you can find yourself slightly off the pace. Andy, one of our local power sailors gets awesome performance from his Reflex but some of the other guys seem to be struggling a bit with theirs. I have a feeling that the North Warp and the Loft Blade are both easier to tune and handle even if they are not quite as fast.
The third guy on the podium was Ross Williams who showed real flashes of brilliance in some of the heats. For the last two years Ross has done nothing on this circuit and now he suddenly looks like a contender. As I have said before, the new Vapors are really good now and the new Manta 71 will be playing a big role in this turnaround. The Z Fins that Ross and Alberto use seem so well matched to the Vapors as well.
If you are a regular reader you will know that I am in the process of replacing my cammed sails with cammless ones. This is because I believe that I am faster on lighter, easier sails than I am on hard core slalom models. I am only speaking for myself here. If you are a strong, athletic sailor and you want to win races you need race sails – no question but I think I can do better on the softer stuff. I recently replaced my Ka Koncept 6.6 with a Gaastra Cross 6.4 and plan to replace my North Ram 7.8 with a Gaastra Savage 7.8. My concern is that I will spend a whole lot of money only to find that the Savage is harder than the Ram and perhaps not quite as powerful. I have always believed that as soon as you get to sizes above 7.0m you need cams to give you that extra bit of power in the light winds. I am challenging this belief with the new path but it will be interesting and I will report back when our season starts up again in October/November. Gareth, my sailing partner uses a 3 cam 7.5 (7.6?) and it will be interesting to compare when we get back on the water. Our boards are quite similar.
We had a fantastic sail here on Saturday – a bonus for us as winter is upon us and the prevailing summer wind has gone but the gods smiled and we blasted. Joos - our doctor, his daughter Karo, Brett – a hard core English sailor, Ellie and I all had a great session. I alternated between my 7.8 and the new 6.4 and both performed beautifully.
I’m away again on Friday for a week but will talk to you when I get back.Good winds.