Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Fins and Sails

Since the last post Andy and I have had the opportunity to ride some of the new freeride boards.  We have also been experimenting with Andy's Tabou 3S 96 with an S12 Select fin.  I will devote an entire post to the Tabou stuff.  I will then cover the Lorch Glider, Fanatic Hawk, (and the RRD Firemove if we get to ride it) in another post.  Before all of this I want to discuss some of the new stuff on the market.

Three VMax fins from Select came in the other day and Anthony called me in to have a look at them before they were shipped to their new owner.  The fins are extremely attractive, wrapped completely in carbon fiber weave - light and strong, each fin a work of art.  They are really stiff which is a slight concern for me since we are all falling for the soft compliance of the new S12's.  The rake and shape of the fins is completely different from the S12 so this may impart good control characteristics to the fin.  The feedback from the power sailor who received the fins has been great.  He is stoked but he is also really heavy, really strong and really skilled so I am going to reserve judgement on the VMax until I get to ride one.    

The other new equipment comes from Avanti.  They now have some other sails and masts on their site.  The Poweride is a blasting sail to rival the likes of  Severne's Gator, Gaastra's Cross and North's X-Type.

I would love to take one for a spin.  The construction is both light and strong and I have a feeling that Dan has imbued the thing with some magic.  Aesthetically I would prefer the head of the sail to follow the lines of their Viper wave sail but this is a minor niggle.

The Avanti Viper is a wave sail which looks so right to me.

The weights on this sail are less than any other I can find.  A 5 meter Viper weighs 2.7kg.  Compare this to a Severne Blade 5.0m (one of the lightest sails on the market) which weighs 3.12kg.  Rig your Viper 5.0 on the Avanti Spine RDM mast (1.3kg) and the two weigh only 4kg.  Now add a carbon boom from Powerex weighing in at 1.8kg and your entire rig weighs less than 6kg.  Fantastic!

The Avanti guys are not playing.  The people they use to manufacture their masts, also work on projects for NASA.  Intellect, advanced materials and military tolerances - three of my favorite things!  They do not show their Condor freerace sail yet.  This is a 3 cam model which should be really interesting.  For me they are missing a high performance camless (7 batten) model in the line-up but this may be in the pipeline.

I will talk about the Tabou 3S 96, the 3S 106 and the new Rocket 105 in the next post.

Good winds

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2013 Equipment

I sailed Andy's 3S 96 yesterday and it once again performed faultlessly.  I was on my 6.4 Cross and his 29cm Eagle fin.  A nice combination for trouble-free sailing but not enough grunt from the fin for serious blasting with mates.  Tabou have really nailed it as far as support through the gybes goes.  This goes for their slalom boards too of course.

Andy himself came by in the afternoon, screwed in a 31cm Eagle fin and proceeded to present a master class in high wind speed sailing.  Unbelievable speed over rough water using both his 6.0m Remedy and then his 5.2m Remedy (I think).  The great thing about these boards is that you can sail them briskly over rough water, put in a swept back fin and play in the waves and then get really serious and launch into strong wind with the appropriate fin/sail combo and blow almost everything else off the water.  I'm not sure that the Tabou guys are fully aware of this side of the board.  Granted you need to be a really good power sailor but take it from me the potential is there.

Andy was also testing the new Rocket 105 a while ago and this board is looking impressive.  He had a Select S11 (or S12?) fin under it and his 6.0 Remedy.  This combo easily hung with the race stuff on the runs when he had sufficient wind.  The feeling amongst the guys who rode this board was that either it is slower than the old Rocket 105 or it is so comfortable that it just feels slow.  Well my assessment is that it is a rocket ship.  I have the same feeling about this board that I had about the Manta 71.  A really special piece of equipment.

Several of the new slalom sails are breaking cover.  North's new Warp looks stunning.    

What I like about these sails is the fact that they have 7 battens.  Lighter and simpler.  I also like the fact that they have cut down on the length of the batten overhang above the back of the boom.  Way to go North!

The new Vapors and Phantoms are on the Gaastra site now.  Awesome looking sails as I said before.

I may get the chance to test some freeride boards over the next few weeks (Exocet Cross, RRD Freeride etc) and I will report back if I do.

Talk to you soon