Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Equipment Feedback

In this post I will give some feedback on the Savage 7.8, the 2012 Falcon 113 and a brief comment on the Tabou 3S 96l but first let me tell you what happened regarding my search for a good waist harness.

As I mentioned last time I have planned to get a decent waist harness.  The hook on my old one rides up and my ribs and back get punished.  Waist harnesses are not generally used by my fellow slalom sailors here.  The local blasters are really seat harness people who give you strange looks if you rock up in anything else.  The upshot is that we know mighty little about waist harnesses.

I did some research and the waist harness I would choose is the Mystic Shadow - a serious and elegant piece of engineering.

Unfortunately the Mystic suppliers here are all kite shops and do not stock windsurfing stuff.  Anyway, I decided to look at some kite harnesses and went into the Kitelab here in Langebaan.  A consignment of Dakine's Pyro waist harnesses had just arrived and the price was excellent.  I decided to buy one and give it a go.

clickerbar3 kite spreader

If you decide to try a kiting harness I would avoid this type of hook.  I believe that they refer to it as a hammerhead spreader.  I suspect that it would be difficult for us to unhook quickly from this.

The good price on the Pyro allowed me to take a gamble on the thing.


Note that the hook looks a lot like a windsurfing hook and the whole thing is really well made (it is the top of their range).  I have now used the harness quite a few times and must say that on the water it is excellent.  It gives massive lumbar support and is ridiculously comfortable.  Hooking and unhooking is totally trouble free.  I'm stoked!  What a pleasure when a piece of equipment does exactly what it purports to do.  Who would have thought that the dark side could produce something this good for a windsurfer!

I have also had the opportunity to do some sailing with the 7.8 Savage against Gareth on his cammed 7.5m.  I definitely struggle to get going as quickly as he does.  I also battle to stay upwind of him on a run.  We are going to do a lot more sailing with these two sails and I will keep you informed.  The things I have no problem with, are sailing the Savage overpowered at speed, gybing with no rotating problems, easy downhauling etc.

I am getting used to my Falcon 113 and the process is interesting.  The board is nowhere near as quick to plane as my old Falcon 104 so it needs power.  When it gets going it is way more controllable over rough water at speed.  I need to re-set all my equipment combinations for the various wind strengths.  This board is going to be ridden in far greater wind strengths than the 104.  I know that a forward mast foot position is recommended but I go quite nicely with a mid track setting when using the 6.4m Cross.  With the 7.8 Savage it seemed to work well at the front but I'm not totally sure yet.

Andy very kindly suggested that I ride his 3S 96 and give you some feedback.  I took it out today with a Select Eagle 29 fin underneath and my Tushingham Storm 5.0m on top.  A nice combination I think, but the wind was far too strong.  I got flattened so could not give it a fair run.  The few gybes I managed were unbelievably easy however.  The 3S supports you beautifully through every stage of the carve.  A bit of witchcraft right there.  I look forward to doing more on this board and Anthony has said that I can take his 3S 86 out as well for comparison.    Watch this space.

Talk to you soon  


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Savage 7.8 Feedback

Sorry for the break but I have been quite busy sailing.  The Savage 7.8m is proving a really nice sail for fully powered blasting.  As previously stated it is not good in really light winds but this should not be an issue for the type of sailor who is going to buy this model.  If you need to go in really light winds use a 9m+ cambered sail on a floaty slalom board.  This 7.8 is for the blasting specialist.  Gareth and I may get the chance to do some back to back comparisons (cammed freerace/Savage) today since the wind is lighter than it has been for the past week.

I discovered that I am able to sail the Savage using a waist harness.  This is interesting because I was never able to do this with my North Ram 7.8m.  I don't seem to have the strength or weight to trim a big cambered race sail with a waist harness.  The fact that I can sail the Savage comfortably with a waist harness indicates how user friendly it is.  This development got me thinking about waist harnesses.  My current harness is not up to scratch so I decided to get something which works properly.  I will cover this over the next few posts and give some feedback on my options, the choice I made and the results.

I have replaced my beloved Falcon 104 with a 2012 Falcon 113 and I will be giving some feedback on this board in the weeks to come.  I rode the 113 yesterday and it really hauls ass in strong wind.  Not as comfortable as the Manta 71 nor as floaty in the gybes but it is going to be a lot of fun getting to grips with it this season.

Talk to you soon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Falcons and some 7.8m Feedback


Those of you who watch these things will have noticed that the 2013 Fanatic performance boards have been posted onto the site.  The new Falcons look great as usual and they have included a 152L (90cm wide) board in the line-up.  This is good news and will be something to consider against the Starboard Ultrasonic 147L.  I wish that I could get hold of these two boards for some back to back testing.  Not likely unfortunately.  The small and medium Falcons seem little changed from last year but the bigger boards now have cut-outs under them.

The Falcon teaser video is worth watching and contains some nice gybing footage.

Look out for:
  • Entry speed (most of us enter the gybe way too slowly - watch these guys!) 
  • Knees bent pointing at the center of the carving circle, arms straight
  • Flare/step/flip (in that order!)
  • Maintain weight on the inside rail and look out of the gybe in the direction of the exit line.

The other model of interest to me is the Hawk.  I watched them testing the new 97L here last year and it cooked over the chop.  Maybe not as fast as the Rockets but probably more fun.

If you're considering this board please go for the Ltd edition.  Much lighter!

I promised to give feedback on my new Savage 7.8 and a few of you have contacted me asking for details.  The wind has been a bit scarce over the last few weeks so I have only used this sail 3 times - twice in very light wind.  The one decent sail I had was great.  The wind was strong for a 7.8 and I could easily have sailed with my 6.4 Cross but the sailing was fast, easy and comfortable with the extra sail area.  The sail is extremely stable when powered up (solid as a rock) and the low swing weight and instant rotation make gybing a pleasure. 

On the down side I really battled in the light winds.  When off the plane the sail feels heavy and lifeless.  I have to say that there were times when I felt that I could definitely have got going with my old North Ram but just bobbed on the Savage, pumping to no avail and taking major strain to back and legs.

My feeling now is that if you are a heavy sailor you probably need to look at a cammed sail in the big sizes.  If you are a smaller sailor and 7.5 is going to be your biggest sail then also consider cams.  I am totally relaxed since I have 9m and 9.8m sails for light winds, both with cams.  I'm sure that I am going to have a really good season with the Savage.  I may need to hold on to the 9m a bit longer than when I was using the 7.8m Ram.  The wind strengths that I sail it in will be greater than for the Ram.  It is early days however and I will continue to give feedback as soon as Gareth gets here (3 weeks time).  We can then do some direct comparisons on the water between the Savage and his cammed slalom sail.

Talk to you soon